Enjoying the Holidays!

Well, the large bulk of the semester is almost over…even though it feels like we’ve just started.  Only 8 weeks left in the school year before another chapter is in the books!

It’s been nice to have a bit of a break–there’s been a lot of moving parts going on with midterm tests (making the individual headers not a fun task!), Christmas events, and plans to go away.

Last Monday we gathered in the main bowl area at Thida for the annual Christmas assembly.  While the large majority of it was in Thai, each teacher received a nice, thick blanket!  It was a very generous gesture from the Thai staff and I believe each of the teachers were quite thankful!

Tuesday was the last day before the break, as Wednesday was the school carnival and Thida Christmas party.  Last year we were caught a bit off guard and didn’t have a song/dance quite prepped.  Big kudos to Alex and Ashton for coming up with something!  We won’t be hitting Broadway any time soon, but I think each teacher (both farang and Thai) got a kick out of it!  Of course, a little whiskey never hurt when getting up there.  🙂

Of course, no Christmas week would’ve been complete without a classroom party.  I purchased a cake and napkins and had the kids bring in a snack/drink, etc.  Luckily  a few kids volunteered to bring in some misc. things like plates and cups.  At the end of last term I had a pizza party that set me back a few Baht!  This option was more reasonable.

It’s a been a great start to the first half of the term and here’s hoping to a great New Year and end to the school year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Playing Santa at STIS

On Friday I had the treat to don the full red suit, beard, and stocking cap as Santa Claus over at the International School!  It was a great time overall–I know I enjoyed it and I think the students did as well.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I’ve only been out there about 3 times.  Luckily, my ‘holding area’ was the teachers’ room with air con and wifi.  As the students and parents started arriving, I could hear their voices practicing some Christmas Carols.

A fellow teacher, Marcus, got things going by yelling, “Ho, ho, ho!”  and tricking the students into thinking he was Santa.  Peter did the same thing next, riling them up pretty good.  When I heard the chants for “Santa, Santa!” I could feel myself in a full body sweat–not out of nerves, just the fact it was so darn hot under it!

The students all received a gift…from Mom and Dad, not Santa!  Peter presented myself with a present and I called out the nickname to the crowd.  I was worried I’d butcher a good number of them, but luckily the crowd was forgiving that Santa isn’t Thai.  🙂

Of course, there were many pictures and a few crying children.  Probably because of my shotty beard!  Overall, the group was great and a few of the children came up to hug Santa afterwards.

Good thing I wore athletic shorts and a red t-shirt as I had trouble keeping my suit in one working piece!  I ripped up the knee pretty good would’ve been a bit embarrassed if I didn’t have them on underneath!  The pants were extremely large, even with the drawstring tied.  I had to make sure to hold them up when waving hello and goodbye to the crowd so they wouldn’t fall down!  I did enjoying wearing the Santa suit on my bike ride home and got a lot of interesting looks and horn honks.

I was happy and excited to play Santa as I’ll work for a month at the International School starting in March.  The kids seem like great children to work with and are very intelligent and well-spoken.

Already looking forward to Christmas 2016!

 

 

Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai

The name of this curry comes from the color of the dish. The dish is a base of coconut milk and “sweet” green chilies, leaving this curry to be less spicy than the traditional red curries.

 

Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai (Chicken Green Curry) w. homemade green curry paste

Ingredients

1-2 tbsp Green curry paste (see recipe below)

30g Sliced chicken

150cc Coconut milk

70cc Water

¼ cup Chopped eggplant ( Carrot or long bean can be substituted if desired.)

3pcs. Chopped kaffir lime leaf

1 tbsp Chopped galangal

¼ cup Thai basil leaves

3 pcs Sliced red chili

1 ½ tsp Sugar

1 tbsp Fish or soy sauce

1 tbs Seasoning powder

Preparation

  1. Add coconut milk and water into a pot, let it boil.
  2. Add Kaffir leaf, lemongrass and galangal.
  3. Once boiling, add chicken, seasoning powder vegetables, sugar and fish/soy sauce.
  4. Once chicken and vegetables are well done, add the green curry paste.
  5. Turn off gas, add Thai basil, red chili.
  6. Serve hot over rice (optional).

 

Green Curry Paste for Kaeng Khaio Wan Kai

Ingredients

5 pcs. Chili leaves

1-2 pcs. Chopped green or red chili

1-2 pcs. Chopped garlic

3 pcs. Chopped galangal

1 pc. Chopped kaffir lime

1.2 tps. Salt

5 pcs. Chopped shallots

10 pcs. White pepper corn

½ tbs. Chopped coriander

4 pcs. Chopped lemon grass

1 tsp. Shrimp paste

Preparation

Grind all ingredients (except the chili leaf) together in a mortar until a paste is created. Next, grind the chili leaf and add a bit of water. Filter the green solution and add to the paste!

 

Chicken Massaman Curry

Cheers to my favorite dish! I’ve searched far and wide for the perfect massaman curry. After a lot of consideration, I dub “The massaman place” in Surat Thani my favorite! Its no surprise that Surat has the best massaman curry considering it is a Southern Thai dish, influenced by Malay and Indian cuisine.

This recipe is simple and easily to follow, bound to leave your mouth watering!

 

Ingredients

1-2 tbsp. Massaman curry paste

30g Chopped chicken ( or beef)

20g Boiled potatoes (chopped)

150cc Coconut milk

10g Sliced Onions

1-2 tbsp. roasted peanuts

1-2 tbsp. seasoning

1-2 tbsp. palm sugar

70cc Water

1 tbs. Thai chili paste oil

Preparation

1.Heat coconut milk and water.

  1. Add curry paste and stir until boiled.
  2. Add chicken, sugar, seasonings, peanuts, potatoes, onions, seasoning and let boil.
  3. Top with Thai chili paste and serve over steam rice/Muslim roti (optional).

 

Veggie Prawn Spring Rolls

Eating out in Surat is an absolute dream; food is cheap, spicy and delicious! Thai food is so diverse yet (usually) simple. As my year in Thailand is quickly coming to an end, I am starting to reflect on my favorite Thai things. Food has not only made it onto my list, but it ranked number one!

Considering food is so incredibly cheap in Surat Thani I haven’t had to cook. But, once I return to the States, eating out will be a luxury, not a lifestyle. I’ve come to realize that eating my favorite dishes at home will cost me 10 times more than it costs here in Thailand! That’s insane! So, the only answer is to learn how to make my favorite Thai dishes! I attended a cooking class on Koh Samui where I learned how to create my own Thai masterpieces. The price was hefty, but worth every Baht. I plan to share what I learned so that you can cook Thai meals once you return to your corner of this marvelous earth!

 

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp. Cooking oil

1 egg yolk

3-4 spring roll pastry sheet (room temperature)

3-4 chopped prawns

1-2 cloves chopped Garlic

2-3 cups mixed vegetables (cabbage, greens sprouts, carrot, onion)

½ -1 cup grass noodle

1 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tbsp .soy sauce

½ tsb. seasoning powder (option)

1 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. black soy sauce

¼ cup water

 

Preparation

  1. Add chopped garlic to a pan with cooking oil. Stir until yellow.
  2. Add the mixed veggies, grass noodle, water, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir.
  3. Add in the seasoning powder (optional), sugar, soy sauce. Stir until well done.
  4. Drain all juices.
  5. Roll items into spring roll sheets, wet the edge with egg yolk.
  6. Heat oil to medium heat, gently place each spring roll into the pan.
  7. Fry until golden brown. Next, remove from pan and place on a cooling screen.
  8. Garnish with sweet chili sauce.

A Great Celebratory Dinner!

My, how the time has flown!  I can’t believe another year has come and gone.  With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, it’s only a few weeks from Christmas, the New Year, and another edition of Super English in the books!

Luckily, the Super team took some time to take a step back and get together for a wonderful dinner thrown by Peter and his family at Sweet Kitchen.  As we’re all a long ways from home, it was a great way to get together, enjoy some laughs with other teachers we don’t see often, and loosen the belts a little!

We’ve had much to be thankful for–Ali for starts prepared an excellent spread of chicken, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, salad, bread, and a vegetable mix.  Needles to say, it was awesome!  I figured I’d arrive a few minutes early to have a chance to say hello to some Super teachers I don’t see as much…but the moment I got there, forks were into their plates!  I probably put on a good few pounds during that meal, but it was well worth it!  Thanksgiving can be a tough time for us being so far from home and loved ones, so taking the chance to celebrate with our new family is very important.

Of course, there was much more than just food to toast to.  We’ve welcomed two new teachers, Alex and Ashton, into the Thida fold (three if you include Alli in August) so hopefully they had a chance to see a different side of people rather than just school-mode.  We’re thankful to have them and luckily they’ll be with us again next year!

Just as important has been how smoothly the teachers at STIS have kept the ship moving forward.  We have a great team out there and as they near the end of their term, we’re lucky to have them–I trust they’ll enjoy their time off!

Caitlin surprised us all with her Super English website makeover.  I hadn’t had the opportunity to look at it until today and she did a wonderful job!  Lots of photos, testimonials, articles and other useful information for curious new teachers looking to come to Surat Thani!

Last but not least, we’re all thankful for Peter to put on the event for us!  I know it’s time consuming with all he has on his plate (pun intended), but we’re lucky we have strong leadership at the top that fosters a strong bond with all of our teachers.  That goes a long way with all of us and we’re very thankful for Peter and his family, the people behind the scenes at STIS who do so much, and everybody who puts in the elbow grease day in and day out to make Super English a leader in the teaching community in town!  Great job everybody!

Stay tuned for a late December blog highlighting my trip to STIS to play Santa….suit and all!  I’m looking forward to it and will probably need a Leo afterwards, ha!