Saturday, November 15, 2008

Three months and counting...

I've sailed right past the three month mark... so let's have a little goal-update shall we?

Learn Thai: I've added another 30 words (give or take) to my vocabulary, bringing me to about 90 total (slightly better than an 18 month old baby). But what's better is I'm starting to hear more of the words that I know in different combinations/contexts and starting to recognize them. My students regularly self-correct by saying "mai chai" (not correct) and then changing their answer. Today in class I heard the words "don't want" and "beautiful" and I'm starting to identify what the people at the markets are saying "Arai ka? / Arai kap" which is like a short but polite "what do you want?" I still feel like I haven't made much progress... but for not actually devoting regular study time to it - I can hardly expect more. I bought a dictionary though... and may actually open it at some point. ;) Teacher teach thyself. =P

Quality time at the beach: Check! I've been to four different beaches in the area and have established a favorite. On at least one occassion I was able to spend a glorious day at the beach before coming back to teach in the evening. I'm not sure how often I'll get to do it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. And honestly, while I'm there I don't take one minute for granted.

Saving money: I've been able to live on just my salary since I started getting paid. Which is a good thing because my first paycheck was from only working part time. I have money in the bank, and it looks like if I'm careful I will be able to save up a bit. Of course... there's that being careful part. There's not nearly as much temptation here as there was in Chiang Mai (with all the arts & crafts at the Night Bazaar) but there's always something.

Losing weight: Well, it seems that my day to day struggle to feed myself is over. I've become completely comfortable with hoping on a motorbike taxi at lunch or after work and running down to Tesco or the market for food. I've also started keeping more snacks in my room. I've got a steady supply of crackers and peanut butter. This is all well and good, but now I find myself snacking more than I should. The last time I weighed myself I was holding steady... but I'm afraid I may have gained a bit back with all the hot-potting and snacking lately.

Teaching Experience: I am getting plenty of teaching experience, for good or ill. I'm nearly through the New Cutting Edge Elementary book, and have taught a couple of the lessons twice. My confidence is still pretty low, but I'm surviving. I actually had an okay class with my too advanced young learners. I abandoned the book and planned a lesson around the Present Continuous tense - which they already knew. So instead of focusing on the grammar, I tried to get them to pay attention to the sentence stress and sounding more natural. Even with all that the kids were bored and tearing through all the activities I had planned.

On our 10 minute break I ran down to the office and grabbed a book of activities and found a few that sounded fun. We did pres. cont. charades "washing a glass", "catching a butterfly" etc. Then we did an activity where I drew the outline of a house on the board handed one of the students a marker and just started asking them "What room is this? What's in the room?" etc, handing the marker to a different student for each room. Once they'd filled up the room (quite the artists!!) I asked them "Where is student 1? What is she doing?" and once we had everyone set up in the room I knocked on the table "Who's at the door?" It ended up being a really fun activity. Of course it ended in a Ninja-style fight that ranged all over the house. I ended the game once a bomb started getting tossed around. I'm not sure exactly how much teaching was happening... but you know, I've added a couple new tricks to my bag.

Make some friends: Bunny and Bobby are turning out to be pretty good buddies. The other night Bunny invited me over for Harry Potter Scrabble. It's exactly the same as normal scrabble, but you have to relate each word to the HP world. Not too hard actually and very funny. It helped that there was whiskey involved... and lacking any traditional mixers, we ended up pouring it into steaming cups of peppermint tea. Interesting. I guess I could count that as a new experience. =P

New Experiences: These are dwindling. I went to the hot pot restaurant and tried to sing along to Thai karaoke. And I celebrated Loy Krathong. Both of those were fun experiences... but I can't think of much else I've done that's completely new at this point. Oh wait... I guess you can call horrible hair cut a new experience, although I have had bad hair cuts in the past... just never in a foreign country so however you want to count that. Oh... and I bought my first pirated DVD(s)... I've got four now. Ok, I guess I do keep having new experiences, it's just that they are becoming less and less monumental.

Learn to ride a motorbike: Epic fail! I'm such a chicken. I want to have more mobility & freedom but I just can't seem to bring myself to walk into a motorbike shop and sort the whole thing out. I've asked a few people at work about getting a second hand bike, so maybe something will come back around to me at some point. One way or another, I need to make this happen.

Three months in and I'm still pretty happy. I'm starting to miss a lot of things from home. My friends of course (although the interwebs are helping me feel like I'm moderately connected), my quilts & crafty stuff. I miss Portland and getting to go to familiar places like the farmer's market. Yes, there are more than a few markets here... but it's not the same thing. I miss the library and my couch. Oh well. I *don't* miss my old job, and I don't miss the rain either. ;)

TAG - Code Mango.


IamSusie said...

Three months already?!! I forget how long you are planning to stay. Indefinitely?

Good luck with those kids. Children can get bored and start acting up really quickly so keeping a large cache of planned activities up your sleeve can be really helpful.

In PDX Now said...

Love your story. I am in PDX now and planning to do what you are doing in about 90 days. The rainy season is just getting started here, it is 37 and the heater is on. Enjoy the beach!

Bezzie said...

Good lord 3 mos already!!! I wouldn't beat yourself up about the motor bike. That will come.

Rebel said...

Susie, my answer to that question is always "I'll stay as long as I'm happy."

In PDX - where are you headed? Thailand is awesome, lots of ups and downs but I'm so glad I'm here.

bezzie - I know... and the thing is, I really like riding on the back.

Cate said...

Just stumbled upon your blog - my husband and I bought one way tickets for early January, and like you, we want to stay as long as we like it.
Could I email you with some questions?

in PDX now said...

Rebel, right now the thoughts are to go to Khon Kaen for my TEFL and then find a job at a government school in the countryside around KK

Michael5000 said...

I'm giving you an "A." Get a junker motorbike for an A+. Or a gnarly tattoo.

Libby said...

That's a pretty great report for three months - you've done a lot.

Rebel said...

cate - I'm glad you found my blog. I'd be glad to answer any questions.

In pdx - I've never been to Khon Kaen, you'll have to tell me all about it!

M5K - I've been thinking about a tattoo... not gnarly though.

libby - thanks, the pace is slowing but I'm still pretty happy.