Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two years already: this is for D.J. Wren!

2 years ago Dylan Wren asked me why haven't I blogged anything---- I told him.... I was getting around to it.

Since then, every 3 months or so, I had to promise him that I would blog "soon"... as Dylan threatened that he would delete my blog from his list on his blog,, my promises kept him from pressing the ending note.

This morning I am sitting in my classroom, EIS, Bangkok, Thailand... my students are discussing Julius Caesar and for some reason... I felt like sharing a blog (about not too much actually).

Dylan Wren.... I'm back!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

You only turn 23... twice?

Yi-sip saam

It was an abnormal birthday.  My first "summer" birthday felt much different than the normal autumn, verging on winter day that I am used to.  As a child I used to dream of pool parties or birthdays at the "Crooked House" at the local Zoo in Lincoln, alas... the "Crooked House" was not open in winter, and no outdoor swimming pool was either!

This year was different.  I slept with AC on, I wore shorts, I even wore a sleeveless dress... Toto, I am not in Nebraska.

I would like to make a disclaimer about the attire that evening.  We decided to dress up (because otherwise we not be allowed into one of restaurants) and also because of the Princess.  Last year the Princess of Thailand passed away and the faithful Thai's wore black (for 100 days) to mourn her death.  So the 14th, 15th, and 16th the funeral and cremation was taking place--- and yes, again black was the required attire.  However, it made everyone look classy for my celebration, as well as matching....

Renee, Dollie, Annet, Me, Bekah, & Daniel ontop of the Banyon Tree Hotel!

Aliens? I hope not.  Here Geneva, Annet, & I at dinner: a rooftop deck at centralworld (my favorite shopping center).  
The evening was beautiful: gorgeous eateries with breathtaking view... Again I was reminded of the magnitude of Bangkok, 15 million people... much more than 15 million lights shining up at me.  

Turning twenty-three was a wonderful experience.  Before moving to Thailand I thought of '23' as a number with zero significance, just another year.  Now I beg to differ.  My friends that evening who were revisiting 23, shared how significant that year was to them.  My birthday celebration was significant to me as well.  My friends here took such good care of me, treating me to dinner, surprising me with coffee the next morning (a secret that always wins my heart!), and teaching me that '23' is not just another number... it is a year that will mold my life for the years to come.  I already have spent the whole of my 23 (to date) in Thailand... which in itself is pretty significant.  

Will I get another chance at 23?  If not, I better make this year one for the history books.  So 'Sawasdee Ka', 'Bonjor', 'Hola', and 'Hello' 23, it feels good to be here.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do dreams come true in DreamWorld?

1.a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep.
2.the sleeping state in which this occurs.

Depends on what your dreams are.  

If you are dreaming of snow in Thailand, then... yes, they do come true!

Wan ahtit seong leow, (Two Sundays ago) fellow teachers and I travelled to another land in which snow was man-made and freezing.  Snow Town, DreamWorld. 

We also went to the Giant house, where everything was bigger than us!  Finally, things were too small for us in Asia!  

5.a vision voluntarily indulged in while awake; daydream; reverie. aspiration; goal; aim: A trip to Europe is his dream.
7.a wild or vain fancy.
8.something of an unreal beauty, charm, or excellence.

Rao Bpaai Loi Kratong Laeo? Ka!

Koop Kheun Ka Phra Mae Khongkha, the Goddess of Water for such a beautiful holiday.  Every year Thailand celebrates the festival, "Loi Kratong" in appreciation of the Goddess of Water.  "Loi" means "to float" and "kratong" is a raft/boat made out of banana leaves and adorned with flowers, candles, and incense.  

In order to honor the Goddess, thank her for prosperity, and perhaps making a new wish, you light the candles and the incense and let the "kratong" "loi" in the water.  Some people put their Kratongs in rivers, others in large ponds or fountains.  

This tradition can be celebrated as a couple or as a family/friends.  If two lovers go together, they set their "kratongs" (boats) in the water together and at the same time.  If their kratongs float together then they are meant to be; however if their kratongs drift apart then then they it means their relationship will eventually end.
My students were excited about this holiday and kept asking me, "M'am, are you going to the klong with your boyfriend?"  (klong= river).  To which I would laugh and say "No, I do not have a boyfriend--"  "Oh, well it's ok M'am, you can find one there!"  

So yes, I lit my candle, and my incense, --- and I even made a wish as I set my kratong in the fountain/pond at Queen's Park (Suan Ben) and I enjoyed partaking in such a beautiful holiday with my new friends... watching the kratongs light up the dark evening sky.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ik heb gefietst!

Yes, I said, "Ik heb gefietst" which is not Thai.  Nor Spanish.  And we all know not English.  In fact it is the language : Nederlands, or better known in English: Dutch.  This past weekend I went on a biking tour of Bangkok, and.... who loves to bike more than the Dutch?  My group consisted of all Dutch people excluding an English couple, myself, and our Thai tour guides (even though the owner is Dutch!)

The tour started out at the casual hour of ten, allowing us to sleep in (more than us working at 6:30 AM)

And we were greeted with coffee and tea! Truly a European adventure in such an Asian city!  We biked through a market place in which they picked us up our first snack (or many) of bananas, pancakes, and candy floss (better known as cotton candy).  

Annet's friend, Alicia was visiting (who was also Dutch)... however in this picture I am striking the Thai pose... nike symbol under chin?  Chai-ka...

Ni photo bpaai wat. 

They also took us out to this miniature jungle/island.... right outside of Bangkok!  What a breath of fresh air!  (literally!)

However the biking path was narrow... and a bit high up... a Dutch man named Vunter even said, "wow, you are horrible at biking."  Oh yes, I also ran into a wall... and got lost (with a tour guide).  Truly an adventure....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kan*chan*a*bur*i: (noun), City in Thailand where the unexpected is expected.

A few weeks ago Daniel and Rebekah mentioned that they were going to Kanchanaburi 
Rebekah's half-marathon.  Annet and I gleefully tagged along... however we had the abnormal weekend!
Fridays are horrible days when trying to commute in the metropolis of Bangkok.  However, we tried.... and we thankfully made it on a bus out of BKK.

We arrived after dark into Kanchanburi after a long bus ride in which Annet and I both had to hold out seats up.  The bus was packed... people standing in the aisles, my chair continually falling onto the person's knees behind me.  And so cold.  We could feel every curve and bump in the road... we have left the city.  We were greeted by the hotel side-car... which in all honesty was pretty fun riding in!

After arriving there we realized that Bekah's race was in the jungle--
which only meant that we were continuing our adventure.  First we went on an elephant ride in which our elephant leader (E.L.) tried to sell us these rings that were made out of elephant tail hair.  They were gross, ugly, and not worth the 200 Baht he was asking for.  Annet and I immediately said "no" which angered the E.L. and decided as punishment us and the elephant were going to stare at a concrete wall for the rest of the "jungle tour."  It was horrible.

The our driver took us to the Soi Waterfalls--- only to be discovered as one of the many in this area.  It was fun driving around with him because I had ample opportunity to practice my Thai!

It is very normal to walk around (even in Bangkok) and see trees wrapped with ribbons.  These trees are supposed to ward off bad spirits.  I actually enjoy seeing them... not because I completely believe they are warding off bad spirits.... but I enjoy the devotion that the Thai's have with these.  And it is exciting noticing the different arrangements of ribbons...  

This particular tree was on our 4k hike of Erawan Waterfalls.
 This hike was awesome because everywhere you looked there were more waterfalls!  It had officially 7 tiers, but there were far more than 7 waterfalls... it was beautiful.

This is M'am Bekah after finishing her race!  Yes, she was a winner and got a medal.  

I thought Sheree would appreciate the Thai-runner mentality/theme

One of the more exciting adventures on the trip was our Tiger Temple visit.  Apparently about 10 years ago some Buddhist monks were given an abandoned Tiger (Sua) to raise... and then word spread and the monks began to take in more tigers.  Now we are able to visit them and our money goes to tourism as well as into paying for the care of the "suas".   

While were were there we saw a man in line go up and ask the staff, "What should you do if you get bit by a Tiger?"

The man just looks at him and then asks, "Where is your bite?"

The bite was minimal, however... it was from a baby tiger!  Imagine from the one I am posing next to!  This little Thai lady held my hand and led me to about 4/5 different tigers for pictures. Only in Thailand....

Chai-ka, an adventure for sure.
Thai tongue twister.... "Sua" (depending on the tone) means three different things.  So this tongue twister can mean: "Sua yuu bon sua" 
"The tiger is on the mat" or "The shirt is on the mat" or "The shirt is on the tiger"... Complements of Thai 101.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Evolve: The Way Things Work Out

New country.  New language.  New job. New life.  

I came to Bangkok with many expectations, as well as many goals.  I wanted to acquire at least a small sum of the language.  I want to learn how to be patient.  I want to figure out what I really want to do for... well the rest of my life.  Err.... at least the next few years.  Or months.  Or days.  

Or just day.  Day by day is my life right now.  Which is actually exhausting.  Every night: lesson plan, grading, mental sanity.  Granted, I am plenty spoiled with massages, eating out, and my new membership to "California Wow!"  (a local health gym...).  Since I really have been taking each day by day, I didn't realize the natural evolution that has already played-out.  

Teaching.  The entire day my feelings are spiraling around, and somehow manage to at least once reach each of these peaks.  I don't know how, and strangely... sometimes they coincide.

1. Happiness : usually occurs early in the morning when I first greet my students.  They "wai" me and say, "Hi M'am."  Also frequently occurs when my students respond correctly to my questions, as well as when they are enthused.  Occasionally happens when my students make funny jokes during class... and then I have to remind myself, I am the teacher... am I supposed to be laughing along too?

2. Confusion : usually occurs when I ask questions and I cannot understand students.  Ex. vegetarian is now "wedgitarian."  Also occurs when my Spanish students ask me how do you say, "insert crazy sentence I have never heard in Spanish." *Daily occurs when I daily forget to plan worship... some of my best improv moments.  

3. Frustration : usually occurs when I do not understand schedules.  Do I need to include "this" to follow curriculum?  Oh wait... I have to make a "course outline" for administration?  What is that again?  Also occurs when students will not be quiet and I have to continually call on them, make them switch seats, and try to "trick" them into participation.  High school... 

4.  Serenity : usually occurs at the very end of the day when I can sit in my classroom... alone... with all of the lights turned off and replay the day in my head.  Also occurs when classes are running smoothly and I realize that my students are interested... and are learning. 

My visitor, Dr. Daniel Schlieder.  I had heard he was coming to visit... but somehow when I saw him, it was surreal.  Here I am, had already started my new job, in a new country, completely on the other-side of the world, and I am sitting here with my friend since sixth grade.  Whom I went to middle school with, high school, and college in a completely different state.  
It was definitely exciting, and my view on Bangkok continually evolved during our time together.  I got to see other parts of town and experience different reactions from Thais.  What a comfort, having Dan here, that I was not used to having in BKK.  

I am a lioness.  Straight from "The Lion King"--- possibly friends with Zimba.
Humidity is not my friend.  Nay, it is my arch nemesis! My hair will not remain straight.  Even if I blow dry it.  Even if I flat iron it.  Even if I use a whole bottle of hairspray and some crazy product I bought (which was a lot of Baht) and is called, "Straight Sexy Hair."  Lies, all lies.   Each day my hair grows bigger... and bigger... soon my face will be lost, as well as my true identity... Grr!