Go Go Go SPLAT

I must forewarn it’s been a tough week so if I don’t seem 100% throughout this blog, I apologize. Also there is a lack of teaching stories because I only taught 2 full days Monday and Tuesday.

This week started with a panorama of my street. I walked outside and for the first time it felt cool. I was so excited I took a picture.20151125_063909_Pano

Later that evening I went to karaoke with a few of my students I tutor. Surprisingly at a Big C, a nice little grocery store with karaoke boxes on the side; really random if you ask me. I introduced them to Eminem and rapped “Love the way You Lie,” where I received wide eyes and gawking faces after my performance. Oh yea, Kru Mo knows how to rap!

*Kru Mo is what they call me Kru = Teacher/ Mo for Monique. My name is impossible so that’s what the students call me. Other community members call me Alizaa; my thai name, which is perfect because it is a Thursday name and I was born on a Thursday (seems legit haha).

Tuesday was just a big downer. Normally I just skip over these kind of days and not mention them, but it seems important because it wasn’t a hard day it’s was a hard week with a lot of amazing moments as well! It’s just finding a balance. The weirdest part is I can’t even tell you what was bothering me.

The Amazing Moments: Wednesday: I woke up at 5am and ran in the coolness of Sawankhalok. It just started the day right and also the only time I can feel some good weather. Went to school for two periods, packed my bags and went to the Loy Krathong festival with the other foreign teachers. It was a bit of a waiting game once we got to the Sukhothai Historical Park. We sat with students who were going to parade for 3hours and ate and tried to stay hydrated. It was a hot one.

At the time of the parade it was time to go inside and enjoy Loy Krathong ourselves.

Then Edie met up with us and we made our way to Tak, a different province where we were able to see a different version of Loy Krathong. Here we were able to light a lantern and send our wishes together. I was SO happy and stoked.

Here is my face to prove it.20151125_205003

At the Tak celebration, during a performance they have to send 1000 Krathongs into the river. It seemed tedious but they got it done.

If you thought we were done, you’re wrong we drove back an 1 hr and 15 to get the end of the Sukhothai celebration.

Did I forget to mention we were going to get picked up at 4am to fly to Bangkok for our ETA Thanksgiving celebration. Oops. 20151126_101504_HDR

Well once we got settled into Bangkok I had a happy Thanksgiving dinner. It was really nice and relieving.

Friday was here and we were taken to Thailand’s Navy Base where we got to plant Mangrove trees and have a mini workshop. I really enjoyed getting muddy haha.

We were finally released into the wild of Bangkok and we all just went in separate groups to get our city life fix. Note I was not doing to hot by this point. Awesomely enough I got to see a beautiful Christmas tree and pout by it too. Maybe I do know what’s been bothering me. Holidays. 

By the end of the night I was in the hospital. No worries, just intense stomach acid. Curiously I was not the only one to get sick. There was like 5 of us who had stomach issues but I was the only one to wimp to the hospital.

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The next day a day to return home and Check out our Sukhothai Airport/ Zoo!

That’s pretty much it apart from having Edie over another night and enjoying her company. Throughout all the highs and lows I really am happy and appreciative to be able to celebrate both Thailand’s and America’s traditional holidays.

Hoping to get over this hump and continue with awesome feeling experiences next week!

Elaine ❤

 

 

Ice Cream & Faith

Last week I said, ‘We’ll see what adventures my classes will give me,’ knowing I’d finally be able to be in the classroom Tuesday- Friday. Well The first adventure is that my M6’s (Seniors) got an extra day of tutoring for their exams so Tuesday I was a sitting duck; again, but not for long.

Before I talk about Tuesday, Monday is quite important. It was Beverly’s Birthday! This girl has been like an older sister to me and isn’t obligated to do so. I really appreciate her company especially since she is the only other foreign woman teacher at our school (Filipino). She’s really nice and extra funny. So my day didn’t have any students, but it did have Suki (melting pot style cooking) and ice cream… Home Made Ice Cream: Coffee Flavor, Chocolate Flavor, Thai Tea Flavor, Taro Flavor…ICE CREAM. Heavenly.

As Tuesday came I was surprised to find another day to be “Sabai.”  How are these kids gonna learn English again?’ flew though my head. Well I guess passing their exam is important too so I just had to find something else I could do. I sat, and sat, and then decided to take a walk around my school. To my surprise, SPORTS! Sports everywhere, volleyball, soccer (football) Big football, some kick over the net game and …DUN DUN DUNNNN BASKETBALL. I watched and felt giddy inside. A language I understood. I’d call what the refs called a second before and was screaming for our team! I was practically back in Viejas Arena at SDSU I was so giddy; Sawananan Wittaya High was my new team.

Later that day I slipped into Paul’s class, which only 3 students made it to class, had ice cream after lunch… (uh-oh) and for dinner I gave in to my first pizza since the U.S. while tutoring. -No worries it was worked off with Insanity

A full day of 4 classes was finally served for my Wednesday (sort of) for one of my classes only 7 students showed up because the sports day turned into sports week so there was that. Also, I left 30 minutes early for my last class because I had to go to the hospital… for a doctors appointment.

Hospital summary: leave Sawankhalok @ 3/ get to Phitsanulok @ 4:15/check in 4:25/  misspelled last name/ wait until 7pm to see the doctor/ Get home @ 9pm…3-9pm to find out: keep taking the same thing -Thanks

Thursday: Had ice cream at lunch, took a pic with the foreign teachers and one of my classes (SELFIE!)… smh and taught Thai students an intro to hula!!!

Finally Friday and sure enough I was excited. Not just because I didn’t have to go to school on the weekend, which honestly isn’t bad at all, but Edie was coming! The day started off with me falling off of my bike! Luckily I’m a ninja so I caught myself before I ate it. Day went fast and Edie came early so she joined me for my last class! She really just observed because I didn’t want to overwhelm the students. Then the girls who I tutor treated us to… ICE CREAM (You see a problem here? I don’t).

We had back to back plans and before you knew it we were at the Sukhothai Historical Park for the Light and Sound of Loy Krathong. It was beautiful and left me speechless. It took me back to laying on my bed and showing my friend lanterns at Loy Krathong and saying “I’m gonna see that one day,” well there I was seeing it That day.

Saturday was rather relaxing. Edie and I first went to P’Yu’s home town…Village: Thung Saliam, we went to 2 temples and had lunch. A very lasting moment happened at the first temple, we went and respected a monk and he prayed over us and blessed us. My P translated for him saying that no accidents will happen and if they were to occur we would change our minds in order to avoid them. He also gave us bracelets, with a bell I’m fighting the urge to take off. It was lasting because it was different, I am not buddhist but he was happy to pray over us and bless us. He was happy to invite us to stay at the temple if we are ever too stressed. It’s almost the same concept as a priest, but this stood out because it was new, I felt warm.

That evening consisted of Pad Thai from Soi 8. THE BEST PAD THAI IN THE WORLD. Yeaup I’ve said it on the blog, it’s official. We also had Ice Cream… from the place I went to Monday. We ended the evening with a nice convo and drinks at my place making my house homier than it has felt in the last 3 weeks.

Sunday’s Highlights: I started another book and it’s dangerous… I may try to finish it by the end of Wednesday. Had Lunch with Paul & Scott & dinner with Beverly, Van & Noe.

 

Liking how the weeks are becoming less of an adventure and more of a lifestyle.

Take care,                                                                                                                               Elaine ❤

 

 

 

Work Hard, Play Harder… Not By Choice!

Last week was a bit slow at work. I have 10 different classes 8 which meet twice a week (Listening & Speaking), and 2 that meet once a week (Reading for Science). My 8 that meet twice a week were all absent since they are M6, which translates to seniors in high school. They are tutoring for exit exams and entrance exams all at once so I only had 3 classes all week long. I did a lot of planning and organized a flexible schedule of when I would see the students, when they have holidays and when I won’t be in the class. It wasn’t hard work just tedious.

Here are some pics of what I see in school throughout my week:

20151111_094118Kruai (Oven Roasted Bananas!!! AROY!)  20151113_080016Ah yes, we have a squatting toilet. No tissue in the toilet, and after you’re done you dump water in there until the bowl is clean… I mean at least it’s healthier……

The office:20151112_141149_HDR20151112_141152  20151112_141145_HDR20151111_140547                                                                  *AAAND I received my bday gift from mom! (After a month -_-)

After school Tuesday I went to one of the four pools in my town. 20151110_170946        20151110_171004Thursday I have one of my best hours in the week: Spanish club. It’s so free, impromptu and fun since I teach them songs in Spanish. First they learn the meaning of each line and translate after they practice singing along. I think realistically we’ll do 1 song every two weeks so they can really sing and have fun. Point is they ENJOY it and even my host teacher is learning Spanish as she helps me. (I hope to make my actual classes this enjoyable, but I have to remind myself that it is doable *with time) 1447337095772

I also had a few lunch/ dinner dates which was nice to move the week along. 20151111_104126                                                                    *When you get coffee @ Thailand it comes with tea in most places

Thursday night I was taken 30-ish minutes out to the next big city to eat KFC and enjoy Swensens after by P’Am. Note: spicy chicken wings are way more BOMB here and it wasn’t my idea to have American food so soon! Note 2: I loved it!   20151112_18042520151112_18590520151112_18554911907131_909978552382841_8195194217574132326_o

By the end of the week I was taken to lunch and coffee with P’Buddy! This man is amazing, he teaches English and I can tell he genuinely cares when he asks how I’m doing. He smiles so big when he talks about his grand babies and is retiring after this term. Point is we relate in ways more than words we can speak to each other (for now): we love coffee20151113_130412    20151113_125526

It’s nice, I’m realizing more and more how much support I have in Sawankhalok.      (MOM, DAD: Yes, your baby girl is being well taken care of 🙂 )

For example, I expressed the transition is still hard to a couple of teachers in the office and how sometimes it does get lonely; homesickness is a forgetful part and very prominent part of my week altogether. So, they invited me out for a Friday night drink.20151113_202545 Scott (Australian) & Paul (from London)             There is a lot of normality in being able to just get a drink after work it was refreshing and fun for the small town of Sawankhalok that has now 2 bars! (we found the 2nd one that night).

The Weekend: My first two weekends have been adventure adventure adventure and barely home. I thought I was in for a quiet one, ‘I thought.’ I was woken up by a wedding at 6am! The monks pray for 20 minutes and they have thai songs and it’s BUMPIN, Oy Vey. I reminded myself: “Amazing Thailand,” and took advantage of waking up early at a normal time for California so I talked to a couple of friends & fam, and hand washed my clothes. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but if I have, I don’t care. Each time I’m scrubbing ALL of my clothes I myself am amazed.

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After I tutored at a coffee shop with two students and had a good time with them. They WANT to learn and I love it. They are capable of so much, I know it. 20151114_110442_HDR    20151114_130915

As if I hadn’t done enough, I got picked up at 5:30p to go to Tak! We spent the night and went to a wedding the next morning (I mean 8am morning). It was a very interesting process to see to compare only 1 American wedding I’ve been to, to 1 Thai wedding. In Thai weddings they are prayed for by monks for 20 mins and then guests have a pre-meal appetizer. Then people help the groom carry the gifts for the bride and brides family? (from what I understood), it’s like a caravan that follow him. I had the honor of presenting some sugar cane and being a part of the wedding. It was really fun. Another different thing is that the groom has to prove himself to whomever is stoping him with a flower rope by answering questions and giving envelopes of money. Some were challenging and I can tell it’s a fun challenge. Then there is a lot of gift giving and wai-ing to different people that have helped their relationship and marriage especially to both parties’ parents. Note: there is a 9 course meal as the wedding is going, I probably back tracked all the work I did with insanity the week before.                                                                   20151114_184249 1hr and a half away    20151114_195013 Our lovely hotel   20151114_212817_HDR  20151114_212328 20151114_210806Tak is pretty in the evening

20151115_074213    20151115_07440120 mins 20151115_090824      20151115_091745 20151115_091738   1447555334352     20151115_09325420151115_090420I also found Edie (Fellow ETA at the wedding!)  20151115_084939My adventure squad & another teacher from Sawankhalok 20151115_085447If only you could read what the sign says lol >=] (but jk if you can)

After we headed out to Mae Sot! The border of Myanmar and Thailand in the Province of Tak with Master Samron, Beverly, Noe, and Van. Beverly, Noe and Van are foreign English teachers from the Philippines. Master Samron I call Po (father), at first I actually thought he wanted me to call him Paul, so I would transition from Master Samron and Paul, then he introduces me as his daughter along with my 3 other siblings haha. I even asked (again since I forgot) “What do you prefer being called, Master Samron, or Paul?” He seemed a little embarrassed and replied “You can call me Po, others call me Master Samron.” Took me two weeks but now I understand he is my Thai father who has taken such great care of me so far and I know I can truly trust. Even my host teacher P’Am said he is a wonderful man anyone can go to. 20151115_132725_HDR20151115_145950_HDR AMAZING

A SIDE NOTE:******When we visited this temple, there were fireworks to scare the evil spirits. They weren’t the pretty ones, just the ones that made noise. I was scared. I jumped when I first heard the fireworks and looked around to see if there was anyone on the floor since it sounded like gun shots. I was paranoid. After reading about Paris, Lebanon, Kenya, lost planes, crashed buses and even school shootings in America, it’s sad to think I can’t feel safe anywhere. I stayed up till 3am thinking of these things, these people, the innocent and horrendous people. I know I’m safe in Thailand and all I can do is pray but recently its more in my face that this world is going through a lot. I don’t know what to say or do but it was a significant moment that made me think, “Why would I feel SO frightened?”****END NOTE

20151115_144303 On the way to Mae Sot 20151115_135342    12246838_1233036920055619_397467572218131030_n A nice candid 20151115_171408 Kids playing

20151115_165718What a rifle

20151115_165607_HDRI was in Thailand seeing Myanmar

20151115_165441_HDR Friendship Bridge that goes from Thailand to Myanmar & a market:  20151115_163612

Well that was my week. Let’s see what challenges actually teaching bring me this week!    Talk soon,                                                                                                                              Elaine ❤

First Week of November (Already?)

I have lots to share but lots to do so hopefully I can break through this and give you all the stories I’m excited to share.

Halloween: was filled with spooktacular fun!… Just Kidding it actually felt nothing like Halloween. I was still in Si Satchanalai with Edie and we went to a home stay for lunch with our Thai friend Bom. They made their food traditionally there, more importantly it was Aroy Mak (very delicious)!                                               12025428_1082782015073784_850759060_n12235392_1082781988407120_132121698_o Later that day we went to my first ‘football’ (soccer) game! Our team was Sukhothai FC with a lot of orange to help root for the team.         12214003_1082782111740441_1393052096_o

Throughout the week: I started learning the Thai alphabet with P’Yu, was taken out to a few “Welcome to Thailand” lunches/ dinners, and started Insanity.

What stood out my first week of teaching is what the students wanted to know about me, 12218792_1082782478407071_985861117_o12227992_1082782458407073_1214396562_o         teaching Spanish to Thai students in my Spanish Club, 12212497_1082782368407082_1368697228_n                                                                       …and how one of my students came up to me and said “Teacher I need to improve my my listening and speaking skills, can you tutor me?” Of course I said yes enthusiastically, but she then asked “how much?” I was surprised. I even gave her a confused look which made her give me a confused look. I understand teachers may charge students and it’s normal here, but I don’t think students should have to pay in grade school. She wants to improve, so she will… FOR FREE. Even if Fulbright doesn’t allow me to have a side job and have any other form of pay, I still couldn’t charge a student for wanting to learn or any other student if they pile up on me with time. That is what I am here for.                               Also, because I didn’t take her money her mom was at my house the next day ready to take me and her daughter out for dinner. It was one of those lasting impression moments 🙂

Travelers Delight Weekend!                                                                                                On Saturday me and P’Yu decided to go to Phitsanulok so I can go to the mall and get a VGA adapter for my Macbook. I was picked up at 8am and we started towards Central World!                                                                                                  12227510_1082782578407061_1435893112_o It was nice to be in a car and feel an adventure upon me.        Just to be able to sit in the passengers seat of a friends car, I hadn’t done that since I left America. We got to Phitsanulok by 10am and got what I needed in 5 mins. We ate at the mall and then made our way to Wat Nang Phaya. 12228025_1082782735073712_1956889856_o     12213908_1082782821740370_1096262355_o 12214217_1082787671739885_113289424_o            12214003_1082782938407025_370082218_o 12218387_1082788661739786_143297623_o

After we went to the Phitsanulok Museum and the Sukhothai Historical Park!  12218234_1082789238406395_98670050_o    “Private tour”   12218268_1082783081740344_339617185_o      12214301_1082783131740339_1517778231_o         12227389_1082783108407008_1766889203_o     12214305_1082783355073650_1655602428_o        12213887_1082787518406567_1451851657_o 12218871_1082787541739898_708317554_o                 12214360_1082790818406237_1371517557_o      12214284_1082783311740321_1843978301_o         12227261_1082790848406234_1347766335_o   12227483_1082783771740275_1719396071_o        12236700_1082789701739682_1320013848_o          12218176_1082787485073237_918389884_o              12235614_1082790251739627_930228815_o12235222_1082789385073047_1923989674_o           12214382_1082789521739700_268747682_o                    12236506_1082790555072930_1207316574_o               12236887_1082786221740030_462256887_o (1)                      12235763_1082790981739554_967550925_o                                                                            It was really funny, throughout the entire day P’Yu kept apologizing for her driving. I was more entertained than anything. I could also tell it was out of her comfort zone but she was still having fun. After we went to my place and cooked.

How to Sunday Fun Day!                                                                                                     Step 1: See monks get initiated    Step 2: Free breakfast at the temple  Step 3: Go to Flower making factory   Step 4: Phitsanulok and say hi to Central World again (not for me) Step 5: Go to 3 Chinese Temple on the hills of Phitsanulok (I wish I had the names for you)   Step 6: Eat free lunch at the temple    Step 7: Joke about going to Phetchabun   Step 8: Actually go to Phetchabun    Step 9: Stop at Route 12    Step 10: Go to Khao Kho to see the temple   Step11: Dinner                                                                                    12214340_1082791108406208_1851253938_o         12214347_1082791245072861_546180484_o        12214340_1082791175072868_939929334_o                              12218974_1082791401739512_1278498720_o                      12214263_1082792001739452_1691435904_o             12218226_1082792455072740_294477344_o         12235657_1082791908406128_603235894_o 12214035_1082792045072781_1324844506_o

12218318_1082792388406080_1776714810_o  Beverly Mink and Master Paul & I 🙂

12218941_1082792438406075_1725136926_o Chinese Buddha     12235549_1082792475072738_262406486_o12197347_1082792521739400_1550034886_o          12226445_1082792538406065_78539400_n12227953_1082792648406054_1378140326_o              12218355_1082792888406030_33557657_o12228028_1082792848406034_1584222797_o         12214082_1082792795072706_1881546269_o12235264_1082792675072718_659116756_o         12218372_1082792911739361_1683763694_o12214446_1082792941739358_708180615_o            12211013_1082792995072686_2124261090_o          12227876_1082792978406021_934237105_o       12235446_1082793125072673_150236706_o     12214431_1082793085072677_276399269_o Jewels on the floor    12214412_1082793505072635_1979069959_oSide profile          12218294_1082793218405997_579735811_o12213902_1082793481739304_1978355662_o          12235396_1082793385072647_948494837_o               12214279_1082793615072624_1025520700_o           12214027_1082793688405950_1309501035_o                      12227867_1082793745072611_1436625482_o    12213870_1082793768405942_1275652396_o      Sorry there isn’t more of me in the classroom I pretty much have seniors in High School so they are preparing for tests and a bunch of commotion. Even this week I won’t see 8 of my 10 classes oh well Sabai Sabai, I will have a chance to make an even better lesson plan for them.

Bpai Lá Ná Ka! (Bye/ I will go now in Thai)                                                                            Elaine ❤