Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Riding in Songthaews with Boys

I taught again today, and it was kind of a mixed bag. I felt really comfortable, and I felt like I was actually teaching, but in feedback it came out that I'd skipped some things and didn't do some things in order. Most of the feedback was okay - and I passed, so that's all that mattered. It's just frustrating that when I do everything as asked it feels scripted and unnatural, and when I actually feel like a teacher - it's not quite good enough. Oh well, it's a learning process. It's only going to get tougher from here on out. I only need to pass, I don't need to be perfect. But now I'm worried about the first assignment, because I know I didn't give it my all. I don't know if I'm being lazy, or self-sabotaging or what, but I'm not putting in as much work as I could and I don't feel good about that. (So the Brit has a big problem with the word "should" so now I'm really sensitive to how & when I use it. But "I feel like I should be doing more work." is all I'm really trying to say.)

In any case I went out for beers with the guys and it was fun...and it was interesting. For the first thing... the guys are more into 'partying' than I am. I mean, I'm game for a beer or four ;) but not so much into drugs or other things they can do in Thailand. So it's a bit weird to be sitting there as they plan their next adventure knowing I'm not invited and I really wouldn't enjoy being there anywhere. It would help if Sheila & Joey would come out with us (they did pop in for like two minutes), but they're even less interested in partying than I am.

So it's just me & the boys and I was first subjected to a joke about prostitution - which wasn't funny on about 3 different levels... but I just let it slide. Then there was the discussion about how gambling, sex-toys & pornography are illegal in Thailand, so what do they do about porn? I just ate my dinner (and actually I can't even believe this was a question, I mean - why did he think the internet was invented??? You know, aside from for craft blogs. ;) ) And then there was the discussion about which country's girls are easiest. This was actually kind of funny. Aussie girls ranked high, but not quite as high as French Canadian girls. Then of course it comes to American girls and the statement is made "Yeah, American girls are kind of prudes." to which I could only say "Yeah... it's true." At least in my case anyway. I didn't want to go listing off the exploits of every 'easy' girl I know... I just left it at that. One of the guys tried to be sweet and was like "But that's a good thing." But really... I know they're all going after Thai girls this weekend.

It wasn't all just sex & drugs, we talked about politics, comedians, cultural stereotypes and sheep. You know... any time you get a couple Aussies together it's got to come up. And I know a good sheep joke.... I just couldn't remember it. Which you know, is always a thrilling conversation starter. =P I'm so lame sometimes. Thai beer isn't very strong (not nearly as strong as some proper Oregon micro-brews --- oh you don't know what I would give for some Drop Top Amber to share with the guys) so I didn't quite get to professing love for *everyone* at the table... just the Short Aussie. Which I hope he doesn't mind.

Then I got on a Songthaew with the Other American and got to talking so I missed my stop (you can't see squat out the windows). Except I don't think I actually missed my stop, my limited experience is that they don't exactly go in any logical order. There were three Thai teens already on, and three other Americans got on after us. I figured they'd drop off the Thai kids then get around to me. But we'd gone well away from my stop so OA told me I should get off and hop on another one going back. Which I did, and the Thai kids helped me out. In any case it took far longer and was far more expensive than it should have been. I need to be a bit more careful about that. But I'm home now so that's all that matters.

Ok - well, if I actually want to do better on my next lesson, I need to do some serious planning tonight. Just wanted to give you the news of the day. I'm afraid there aren't going to be too many more cultural experiences for a while... just class & (hopefully) hanging out with the boys.

^^ For your entertainment, I had taken this little video of my songthaew ride to the Night Market before my course started. It's pretty normal for me now (two rides a day) but it was quite novel when I first go there. For reference the other red pick-up truck we pass is also a songthaew - they're everywhere. It's songthaews or motor bikes for most people.


Trillian42 said...

I was actually a secondary ed minor in college for a while (until realizing that I am NOT cut out to be a teacher), so I know what you mean about it feeling scripted. But stick with that for now - just accept that it will feel scripted for a while, and eventually you will reach the point where what you HAVE to do becomes natural, and it will feel less forced. Think about knitting - didn't it feel awkward at first? And now, it's a natural thing to you, and you are comfortable improvising when you need to. You'll get to the same point with teaching, just don't try to push to get there too fast.

I'm loving reading about your adventures, by the way. I'm so envious!

Magatha said...

Gambling, sex toys and porn illegal! Wow, my town would go out of business! ;)
Funny how hypocritical this is in a country with an underage sex trade flourishing. I sure hope those boys aren't getting into that soulless horror.
All Earth girls are easy as is plain to see by the overpopulation. ;)

I can never remember a joke either.

Rebel said...

trillian - I know you're right, it's just hard, when I feel awkward I'm doing it right, when I feel comfortable I'm doing it wrong - it doesn't quite compute.

Mags - I've learned not to judge another country's hypocrisy too strongly... we have plenty of hypocrisy at home too. =P

Magatha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Magatha said...

Other countries (and self-hating Americans themselves) love to judge the US and can because all our hypocritical crap is out in the open. Other countries need to take a good look in the mirror and through the mirror. If I don't judge then I have no judgment. I can't go through life with absolutely no standards. One of them is that the sex trade is not for minors.