Friday, December 12, 2008

Is it December 12th already?

Are you kidding me? It cannot possibly be time for the four month update.

Learn Thai: I've picked up another 30+ words, bringing my total vocabulary up to around 130. In theory I can string together a few simple sentences, but I don't actually get many chances to practice what little I know. That is, practice in any kind of relevant way. Once I've told everyone that I've got two older sisters - there's not much of a reason to keep saying it. Aside from basic greetings (which I'm getting a lot better at btw), the only things I say with any regularity is "what's that?", "how much?", the name of my apartment building or any other location I want to go to and "here" to tell the driver where to stop.

The other problem I'm having is that half the new words I hear sound exactly like other words I already know. The word for 'tiger' sounds (to me) just like the word for 'beautiful' which sounds just like the word for 'bad luck'. The word for 'month' sounds like 'walk', 'cat' sounds like 'don't want' and on and on. I'm not going to count it as a word learned until I can hear the difference and make a passable attempt at pronouncing it. Aaah the beauty of a tonal language. =/

Quality time at the beach: Check check and double check. I wasn't overly fond of the beach I went to at Pattaya... but then two days later I went to Soun Soon which is my favorite so far. I also spent two overnights at Ko Samet, and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. I assure you, it's not getting old, and I'm not taking it for granted. Getting to hang out at the beach is *why* I'm here, and it really really does make up for the rough parts.

Saving Money: I had about 15,000 Baht (about $400) in the bank when I got paid today, not too shabby.

Losing Weight: Holding more or less steady... I haven't lost any weight since last month. A little too much going out with Bunny & Bobby I think.

Teaching Experience: I've been feeling self conscious about how much time I spent 'planning' lessons (mostly just staring at the book wondering what exactly I'm supposed to be doing) and decided to wing it a little more this month. I don't think my lessons were substantially worse than when I was spending more time on them. Saturdays are still killing me though. Complaining about it isn't helping much. Actually, I'm getting into a bit of a routine with the class that's behind the book - I spend the first half of the class doing review and the second half of the class trying to drag them kicking & screaming (or rather yawning & silent) through the lesson that's vastly too advanced for them.

But the advanced kids, they are bored out of their mind and I just don't know what to do with them. I feel horrible about the whole situation, it's a waste of time for all of us. I've asked about skipping ahead to the next book but they won't let me, they just say to supplement. Well, supplementing a lesson here and there is one thing, trying to create 3 hours worth of lessons from scratch week after week without a real guide ... that's not something I'm at all qualified to do.

I picked up another young student for private lessons and I'm less than thrilled about it, but I'm surviving. He's already at an intermediate level and he's pretty on target with the book, so while it's hardly fun it's not as bad as my Saturday classes. My other classes are going reasonably well. The two General English books I'm using are really good - the grammar for each lesson is presented clearly and there are a lot of activities in the back of the book. In most of my classes I feel like I'm just helping with pronunciation & error correction. No... I do more than that, but when the book is good, my job is not that hard.

Make some friends: Bunny, Bobby & I are continuing to have fun together. I drunk texted Donny from Ko Samet & ran into Marie on the street today. So my little social circle is branching out a little bit.

New Experiences: I'd call being propositioned by a strange Thai man a new experience. ;) In fact staying at an island resort was a new experience too.

Learn to ride a motorbike: Fail fail, epic fail. Still a no go. I started looking into it and I'd need to get a Thai drivers license etc. The thrill of the ride is being thwarted by the dread of paperwork. I'm tempted to scratch this one off my list entirely, but I know this could be a really good thing if I'd just get off my butt and do it.

Overall, it hasn't been all peaches & cream (mangoes & coconut milk?)... but I desperately needed a change in my life, and that is exactly what I've gotten.

1 comment:

d said...

from this side of the pond, it sounds like you're having an amazing experience. at least there are more positives than negatives. and, you sound happier than you did when you were in portland.