Despite working 6 days a week, we've managed to squeeze some interesting bits and pieces to liven up our working weeks!
21.02.2010 - 10.03.2010 33 °C
Hey there everyone!
How are you all doing? I again can't believe that we're into March already, crazy stuff!
So as you all know by now, we have been working in Khon Kaen, and are three weeks into our one month stint. However, we haven't just been working, and have managed to experience some more Thai living and adventures of our own!
Every afternoon I have been teaching Thai teachers. This involves chatting to them in English, and going through stories that involve children being whisked up into space and chatting to some aliens amongst other things! I've really enjoyed it, and all the teachers are so friendly! The standard of English varies widely, and it's been quite a challenge at times to think of ways to explain some words. I love the English language, but that love is put to the test when you have to give a reason for why 'enough' is said the way it is, or what the difference between 'honest' and 'honesty' is. Now I'm sure you're all sitting there thinking, 'What is she moaning about, that's easy' but when a Thai teacher is sitting opposite you, with a limited vocab, it's not as easy as it sounds ok? Hehe
Anyway, as I mentioned, all the teachers are so lovely, and one of them asked me to meet her class and spend a morning at her school. Her name is Joy, and her English is very good, and teaches this at a small school about 12km outside Khon Kaen. So after collecting me, we drove out one morning to the school where I met her class and a couple of others. It was such a great experience to see yet another side of life out here. The school was really tiny, with only about 230 students ranging from 5yrs to 15ys and 17 teachers! There were just two wooden school buildings, a library, and a large playing field and this school experience was completely different to the one we had seen in Nam Phong with Pramote, it really highlighted the variation in standards throughout the school system in Thailand. I ended up teaching a class of about 50 students, who spent some time asking me questions about England, and my life there, and then we played hangman which they seemed to enjoy! It was a fantastic experience, and I was so glad to asked – thanks Joy!
I'm not sure if I mentioned in my last blog that we were working 6 days a week, but you can imagine how much we were looking forward to our day off. So when Dan and I were asked to teach 4 Thai girls for a friend of Diew's (John's wife) on Sunday, we of course jumped at the chance!!! Ning (the mother of the family) collected us from our hotel, and took us to her home, which was set in an incredibly beautiful complex of huge houses, right on the edge of a lake, with a communal swimming pool, manicured gardens, and big, big security gates!! We met the girls, who were all completely lovely, and spent the next 3-4 hours chatting with them. Dan entertained the little ones, who we nicknamed monkeys as a collective, and I gossiped with the older two. We actually had a really enjoyable afternoon, and then Ning and her husband kindly invited us to stay for dinner, and we had an amazing Korean-style BBQ! After dinner the girls wanted us to help them walk their two wonderful 'Chow Chow' dogs, who were called Monday and Friday! Apparently there were 7 originally, and various aunts and uncles now have the other 5! Amazing! Now if you don't know what Chow Chow's look like, please look them up, because then you can really picture Dan, 5 little girls (we had managed to accumulate another little monkey along the way) and myself being dragged around the roads by these tigers! A pretty funny sight, I can tell you!
The following Friday, we had decided to throw a little party at Boystown, to say goodbye to the boys properly, and to thank them once again for their hospitality. So we went on a little road trip in a big truck (James driving, me in the passenger seat, and Dan lying in the back asleep - http://www.flickr.com/photos/abilucy/4403069216/ ), collecting 10 tubs of ice cream, sauces, sprinkles and wafers on the way! We had dinner with the boys in the hall, and then we explained that we had bought some ice cream with us to say thank you, however, there were actually 45 boys, and 10 tubs, so they had to work out who was going to be in a group of 5 and who would be lucky enough to be in a group of 4. This was somehow decided by playing musical chairs, and I'm still not entirely sure how this resolved this problem, but they definitely enjoyed themselves while sorting it out! We then dished up the tubs, and passed around the accoutrements, and each group managed to make a weird and wonderful creation from the mixture they had! After the ice cream was polished off, the games seemed to start, and the evening was a double celebration, as the boys had finished their exams that week, and would be going home for summer soon. Pramote turned into some kind of game show host, asking the boys what their favourite part of Boystown was, splitting the boys into their various years, and then giving them the choice of either doing a dance, signing a song, or doing exercise! It was hilarious, and the festivities went on long after we were too tired to continue! I think the sugar rush really kicked in at about 9.30/10pm when we decided to drive back, as the boys were signing, dancing and just generally having the best time, and far too busy to say goodbye to us! Perfect!
The following morning we were collected from the hotel at 6.45am to be taken on a sigh-seeing day with John and Diew, their friends Jerry and Alan (a woman) and a guy called Robert that was part of the Rotary club. We were taken to a dinosaur museum after we had climbed 568 steps to reach the top of a hill where there was a temple and a look out post, overseeing the landscape for miles, which was beautiful. The dinosaur museum was great, and done really well, as there were many fossils found in the Khon Kaen Province of Thailand, and the surrounding areas. We then had a fantastic lunch on a floating house of sorts on a stunning lake. We ordered our food which was laid out on our table, then we were taken out by a small boat into a remote part of the lake to float for a couple of hours while we tucked into the masses of delicious food we had ordered! The whole afternoon just drifted on around us as we swapped stories and chilled out. It really reminded me of our afternoon on the houseboat in India on the backwaters, as there was no noise, no engine or feeling of urgency, just relaxation at it's most enjoyable! As with anything, our afternoon had to come to an end, and did when we got back into the bus, or so we thought! We were then taken for ice cream, driven to a temple where there we lots of monkeys (real ones, not little girls!) and then we went out for drinks at a bar with a live band to meet more friends! It was great, and apparently a typical Thai Day Out, where things are planned, and then plans escalate and multiply and you kind of just have to go with it! Fine by us, we had a lovely day! Thank you John and Diew!
Sunday was then spent relaxing in the morning, shopping and getting my hair cut in the afternoon(I was so scared they would do something horrible, given the language difficulties) and then going to a huge Chinese Party celebrating the New Year (again). We were taken by Ning and the girls, who disappeared to sell oranges almost as soon as we arrived. The whole thing was an open-air event, with about 5000 people attending to watch the activities on stage, which included lots of children singing and dancing in amazing costumes, authentic Chinese drumming and fortune teller who apparently sold a 'fortune' for 200,000B which foretold happiness and wealth! Yes we were as confused as you are! We also had a 9 course meal, which included shark's fin soup (Yes Dad I ate this!!). We felt very lucky to have been invited, and again had a great time.
Since then we've had a pretty quiet time, just working and eating really. Most of meals consist of chicken and rice from the street sellers that line the road that our hotel is on, each costing 30B which is about 60p! I'm heading to Bangkok on Friday to meet Eimear who I met on my Uluru tour, which I can't wait for, and then when Dan and James join me, we're heading down to the Islands for some serious fun in the sun! I'm so excited about travelling again, as it feels like we've been in the same place for ages now. Khon Kaen and Boystown has been a wonderful experience, but I'm about ready for the next I think!
For those of you who don't know, my flight home is booked for the 4th May, so once I've recovered from my jet lag, I'll be catching up with you all, get ready!
Miss you all so much.
Lots of Love!