Friday, October 10, 2008

Learning to read all over again.

Now that I'm more or less settled into a routine with teaching, I've been trying to spend a couple of minutes here and there studying Thai. I have a couple books, but they're only moderately helpful. What's worked the best so far is finding what I'm trying to say in my phrase book, then asking the office staff how to actually say it. Then I experiment. The staff have been more than patient with me. In particular, the cleaning lady has been really friendly, chatting with me (in English) while she works, and playing along as I try to say things like "Have you eaten?" "Yes, I already ate." in Thai (it's a small talk greeting like "How's it going.").

On Monday through Thursday I teach a class half an hour away from the school, and there's a man who drives me. He speaks more English than I do Thai... but really not that much. So I've been experimenting with him as well... digging individual words out of my phrase book like "fon" (rain) and pointing to the dark skies off in the distance. He'll correct me..."Thailand speak - foon tok" then it's another ten minutes in silence. But the trip is still proving to be productive. I studied a couple of the letters using a learn Thai website... and now I look at signs & license plates trying to pick out the letters I know. I was irrationally delighted when I saw the letters Kgor and Mor together and figured out that they stood for Kilometers. Most of the road signs have English translations... which actually isn't helpful in getting me to associate the letter with the sound. But in the case of signs with city names - it's really helpful because the English is really just a transliteration of the Thai word. So... slowly slowly slowly I'm picking up a new letter here and there.

Today Big's two daughters came into the school and were just hanging out in the teacher's room. They were playing on the white board and practicing their English with me. So I turned it around and had them look at my letters as I wrote them - and they corrected me. One of the girls was doing math with arabic numbers, but I had her check my Thai numerals and teach me the words for hundred and thousand. They also taught me how to write "chicken" or more actuately, how to read it... one more step to being able to feed myself!!

That's the big adventure for today. I only had two classes today - one of which I bombed. =/ But I had time to go to Tesco Lotus (the big supermarket/everything store) for lunch and ate something approaching a grilled cheese sandwich. I don't have to work this weekend, so I plan to go to Ban Phe tomorrow. Not quite sure what I'll end up doing on Sunday though.

I need some friends here. =/

TAG - Code Watermelon.


marissa said...

what about the fun british people you were hanging around with when you got there? or are they all in another town?

Rebel said...

Three or four of the guys from class are still in Chiang Mai - a couple hundred miles away. The rest of them have left Thailand.