Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Thursday

A photo from the Grand Palace.

Hope everyone has lovely Halloween plans ahead of them!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The King at the Movies

So before every film shown at a movie theater here in Thailand there is a two-minute video about the King. Everybody puts down their popcorn, stands-up, focuses on King Bhumibol and listens to the Royal Thai Anthem.

The people of Thailand LOVE their King, and there are pictures of him everywhere in the city: on billboards, on the sides of huge buildings, in 8.5x11 photos in most small businesses.. all over the place

Disrespecting the King in any way is considered hugely unacceptable, and punishable with a jail sentence. He's done a lot to earn such respect, and it's interesting to see the different ways Thai people make efforts to honor him and show their appreciation.

So with that intro, I give you the new pre-movie tribute to the King. [..and in keeping with a totally different Thai movie tradition - this is a bootleg version.]

Delightful, no?

As far as I go, the second day of school was a little rockier than the first - my voice was even worse, and so there was a lot of miming, smiling, and a good bit of confusion. Just giving myself ample room for improvement, ha.

Love to you all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day One as Ajarn Paige

Day one as a teacher.. pretty funny.

Today I taught 4 one-hour classes with a Thai co-teacher (all of the English teachers get this basic set-up - so that's great), and I effectively got the girls to talk/ write about their vacations and didn't have too many blank/ disgusted stares. Lovely.

The other 4 hours in the work-day are to be used for prep/ grading etc - which is also really nice, and today allowed me to shadow some of the other teachers. Different days of the week it's not exactly half and half - but it balances out so I'll have some harder days and some easier days.

Off the bat it seems like I'm really going to enjoy teaching. (phew.)

I also learned the beginning of class ritual today, which goes like this:

At the beginning of the class I ask the girl who is the current "class leader" to ask the class to stand up. Once everyone is standing I say "Good morning class" and they say "Gooooood Mooorning Ajaaaarn Paaaaige." [My name when said by 30-some Thai 1st graders sounds kind of like Paaaaysh. Ajarn = teacher.] And then I say "Please sit down," and they reply "Thaaaank youuuu teeeeacher" and sit.

I don't know if this sounds adorable/ hilarious - but live and in person I guarantee that it is.

I also had a delightful experience yesterday tutoring for an 11 year-old girl who is going to England in a couple of months to study, and wants to go to boarding school in the US. The family is just so pleasant and very sweetly understated given the fact that they live in this beautiful mansion in the middle of Bangkok with classic Mercedes and Lexi cramping up their driveway. Her father also studied in the US ("oh cool, where?" "err, umm in Cambridge" oh. right. didn't we all?).

The girl loves reading English books - and so we spent most of the time talking about a few of our favorites since her parents mostly just want her to practice conversation.

So today's pic is celebrating nerdy book-loving girls of all ages:

oh! also! Forgot to mention that I sounded like a scary heavy-smoking baritone all day/ have basically lost my voice because of this cold I can't seem to get rid of. Typical. Hopefully it will find its way back to me by tomorrow am.

Much love!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back to School, Back to School

Tomorrow is my first day at W.Academy -- very excited to start the semester, and have a better way to structure my time, etc.

Went in today and did some lesson-planning, and those sorts of good things. I feel weird about posting anything job-relevant on a public site, so.. I won't be, ha - but I'll send some e-mail updates about how things are going in the classroom in a little bit.

And here's a pretty flower:

Hope everyone's weeks are starting out well!


Sunday, October 26, 2008


I've decided to go to the next meeting of the Bangkok Women's Writing Group, so before I go... I need to write something to take with me.

With this decision made - and having not done any writing writing since it was assigned to me in college - I am now soliciting writing assignments from you guys. Just e-mail me, and if I write on your topic, then I'll send you back the final work. If I don't write on your topic, then I'll at least write you a haiku about how awesome you are.

My only parameters are that it not be a personal essay - I'll just be meeting these people.. no need for public self-reflection with strangers.

The meeting is either this Wednesday or next Wednesday, so the sooner the better as far as suggestions go!

Today's photo is of a spirit house in a rare (but celebrated) green corner:

Much love,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Holy Basil, Batman!

Opened the fridge today to find - of all things - a bit of sanctified herb:

..who knew? Hope everyone's having a great weekend!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Notes on Blogging

So there have been a few questions about blogging in general -- and why I'm using this format in addition to e-mailing.

Some people use blogs as a way to try to make some money - have some sort of hitch that will hopefully build an audience, and then get some sponsors... but right now I'm not doing that.

Really this is just another way to stay connected with you guys: my family and friends. Some of it is going to be about my new experiences in Thailand, and then some of it is just going to be using this spot as a repository for things or ideas that I like. Most of you probably know that I've always been a dedicated chronicler of things - and so this is just a new way of doing - and sharing - that.

I do not promise these will always be interesting (...), but it's another way for me to communicate with you guys - even if it's about mundane things. And really - sometimes mundane things are my favorite. At the least I'll probably always make my posts shorter than this one.

Today is going to be a "things I like" post:

After fully expecting to hate it, I kind of loved Lost in Translation. My big take away from the movie was that Sofia Coppola (the writer/director) must be awesome - and - after some googling I found out that - yes, in fact she is.

It should not be surprising that someone who can wear this..

..and have a baby with Thomas Mars of Phoenix would make good movies. Oh. Right. There's also the matter of her father's influence:

Way to go Sofia.

So that's another kind of blog-post to be expecting (especially when nothing uniquely Thai happens in a given day..) - we'll just see how this thing evolves, haha.

Much love!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New favorite place to eat.

I have a new favorite place to eat that's pretty close to where I'm living. It's called Rice at 33, and (appropriately) serves rice dishes on Soi 33. It's inexpensive, and they cook the food out in the open so you see how clean/ fresh everything is. I like that.

This past week I've also tutored for a 4 year-old Japanese boy a couple of times, and that's been fun. He's pretty cute, has mini-glasses and loves dinosaurs, whales, and dolphins. I thought that private tutoring at someone's home might be a little awkward - but this has been fine. Next week I'm going to start tutoring a 7th grader also.

I don't have any new pics today, and so I'm posting a couple of Gramp's (hope that's ok Gramp) -

Here's from the boat ferry that I was talking about earlier this week:

And here's another one of the cove in Wolfeboro:

Thanks for the pics Gramp, and love to you all!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm healthy!

Excellent news -- I don't have diabetes (that's what the biggest worry was since it runs in our family). I'm very glad that I went and got the tests done - and it's also just generally nice to know the procedure now for going to a doctor here, and having a go-to person in case I get sick again. It's also obviously really wonderful to hear that I'm healthy. So that was great.

Since I was at the hospital for a day and a half, I also read 3/4 of "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith. Even though I haven't quite finished it - I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hospital Visit & Martha's Vineyard in my Shoes.

So today unfortunately I had to go to the hospital which is never exactly fun... my body is not quite sure what to do with the Thai heat quite yet, and so I'm going to get some bloodwork done just to make sure that nothing serious is going on.

There was a good/ surprising part in the day though. When I realized I was going to the hospital I decided to wear real shoes since the AC would be cranking; when I put on my little topsiders there was still a bunch of sand in them from MV. It was a very comforting, gritty moment. I ended up not wearing them so that I could save the sand though, ha. I'll have to put it in a mini-bottle or something.


Monday, October 20, 2008

In the Year 2551....

So I just found out this morning that I am currently living in 2551. I kept getting really confused as to why people kept tacking "51" onto things - so really this feels like quite a breakthrough for me.

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that a Buddhist country wouldn't use J.C.'s birthday as their go-to time-marker, and.. they don't. Buddha was born 543 years before Jesus. So basically I'm living in the future - which is pretty sweet.

Also - here are pictures of a guy who makes jasmine rings in front of a Subway (as in the chain sub shop - not the public transportation) daily on my street. Both the jasmine rings and the bread being baked in Subway tend to smell delicious.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apartment Pics

A couple of very exciting things have happened:

1. I have actually started taking my things over to my apartment.
2. I got a new computer!

To celebrate, here are a few pics of the apartment where I will now be using the aforementioned new computer:

I'm missing a pic of the mini-hallway that has a corner table by the kitchen, but.. you get the idea.

Much love!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wat Mahathat

I went to Wat Mahathat on Tuesday which is over near the Grand Palace and Silpakorn University.

The temple is on the grounds of a monastery, and there are tons of buildings and different things going on - most of which I couldn't tell you about - but in section 5 they have meditation for foreigners. The woman who was leading the meditation in English said they usually get either one or two or no foreign students each day.

It was nice to see the daily rhythms of the monastery cranking along - and I was also really proud of myself for getting there. The Chao Phraya is the river that runs through Bangkok, and there are boats that run like buses up and down it -- and this was my first time using them for utilitarian purposes. I was psyched.

Here's what the boat looks like --

Had my first day substitute teaching yesterday - which I have very mixed feelings about, and I'm working on getting a new computer.

Love to you all!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chatuchak Market

Went to Chatuchak Market (which is alternatively called Jatujak or JJ market) -- and I think I might have to make it a weekly trip while I'm getting settled.

The market covers 35 acres, and can hold up to 15,000 vendor stalls. You can buy anything from a pet iguana to patio furniture, and there are just thousands and thousands of people there. I found a quilt for my bed that has little elephants sewn all over it, and some lights and other things for my room.

I went with another girl who I've met, and is really nice - and it was definitely helpful to have someone else there so that it wasn't completely overwhelming.

Here are a couple of pics and my new bedspread:

After a couple of years not being able to afford much on the island it's kind of weird, to be somewhere that I can buy a skirt or a mug for $3 - and also kind of fun (even for a non-very-big shopper).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Getting my computer fixed.

I'm in the process of getting my computer fixed, and hopefully it will be up and running by tomorrow.

Had my first two days of teaching as a part of an English camp, and I think that the school and the folks who I'm working with will both work out well. It was nice to get an idea of how things will go, and what it will be like working with kids from a completely different culture.

I've been going to the gym a good bit, and last night went out with some of the folks from work since it was one of them was having a birthday thing. Nice to be getting out and about.

And here's a picture:

Pretty flowers in front of a poster about foot reflexology. Nice.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

California WOW!

I am now a proud card-carrying member of California WOW! Women’s Fitness.

I had never envisioned myself negotiating my gym membership, but.. that happened.

Since I didn’t expect to make them an offer, I was mostly confused, kind of uncomfortable, and repeatedly tried to leave during said negotiations - but in the end my very nice gym-tourguide Cake got her general manager involved, and I think it ended up being ok.

.. so I am now going to a gym that includes a hairdrying/ make-up room which is 2.5 times the size of my apartment. hilarious.

Time will tell whether I still got taken, but there are lots of grrl pwr inspirational quotes on the walls from the likes of Princess Di, Oprah, and Plato to cheer me up if that’s the case.

Also, here’s the Belgian chocolate place that’s on the first floor of the gym’s building.. which I think is brilliant/ kind of cruel.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Queen's Park

Went and got some basics for my apartment this morning: sheets, towels, dishes, etc. Feels nice to be thinking about getting settled! I might also take over a cd of pictures to get printed so that I have some familiar faces and scenes around, too.

Also went for a little walk around the Queen's Park to see if it might be a good place to run. It's a small loop, and so it would kind of be similiar to running laps on a track.

aaand here it is:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

AWC Gala

Last night was the American Women’s Club Gala at the Erawan Hotel. The ambassador and his wife were in attendance (swanky), and the hotel was very impressive with an open, airy lobby and a couple of 3-headed bronze elephants greeting you at the door.

Please note Dad's flashy cumberbund, because - yes.. those are sequins. The theme was "Broadway" and Lili had a matching flapper-style dress. My get-up was a little more subdued, but as the chair-person of the event Lili went big and it was a big hit.

Much love!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I made it here!

...and I'm making sure I remember how to post pictures