Pick-up Trucks & Monkeys

Monkey Temple

There are so many things I could and should tell you about. I never updated about my trip to Koh Samet, the ASEAN competitions, two field trips, my Thai Thanksgiving (fried chicken, mac n cheese and no bake cheese cake..) or my tutoring gig. But just so I don't bore you too much I'll skip over all of that and dive right into my weekend in Lopburi.

Monkey Street Sign
Lopburi is a city filled with monkeys. They climb through the streets like squirrels. Unlike squirrels-- monkeys don't scurry off when approached by humans. More often than not if you move towards them (and for me this was always by accident..) they jump right on top of you. Luckily zero monkeys jumped on me or anywhere near me, but some of my friends were not so lucky. One of the girls that traveled with us this weekend was bitten on the back of the leg (didn't break the skin..) and one of the guys on his neck (and this monkey did break the skin..he spent the afternoon in the hospital getting rabies shots). I knew about 20 people in the city for the festival and 2/20 were attacked. Knowing this, I'm guessing this happens quite often. I was more than happy to say goodbye to the monkeys when it wast time to leave. The city claims they are "humanized" but I think not so much.

school milk
School Milk
Since we have yet to be paid we have just been taking overnight trips to save money (thank goodness we will finally be paid on Friday at 11am...counting down the hours). Both times that we have taken day trips we wake up and "leave" at 7am. For Koh Samet-- three trips back upstairs for more baht, passports and water bottles and we finally left our apartment by 8:30. This go we didn't have to trek back upstairs for anything, but coordinating songtoa rides, meeting up with other friends and waiting on a bus that wasn't moving, put us leaving Chonburi at 9am. (We now know that the bus leaves at 7:30 and 9 so either get there early or just wait..)

The bus arrived in Bangkok at 11ish and we met up with two other friends at the bus station. Many hand gestures, a few Thai words, lots of English words and a 711 snack stock up later, we climbed into a van for a three hour journey to Lopburi. Vans are a very common (wouldn't say popular, they aren't very fun to ride in) way to travel throughout Thailand. They seat 16 people and make random stops along the way. The absolute worst seats in the van are the back row.  Up until this trip, I had no idea they were the worst seats--I always ended up sitting back there somehow. I wish I'd just never found out about the luxurious seats a few rows up, because now sitting in the back is almost unbearable.

group bar
Lopburi Bar with part of our group
About two hours in, lots of swerving, fast breaking and changing of lanes, it started to down pour (mother please realize there are no seat belts in Thailand and I'm pretty sure the drivers would not understand or appreciate it if I told them I had wait for my mom to come pick me up instead of riding without a seat belt..and since you aren't in this country I think that would be a bit of a challenge...). So the streets start to flood and now we start floating/hydroplaning our way to Lopburi.

We do get there in one piece, but we have no idea how to get from the bus station to our hotel. Bus stations aren't really bus stations or at least not like the bus stations in the US. There aren't any Information Stations or terminals or even buildings. So we ask our van driver. He gets out (he let's use stay in the van which is really nice..) and makes a few calls. Gets back in and through nonverbal communication let's us know he has no idea where this place is.

So we get out. Walk over and immediately a lady from a restaurant comes out and starts pulling stools towards us and says "sit down, sit down!" Then runs in the back and gets her daughter (I guess it was her daughter...?) Our van driver then gets back out and comes over to help again too. Then the daughter and friend come out. She speaks English. We now have a group of 7 farang and 4 locals trying to figure out where we need to go.

The girl calls the hotel and then a random elderly man shows up and they chat and then the next thing we know, the girl tells us he will take us for 30 baht a piece. She walks us through the rain to his truck. We are saying "thank you thank you thank you"--thinking of course she has already gone over and beyond and she will now go back to the restaurant, for goodness sakes she walked a quarter mile in the rain just to show us to the car. But, no she said "Oh no! I go with you to make sure." So she gets up front and we all crouch in the truck bed which is a cross between a songtao and a truck. We do have a covering and there are benches in the back, but more of a homemade version of a songtao/ghetto version (please note this is truck ride #1 for the weekend and this will become a very popular form of transportation from  here on out.)

truck ride number 1
Pick-up Truck Ride #1
So we sit crouched over, breathing in exhaust in standstill traffic. Finally arrive at our very off the grid hostel/hotel/not sure what you would call it. We say goodbye and pay our new friends. Drop off our bags and head out to explore. We find that we are extremely far from Old Lopburi which is were most of the action for the weekend is happening. We get lost, stop off at the Lopburi Inn and see some friends from orientation. But, I'm super grouchy and need to eat pronto. So we walk and walk and walk and for the first time since I've arrived in Thailand there are not resturants every two feet. There aren't even any food stalls. We just keep passing motorbike shops. Finally after finding a few college students they point us in the right direction and we eat at Grill Guru. It was great! I got a spicy pepper and chicken dish with rice.

By now it is 5 o'clock and we had been hoping to go to the sunflower fields, but realize that isn't going to happen because the sun is setting. So we head into Old Lopburi instead (one songtao ride and about a fifteen minute walk and we are still pretty far from Old Lopburi). We think we can walk there, but we can't, so after a few more stop overs and bumfuzzeled locals whom we've pestered with questions, we get back on the songtao and ride into Old Lopburi. Here we finally see our first monkeys and they are EVERYWHERE.

Man & Monkey
This man has been feeding these monkeys every day for over 20 years.
We hop off the songtoa and stand and stare at an old man as he sits and feeds the monkeys. Within a few minutes a local teacher comes up and tell us all about the monkeys. He is from LA and has been teaching in Lopburi for 3 months. He tells us a good area to hang out in and where to eat. We stop in a restaurant called School Milk. It is really cute, but we aren't hungry so we just get a few beers. We order beers for the table and sit and wait. We notice it is taking a little longer than it should for a few beers. A few minutes later we watch as one of the fifteen waiters walks in with a 711 bag filled with just the number of beers we've ordered. Lesson learned--go to 711 and bring beer to restaurant with from now on (and this is allowed in Thailand as opposed to the US).

So we leave there thinking we will stop by 711 get some snacks and head home to change, but then run into more people. So we sit down at a Chinese food restaurant and order dishes for the table to share. Next thing you know four hours later and I'm still in tennis shoes and it is time to relocated to another bar...oh well. Going out in tennis shoes will just have to do. (one of my fellow teachers did say "I mean I know we are in Thailand and all, but you are in running shoes--is that okay?").

So we head to the next bar, play a few Thai drinking games which boil down to-- a cup and saucer, dice and counting the number of farangs at the table and skipping all the locals--not once did the locals lose/have to drink. The bar was pretty neat though. Most of the restaurants and bars in Thailand are open and then just spill out into the street. I really like that, they just set up tables all up and down the road. Lopburi was also cold in comparison to Chonburi so that was a great relief!

Ten o'clock and one our orientation friends nonchalantly tell us that songtaos stop running at 9pm in Lopburi. At this moment we realize the ride home is going to be an interesting endeavor. Half the group decides it's time to try and get home and the other half goes to hear a local Thai band. Of course I can't resist live music and when in Thailand. Soooo..we venture to yet another bar.

One of the very interesting thing about Thai people is they love to give farangs alcohol. No idea why? But whenever you start talking to any of them the first thing they do is try and hand you their drink. I always responded with "mai ao kah" (no thanks..). But still very bizarre. But all the locals LOVE to talk to you and they love practicing their English and hearing about your life. The night gets later and later and finally we decide it is time to get home too. Hm...how should we do this? We figure we will have to take a motorbike home (this is the second time this exact same scenario has happened to me..) We get outside and are looking for a motorbike driver to take us home. Immediately one of our Thai friends from earlier says "Oh no, we take you home." And is super insistent. She goes back into the bar to get her brother who is the driver for the night. (literally this is exactly what happened one night in Chonburi. They always tell us motorbike is too dangerous and drop everything they are doing to take us home). I tell her we are staying very far away, but she doesn't care. 

We show her the address in Thai (a word of advice always ask your hotel for the name written in Thai otherwise there is no luck when it comes to getting home..). We drive some strange way, stop twice at a gas station (which I'm pretty sure looking back on it, we are stopping to ask for directions, but I really have no clue.) Finally they decide to call the owner of the hotel to ask for directions (at this point it is really late...but the owner answers..) She answers and gives directions and meets us outside the hotel to make sure we make it in. Extremely nice and hospitable once again. 

So the plan is to awake up and go to the sunflower fields early in the morning before the opening ceremony for the monkeys--which is at 10am. So we wake up and hope that we can bribe a songtao driver to take us to the sunflower fields instead of having to drive all the way back into town. We walk out to the main rode and ask two different songtoa drivers. We show pictures of sunflowers, pull out money, point, smile, laugh...but no luck. We ride a Songtao back into town and stop at the bus station. But of course, no. We need to be at the train station to get a bus to the sunflowers (which makes zero sense).  Now it is getting late and we are grouchy and need food. So okay rethink. Let's get food, go to the monkeys and then go to the sunflowers.

We venture back to School Milk and this time for food. Since I've arrived in Thailand there really isn't a difference between breakfast food, lunch food and dinner food. So I decide to go for the Green Curry at 9am, because it looks like it is full of vegetables. So we sit and wait and once again we notice things are taking awhile and about 20 minutes later we aren't surprised in the least when three of the waiters walk outside and help two of the other staff carry in bags and bags of groceries. Well at least we know it will be fresh. 

The curry was amazing, but in Thailand they don't wait for everything to be ready. They just bring it out as it in shifts. So of course mine arrives last and it is boiling hot. It is full of cauliflower, broccoli, greens, carrots, radishes and more vegetables than I've seen since I've been in Thailand (even more than the vegetarian restaurant I go to every day for lunch!). I try and scarf it down as fast as possible so we can head to the opening ceremony. 
asean monkey
ASEAN Monkeys

We arrive a few minutes late and nothing is really happening. There is a big tarp that is covering something--what I assumed was food. Then (surprise surprise) all of these people start an ASEAN parade. They have flags and are dressed in the traditional clothing from each country. The only difference is now many of them have these creepy monkey masks on. Then (no surprise once again) they all start doing gangnam style. Thai announcers for any type of event are so annoying. They have really high pitch voices and talk really loud. So it sound like this "a;lskjf;askljdf ASEAN a;slfjks;lkdjf;laksj gnangman style a;sldjkfa;slkjdf " repeat 7 million times and throw in a lot of "kahs". 
fruit & monkeys
Thanking Monkeys with a Feast of Fruit

We walk around and the sun is hot. Finally they shoot of this confetti and the remove the tarp to show a huge pit-like area filled with stuffed animal monkeys. SO strange. Then the feeding starts and monkeys are just all over the place. I'm over it and ready to see some sunflowers. 
stuffed animals
Strange Monkey Dolls

So we decide we've seen enough. We walked back to hotel that had sunflowers on the front window--figuring that was a good sign and they'd be able to point us in the right direction. But, they weren't really any help. We walked and stop along the way asking a lot of different people and prices were outrageous, but they all offered to take us in their pick up trucks. (side note--if you would like to get a job in Lopburi buy a pick up truck put in two wooden benches and cover it with a tarp and you will make millions..) We didn't really like the attitudes of any of the people offering so we kept walking, but we were determined. Then here comes Door (at this point I didn't know Door, but for the rest of my Chonburi friends he was a dear old friend). 

Door: Our Personal Chauffeur for the weekend
Their ride home experience from the night before had been similar. They leave the bar and try to find motorbikes, but the owner of the bar refuses to let them go. He tells them "wait wait..I'll call my brother." He calls and wakes up his brother (Door) to bring his truck and take them home. Of course, Door takes them home (Truck ride #2 for most of the group..). So here pops up Door again and he says he will take us for 100 baht a person. That seems like an awful lot, but it is far and we do want to go. We barging a little and end up settling for 80 baht a person (so do the math Door makes 560 baht in less than an hour..this is 160 baht more than I make for tutoring for 1 hour...like I said I'm thinking of getting in the pick up truck Lopburi business.)

truck ride # 2
Yellow spinners to match the sunflowers
So we go (and yes mom sorry once again...no seat belts, maybe you shouldn't have read this blog entry..) and it is amazing. Each year all the farmers take turns planting the sunflowers so that there will be sunflowers in bloom for two months. The trip was about 20 minutes away and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees as we entered the countryside. There were mountains in the background and it was kind of sunny kind of cloudy so it was perfect. 

On our journey there and on the trip back we had more people take pictures of us than I've ever had in my life. I'm not even sure why--Thai people ride around in the back of trucks all the time. People flashed their lights, rolled down their windows and would yell "smile" as they took our picture. I'm really not sure what they are going to do with the pictures..maybe upload to facebook with the caption of "Dumb Farangs." Wouldn't be surprised.
sunflower field group
Beautiful Sunflower and the whole group
Well that is the tale of Lopburi. Today we made final plans for three more trips: This weekend Bangkok for Alicia's 25th Birthday, 2nd weekend in December Chaing Mai for Laura's Birthday, and New Years Eve will be spent on Koh Chang Island. I am so excited about all of them and can't even imagine how many crazy and exhausting stories each of the weekends will have! 

Good Morning Gangnam Style Exercise

Lunch Time!
So I’ve talked a little about the morning flag ceremony. I get to school between 7:15-7:45. I have a feeling as the semester goes on I will get here closer to 7:45. During that time I print, make copies/do anything else I need to do for my lesson plan that day. The kids trickle into the classroom, stopping by my desk one by one to say “Good Morning Teachaa Esther.” Then a song comes on over the overhead speaker (there are speakers everywhere in Thailand--it is said that you could be walking down the street and suddenly the anthem will play and you must stop immediately.) At this point the students know to get into a line and they start the “Line, Line, Line.” “Stay, Stay, Stay” process.

Then we head out into the heat--which is hot again. The boys and girls separate: girls in one straight line in the front and boys one straight line in the back. Sweat trickles down their powdery white faces and the squirm and squint as the ceremony begins. Five 6th graders stand in the middle with a microphone and they lead the ceremony as the flag reaches the top: lots of “kraps” and bowing and sometimes the band plays and sometimes not. Then they normally (aka the last week it has been something different every day and I never have any clue what is coming next) march up to the main stage and pass off the mic to someone high up in the ranks and then they talk and talk and talk, more kraps/kahs and bowing and then suddenly we head back inside.

Post Completion: Thai teacher said--"Teacher, Red" & pointed to the hat..Pretending I don't understand. Not Changing...
But not today! I thought we were lining back up to go inside, but the next thing I know one of the older grades (not sure which one) is spreading out in the main part of the courtyard (this is a big courtyard just so you know..very large enough for probably 125ish of them to spread out in this area). And then, the best part--they place an aerobics platform in the very middle of the courtyard and the PE teacher (in his lovely pink shirt..remember we are all matching again today) jumps up on the platform. Then I hear “teachaa teacchha, no see” and pointing to the kindergarteners and then the bench. “you there, you there.” What...? Confusion? Dumb farang look? Huh? “exercises teacher” So I stood up on the bench, music starts and simple arms stretches begin. Okay, deep breath--same stretches as America. I can do this!
Afternoon Coffee Spot
Coffee Love.
Then imagine Richard Simmons Jane Fonda mix of exercises. Stepping this way and then that and arms over head and I’m so confused..not good at the whole arms and legs at the same time. But I keep it going and the kids are loving it. Polyester starts soaking up the sweat and I keep smiling at the other teachers (which I might add all still have both feet on the ground floor and the farang gets the luxury of dancing on the table) I’m not sure why I didn’t see it coming--but I didn’t. But it came-- “Hey sexy lad--ayy” over the overhead and then the exercise reaches an all time max. Gangnam style here we go. Friday morning 8am I am standing on a park bench doing Gangnam style so my kindergarteners can watch and follow, pink polyester and all. What were you doing at 8am on Friday morning? I’m guessing you probably weren’t dancing on tables for kindergartners....Only in Thailand..Heyyyy sexy laddaay for all the world to hear.

Teacher Esther


So yesterday was day two of teaching. Wednesday was the day we were introduced to all staff. We were warned that there would be a lot of whispering and pointing as we introduced ourselves. My main goal was not to stand out--you don’t want to be too casual, but you also don’t want to be too fancy. Don’t want them to think you are sloppy and don’t care, but you also don’t want to be too beautiful--just like mean girls: fine line between a threat and a loser. Of course, too beautiful is a thing that I often have trouble with-haha (555).

So each teaching day starts with a “clock-in”. I’m in a super high tech school. We come in and using our fingerprint must “clock-in” by 8am. We arrived early on day one & two. Of course we stopped for coffee before school. Dee Cafe my favorite coffee shop states clearing on the window 8am-6pm, but guess what it’s Thailand and that means nothing. No clue what time he opens, but he is always open. I guess the timeframe is just a suggestion.

Sri Racha Beach

So we arrive coffees in hand and I meet 40 of my 120 students in my homeroom for the week. A bit awkward at first, but not really. Kind of shy, but oh man they warm of fast and Tea-chha, Tea-ccha suddenly fills the room. I am attacked with hugs, pulls and questions: some in Thai some in English. They know a lot though and they pick up motions and songs so fast you’d think they were robots.

Each morning when you start it goes: “Good Morning.” “Good Morning, Tea-ccha Esther. How are you?” “Fine, thank you. How are you?” “Fine, thank you.” Then line up and the Thai teacher says “Line, Line, Line” and the students say “Stay, Stay, Stay.” It took me awhile to figure out that was what they were saying, but figured it out today.

Then we head outside into what has turned into a pretty mild week, it has cooled off probably 5-10 degree since we’ve been here. Hope that it stays that way! We all stand at attention while, they raise the flag and then suddenly everyone is singing a Thai song, bowing, praying and all kinds of other things I don’t understand. I just stand there and smile, trying to go unnoticed.


Then we go back into the room. The rooms are so cute and nice and all have AC and they all open into the large courtyard which is where the flag ceremony takes place. Palm trees galore and the whole building is painted purple--the color of the princesses. Then we sit in a row and the students come one by one and wai & hug each of the thai teachers (1 thai teacher & 1 assistant) and then say good morning to me and give me a hug. A bit awkward first day, I had no idea what I was doing and the kids are so used to wai-ing and I wasn’t making them feel all that comfortable with the western introduction--I did much better this morning!

So little after good mornings the kids go into their Thai lessons and I rotate to different rooms between three different K classes. They’ve all already won my heart! I mean I really love so much!

This week was a bit more of a challenge because their were no topics so it was harder to come up with things. But, yesterday I went with introductions and show pictures of family! Then counted people in the family and then had the kids find me in the pictures--very confusing since to Thai three and four year olds, Rebekah, Hannah and I look like the same person and Carrie, Leah and I look like identical twins--so it was a bit of a challenge.

But the kids are SO smart. Today we did Halloween and learned: skeleton, monster, pumpkin and witch. We had motions that went with each and then sang five little pumpkins sitting on a fence. The song was pretty fast, but they got the motions with it. Then we played games where kids had to pick a motion and everyone guessed which one. Worked pretty well and I am getting the hang of what works and doesn’t work pretty fast!

Then we have lunch and it is done family style-ish as well. The kids have a lot of responsibility. They have to pass a box down the middle and the kids take their spoon and fork and then push the box along. Then pass down a pot and they pour in any extra soup they don’t eat. Then pass down fruit and they take one piece of fruit--amazing. This system would never work in USA. One kid would take 5 pieces and one kid would spill all over the place and one kid would forget to pass and then all the kids would be screaming. But here as efficient as an assembly line.

After lunch, we brush teeth, drink water out of silver cups and pull out our silk sleeping pallets with pillows included. They sleep for HOURS! 12-2:30. Lights go out and it is quiet! (maybe you are wondering how these kids stay quiet? -- rubber rulers are involved...) It is nap time now, imagine AC, dark room and I just had a lovely vegetarian pumpkin curry (for less than $1) and now I am sipping on a mocha espresso and it is already Friday--life in Thailand is good!

Post nap time, kids wake up (really whenever the teacher wants them to-- no set time. Then they wash their face and we hand out baby powder and they rub it on their face. So post nap tap everyone’s face becomes splotchy with white powder. I couldn’t figure it out at first, but I looked it up and it does date back to some Thai traditions as well as just acting as cooling agent. Still pretty bizarre in the eyes of a farang.

Polyester Pink Sport's Day Shirts 
Next week we will start storytime. Every afternoon I spent 15 minutes with each class and read then a few pages of a book that has to do with the theme of the week. Next week’s theme is Night and Day. So any creative ESL learning games, comment below and help a sista out!

One more quick story. I promise then I’m done for the day! Just so much to tell...and it’s only been two days. Yesterday my coordinator said “You be my office 12:30, storytelling competition.” In my mind I thought okay, she will give me details about judging/helping organize a storytelling competition in the future. But no, we arrive and three Thai students sitting meekly in the corner and our coordinator rambles off the criteria. “Mood, Theme, Organization, Interesting, Pronunciation, Morale..this % and that, judge now and winner will be school representative.” Suddenly their fate is left in my hands. I feel so under qualified! Why me? All three students begin the same “Ladies and Gentleman...” So funny to hear them say this. I couldn't tell what the first story was, it was pretty unorganized and it was confusing. The second was better, she did the three little pigs and she had good voices and her pronunciation was great! And then the third student was amazing. I don’t even think a native speaker could have done as well as she did. She told the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes (all of this is memorized too). She used different voices, hand motions and was amazing!

We all agreed she was the obvious winner. Then when we finished (the judges were two other farang teachers), My coordinator said “Esther I think you tutor her, yes?” First day and already taken on extra! Love it! (actually no italics here..) So I’m staying late on a Friday to help this adorable third grader win a storytelling competition. Only in Thailand.

Next post will include my lunch today. I met another Thai teacher and she already invited me to come spend the night at her house and visit the night market close to her house. “Yes come stay and when I need to come here I stay with you?” No shame...then she took me to my coffee shop (my second coffee shop close to school) and she told the owner “She is VIP here, remember her face and this is her order.” (in thai of course..) So cute!


Thailand, Bless her Heart

Untitled So my southern roots have taken me all the way to Thailand and prepared me quite nicely--direct quote “it doesn’t matter how much you teach your students or what you teach them or even the grades they make at the end of the semester (all thai students always pass, no one ever fails)--what really matters is how you present yourself and how much the director likes you.”
Bottom line, bless her heart is not just a southern saying in thai it translates directly to mai pen rai-- aka no worries/we think you are an idiot, we smile and laugh but we are all about “saving face” so we will not embarrass you now, not just yet..maybe later once you are gone-- classic bless your heart style.

We have now met Teacher Becky, Ajarn Prem, the director and all the fellow farang teachers. There are eleven new farang teachers: 5 in the EP (english/most expensive/best program) 5 in the JR (intermediate) and 1 in the Regular program (worst off & free for the students). Our school is very large and very well known for its English Program. There are over 200 teachers total and about 40 farang teachers (not all from the US--it is a mix).

All of the girls from my program are in the EP school--which is great! We have AC, smart boards, powerpoint and tons of parent involvement--which we’ve been told at times can be
overwhelming. As we rode from Bangkok to our city in a small van-- hot, tired and swished together on a bench seat our coordinator Ajarn Prem discussed salary, job descriptions and our fate for the next year.

No contracts, no interviewing, just one look and decisions were made. There was one position open and they needed someone staying for a year to fill the position because it was the most demanding and the teacher stays with one class all day and makes up more lesson plans etc. The other positions were 3rd, 4th, 5th grade and we rotate classes. Prem picked Helen to teach the harder position and increased her salary a good bit. It was an interesting experience, because we really didn’t have much say in the matter. Then the rest of the positions were up for grabs and they told us to just decide amongst ourselves who wanted which class. Very bizarre and very different than what we are accustom to.

The director of the school has been such an interesting component of the last two days. I imagine this is a small scale idea of what Thai royalty is like. He is very important and we must make sure we are polite, wai correctly and smile, nod and kah. Never ever turn your back when he is in the room and just keep smiling even when it’s all in Thai. Prem our coordinator does some of the translating, but he only speaks Thai even though he manages one of the largest english program schools in the region.

But back to my southern rooms--my mother would be proud. I was applauded on the fact that when asked if we had anything else to say or ask the director (as he just kind of awkwardly stood there and like I said he only speaks Thai so we just smile and nod..) I said “thank you for lunch, it was very good.” And immediately, his eyes and the coordinator’s eyes lit up and then we had a 20 minute conversation about traditional thai food. Which was great--except that we are sitting in tiny thai 1st grader chairs (which are half the size of the american 1st grade chairs) and we still have millions of more topics to cover for our training. To insure that I don’t bring myself down again, I’ll just quickly say today was not a good day. I am much more of a do-er and I am so ready to get in the classroom and do. I am so tired of listening and sitting to other’s experiences and other’s suggestions. It has been beneficial, but it is time to TEACH! And thank goodness only 1 more day and we will be teaching.

As of this morning I thought I was teaching 4th grade, but then our coordinator used the My Big Fat Greek Wedding trick and now even though it was our decisions on what grade we will be teaching--I am teaching kindergarten (hmm..not sure how that happened?). Mai pen rai...live it up thailand.

So the honeymoon stage has worn off a bit and I’ve had to step back and take a breather. Chonburi is hot and that means you don’t want to be outside walking around any time between 9-5pm and you don’t want to be in your apartment during that time either because that means you need your AC which = a larger/more expensive utility bill. I haven’t had that hard of time adjusting to the physical heat and humidity, but the sun is incredibly hot. It is so much hotter and more powerful than the sun at home.

And I’ve been so hot sleeping at night. I’ve tried my very hardest to just use the AC fan and not use the AC. It does cool off at night (which is surprising, because summer nights in the south often don’t), but I can’t seem to get a good draft in my room so even with the windows open the room is still and hot and I’ve been dying and sweating. So tonight I broke down and turned it on and cranked up the ac--phenomenal sleep finally!! And this is the “cool” season. I thought about opening my door to the porch and hoping that would create some wind flow but then realized that is an easy way for a gecko to get in and these geckos aren’t as friendly as the geico commercials and they are hard to catch once they dart into your room.