Saturday at Rajabhat University

After spending a couple of years here, I’ve been lucky enough to form some friendships with my fellow Thai teachers over time.  One of my Anuban 3 former co-teachers, Teacher Pond, has a friend who is currently a lecturer at Surat Rajabhat University.  We’ve remained friends since our first meeting about a year and a half ago.

This past Saturday, I was invited to speak to her class.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  In my mind, all I could think about was an American university, but I knew that would be quite off.  I was surprised by the small number of students, but that’s another difference between west and east.  The class size itself was about 20 students.  Things started off a bit slow, as I think they were a bit unsure of what to ask or say in front of a foreigner.  🙂

I was surprised that in a university class, the leader says, “Stand up, please!” but it was a nice way to break the ice.  I used some of my recycled P5 humor on them and thankfully it worked!

In the class, we worked on the students’ resumes.  I tried to sell them on the point of if they’re looking for a job, put something down that will make them stand apart from the crowd.  I cited a few examples and I think it worked to some degree.  The students were all very pleasant and of course wanted my Facebook.  After writing it on the board, my phone went off non stop for a few minutes with requests.

It’s been fun seeing what university students are like these days, especially across a different culture.  It seems like just the other day I was finishing school, but that was over 10 years ago.  Amazing how fast things fly!

I was invited back again to talk to the class and I will go if asked.  It was a fun and interesting way to spend a Saturday morning and I was happy to help out as much as I could.

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Annual Thanksgiving Party at Sweet Kitchen!

In what’s fast becoming the staff’s favorite gathering of the year, the Thida (and Noonoy!) teachers met together to celebrate Thanksgiving, our home away from home tradition.  For several of our teachers, this is their first trip away from home during Thanksgiving, while for others it’s becoming a familiar event.

Thankfully we had our usual table smack dab in the middle of the restaurant!  It’s great we’re able to have such a great setup.  Many thanks go out to Peter for paying for everything, Ali T. for coordinating the event, and the owner of Sweet Kitchen for having us!

It’s amazing how quickly we come back from October break and are already staring the Christmas holidays down in a few weeks.  It was nice to have the opportunity to hang out with co-workers without the stress of class, marking notebooks, making quizzes, etc. on our minds.  I feel I can speak for the whole staff when I say we really enjoy our work, but always nice to know the others in the room on a more personal level.  I think it brings us closer together as a staff and helps us understand one another better!

Of course….now the food!  I’m not much of one to take photos of food and I was quite hungry, so you’ll have to do a mental visualization of the spread.  It wasn’t lacking at all!  Delicious chicken, salad, macaroni and cheese, large slices of bread, and sweet potatoes were awaiting us as we arrived!  Top it off with some ice cream and a good bit of drink and we were all happy campers!

It wouldn’t be the holidays if something unique didn’t happen and Saturday evening was no different.  Usually, we have parking access right in front of Sweet Kitchen, but due to the evening markets Peter was forced to park in the temple down the road.  Thankfully, we had team players to fetch the cups, drinks, etc., so avoided a bit of a pickle with that one!

Overall, everybody had a blast and headed out to some local watering holes afterwards.  I don’t think I’ve seen so many Super teachers together in one spot, so that was a great sight to see!  It might be our last time get together until after the New Year and I think we all enjoyed spending some time together!

I’m finally now not feeling full from Saturday.  🙂

Get your Burger-On in Surat Thani

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Real beef burgers available at a reasonable price are in Surat Thani. Burger-On is located between Masuk bar and Drunky Bear bar on Amphur Rd. near the junction with Talad Mai Rd. The hours can be a bit inconsistently as it just recently opened and supplies aren’t always available, but the owner tries to be open from 5p.m. to 11p.m. (usually on weekends). The burgers come fully loaded with grilled onions, cheese, *real* bacon and their own special (slightly) spicy mayo spread. Ketchup and mustard are also available. The beef burger I just described costs me 145B. Other burgers may vary in price. You can get a double burger if you have the stomach capacity, or if beef is not your cup of tea they also have pork burgers. Fries are currently not available but they are working on getting them ASAP. I find the location to be perfect because Masuk and Drunky Bear are both pretty happening bars in Surat Thani so after a long work week I can head there, grab a beer, a real beef burger and play some pool or foosball (table football). Ya just can’t beat that sense of home in Thailand! Do yourself a favor and grab one of these delicious treats. I’ll see you there. screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-3-19-56-pm

Near Motorcycle Accident Experience

In my nearly three years in Thailand and Surat Thani, I’ve been lucky and fortunate enough to avoid any sort of major motorbike accident.  There was the initial one my first year, when a car was perpendicular to the road and backed up into my rear tire, sending me on a baseball style slide.  Luckily, I was able to see that coming and brace myself.  Minimal scratching and pain.

I dodged a big bullet yesterday on my way home from the gym.  I was attempting to pick up my laundry from my usual spot, right next to my old stomping grounds off Soi 3 on Karunrat Road.  Traffic backs up pretty badly around that time and yesterday was no different.  While stopped waiting for the congestion to sort itself out, I felt some pressure on my right foot.  Didn’t take me long to realize it was a car tire!  It didn’t hurt too much–I felt more shocked than anything.  Thankfully the car wasn’t moving very fast at all (we were just about to start going), so the tire didn’t go over my whole foot, just the outside part of my right one.  I was able to bang on his hood several times to alert him, “Hey!  You’re on my foot!”

The driver of the car was gracious enough to pull over to the side of the road and check to see if I was ok.  I’m very thankful for that.  I was more thankful he was driving a small hatchback vs. a larger SUV or truck.  I probably would’ve ended with a different result if that was the case!

After the initial shock of what happened wore off, I was able to test my foot with no pain, just a bit of soreness.  I iced it down last night and have almost forgotten about it today.  I’m not sure if I could’ve done anything to avoid it, so I have to chalk it up to one of those weird things that happen in life.  I’m just happy it ended as well as it did!

Hopefully no more motorbike accidents to report in the future!

 

Loi Krathong

This year’s Loi Krathong festival differed from last year’s. Firstly, as with all celebrations since the passing of the King, it was a more subdued celebration. Whilst families still flocked to the river to release their beautiful floral krathongs in offering to the river, very few paper lanterns were lit and sent up into the night sky. This was out of respect for the King.

The festival, this year, also fell on a rare celestial event. The evening marked the arrival of the largest super-moon since 1948. It was pretty spectacular watching the swollen, yellow moon rising up over the city skyline.

I was lucky enough to have been invited to watch the events from the water on a friend’s boat. It was truly a spectacle to behold, watching the candle-lit krathongs cascading down the riverbank and floating serenely down the river. Throngs of families stood along the river and on the shores of Koh Lamphu. Special baskets on long sticks had been made to help people launch their offerings into the river.

I bought a beautiful banana leaf, and purple orchid krathong from the market beside the river. We sailed the boat over to a sheltered spot to light the incense and candle at its centre. I made a wish for my future before lowering it into the water and sending it on its way. Let’s see if all my wishes come true!

This year’s Loi Krathong festival differed from last year’s. Firstly, as with all celebrations since the passing of the King, it was a more subdued celebration. Whilst families still flocked to the river to release their beautiful floral krathongs in offering to the river, very few paper lanterns were lit and sent up into the night sky. This was out of respect for the King.

The festival, this year, also fell on a rare celestial event. The evening marked the arrival of the largest super-moon since 1948. It was pretty spectacular watching the swollen, yellow moon rising up over the city skyline.

I was lucky enough to have been invited to watch the events from the water on a friend’s boat. It was truly a spectacle to behold, watching the candle-lit krathongs cascading down the riverbank and floating serenely down the river. Throngs of families stood along the river and on the shores of Koh Lamphu. Special baskets on long sticks had been made to help people launch their offerings into the river.

I bought a beautiful banana leaf, and purple orchid krathong from the market beside the river. We sailed the boat over to a sheltered spot to light the incense and candle at its centre. I made a wish for my future before lowering it into the water and sending it on its way. Let’s see if all my wishes come true!DSCN6340.JPG

BINGO!

bingo-2When choosing a game to help my students review new material, BINGO never fails to do the job! I normally save it for a Friday treat after we have finished our quizzes. Although they may not realize it at the time, BINGO is a great way to review English, Math, or Science – fun and educational! This week we used BINGO to review science vocabulary. Since there were 16 squares on their sheets, I had the students come up with 16 words to review. They came up with great ones such as “extinction,” “electrical insulator,” “deforestation,” and “carnivore.” Some of these words were from months ago – it’s crazy how much they can remember! We put all the words on the board and the students chose where to place each one on their boards, and then the fun began! Rather than just say the word out loud, I like to give the definition to make my kiddos put in some effort. For example, if I want them to cross out “Carnivore,” I will say, “Animals that only eat meat.” After a few words, the shouts of “BINGO!!!!” begin. The room gets pretty crazy but it’s worth it! I definitely recommend playing BINGO with your students. Good luck!

Surviving Rainy Season

Before I moved to Thailand, I was a bit nervous about dealing with an entire season of rain. Rainy season can technically start as early as June and last as far as December, but it varies every year. I remember my first year in Surat it seemed to rain literally every morning, which you can imagine made getting out of bed and driving to school super fun. This year we’ve been pretty lucky with shorter rainstorms and more sunny days. Although this year has been a breeze compared to last year, these tips on how to survive the rain have still been very helpful:

  1. Always Bring Your Poncho – This seems obvious, but it’s actually surprising how often my friends and I forget this very crucial tool to survive the rain.
  1. Drive carefully – Driving motorbikes in Thailand iblog2-1s already pretty dangerous, but the rain can make it even worse! When it rains, drive slowly and stay aware of those around you, especially those carrying umbrellas while driving.
  1. Baking Powder!!! – It sounds random, but I keep a bowl of baking powder in my wardrobe to avoid moldy clothes. The baking powder absorbs the moisture in the air and keeps everything smelling fresh.

 

  1. Less High-Fives – The more rain, the more snotty children. Try and stay clear of germs by always washing your hands after class.
  1. Embrace the Storm – Constant rain can really start to get you down if you let it. During rainy season it helps to just expect the rain and not think about it too much. Follow these tips and don’t let the rain literally rain on your parade!