Tuesday, June 29, 2010

School has been progressing well. I really enjoy several of my classes, especially Hydraulics and Fluid Dynamics. My hydraulics professor, Dr. Winyu, is supposedly the best in his field in all of Asia. He is a great teacher even though he decided to add an hour and a half of lecture each week for the rest of the semester. He uses this time to give a quiz, give the homework, and provide extra examples so that everybody in the class is understanding the material. I attend hydraulics twice on Tuesday and once on Wednesday (it is the only class I have that is not a three hour session once a week). I do not think professors can do that in America, just add class hours on a whim, but oh well. At least its a class I enjoy. Three out of the four days per week I'm in school are strictly fluid classes, with the dreaded Computational Methods lecture on Thursday morning and Thai Studies every Thursday afternoon.

Did you know the whole entirety of the history of Thailand is easily written in a hand-sized 100-page book? It's true, I had to read it in Thai Studies. And it only took about three hours to read. There are very few surviving documents of Thailand before the 19th century, and accordingly very little is known about Thailand before the 1800's. Most pre-modern historical facts of Thailand are topics of much debate, and since no clear conclusion can be drawn, Thai history books have only a handful of pages on the years before the 1800's and the rest of the book accounts for the years following. I assume that is why this class is labeled "Thai Studies" instead of "Thai History". According to the syllabus, only the first few weeks are covering history and the rest of the semester is dedicated to culture, geography, religion, and similar topics. I enjoy this class as well, the professor is very enthusiastic about the material.

Last week, my fried Lucas (from Alabama) told me about an organization on campus called Grapevine. It is a Christian organization, but it is not meant to impose religion on others. Grapevine (from what I have gathered so far) is like an outreach program that includes all sorts of people and aims at doing good in the community. I might have my facts skewed, but in the coming weeks I should know more. Last Monday Steven and I went to a place on campus called Interpark and watched the world cup game between Portugal and Brazil with many of the members of Grapevine. They are very nice people and we had a lot of fun. Last night, Steven and I went to 'Souper Tuesday' at Grapevine and we had a blast. When we got there we played board and card games with some of the people there for about an hour, then they served soup, bread, rice, and fruit tea. After dinner they acted out a parable and played some songs with their band. It was a lot of fun meeting these people and we plan to hang out with them again tomorrow, when they are auctioning off items after the night market. It is nice to have something to do besides going back to the room every day after class, especially when Steven has been in the room all day waiting for me to return.

I do not remember if I put this in the last post, but I joined the American Studes Club (at the request of Boy and Bow). Last Wednesday was the official first meeting, and I was a guest speaker for all the new recruitees. Steven went up there with me and he introduced himself. It is so amazing to see how interested Thai people are in American culture, since the interest is not mutual for most Americans (I still remember some people asking me where Thailand is located in the world after I told them I was coming here...lol). They are fascinated with what they see of America in movies and have a great interest in going to the USA. The club meetings are held in Thai for the most part, but usually Anisa will translate for me and Steven. We are going tonight (it is about noon on Wednesday right now). Also tonight there is a small market that sets itself up in front of my dorm building, they sell food, clothes, and a lot of random goods.

Did I mention I tried a grasshopper?

Mother, I forgot to tell you, there are like seven different colors of doves here...it is so strange to see green and orange-brown doves walking around campus. The other day Steven and I tried really hard to get a picture of a group of three white herons (or storks...Im not really sure what they are called) but they were ninja-like and thwarted every picture we tried to take of them. We have also seen a few of the Monitor Lizards, but none were in a decent place for a picture. There are geckos crawling around all over the ceilings and walls around campus at night, and we have seen a few lizards lurking about. On a creepier note, our room is crawling with little tiny ants...I have cleaned the floors twice with clorox but they keep reappearing. We are extremely careful not to get crumbs anywhere (just ask Steven, he is about to kill me what with how clean and orderly I like the room to be lol). They do not bite and they keep to themselves so we just coexist.

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