Paddle Boating

me_and_job_in_boat.jpgThis afternoon Job, Golf, Fon, & I went to the lake downtown to ride the paddle boats!� It was really fun!� We got some fish food to feed the fish in the lake, but we didn't see any fish.

After our boating adventures, we ordered some noodles and som tam from a little shop near the lake. coke_in_a_bag.jpg

Here's a picture of me drinking a bag of coke.� Sometimes when you order a coke you get it in a bag instead of a cup.� I don't know why.� It's kinda inconvenient because you can't put it down.

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Cooking Lesson

cooking_lesson_002.jpgToday I got a cooking lesson!� I learned how to make som tam and pad Thai. This�is me and Mod shredding the green papaya for our som tam. Mod made a batch of som tam and then let me try.� My som tam wasn't very good.� It was sour and bitter. I'm gonna need some more practice!

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I didn't actually make the pad Thai.� Doy's friend (he's the one in the background of this picture) started making it. Then his neighbor (the one cooking in this picture) saw what we were doing and decided to take over.� We were lucky that he did, actually!� He's a former chef and makes GREAT food.� He was very nice.� He asked what Thai foods I like most and offered to teach me how to cook all of them!� I'm not sure I have time for that, but I would love to get another cooking lesson!

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Here's the finished product!� Only a little of the som tam in this picture was made by me. Oil, the chef, made another batch for us!

You can see more pictures of my cooking lesson here.

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TESOL Shirts

tesol_shirts.jpgSo I was right not to get too excited over the bars being closed last night. It turns out they were closed in honor of a Buddhist holiday. I'm disappointed.

Anyway, check out the first year students' TESOL shirts! Every year, the first year students get to design shirts and jackets for their programs. The TESOL jackets are�baby blue, and the T-shirts are pink!� The shirts aren't very manly because there are only a handful of boys in the class. Most of the girls are really into pink, and the color of the shirts was determined by a vote. So they have some nice looking pink TESOL shirts. I'm proud of the boys.� They've been such good sports about it!� All of them wore their shirts last week even though some of them were very unhappy about the color.

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An Historic Moment

It is 11:21 pm on a Saturday.� You know what I hear?� Nothing.� For the first time since..when?..sometime in July?, my apartment is quiet and peaceful. The bars are closed.

The optimist in me wants to think this means that the bars closed for the summer since all of the students are gone. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the bars are closed in honor of some Buddhist holiday I don't know about. Now that I think of it, Mod mentioned something about Monday being a holiday…� But surely someone would have told me if we were having a 3 day holiday, right?� Unless it's some kind of religious observance that really only affects bars. Which is possible. When I was in Kanchunaburi for the start of Buddhist Lent all the bars were closed and everything else was open.� hmm..

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed.� It would be great to be able to go to bed at a decent hour during my last week and a half here!

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Durian

durian.jpgThis is durian. It's a fruit in Thailand that is famous for its bad smell. A few people have told me not to try durian. They say that once you try it, you have to have it again and again. My friends reasoned that since you can't get durian in the United States, it would be bad for me to get hooked on it. Not to worry, though.� I tried it tonight, and I'm pretty sure I can live the rest of my life without it.

I think durian is mai arroy (not delicious).� It's kind of slimy and soft and buttery. It's not sweet. The taste wasn't terrible, but the texture was. As for the smell, it's not that bad. I've been smelling it regularly for 9+ months without realizing it. It just smells like the streets of Thailand to me. Not that the busy streets of Thailand are particularly appetizing…

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Jobbie!

me_and_job.jpgThis is my good friend, Job.� Obviously, the picture was taken around Christmas. I have some more recent pictures, but I'm wearing my glasses in all of them and I don't like how I look in my glasses. Smile

Job is my workout partner. We like to do aerobic dance together in the evenings and then go to the night market to eat and shop. It was on one of those visits to the night market that Job introduced me to the best dessert of all time, "roti".� I think I've written about roti in my blog before, so I won't go into it now.

Job is a girly girl. She loves shopping for earrings and playing matchmaker for Daniel. (I'm so lucky to have escaped all the matchmaking efforts!)

Job is�the kind of student teachers dream of. She always seems happy to be at school, she does excellent work all the time, and when I assign homework she acts like she's excited to do it. Her English is excellent, and she's already tutoring a lot of students.�I know she's going to be a fabulous English teacher.

Job has helped me so much in Thailand. She's the one I call when I need help at the bank or I need�to buy something that isn't sold at�7/11. She's been helping me from the start. When I first arrived, I got lost every night on the way home from school. I would ride around the neighborhood, sometimes for hours. Job (along with Khim and Kib) showed me the best way to get home.�Another big thing Job did was write out�a list of foods�sold at the restaurants around my apartment. All of the menus at these restaurants are written in Thai. I can't read Thai, and I didn't know the names of many Thai foods when I first arrived. Back then,�I only knew how to order two dishes: fried rice and red curry with chicken. I ate a lot of fried rice and red curry chicken!� Job wrote out the menus in the roman alphabet and wrote descriptions of each dish. Now I can order all kinds of things!

I have so many fun memories of Job. I'll miss meeting her for aerobics and hanging out with her at school. But more than anything, I'll miss talking and laughing with her.

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Saying Goodbye

golf_and_fon.jpgDaniel, the other teacher from NAU, left Thailand tonight.� He left early because he was offered a job in Korea that starts tomorrow.�The last two weeks have been really hectic for us. We had several joint projects to finish, so we had to spend a lot of long days at the office.� Daniel spent most of his last day in Thailand packing.��He did have some fun though.We met Golf and Fon (pictured left)�at Fairy Plaza�for Daniel's last meal in Thailand–pizza and ice cream.� The four of us meet at Fairy Plaza for�pizza and ice cream almost every week. It's kind of our thing. After pizza and ice cream, we met up with a group of students to take Daniel to the airport.� It was a little sad to send him off.� It makes me realize how little time I have left.

Anyway, It's been a tough couple of weeks.�I've�gone through so many emotions:��stress about having to crank out an entrance exam for the TESOL program in�a week and a half;��frustration with�the many things that went wrong with the test; anger when I learned, once the test was basically finished, that NAU is also�creating an entrance exam for the program and doesn't want to use ours; and, of course, sadness about leaving everyone here.�

farewell_party.jpgBy far, the most difficult evening was Friday night, when the TESOL students threw a Farewell party for me and Daniel.� When I arrived at the party, Tui, the MC, told me that it would be a sad evening and that I would cry a lot.�I kind of laughed uncomfortably and thought "Nah…I'm not leaving for another 3 weeks!� I'm not going to be sad tonight."� I was wrong.�

Several students prepared presentations for us.� There was a really cool traditional dance.� It was followed by a group of girls in crazy costumes lip-singing to "I Will Survive".� After that, the MC announced that Daniel and I were both going to sing a song.� It was the first I'd heard of it.� I think my reaction to the situation really shows how much I've grown in my 10 months in Thailand.� Instead of freaking out and refusing to get up and sing, I sucked it up and sung a duet with Daniel.� Neither of us wanted to sing, and we figured that by singing a duet, we could cut our singing time in half.� So we sang Hotel California.� Very badly.� It was embarrassing and I felt nervous at first.� But it was ok and it made everyone happy.

After the karaoke time, students started standing up to say goodbye.� Probably 75% of our students volunteered to give little goodbye speeches.� Some of the speeches were funny, but most of them were very sad.� Almost everyone in the room was crying.�Of course, I was asked to give an impromptu�speech at the end. I think I came up with some pretty good stuff!� (See how much I've learned here?)

So the Farewell Party was really sad.� There was a lot of full-blown weeping going on.�I felt really uncomfortable.� I really hate saying goodbye to people, and I usually try to avoid heavy, emotional goodbyes.��But, actually, I think it was good.� I've seen many of the students since that night, and said goodbye to them for good.� And these final goodbyes haven't been sad.�It's like we already mourned.� We've already been sad and cried, so we can just leave each other with a smile and a hug.

You can see pictures of the farewell party here. There are even a few embarrasing pictures there that prove that I really did get up and sing in front of 80 people. well…I guess I can't prove the 80 people part.� You'll have to trust me on that one!

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Testing Testing Testing

When I first saw the school calendar for this semester, I felt annoyed that finals lasted an entire month. I was imagining how bored I would be because I knew there was no way it would take me an entire month to give final exams and score them.� As it turns out, though, I'm pretty busy.� My whole life is revolving around tests.� I'm writing final exams, watching students take their tests, grading final exams, making an entrance exam for the TESOL program, and writing a proposal for another big test. I don't really like testing.� I'd much rather be teaching.

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Pizza & Ice Cream

kib_and_khim.jpgThere are a lot of foods I've missed eating during my time in Thailand, but I haven't missed pizza or ice cream at all.� Actually, I've eaten much more pizza and ice cream in Thailand than I ever did at home.

Tonight I went to the Pizza Company and Swenson's with Kib &�Khim (pictured to the right), Lynne, Job, Daniel, &�Betsy.� The Thai girls ate some kind of seafood pizza.� We farangs�shared a more conventional (to us) Italian sausage pizza.

As if being stuffed with pizza weren't enough, we followed it up with a�trip to Swenson's for ice cream sundaes.��Sarantip likes to say that�after you eat too much, you need to go to�lebanon.� "Lebanon" is the Thai word for "lay down".� So I'm gonna go to lebanon now!

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Lynne

lynne.jpgThe best part of Thailand, for me, is the people.� I've met so many wonderful and interesting people.� Now that I only have a few weeks left, I want to tell you about some of them.

This is Lynne.� She is probably the most outgoing person I've ever met.� She'll talk to anyone!� She has a ton of energy.� She makes me laugh a lot.� She's also kind of a bully.� Once, at lunch, I noticed a commotion a few meters away.��Lynne was trying to tackle a girl who was running away from her.� Lynne�grabbed�the girl around the waist and and started dragging her towards me.��The girl looked absolutely terrified and was desperately trying to get away.� I found out later that Lynne wanted the girl to practice her English with me.� Lynne definately knows how to get what she wants.

Lynne's also really good at taking care of me.� She often takes me to church on Sundays (she goes there too), and she's always offering to help me out with problems that come up.� She�sometimes jokingly talks about�burning down the bars across the street from my apartment.� Today I woke up with a headache and sore throat, so I skipped church.� She called me tonight to check up on me and offer me a ride to work tomorrow.��She's�so thoughtful!�

So that's Lynne.� Hopefully some of you will meet her in Arizona in a year & a half.

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