Hey everybody. I'm so sorry I haven't posted anything in a long time. I've been sorta waiting for something big to happen or at least lots of little things that would warrant a legit blog but I remember that's totally not what a blog is about. I've just been having so many rad experiences since I started this that I'd almost be letting you down with a post that didn't involve exotic locales or monsters in an elevator. Now that I'm working regularly, not a whole lot is happening in the way of extraordinary adventures. Having been teaching for over a month now, my students are used me and even better I'm used to them. I know which kids are good, which ones are smart, which ones have ADHD, etc. So I guess now my blog will shift more to smaller stories, cultural observations, and just general musings, which is pretty much what a blog is supposed to be..right? So here are just some stray thoughts..
My Thai is progressing nicely. The language is pretty weird. It's tough to nail the tones and a lot of words sound very very similar which is hard but a lot of the grammar is pretty intuitive. Spanish has a different word for everything. Spending so much time learning Spanish I forgot (and pretty much took for granted) all the compound words in English. I first realized how much I forgot about them when I asked some park ranger on Koh Chang how to say 'waterfall'. He told me it was just 'water' then 'fall'. Oh man! Cool! That's so simple! How come English doesn't do that!?...doh. The Thai language is filled with compound words. You pretty much picture what you want to say and then build a description with other broader words. For example student is 'nak-rean' which is something like 'person-learn', while pilot is 'nak-bin' or 'person-fly'. See? it's fun. My favorite is the word for barber which translates to something like 'hair mechanic'. Rooms in the house are all easy: room-food, room-sleep, room-water, and my fave room-sit-play(which makes just about as much sense as 'living' room)
There are a lot of cultural differences that I'm getting used to. There are the ones I expected like the emphasis on saving/losing face, but there are other smaller ones that seem weird or a little silly to me. Moles are lucky. Not the animal, but the growth. And the longer the hairs growing out of them, the luckier you are. It's not very common, but every now and then you'll see someone with 2" hairs growing out of a mole. That was gross and I'm sorry. In any event, another thing I see that is kinda silly the the Thai elevator experience. I wouldn't say this is 'cultural' per se but: you know those buttons in an elevator that open and close the doors prematurely? The Thai people use them as if the doors wouldn't open and close without them. Whenever anyone gets in an elevator, they turn push the button for their floor and then hold the door close button. Then as they're leaving they press the door open button on their way out. If you're standing near the buttons it becomes your responsibility to operate them for others getting on and off. It might just be my limited experience with elevators in the states but I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a person use those buttons for something other than to hold the door open for someone rushing to it. Now it's every time. The weird thing is that I'm doing it now. That extra one and a half seconds waiting for the door to close now seems like an eternity. And I hold the button sometimes if I'm leaving after other people which might come from some paranoia about the doors closing on me. These doors do not gently touch you and open back up again if you're caught, they crunch down on you. Nothing bone-crushing, but still pretty jarring. And again I have no real frame of reference for how long it takes before they close because everyone's always using the buttons.
Well that's about it for now. I promise I'll never go that long without posting again and I'll keep my mind open for more stuff. To reward your patience there's some new pictures up! http://www.flickr.com/photos/74248227@N00/
ps happy inauguration day!