Well, it finally came. This past weekend was the first time we got out of the city and boy did it feel good. The teaching job was starting to wear on me and the weekend away was very much needed.
We all got out of our classes a bit early on Friday so we could catch the first bus back to Hua Mak. We ran from the bus to our rooms and packed feverously. I pakced a bit the night before, but of course I didn’t put everything together until getting back. I got changed, threw anything I could find in a bag, and ran out the door. We had chartered a bus to pick us up right from Hua Mak (well, 5 minutes down the road) and bring us to the pier in Rayong where we could catch a boat to Koh Samet (Samet Island).
I should have updated yesterday but I was just wiped out. Thursdays are always long and so I opted to head to bed instead of update – a choice that my few followers surely lamented but I really needed sleep. I slept for 12 hours on Wednesday night and got at least 8 last night – the fact that I can sleep that long means I need it. Once my body has enough, I only end up needing 4-6 per night.
So, anyway, yesterday I found myself quite restless. This weekend marks the end of the first month of teaching here in Thailand. I woke up as ready as ever to teach but I found myself thinking more about how to make money elsewhere than at my current job. Not that I’m not satisfied with my pay, it’s not bad for Thailand, but I feel I could be doing more with my time and getting paid more because of it. Either starting my own business or teaching somewhere where my skills in politics, history, or computers are put to better use seemed like a better idea than going to class at ABAC. It was, in some respects, disheartening to think I was going to the same classroom I had been going to for about a month now, and the kids (at least to me) were no better at English than the day I walked in.
I’m having my kids watch a movie this week so they can hear some faster, more realistic speech than the slow, dumbed-down English that I use in the classroom. It’s nice for a few reasons. One, it gives me time to work on getting attendance sheets up to date in class. Two, it gives me free time to do things like blog.
So I think last night I was blogging before dinner, tutoring, etc, so I may as well fill y’all in. After getting a bunch of work done, I went with A. Chai (Ajarn Chai, Ajarn means teacher but it’s a title of rank like Mr. or Dr. is in the States), my friend from a few years ago, to Central Bang Na – It’s the nearest Central department store and mall near the Bang Na ABAC campus that I was staying at last night. We went with many purposes, the first of which was to get to the bank for A. Chai. We got there right before the bank closed and Chai got his banking done which was good so his mother didn’t get mad at him ahaha! Then we wandered around looking for something to eat. My first inclination was to head right for some sushi but my better judgement got a hold of me and we hit up the Thai food market in the mall. It’s funny, in the middle of a modern super-mall, bigger than most malls I’ve ever seen in the States, there’s a little food court of independent Thai food cooks and vendors. Chai guided me through the chaos and we ended up getting some deep fried Chinese crab sausage, some spicey northern Thai sausage, some sweetened and pressed Mango, some fermented pork pocket things, and a few bags of these strange pretzel like chips that I’m still snacking on as we speak. All in all, it cost mabye 200 baht in total – not bad at all but pricey for Thai. As of Monday I’m on a new personal budget of 200 baht a day ($6 USD) so I split it with Chai and we moved on to get some more substantial food.
Well! I’ve got a new nifty blog, I may as well use it! I’m behind, as usual, but I’ve got a pen & paper journal that has been keeping me up to date with things. I’ll go through that and update the backlog of late entries as I can. For now, let me lead in saying that I’ve been here in Thailand for nearly a month now and teaching Basic English classes is much more difficult than I ever imagined.
One would think, ‘Oh, teaching English? That’s got to be a piece of cake! You’ve been speaking it all your life!” Wrong. Imagine this: You don’t know a word of Russian but you’re but in an entry level Russian class. The thing is, the Russian teacher knows no English. So you don’t know Russian, they don’t know English and you spend an hour every other day talking right past each other but trying your hardest to make sense of something. This is what teaching English in Thailand is like.
I’ve just moved from Drupal to WordPress 3.0. Drupal was just more than I needed for a blog and a few other things. So, expect my old posts to be going up at some point and plenty of new ones to start right away!