Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Toilet, The Pimp and a Chocolate Surprise

Saturdays have gotten a bit better. I still hate teaching kids, and 8 hours of class is a bit much. But the kids who had a book that was too hard 'graduated' from a pre-intermediate level to a starter level. Don't ask me how this could possibly be the logical progression... all I know is that now the students understand what I ask them to do and sometimes even do it. Yay! And in my other class, we finally killed enough time to be more or less on schedule with the book. I'll still have at least two full classes to conjure out of thin air (Valentines day sucked up a 3rd)... but I decided to show a movie for one day, so that should work out okay. Shhhh.... don't tell my boss.

Last week had a bit of excitement. I asked one girl "What day is today?" (our normal class starter) and she burst into tears. She ran out of the room and was inconsolable. She wouldn't tell me what was wrong, eventually I just took her down to sit with the office staff and gave her a book. I think they called her parents, or maybe she did, because eventually she grabbed her things and went home early. No explanations.

I am glad to say that today was an improvement... sort of. I had copied an activity from another book where each student gets a different role-card with a name, country and their age on it. They went around asking & answering "What's your name? Where are you from? How old are you?" All was going well (They were speaking English!!! No one was crying!) until like round three. I handed one of the boys the card "Toshi from Japan" which had him laughing. He did the activity and then confessed that "Toshi" sounded like "Toilet" in Thai. Oh well. Then I handed last week's crier a card that said "Magda from Greece" or something and she and the other girl dissolved into pre-teen giggles, and she held her book up to her face. I assumed that the name meant something embarrassing in Thai so offered her a new card but also asked what it meant - more horror from the girls, leaning into each other mortified. I said "It's okay, it's okay, take a different card." and she did. They still wouldn't tell me what the card said.

At break I asked one of the office staff. She started laughing and said "Oh... very rude, very rude slang." And asked where I'd seen it. I explained and she just cracked up. She told me "There are two meanings, one is like a fly... like an animal." the best I could get was that it was like a flying cockroach only bigger. Not beautiful like a butterfly, ugly. "But the second meaning... very rude. It's like... you know....sopany?" and I was like "Oh! Prostitute??" Mortified that I called my poor girl a prostitute in class. "No no no. Like, owner who sends out prostitute.... like the manager." Aaaaaah... Pimp. I called one of my students a toilet, and the other a pimp. And that was just my first class. Gotta love Saturdays.

After classes Bunny, Bobby & I all went to the night market by Tesco's for dinner. I was feeling adventurous and decided to only eat food on a stick. Fortunately, food on a stick is not difficult to find in Thailand and I had already had cantaloupe on a stick earlier in the day. First up was deep fried balls on a stick... with sauce 'a little spicy' - sure, why not? Um, it wasn't great - I think the balls were seafood this time. Next up, wonton-wrapped & fried balls. She said 'egg' but I heard 'chicken' (kai / gai), they were little eggs, I'm not sure what animal they came from. They tasted vaguely stale. I tossed them out after the first one. Not to fret... waffles on a stick! With pictures! And girls who spoke English! I successfully avoided the waffle wrapped hotdog and obtained a chocolate chip waffle on a stick. Mmmmmm

That was as far as I got with the food on a stick idea... I was hungry and wanted something genuinely edible. I got a small omelet on rice with sweet chili sauce, and mango with sticky rice & coconut milk. Then the three of us walked back into Tesco's to sit in the food court.

Bunny and Bobby had both been given sticks with which to eat their own foods, so there was a bit of sharing and stick maneuvering. Bunny successfully speared a bit of sticky rice and ate it. I told her she was my new hero. Anyone can eat rice with chopsticks, but one thin, extra long toothpick? "I have mastered the stick!" she exclaimed with pride. Bobby was having a bit more difficulty and replied "I have *not* mastered the stick." and as she lifted a piece of speared mango to her mouth it slid down back down the stick onto her hand. We burst into laughter.

Bunny, to underscore her stick mastery, picked up some mango and successfully transported it to her mouth. Bobby, undaunted, reached for some sweet sticky rice, stabbed it and brought it towards herself. "I think I've got it now!" she said just as it plopped off the stick and landed in her soy sauce. Another solid five minutes of laughing.

I had a spoon, and nothing to prove.

The only grown woman I teach gave me a box of chocolates after class yesterday. Nice chocolates - chocolate covered macadamia nuts... the good stuff. I decided to share them with B & B when we got home. We were discussing my very exciting up coming 'weekend'. I have Sunday off as per usual, but I don't have class until 6pm on Monday. Yay! I'd debated going to Bangkok or going back to Ko Samet. I'd already been to Ko Samet twice this month, and I'm supposed to be saving money, so I'd really debated whether or not to go. But eventually came to my senses. The chances of me ever living this close to a tropical island again are slim to none and I would be insane not to take full advantage of it. Then I cleaned out my other purse and found 1,000 baht. HELL YES I'm going to Ko Samet! So we were discussing this as I picked up the box of chocolate, peeled back the plastic packaging and opened the box. I looked down to get my first piece....

To my dismay there were ants crawling all over the box. Not a ton, but easily a dozen teeny tiny ants. Crawling over the chocolates, walking around the outside of the little papers. Ugh. "You look disturbed" Bunny commented. I showed her the box. "Oooh." We paused for a long moment. My mind hearkened back to the garlic-fried bug cart at the food court... eating bugs in Thailand is not unheard of. "I'm totally gonna eat it anyway." I said picking a piece up and brushing an ant or two off it's surface. "Yeah.... me too." She said. Bobby, who has already eating a cricket in her lifetime was equally undeterred. I mean, it was chocolate covered macadamia nuts!

Yes... we ate ant covered chocolates. That is the price we have to pay for living in a tropical paradise.

And on days like today, it's worth it.

TAG: Code Mango


Cate said...

I am all about eating with those sticks! I think sticky rice is a bit out of my league though... I will probably stick with a spoon for that.

Karin said...

The saying goes...

The first year missionary sees ants in the sugar bowl and throws out the bowl.

The second year missionary sees ants in the bowl and picks out the ants.

While the third year missionary sees ants in the sugar and eats the ants.

Bezzie said...

Oh gah....ants. I'm sorry, I did my time with those bastards in Texas. I'm sure I've eaten my share unintentionally.

Rebel said...

Cate, I'll bet you could do okay with the sticky rice actually. the trick is breaking off a bit of it first.

Karin - Yay! I'm a second year missionary!

Bezzie - Maybe you can include them in your Cheap-ass menu planning tips. ;) :p

Jeannette said...

My students are always crowding around the whiteboard, luckily for me "back up" sounds a lot like the Japanese for "idiot."

"Bakka! Bakka!"