Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just a few weeks to go!

I'm trying not to be too excited to leave Thailand. Because really, I will be sad to leave. Overall, it has been an awesome experience. And yet it's hard not to be SO excited to visit the Philippines, to be back in Minnesota for a couple months, and to start grad school.

Classes are going well. My writing class is better than I thought it would be, though I still come up with a LOT of revisions as I'm teaching. It seems too good to be true that I wrote a 70-page book for a 30-hour class and the students are actually gaining something from it. And my level 1 class is awesome. I knew most of them before we started, so it's been an easy, fun transition. People are in and out of Santisuk so much. Even the level 1 students I started with in February have only one more month and they'll be done studying here! It must be hard on the long-term staff and teachers to see so many people come and go.

This last weekend, Isaac and I hung out with Charles and Sally, two of the teachers here. She is Thai and he is Irish (he actually usually teaches at another school, but they were desperate for extra teachers here this month). We went to their apartment and played video games and then went bowling. It was fun (and also a little weird) to do some "couple" activities. With our teaching schedules, Isaac and I don't get nearly enough time together, it seems. We have a few hours in the mornings, but it's not long enough to really go anywhere (not to mention all the interesting places to go are dangerous with the political riots and stuff). It's SO GOOD to have him here, I'm not complaining, it's just tiring always craving longer chunks of time alone together. That's another reason I look forward to the Philippines and Minnesota.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I added pictures! They are pretty. Click below:


I also officially RSVP'd to EWU--I'm going in the fall!!! Yay!

Today is the first day of class. I'm nervous to teach my writing class! There are 7 people signed up, a pretty good turn-out for a level 5 class. Isaac's first class this morning (level 1) went well. I think he'll be an awesome teacher.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I'm almost positive I've decided to go to Eastern Washington (I know, big surprise)!!! UW didn't accept me, which makes an easy decision even easier. EWU offered me another fellowship, which would let me pay in-state tuition (out-of-state tuition is $11,000 more per year, ridiculous). I applied for two GSAs that would waive the tution, so I'm still waiting to hear back about those. Jonathan Johnson--the prof who's been emailing me--had a lot more encouraging things to say about the GSAs...they are definitely rooting for me.

I can't believe how quickly the end of my time in Thailand is approaching! Our April vacation flew by. Last weekend, Isaac and I went with our friend Kong to Chinatown, walked around, saw some temples, ate dim sum, almost got caught up in the biggest clash between the red shirts and the government that they've had yet (21 people killed and somewhere around 800 injured--it was already getting intense while we were there, and we missed the big hullabaloo by about half an hour), escaped on motorcycles, survived.

On Sunday we had a cell group "outreach" which took about ten of us on a van ride to the beach. We took a ferry to Ko Larn, probably the closest decent beach to Bangkok. It wasn't stunning, but it was super fun to swim and play on the beach.

Last night we (Isaac, Tai, Kwang, Rung, and Awn) got back from a 3-night stay in Roi Et (province about 7 hours away) with May Awn and Rung's families. The first two nights we stayed in a small town with May Awn's parents. They live right on the river and have rice paddies that are sooooo beautiful. We took a drive to "play water" in Mukdahaan, a neighboring province (that's just across the river from Laos). That was super crazy. It's like a mardi gras water fight.... Everyone is on the side of the street or in the back of trucks with water guns or dumping buckets of water on each other. The kids have a great time with it, but so do the teenagers and adults, who get drunk and dance in the streets and smear powder on everyone's faces. It was fun for a while, but sitting in the back of our truck while everyone targets you for being farang and sometimes dumps bucket after bucket of ice water on you before putting their powdery hands all over your face gets a little tiring.

The third night we stayed at Rung's mom's house in a bigger city. It was sweet to see what real Thailand is like and to see people relaxed with their families. There were a lot of cultural things that would probably make good details for poems, but I'm still pretty tired from the whole trip and trying to get in the teaching mindset again, so that might have to come later.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Finally Adjusted

So, Isaac is here! It has been a great transition. We both feel comfortable here (besides the April heat) and are excited to be doing something to serve together. I have to say, we function very well together in another country. We've spent most of our time around the Santisuk area; we went downtown the first day he was here, but everything was closed because of the "red mob" protests (at least we got the excitement of being caught up in the political action). We spend a lot of time in coffee shops, walking around, or at the mall waterpark.

The most difficult thing is having to follow very strict boundaries set by the school. The two main rules are no holding hands (and of course anything like hugging and kissing is totally off-limits) and no privacy. It takes a lot of energy to be out all the time, especially because Bangkok is extremely crowded (and did I mention hot?). I can't WAIT until we are free to simply sit on a couch together and hold hands while we watch a movie!

Isaac has been helping me a ton with my writing class. I now have a 56-page rough draft.... It's pretty intense. I also found out I have a week to apply for a GSA at Eastern Washington (I have to put together my first "curriculum vitae," wow. I had to google that one.). I haven't heard officially from UW yet, but unofficially, they have already made their first offers to the first-choice applications, and they said they couldn't offer me any scholarships even if I was accepted. EWU, on the other hand, offered me a second scholarship in addition to suggesting 3 GSAs I should apply for. So...yeah.

There's been a chicken pox epidemic. Several of the kids around here have it, and Rung picked it up too. She's staying somewhere else in isolation for the time-being. I'm not too afraid of getting it again, but it seems like they make a pretty big deal about it here.

Oh yeah, and did I say how hot it is? Up until this past week, I've been enjoying the heat for the most part, but finally it's getting to the point where I am constantly soaking in sweat in 100+ degree humid weather. It's not completely unbearable, but it's definitely a constant presence.