I thought the job hunt once I got here would be a little more rigorous, me going from dive shop to dive shop, handing out my resume, searching for several days before maybe one or two shops offered me a course to teach here and there. Then right before I left, Kyle said his boss had work for me, at which I was thrilled. So I arrived on Friday, Saturday I met the manager, Sunday was Songkran, and Monday I taught my first DSD at Dive Shop A. Never mind recouping from jet lag. I showed up Monday morning excited as ever to be back in the beautiful warm waters of Koh Tao, only to be greeted by several very unhelpful and cranky people. I won’t go into details, but I will say that I’m the sort of person who brushes off rude or mean personalities as a misunderstanding on my part. I really have a tendency to always assume the best in people. I’m the person who you complain to about what so and so said and I try to explain where they might have been coming from. So for me to admit someone is actually rude, they’re probably even more of a bitch then I’m letting on.

So, spirits slightly dampened, I finished my first day of work figuring everyone was just hungover from Songkran.

Tuesday I had off and so spent the day buying a cheap little Thai phone - the kind we all used back in the day and you can charge once a week - and shopping around for an automatic bike. Unless you’re my mom in which case I was shopping around for a new pair of walking shoes…

Wednesday I was sent out on the morning boat to fun dive, and by fun dive I mean learn the sites. Everyone was still in a very cranky mood and so I befriended one of the DMTs, a very flamboyantly gay boy and just the sort of person I need in my life right now. I suggested to him that we race to the bottom of Chumphon Pinnacle for some fun. I knew I’d get in trouble, but based on everyone’s cranky moods, they’d just find something to get mad at me for anyway. If someone’s going to be mad at you, it might as well be worth it.

You may think I’m being paranoid, day two at Dive Shop A and already thinking I’m going to get in trouble, but believe me, I’d already spent enough time to know that there were several people there who’s only help to me would be snapping something I had done wrong. On my first day, I went around asking stupid questions, and I’ll be the first to admit they were stupid questions, but being new I was just trying to figure out how things were run. No one was helpful, the few answers I got were very condescending, and I learned that no one was going to show me what to do, just snap at me when it was done incorrectly. I’ve come to realize though that many of the divers here were born and bred here, they’ve never worked in the dive industry outside of Koh Tao, and hence don’t realize that things actually are done differently elsewhere in the world. And EVERYTHING is done differently here. One small example: the rental BCDS. After my second day, I rinsed my DSDs BCDs and hung them back up to dry. Later one of the cranky people (cranky is putting it way too nicely) hunted me down and said “Lexi can I have a word?” To which I cringed, already well aware that I was in trouble for something, no idea what tho. We walked back into the equipment room where I found my students' BCDs thrown in the middle of the floor. I got a stern talking to.
        “I don’t know where you worked before, but BCDs have to be fully inflated before they are put away or else they get ruined.
I’ll tell you where I worked before, dive shops that are limited on space and don’t have the luxury of having dozens of fully inflated BCDs lining the walls. The entire week has been a series of occurrences like that. No instruction, just getting in trouble when I do do things the only ways I know.

Thursday I got assigned to teach a Scuba Diver, which is about half the course work of Open Water Diver. Kyle was starting a course with four Open Water guys, and so offered to me to tag team our classes and combine them, my gal would just finish up a day early. Kyle was a holler and a hoot as always, and in the confines of our group, I finally remembered why I am a scuba instructor and started having fun again.

I love diving. I love passing on that love to new divers. I love the excitement of students’ reactions when they emerge from the water after their first dive, eyes wide and completely amazed. That is why I am here in Koh Tao. To have my dream job in island paradise. We divers don’t make much, we do it for the love of diving. So I really don’t understand the attitudes of the people I’ve met this past week. Regardless, teaching a course with Kyle on Thursday and Friday put me in the place I came here to be. Having fun, and teaching Scuba.

Today is Saturday. A few days ago Irma had offered for me to come work at her dive shop today where Shawna also works. After my experience the past week I jumped at the opportunity. So this morning Shawna and I biked to work together, met up with Irma where we parked our bikes, and right away irma gave me a hug, led me to the dive shop, and set about introducing me to each and every one of her employees. Then she did at Dive Shop X what I’ve been asking everyone to do all week for me at Dive Shop A, led me around the shop and showed me exactly how they ran things. Thank you Irma! Everyone was happy. Everyone was friendly. Being a dive resort it was all very familiar from the way things were run at Subway in Roatan. Everyone worked hard but had fun doing it. Granted that was only one day, so maybe everyone was just putting on a good face for the new girl, but the differences between dive shops was mind boggling.

I was assigned three fun divers to lead around, first at Twins and then at Shark Island. Twins I have done enough by now (after one week lol) to know my way around and had no problem leading everyone on a relaxing one hour dive, even finding the correct mooring line at the end. Shark Island though was a different story. I was going to follow Irma’s group, and took note as she descended which way she went, had my group get in the water, told everyone to follow the mooring line, and of course one diver decided to sink straight to the bottom. No problem, how hard can it be to find the mooring line from the bottom? turns out pretty darn impossible when the bottom turns to pea soup and there is an undetectable current pushing you in the opposite direction you want to go. Luckly I had set a compass heading straight at the island. Twenty minutes of swimming through pea soup thinking, there’s about to be a large island looming straight in front of me, but nothing. I finally signaled to my students to go up. We were way off course. I apologized profusely, to which they politely replied, there’s nothing you could do about the conditions. So we snorkeled back to Shark Island, dropped back down, and dove back to the mooring line. Along the way they saw a shark and a porcupine fish so they were in good spirits.

I apologize for the amount of complaining I did in this post. Everyone has been asking me continuously all week if I’m happy, to which I have been truthfully replying yes, but now I see the need for the question. I haven’t been unhappy, just confused. This is my honeymoon phase of being on Koh Tao, everything is new and exciting, but at the same time there are people here who are making it not that way. So I’m not unhappy, just in a confused state of being happy plus being around some people who aren’t.