Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kow Pad Gai

T.A.G. for today is Mango. Life is good.

I just got back from a drink with the boys. I like that we have a regular place, that's the kind of thing I really enjoy... knowing that I can go someplace and friends will be there. No arranging, just show up. I'm really going to miss that when it's gone. Oh... and I didn't think I drank any more than normal, but I'm feeling a tad more inebriated than usual... so forgive.

I love the students. We have a great group. I sat down with one of the elementary students before class today and was showing her my "Learn Thai" book - it's a kid's workbook so I can practice writing out the letters. She was telling me the sounds of all the letters... but then she told me I got the level 2 book (consonant vowel combinations) and what I really needed was the level 1 book with just the alphabet, so she said she'd try to bring me a page with just the alphabet. She also wrote out my name in Thai script in my workbook. Then we chatted for a bit and it was just nice. I know it's not like having a 'real' Thai friend ... but now that I'm not her official teacher anymore, it does feel a little more like she's being nice because she wants to be, not because I'm the teacher.

Then between lessons one of my current intermediate students sat down next to me and started asking me questions. She asked me what kind of food I like and I told her I loved Thai food, so she taught me how to say Chicken Fried Rice (Kow Pad Gai) and Pork Fried Rice (Kow Pad Moo)... which are my two favorite meals so far.

She then asked me if I had a Thai nickname. Thais typically have really long names - very difficult for westerners to pronounce, so they all have a shorter nickname used for all but the most formal occasions. Nicknames are often related to personal characteristics like tall or short, or colors or fruits or something like that. I told her no, and asked her what my nickname should be - she said Ku Larb. A little inelegent when transliterated into English script... but apparently it means "Rose" - how sweet is that???? I know there's probably a bit of kissing-up to teacher (and I'm going to check with another Thai person to confirm it means what she says it does), but made me feel good.

After class I went across the street and successfully ordered Kow Pad Gai! Yay for actually learning to say something useful! Oh, and it was yummy. Their 'fried' rice isn't fried like we do it in the US, it's more stir-fried, so it's not greasy, and they serve it with a lime wedge which gives it a nice kick.
Kow Pad Gia - 20 baht.

Then beer with the guys. Then home. Life is good.

Tomorrow is the big poker night. One of the guys is staying with a friend in an actual house. I won't actually be playing any poker, but I'm more than a little excited about the prospect of an actual sofa. I haven't had a soft place to park myself since I got here. It should be interesting. The ground rule has been laid down - no CELTA talk, but everything else is fair game. I've been on a mission for good beer, and I think I've found something. There were a few German imports at the grocery store so I looked them up on Rate Beer. The beers we've been drinking - Tiger, Leo, Chang & Singha all rate below the 10th percentile. The German beers however, Erdinger & Wiehenstephaner rank about a 55 & 95 respectively. Drop Top Amber, my current favorite, on the other hand only ranks a 29. So I'm hoping the German brews win me a few bonus points. Mostly though, it'll just be nice to drink good beer for a change. I will, of course, give a full report.

Thanks for all your comments on topics you're interested in. I'll start investigating & forming ideas about: Thai Silk, Thai dress, environmental awareness, and the roll of women in Thai society. Lots to think about there. I'll also do what I can to take more pictures of day-to-day life.... and of course, tell you all about the food! =)

As for the boys being sexist. I'd say more perverted than sexist. One of our instructors is a woman and they all give her a lot of respect both in class and when talking about her outside of class. I've been assured repeatedly that they give me a bad time because they like me, and if they didn't like me they'd just be polite. It's apparently a British / Australian thing - 'taking the piss' and all that. They were explaining this again tonight and I just looked at them and was like "I have no guile." and they were like "WE KNOW!" LOL. But I'll be a bit more judicious when repeating what they've said.

It's really really odd. There was a time when every little thing offended me. I spent most of my time in an indignant rage about something or other. I loosened up a lot after college, but now... practically nothing offends me. Well, not like it used to. Part of me feels like I probably should work up an indignant rage from time to time, but I don't know. It never got me what I wanted before, I'm not sure what kind of purpose it would serve me now. I was really unhappy back then. I'm happier now... I guess it's about learning to distinguish between 'my problem' and 'not my problem'. I will do what I can do to be a good person, and to put good energy into the world...I will do what I can do to surround myself with people and situations that make me happy... and that's about all I can do.

In any event... situation Mango, life is good.


marissa said...

you have a really good attitude. :) the distinction between "my problem" and "not my problem" is HARD!

p.s. i looked up ninkasi double red and ninkasi ipa on rate beer, and they got an 89 and 93!!

Batty said...

Love your attitude, and it looks like you're eating and drinking well. That's a great start and really important. Everything else will come with time.