Life in Chiang Mai

Slacking a bit on my promise to maintain this. Apologies!

I’ve updated on my travels to Singapore, Bali, Vietnam and Cambodia, but I’ve neglected to update about my newest adventure: Chiang Mai, Thailand!

After getting back from traveling, I made my way to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is in the northern part of Thailand, and it’s very different from the rest of the country. This city reminds me of a small, asian Austin. It’s so eclectic, and I’m absolutely in love. When I arrived I made my way to JJ’s Guesthouse (after being rejected by Julie’s Guesthouse just next door. Hotel review coming soon!) where I stayed for nearly a month. Maybe a little over. My quest: to find a job. I had heard that it was pretty competitive trying to find work in Chiang Mai, but fortunately with my TESOL Certificate and experience teaching in Thailand, I found a job. I’m currently working at Prince Royal’s College as a Matthayom 1 (grade 7) teacher in the Focused English Program. It’s fun, it’s challenging… I can honestly say I know more about the English language than I’ve ever known before. The kids are great, aside from their understandable apathy when it comes to sitting in a classroom and the abundance of more important things they’ve got to talk about. They’re young, I remember being that age, but I don’t like acting as “disciplinarian.” By this, I don’t mean I pull out the cane stick and punish them, I just constantly feel like I’m telling them to stop talking, pay attention or threatening to move them away from their friends. I think (hope!) that after a couple weeks I’ll be able to have more fun with them and won’t have to get onto them as often.

Lucy, Me, Simon, Michelle, Don, James, Lars. 118 km moto excursion through the mountains.A couple weeks ago, my friends James (aka Chief) and Simon came for a visit. If you remember from my Vietnam post, I met them in Hue. They spent about two weeks here, and even though I had to work, we had such a good time. Simon’s friend from home, Don, acted as our tour guide and took us up into the mountains on motorbikes. It was really my first trip to see Chiang Mai outside the Old City, and a great one it was! We took nearly the entire day to go up into the mountains to a restaurant at the very top. Then, after a quick bite, we made our way back down the mountain. Since I had never driven a motorbike before, I was riding on the back of James’ bike… We decided that the route down would be a good time to learn! Fortunately, there were no accidents, despite driving with a grizzly as my passenger. I can’t say I’ve been on many motorbike trips (ok, I’ve been on TWO.. this was my first, more on the second later), but this one will be a hard one to top in the future.

A big event: the Chelsea football match. Since I’ve been in Thailand, I’ve grown to like watching football matches (soccer), but never had I been so into one! Chelsea played Bayern-München, and Simon is the biggest Chelsea fan. Since the game wasn’t until 2am our time, we prepared to pull an all-nighter to support him. When evening rolled around, Chief and I dressed in all blue, the three of us painted our nails and we got ready with Thai Redbull. We made our way over to Fabrique, a Thai club that said they were playing the match, where we met up with friends Don, Michelle, Becca and Cody. Come to find out, they were going to play the match, but they weren’t going to have sound! This was unacceptable. At about 1am, we headed over to John’s Place, a sport’s bar, and found ourselves front row seats. If you didn’t see it, the game. was. intense. That’s the understatement of the year. Chelsea won, Simon was ecstatic, and we didn’t end up getting back to the guesthouse until 6am. Fortunately, it was the weekend. The next time I’m asked who my favorite football team is, I will say Chelsea without hesitation. Chelsea: Champions of Europe.

that’s a lot of calories.

While the boys were here, we ate a lot of western food, and Thai food as well. But, since they’re from the UK, and I’ve never had a proper English breakfast, the morning after the Chelsea match we went to find one. The thing was massive. Fortunately for them, I couldn’t eat the whole thing. I did enjoy it very much, though! I could eat it once a week. I shouldn’t, but I definitely could. Icing on the cake: there was a full color comics section in the Bangkok Post. Simply put, amazing.

After two weeks of fun, Chief and Simon had to be on their way… They’re traveling the world! It’s not forever, though… Another time, another country.

Simon, me and Chief crammed into a tuk tuk.

Last weekend, my friends Becca and Cody, who are living in Chiang Mai (I did my TESOL course with Becca), took a motorbike ride up into the same mountain I had gone on with the guys. This time, though, I had my own motorbike! It was so much fun to whiz about, and with the difficulties in finding rides in the mornings/afternoons to/from my school, I’m on the hunt for one of my own.

Becca, Cody and me… pit stop up the mountain.

So I’m mostly caught up on my life! Aside from the fact that I took quite the spill down the stairs at my apartment yesterday. I’m feeling pretty good, though. I got some awesome painkillers from the pharmacy that make me feel top of the world! No broken bones, a few scrapes and bruises, a tweak in my back, and an embarrassed self (there were two kids who were walking down the stairs behind me). Nothing time and meds won’t heal.

me and my trusty steed, Malibu.

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Sawadee Pi Mai Kha!

Happy New Year!

It is finally 2012! While half the world is convinced of our demise later this year, I’m here to tell you: I come from the future! It’s 2555 in Thailand now, so 2012 has long come and passed. The world is not ending. Don’t spend your life savings or sell your family heirlooms just yet.

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Last Thursday and Friday were Sports Day at school. I have to say, these were probably my most favorite days so far. It was like the Camp Cedarcrest Olympics on crack. All the students were dressed fancy in their costumes and team colors, and I was very excited to go around to each team and cheer with them all. They wanted me to pick a team to be on. I kept telling them I wanted a rainbow colored shirt because I didn’t want to pick just one color, but they didn’t have a rainbow shirt and I couldn’t find any dye at Big C or TescoLotus. When I saw the sports shirts I had to choose from, I picked a “green” one that was really more turquoise than anything. I thought that it may have been an old shirt and acceptable as a “non” color, so I picked that one. Nope. It was still considered green. I just told everyone I was on Team Leelawadee instead. Team Champion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the students playing sports, they had “traditional Thai games” for the teachers to participate in. These were not serious games in the slightest. The first game was a relay race called the “Superman” game. For this game, you had to put on underpants, run down the field, take off the underpants, hand them to the next teacher, then they had to put the underwear on, run down the field, and so forth and on and what yadayada…. The next game, I had to pull another Thai teacher on a palm tree leaf across the field. Halfway down, the leaf split and I dragged her for a bit before I realized it. Once I noticed, I couldn’t stop laughing. The rest of that race was a slow process, as I was doubled over from laughing. Then, the male teachers participated in a relay of their own…. They had a waterbottle fixed to string that they tied around their waist which they used to hit a ball down the field. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the most appropriate game to play in front of 2,500 students, but it was quite funny for us to watch. I wouldn’t want you to miss out, so here’s 57 seconds of enjoyment… I’ve got a feeling this is going to be the next big thing in America.

** ***** ***** *****

I have to say, I’ve already got a good feeling about this year. Like many of my adventures in Southeast Asia, my New Years evening was spent with an assortment of people from many different locations: America, Italy, Thailand, Iran, and more! Now you know you’re destined for great places when you’re starting off the year with such a mix of fantastic people.

We began the day in search for a new phone for my buddy Colin (Tennessee). He was trying to show our friend Alessio (Italy) and me his tattoo when his phone fell out of his pocket and broke into three pieces. The most important of these pieces (which held the SIM card) fantastically slipped through the hole of a gutter about the size of a tin soup can. The three of us knew immediately what had happened, and while Alessio and I were attempting to contain our fits of laughter, Colin stood staring in shock for a moment. Thus ensued a 20-minute attempt to move a 200-pound cement block and sift through about two feet worth of poo to (unsuccessfully) find Colin’s SIM card. It was a stinky task, but don’t worry… I was there to photograph it all. When we had decided it was too rank to continue with the search-and-rescue mission, a sweet old security guard walked over to see what mischief we had got ourselves into. When we had mimed to him the situation, he crouched down to jump in to look for the phone! I immediately yelled at him to stop, which later Colin was quite irritated about… But, I wasn’t about to let that man fish through that mess. No way. Somehow, though… Someone has Colin’s SIM card now. Maybe the security guard went back later and decided he wanted to go for a swim after all.

We then all began the evening at my friends’ condo with a pot luck of Thai finger foods. Then, we made our way over to Central World. Though I’ve never been to New York Times Square on NYE, I have been to the Sydney Harbour Bridge on NYE and I would describe Central World as Bangkok’s equivalent. As I said before, we had a variety of people with us from all over the world. There were so many people at CW, there was hardly any room to move. The countdown was nearly as loud as the fireworks above. Though everybody was on the same number, with 20,000 people counting in different languages, you can hardly expect it to sound like anything but white noise. When it was time to go back home, the BTS (skytrain) was swarmed by all the NYE attendees. By the time we got home, Gina (Colorado), Colin and I decided we were hungry, so we ordered some mexican food for delivery. Have it noted: my first meal of 2555 was Enchiladas Suizas from Sunrise Tacos.

I miss my family and each and every one of my friends from home, but I am loving this adventure. Like I said, I’ve got a good feeling about this year. I’ll be filling more pages of my passport out with stamps, meeting more people in my travels, dining on cheap Asian cuisine, and enjoying every minute of it. Thanks for a great start 2012… keep up the good work!

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On another note: I came home yesterday to a flooded bathroom. Easy enough to squeegie down the drain. Then noticed a line of bugs coming out of a crack between some tiles. Sprayed those suckers with some Thai RAID. Told the maintenance guy, he said he would come fill the crack today, but in Thai time that means he will come next week. This morning, I poured myself a bowl full of cereal…. Took a bite…. Then noticed the bugs had come back and infested my cereal. Wish I had looked in my bowl before I had taken that bite. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve already had larvae and grasshopper to eat over here. Actually, I wish I had waited to open that box until this morning instead of cracking into it last night. That’s an entire box of cereal I threw away. I think I’m more bothered by tossing a new box of cereal than eating a spoonful of bugs… I’ve now discovered a magic concoction of Thai RAID, Bleach, and some unknown Thai powder that has bugs crossed out on it left by the previous tenants that has left me currently bug free! Nonetheless, I still love Thailand. GOOD STORY, MORNING GLORY!


Flower & Star Get Sick

Leelawadee

I’ve neglected to tell you that my nickname at school is Leelawadee. Leelawadee is a type of flower. Devon’s nickname is Dao, which means star. So we are Flower and Star. Or as Devon likes to call me: Frower. I should also mention that our hippy Thai “mother” is the one who named us. She has also told the students, so sometimes I will be walking and hear “Leelawadee!” in addition to the reoccurring “Hello, Teacher!” I receive walking across campus.

Well, this past week felt like ages long, but I only ended up working three days… Monday I had off because of Constitution Day–which I already posted details about–and on Tuesday night and Wednesday I was awfully sick, so I stayed home in bed Wednesday.

My "porcelain prison"

I’ve nothing really to update you on, but I promised I would work on posting a new blog every week. I suppose I could tell you about my being sick, but that’s a repulsive story, quite honestly. In short, I had a fever of who-knows-what and saw my breakfast, lunch and dinner one too many times. I’m not sure what it is that I was sick with, only that Devon was sick with the same thing. We were both camped in our rooms, and I spent the majority of the time in my porcelain prison. I’m better now! Which is always a good sign. However, I’ve been keeping away from Thai foods, as I don’t think my stomach can handle heavy, greasy, salty foods for a bit.

…..Segway…..

nom nom nom

Because I was sick and didn’t want Thai food, I made some bomb chicken noodle soup. I would call it homemade, but proper chefs out there would deem it “semi-homemade.” Either way, it was delicious. It had chicken and noodles in it, of course, but I also put potatoes, carrots, onion, cauliflower and garlic in it. Three days worth of recovery meals and still counting. Best part: no MSG. Everything, and I mean everything, in Thailand contains some amount of MSG. I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was when Asian restaurants advertised “No MSG” at home. Apparently it’s not good for you, though. Devon has done a fair bit of research into it. Pretty sure everyone in Thailand is experiencing some adverse reaction to MSG, especially those of us who are new to Asia. Not much can be done, though. I just drink a lot of water and usually eat two meals at home. Also, on the food subject: I’m going to have an awesome tuna sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

This week, I’m having Christmas themed lessons in my classes. Quite excited about this, especially because it includes singing carols in class. Then, on Thursday, Devon and I have to help with a two hour Christmas presentation to our 2,500+ students. I’m not entirely sure what all is in store for that, yet… Still working on details. I do, though, know that I’m wearing a white skirt, red shirt and a Santa hat. How very festive of me. I’m also tutoring the niece of the guy downstairs who owns the massage paradise. She is preparing to take an entrance exam to get into a school in Bangkok. I took a look through the practice test that she is working from and immediately understood how it is that native Spanish speakers were able to test out of language courses so easily. Yea, but that’s what I’ll be doing Monday through Thursday evening this week.

Now, the important information. Next weekend, I’m going to be spending Christmas with friends in Sungnoen near Korat. I’m extra excited about this because I didn’t know if I would be able to get Saturday off to be able to go. So no, I won’t be home alone on Christmas. I’ll be having a jolly good time singing Christmas songs, exchanging White Elephant gifts and partying it up with my beloveds.

That’s all for now, folks.
xx

1,000 Views, Long Weekends and Wat Nang Sao

Hey y’all!

With your help, I’ve now passed 1,000 views on my blog! That’s a lot, considering I had doubts that anyone would ever read this thing. I really appreciate you giving your time to check in on my life. It’s great to know people back home are interested in what’s going on here.

The past two weeks, I have had Monday off. Last weekend was the king’s birthday, and I took that time to visit some friends in Bangkok. Fortunately, in meeting so many people, I’ve lucked out in not having to pay for accommodations. My friends Jordan, Matt, Colin and I spent a couple evenings with their Thai neighbors. It’s quite interesting since they don’t speak English and we don’t speak Thai. Much of the time is spent making gestures and flipping through a n0t-so-easy-to-navigate English to Thai dictionary to try to resemble some sort of casual conversation. The rest of the time is spent doing voice-overs and making them say ridiculous things. It’s very entertaining.

Other than hanging out with the Thai neighbors, I was able to meet some really cool, new people. My friend Tricia was only in town forone evening, but she brought her friend Jae, a fellow teacher from her school. I also met Jessie, a friend of Matt and Jordan’s, her friend Anne from France, and a Couch Surfer named Christe from California. I have to say, my favorite place in Matt and Jordan’s massive apartment is their porch. It’s so fun just to prop your feet, hang out and chat with really cool people.

My English friends Liv, Rachael and Ali were passing through Bangkok on their way back to England. I wasn’t able to visit with them for very long, but I did get to see them for a few hours on Monday. We met up on Khao San Road and strolled around looking at clothes and eating street food. I got some glorious Aladdin-style pants, and I’m tempted to get more on my next trip there. They’re probably the most comfortable thing I own, and it’s very obvious as I put them on everyday when I get home from work. It was so lovely to be able to see the girls again. I hope they’ll be able to make it out to Southeast Asia for another go, and one day to visit them in England.

This past weekend was long as well, though not as long. I had to work Saturday, which was quite a bummer, but I did take a class outside and we sat beneath the gazebo singing The Beatles. Probably the most fun class I’ve had thus far, and I’m going to do my best to make this a regular thing.

So since I had to work on Saturday, I ended up having a two-day-weekend with today being Constitution Day. To be honest, up until about 4:30 this afternoon, I had no idea why it was that I had today off. Had I not glanced at the 2012 (or 2555 here in Thailand) calendar while at Tesco, I still would have no idea. I might should probably learn a bit more about my days off, since they are obviously important enough to cancel school. Oh, well…. next time.

Today, Devon and I were toured about our city by four 15 and 16 year old girls: Jin, In, Pang and Gaew. We met them this morning at 9 and headed to Wat Nang Sao along the Tha Chin River. After a 15 or so minute trip in a Song Tao (a double benched truck) we were walked through a bit of water to the temple. Like most Buddhist temples, the wat is very flashy and beautiful. The girls helped walk us through the Buddhist ritual of lighting incense, lighting a candle, presenting flowers, placing two gold leafs on the sitting Buddha and then the wai (bowing in respect). After this, we walked around the temple ringing bells for good luck. I’m not sure if we were actually supposed to ring every bell or if the girls were getting a kick out of the falang practicing this “good luck” ritual, but honestly… if it’s for good luck, wai not?? Haha. Get it? Nah….

After visiting the Wat Nang Sao, we went across the street to another room with more Buddha statues inside. Again, we did the wai, but this time afterwards, we shook these cups with sticks inside until only one stick fell out. The girls were very good at this, it seemed I was rattling that cup for nearly three times as long. Finally, though, one stick fell out with the number 19 on it. I then had to get a piece of paper from a cubbie marked “19” that had a bunch of Thai written on it. Apparently, the different papers will tell you whether you have good luck or bad luck. Devon and I were fortunate enough to have good luck, but I can’t say the same for one of the girls… Since my paper told me I have good luck, I was able to keep it, so I’ll take it to school this week and have someone translate it for me.

Also across from the wat was the Tha Chin River. They’ve blocked off a part of it where loads of catfish are swimming. You can toss in bread for them to eat and they will literally come in swarms. It would be a rigged system, but no doubts you could catch your dinner there in less than five minutes, bait time included. The girls told us, however, that the fish were not kept there to be eaten, but for good luck. Clearly there is a lot of “luck” in Buddhism. Noting the river was quite high, we asked if the fish went into the street when it floods. They said the sandbags keep them in the general area….

That’s all for now! Sorry it’s been two weeks since my last post. Time is flying. I’ll try to make it a regular Sunday evening thing that I put something new on my blog. Can’t make any promises, but I’ll try!

Thanks again for helping me pass 1,000 views! You’re great.

And here’s a couple pictures for you:

Riding the Song Tao with two of the lovely girls who showed us about: Gaew (left) and Jin (right)

This beautiful girl is Kin and her puppy Gow.

Giving Gow some lovin'.

Devon, Jin, Pang and In at lunch.

Thanksgiving and Teaching

Greetings readers!

Last week was my first week of teaching. I teach M3 and M6, which are 9th and 12th grades respectively. My kids are really fun! To be honest, I feel quite awkward calling them my “kids,” because I’m only about four years older than my M6 students… And they know it. I think being a young teacher has both advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to tell them what to do, but I’ve found that turning the fans off and closing the windows does wonders. You’d be surprised though how many of them keep chatting away while the room fills with hot, stagnant air. Other times, my age makes class more fun. Especially in the case of my M6 students. They like to joke around with me. Sometimes I have to put them in check if they’re being a little perverted, but for the most part they’re fairly respectful and fun to be around. It’s also flooded at my school everyday since last Saturday. I thought it was part of the flooding from up north, but apparently it floods like this here about every three months because of the position of the moon and high tides. Nobody seems to think anything of it, though. I expect the flooding to get worse in the next week or so, as the flood waters from up north are supposed to meet with the flooding from high tides here. It’s been about mid-calf height so far, so I’ll keep you posted on the flood situation.

This past week was also Thanksgiving. Devon and I went to the market and got a

chopped chicken and some banana bread muffins. Then, when we got home, we made garlic mashed potatoes, stirfry veggies and creamed corn. It was the most delicious make-shift ThanksgivingI’ve ever had!! Last weekend, we went to Bangkok and met up with a bunch of our friends. It was a potluck style get together. Everyone brought something–chicken, carrots, macaroni and cheese, homemade bread, daal… you name it!–and it was such a fun get together. I love our group. We always have a great time, and since we are all located in different parts of Thailand now, it’s even more special when we can get together.

This coming Monday is the king’s birthday. Usually I have to teach on Saturday’s to make up for the lost classes during the flood, but I don’t have to teach this Saturday! That means I have a three day weekend. I’m thinking I’ll either go to Bangkok or Pattaya, but I haven’t decided yet. Regardless, I have to take advantage of this extended weekend… They’re so rare!

I’ve also decided that I am going to stay in Thailand and teach another semester. What started as a six-month trip has now turned into a bit longer. I’ve not sorted out the details of what my next plans are yet, but a rough sketch is:

  • Work in Thailand another semester
  • Travel Southeast Asia October-December 2012
  • Travel to Australia this time next year on a work/holiday visa
  • Work someplace random in Australia until June
  • Work ski season in Australia June-October
  • Travel around Australia October-visa runs out
    OR
  • Work another random job October-visa runs out

We will see what actually happens, though. I’m loving traveling abroad. I feel like I’m learning so much more than I did in my four years of university. There’s just so much to see. There’s so much more of the world than I originally thought. You can imagine how big the world is, but you can’t actually fathom it until you get out and see it for yourself. I’ve never been so hungry for the world. I feel like I’ve gone to a buffet, and who has two thumbs, likes to eat and is going to take advantage of this buffet? This girl.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading! I’ll keep you posted on the flooding here. Be sure to check out my pictures on Facebook, there are loads more!

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Hello!

After leaving Pattaya, my friend Colin and I took a trip up to see Kanchanaburi. This city is best known for its death railway. The Bridge Over River Kwai movie was created based on the railway that POWs built during WWII between Kachanaburi and Burma. We were told that for every

slat of rail laid, one man died. Knowing this put things in perspective when walking across the bridge. From the bridge was an amazing view of the Kwai River. We also went to a war cemetery for all the POWs killed. It was a sobering walk through, as there were many who were my age and younger that died. There were no US soldiers, though, because they were all sent home to be buried.

Even though there is a movie created based on this city, the area itself is pretty low key. We did meet an eclectic bunch, though! Including a 60ish year old English author named Geoff who was staying at the same guesthouse.

Me: Geoff, what do you do?
Geoff: I’m an author.
Me: Really? What do you write?
Geoff: Oh, nothing you would read.
Me: What is it, like, science fiction?
Geoff: No, I write porn novels.

Geoff was quite an interesting man. He was also very helpful in giving Colin and I directions around town.

We also met a bunch of people at a local bar. At our table, we had two Americans, one Dutch, one Italian, three French and one Thai. It was a great mix of people. We sat chatting until the sun came up and went to get breakfast two nights in a row. As exhausted as I was, and as much as I’m trying to catch back up on sleep, it was such an amazing trip.

Our trip was cut a bit short because I received an email saying I had another job! So, Colin and I had to go to Bangkok where we met up with a bunch of my friends. I didn’t realize it had been so long since I had seen anyone from my program, but it had been over a month! It was good to catch up and visit.

Now, I am currently sitting in my new home for the next few months! It’s a really nice studio apartment, and the internet is really quick! As soon as I learn my address, I’ll post it here. Devon and I are the only white people here so we get a lot of stares! I start work on Monday teaching conversational English to

M3 and M6 (high school). We toured around the campus and walked back to the river behind the school yesterday. The water level in the river is incredibly high and my town floods everyday. The school is really relaxed, and everyone is so incredibly nice. The head of the English department, Ajarn Cho, really likes Crosby, Stills & Nash and Bob Dylan. Everyone has taken such good care of us. The first night we were here, we couldn’t find a place to stay, and a teacher who didn’t even know us offered up her room for us to sleep. Everyone has been buying us food, and last night I was invited to a homemade dinner by another English teacher. She made macaroni soup and it was delicious…. my first home-cooked meal in two months!

It’s really nice to have all my things back in one place and to not live out of a backpack. Even better that I have my computer and fast internet.  Thanksgiving is this week, and Devon and I are going to get a chopped chicken and do our best to make sides since we have to work and don’t have an oven. Then I think this weekend we are going to go to Bangkok and meet up with people for another Thanksgiving meal! I’ve already cracked out the Christmas music… I’m so ready!

Until next time!

The End of Training, The Beginning of Something New

Hello, there!

So, yesterday, I “graduated” from my TESOL course! What an amazing experience the past three weeks have been. I’ve enjoyed every moment of my time spent with all these wonderful people. And, this past Thursday, I was fortunate enough to meet the most appreciative group of boys I have ever known. At the football (aka soccer) orphanage, there are 36 boys who are so passionate about the sport and eager to learn and participate in class. I hope all my future students are as respectful as this group of boys. They have lost so much, yet they are still such lively and loving kids. I have never seen a group of boys this large who are more like family. It was such an amazing sight to see and very refreshing that there is something so genuine and heartwarming.

This is going to be an extremely short post, because I have to get up early in the morning to head out to Koh Samui. Then a group of friends and I are staying at Blue Lotus hotel on Koh Phangan Monday through Friday to experience the Full Moon Party. It should make for quite an interesting experience.

Today, I went to Kata Beach with my friends Carinne, Alycia, Sejal and Michele. It was beautiful, but Nai-Harn Beach still feels like home. We ate pizza beachside, took a stroll in the sand and had a fun time negotiating prices with the local tuktuk driver. It’s definitely getting easier haggling prices here, or maybe we are just more comfortable.

For now, it’s goodnight! My contacts are dry and sticky, my stomach hurts from two too many milkshakes after dinner, and my photo album is almost finished loading. There are loads of pictures I’ve uploaded to facebook, so be sure to check it out!

Love,

Lindsey

A really, really long post.

Hello, All!!

My apologies in advance for how much of my life is going to be in this post…..

I would first like to start off by announcing that I have officially been placed! I will be a kindergarten teacher at Kasintorn Saint Peter School located in Nonthaburi. It’s approximately 45 minutes northwest of Bangkok. I’m very excited to work with little kids, I just hope cleaning up “accidents” is not part of my job description. You can check out my new school here.

This past week was another funfilled week of lesson planning, practice teaching, and class breaks on the beach. I definitely love the arts and crafts side of teaching, so I think being placed as a kindergarten teacher will be awesome.

Last post, I know I talked about going to Phi Phi Island, but I neglected to mention another cool fact. There is a nearby Rasta Bar here that plays live music. They also have many drums just sitting about. I was playing the Congas and Djembe, having a good time, and the band that was playing pulled up a chair and told me to play with them! It was quite fun. The next day, my hands were a little bruised and sore, but I loved jamming with them.

I’m going to stop talking about last week, though, because I’ve done some really cool stuff this weekend.

On Friday night, a bunch of us went to Patong. Patong is ladyboy central. If you’ve not seen a ladyboy, you’re sure to see enough of them to last you fifteen lifetimes in the first five minutes of arrival. For those of you who don’t know what a ladyboy is, it’s pretty much a male-to-female transvestite… they might be pre-op or post-op, but if you’re “lucky” you’re sure to find out… They’re pretty free spirited and proud of their after-surgery self. To an American who is really conservative about that kind of stuff, it’s a bit shocking. None-the-less, going to Patong was such a fun time! I am glad our training is in Nai-harn, though, because I don’t think I could handle Patong for three weeks!!

Then, yesterday, I went elephant trekking with my friends Carinne and Sejal. My elephant’s name was Tong-Tui and she was 30years old! I got to sit on her head and steer her for a little while, which was a lot of fun… I felt a little bad, though, because I don’t want any animal to be held in captivity. But, I did give Tong-Tui a head massage while I was up there, so hopefully that makes up for it. I’m sure my massage was the equivalent to a gnat on her head, though! Regardless, it was a lot of fun. Shout out to my girl, Tong-Tui!

Last night, we went to the Phuket Town Night Market. I had gone with friends last weekend, too, but I actually got out of the food portion for a little while this time. You bet half of my time was spent getting really awesome food, though! I had a really good banana and Nutella pancake (which is a crepe by another name). But I was on a mission last night… I had to get something to wear to teach in this week. I got two skirts, a dress (not to teach in) and some white pants (for the Veg Fest!) for about $15 USD. It’s bizarre to think that things will be so much cheaper once I am out of Phuket. But the Phuket Town Night Market is really cool, so I would definitely recommend it if you’re ever in the area!

This morning we got up semi-early to go to the Vegetarian Festival. This festival is to bring good fortune, and the people eat only vegetarian food and wear all white to the festival to symbolize purity. There are many people who are put into a trance and have swords thrust through their cheeks, or are showered in hot oil…. things we would see as horrible, but are considered an honor to be asked to do here. Turns out we weren’t there early enough…. we missed all this. But we are hoping to go back later this week and maybe see a big more. It is going on until the 5th, so hopefully school this week isn’t too crazy and I get another chance to go.

Finally, we went to see Big Buddha! This is exactly what it sounds like…. a big Buddha statue. It’s still under construction–and I imagine it will be for some time, since it’s funded by donations only–but it is absolutely breathtaking. From Big Buddha’s mountain, you can see the most beautiful view of Phuket and the Andaman Sea. I feel like I am doing it an injustice by trying to describe it to you, because I can’t find the words. I only wish I could have each one of you in my pocket and show it to you in person. I was also blessed by a monk here, too. He was very friendly. He asked where I was from, and kept saying “Obama! Obama!” and gave me a bracelet as a symbol of my blessing.

This week I will be student teaching. Monday through Wednesday I’ll be at Baan Bang Rong School which is government run, Thursday and Friday I will be at a juvenile detention center and an all boys school. The detention center might make for some interesting stories, but as an American, I know my mind is exaggerating the possibilities! I’m super excited, though, and have a lot of preparations to make for tomorrow’s lesson plan…. I’ll hopefully post tomorrow after my first day of teaching, unless I’m too busy preparing for Tuesday. You bet you’ll hear from me soon, though!

Thanks for reading! I have a number that you can text to my phone from USA. It’s through an app that I got, but it’s free for you to text it. It’s: (951) 638-6157. I can’t make or receive calls through that number, so just text me!

And here is a video of me being blessed. Thanks Alycia for the commentary!