"Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image."

Saturday, June 28

School's Out :)


Hello all!! Just a quick one to say I'm DONE!! The 4 weeks FLEW by and it's been great. Definitely exhausting at times, but not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated (shhh). Most of our group are heading to a guesthouse in the city. We are on a pizza mission!! We'll have one last hurray together before going our separate ways. I'll be in touch soon in more detail. But the phone number and address given previously are now null n void :). I've signed up for Skype. My name is janelle.crowley. So add me if you have it, and if you don't, be expecting a call soonish!


Saturday, June 7

"Thank you teacher"

Between my last blog and now, I blinked a few times and it was over. A week, 2 (observed) lessons and an armful of classes later, here I am...the weekend! Taking the advice of those that have come before me and taking some time away from my work for some of the weekend. A few of us went into the city today. Got a massage (yep...correctional facility!) did some washing, and found the best store (thanks to Jane) ever. It's called Tesco...and I guess it's comparative to a Walmart or super target. I got some "teacher clothes" (those are kinda like airplane clothes ;) ) and genuinely enjoyed shopping for them!

As for the week. It's been amazing. It's been challenging, exhausting and terrifying. Classes aren't quite as tedious as I expected and it's more "controlled free thinking" with the other trainees that anything else. And the day is well broken up with "tea and biscuit" breaks and meals...which will start to show on this body very soon if I don't watch myself (portions here are crazy big...3 times a day). I taught on Wednesday and Friday...both times I was so nervous I was nearly sick to my stomach...but both times I did great...and I've already come to love it. I'm shocked that I'm able to forget the fact that I've being observed (by peers and my trainer) and just 'do my thing'. I get so nervous on my "teaching days" that I have to play with my pocket knife to keep my hands from shaking (hmmm...prolly not the best idea!)...but I also get so damn excited. Everyday this week, I've woken up with the feeling that I'm absolutely living this life to the fullest...which is an amazing feeling. The work load is definitely doable...but it's non-stop. I have less time to procrastinate here then I did in college. I think it definitely adds to it that others are counting on me...so if nothing else, I owe it to my class to be prepared. I literally work from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed...and I love that right now. Apparently week 3 gets really tough...so if I'm complaining then , remind me of this blog! I don't know if I'm "in my element" while I'm teaching or if it's just the newness feeling...but either way, I absolutely love it. I feel like I'm transported when I'm up there and there is something about it that makes every inch of my being smile. Any uncertainies I had about coming here, any feelings of uneasyness or loneliness have been replaced by so many other feelings....and the sound of "thank you teacher" followed by lots of thai smiles reminds me that this is one of the best decisions I've made. Obviously, I have no idea where I go from here and I'm still taking it 1 day at a time....but I just thought I'd spread my happiness along...how ever short or long lived it may be! But for now, in the words of one Kenny Chesney, I feel like I'm french kissing life!

As for my fellow trainees, we've all bonded...even if we may not necessarily 'hang out' outside of here. It's a very supportive environment and everyone is rooting for each other. There are MANY different ways of thinking...which can get frustrating at times. Especially since the majority of things are group activites...but I know that is just preparing us to work with others (perhaps future collegues or bosses) who may not necessarily see eye to eye with us. We eat together, live together, school together, and have to criticize and encourage each other...it's challenging at times but uplifting at others.

That's all for now! I think I've had my share of "no work" time today and have to get back to it! Love to all.

Sunday, June 1

School has begun...almost

‘Ello! I found myself a great clan (even if it was only temporary) consisting of 2 Canadians, a girl from Switzerland, and a British girl. A few nights ago we went out with a few others for a night of Bowling!! Noom had offered a free nights stay to anyone who could beat him. I came surprisingly close to doing so but in the end, he pulled an upset and beat me by 1 pin! Damn!! But I did win myself a t-shirt! Hey, I’ll take it! Clothes are good! J All in all, bowling was a blast! They had the black lights on and Noom made sure we were all ready by giving us ‘war paint’ (chalk for your hands…glows under the black lights. Thus, doubles as face war paint quite well!) and booze and away we went. The first 2 rounds were all business. The 3rd round was judged on creativity! So, If you see the pictures on shutterfly, you’ll understand why we are floating through the air! The most popular was pushing the ball with your hands and giving a final push while flying forward. We also spun ourselves in circles, went backwards, kicked and walked it down the lane. And Esther bowled it across 3 lanes. Impressive. What was MOST impressive was the fact that the Thai’s are so laid back that they just laughed along with us…instead of kicking us out! All the while, there was English rap music blasting…and we were trying to figure out if the rest of the people there knew the words! I don’t think they did! After that, everyone was pumped up so Noom drove us (I did mention that he’s a fabulous taxi driver, right?) to a bar/club…we were the only Western faces in there and we got lots of smiles and looks. We stuck around long enough for the band to come on…which I THINK was a punk-rock cover band. Punk-rock by the clothes, actions and overall beat of the songs…and cover band b/c everyone was singing along. But it was all in Thai…so what do I know? They were quite good though….even though I didn’t understand a damn word! The next day I took a Thai cooking class (along with 2 others from the clan) and made (and ate) heaps of food! Chicken in coconut milk soup, cashew chicken stir fry, red curry, pad thai, spring rolls and our chef/teacher showed us how to make jasmine rice (perfectly), sticky rice, sticky rice with mango, and papaya salad. I was stuffed to say the least! Before we started cooking, we got a market tour and were taught a bit about different herbs, veggies, etc…which was actually quite helpful. We got to play with fire…which was cool…cooler that I still have my eyebrows! Not sure how the big bro did that for so long! It was hot, hot, hot! Got a thai massage yesterday at the women’s correctional facility! Awesome!! Haha…I was a little uneasy going to the correctional facility but it came well recommended. It was fabulous! And if I think it was only 6 bucks, it was SUPER fabulous!! We had a big hostel night out last night. Went to a place called The Riverside which had 2 awesome bands—both of which had male and female singers (who sung in English) so they had lots of variety! It was jammed packed with locals and appeared to have great food. I ventured away from Thai and ordered a pizza….note to self: when in Thailand, don’t order pizza! It wasn’t horrible…but it was no Sal’s! After dinner (and lots of drinking for everyone else) we ALL piled into a pick-up truck taxi…there were about 20 of us….piled in…with 3 of us hanging off the back of the truck (there is a small stool/rack thingie)…I was playing the role of “don’t let the drunk girl in front of you fall into the street”…good times! Jim was taking us to sing karaoke. I had an image in my head…you know, bar scene….people on stage singing. Nope. Turns out that in Thailand, karaoke means renting out a room with a tv and 2 mics….and singing your heart out with your friends/group. Well…this particular room was made for MAYBE 6-7 people….small, small! Again…20 something of us….singing at the top of our lungs! The room was shaking! I was the first one back to the hostel and it was past 2am….lets just say the house was very quiet when I woke up this morning!

Sooo….I’m now at Nugent Waterside where my course is taking place. There are 8 of us total…4 of which are couples….lots of places represented (Canada, aussie, england, iran, whales)…but none of whom I’ve quite connected with to be honest. I’m sure we’ll get to know each other a bit better…but so far, I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling from any of them! Not that it matters…just sayin’! So, the place is kind of great. It’s far from anything….and I’m already having an issue b/c apparently we start TEACHING on Tuesday…yeah, I TOTALLY missed that fine print! Really thought we would have some time before getting in front of a class! The “issue’ is that I didn’t really bring any teaching clothes with me…I was planning to go shopping once I was settled and knew more about this place….so now I have very little time to find clothes…and not many places to find them! I’ll prolly make due with what I have (we have to teach bare foot so shoes aren’t an issue….score!) until this weekend. Aside from that, the rooms are much better then I expected. Roomy, modern, clean…big bed, great bathroom/shower…and a western toilet (as opposed to a squatting toilet!)….it’s nicer/bigger then my college dorm room…and I’m in there alone…so I think If I managed (and loved it) at Rice, I think I can manage here! Getting a bit nervous about the start of things tomorrow…and even more nervous that I actually have to teach on Tuesday…but not much I can do about it! Sooo, Gonna do a bit of research and get settled in until dinner. Class everyday is from 11:30-8pm. I have a phone in my room…but it’s touch and go. As is Internet. Depending on the intensity of things, I may or may not be in regular contact for the next month! But seems like we should have weekend pretty well free.

You can give my phone a whirl…keeping in mind that it may or may not work…and if it does, I will only be in my room before 11:30am and after 9pm during the week…and sometimes not even then! But, if you managed to catch me, I’d be delighted J The number is +66 (0) 53 441503 (which will apparently put you through to some kind of answering machine/service…and then you dial my room number) 116

Wish me luck…I’m off to attempt bonding with my classmates!