Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's becoming a bit difficult to think of new things to blog about, especially now that I have gotten into a routine each week and little actually changes. We did not end up going to the waterfalls on Saturday because one of my professors scheduled a make-up class that day (school runs Monday-Saturday here), but it was cancelled last minute. We were left with an open Saturday, and I cannot honestly remember what we did on that day lol. Sunday, however, is a different story. I went with Grapevine to Bangkok around 8:30am and we attended a Thai Christian church. It was not my cup of tea...and it was pushing two hours long. Plus, everything was in Thai so I did not understand anything anyway. After church, Beth and I went to a little store called 'La Villa' which sells a lot of 'farang' (foreigner) food. They had quite a bit of American food, but it was quite expensive. They sold peaches (the only ones I have seen in Thailand) for around $7 each! Unfortunately I was unable to find Clif Bars there :(

After that, Beth had to teach an English class so I met Lucas, Bernhard, and Megan at a pizza shop nearby. We had to wait until 3pm to go to Love Your Neighbor, so we sat in the restaurat for quite a while. I had a cheese pizza with no cheese :)

When it was time to meet everyone for Love Your Neighbor, we took the Skytrain to Supunkwai and made a lesson plan in a small coffee shop. We then took a taxi to a nearby slum to greet the kids we were going to teach. But,..there was a miscommunication. They did not expect us until next week, so it did not go as planned. The leader of the neighborhood was able to find about 10 kids to participate (there were about 15 teachers!) so they got quite a bit of attention. When we were introducing ourselves, we went around in a circle and said 'My name is (name)' and the children had to repeat what we said. When it was my turn, I said "My name is Adam'...and not a single child repeated after me. My name, for some reason, is extremely difficult for Thai's to say. It has not been pronounced correctly by anyone other than Americans since I arrived here six weeks ago lol. They usually pronounce it 'uhDUHM' with the stress at the end. Fortunately I am the only one around with a name that sounds anything like that so I can still tell when someone is addressing me.

Last night was another Souper Tuesday night. I was excited when one of the Grapevine staff me I could help them prepare the food, so I arrived two hours early and helped with chopping and cooking. The head cook, so to speak, is Mae. She was really happy to have me helping and is enjoyable to be around. After dinner, I washed dishes along with five other people (four thais and one german) for about an hour, the dishes kept coming! It was still really fun though.

Im about to go to my Statics class, so adios for now. Please leave comments, I dont usually reply to them but I really like to receive them. Thanks!

-uhDUHM ;)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sawat dee kuhp!

As you may have noticed, I changed the name of the blog. I am learning Thai quite slowly while still making some progress. I can read the Thai alphabet (at least the most common of the 44 consonants and 32 and can usually say a word close to correct when reading it in their alphabet (but I usually do not know what it means). I learn maybe three or four words a day just by being around the language, I think I should start studying Thai so I can learn at a much faster pace.

This weekend is going to be quite busy. Two of the Thai girls in Grapevine want to take Stephen and I to some waterfalls about two hours away on Saturday. Thai people are very anxious to show 'farang' (foreigners) their country, which can be quite convenient. (p.s...farang also means guava!). It will probably take the whole day to visit the waterfalls. Sunday I plan to go with Grapevine to one of the Bangkok slums for a new program they have called 'love your neighbor'. I do not yet know if Stephen is going, he doesn't seem to keen to attend. We will be teaching English to kids ranging from 2-12 in underprivileged areas, which will be quite interesting since I cannot teach them in Thai. There will be plenty of pictures on facebook I'm sure.

Tonight is the 4th of July party (albeit it is being held on the 7th) at Grapevine. There will be fireworks, funnel cakes, snacks and games. I made chocolate oatmeal cookies yesterday to bring to the party but they did not set (thanks to the humidity), so they are now in the fridge and hopefully setting.

Midterms are in three weeks and I do not know that Im prepared for them, the professors here are not too consistent when assigning homework and since classes only meet once a week the knowledge does not stay in the mind too long. I also have to buy a different calculator for the midterms, only one type is allowed (I have no idea why though).

This is a short/rushed post so it probably isnt too interesting, but I have to head to class now or I will be late!

kahpkoonkhup! of the cheapest forms of transportation here is a 'sohng tow', which is basically a pickup truck with benches running along the two sides in the back and a tall covering with handrails. Me and Stephen rode on one the other day with 29 other people...imagine fitting 31 people in the back of a pickup! (the thais own the mexicans as far as cramming people into pickups :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Yesterday steven, paul and I went to Bangkok to a market (pronounced talaad jatujak). We call it jj's for short, its easier on the tongue lol. It was the first time we ever took the city bus anywhere, and we were pleasently surprised by its cool and inviting atmosphere. There are two kinds of buses here, the yellow, which are air-conditioned, and the blue, which are not. We took the yellow #29 all the way to our destination (about an hour away) for only 20 baht, which is less than a dollar (about 60c). We went to JJs because steven wanted to see the pet section, which hosts many more pets than do the pet stores in America.

Now, JJ's isnt an average market. It is 35 acres and nearly devoid of anything that would help you find your way. We try to stay on the outer perimeter when we go there so we have an easier time leaving. There is a skytrain station next to one of the exit gates, so transportation around bangkok is easily accessible from JJs.

Dear lord. The pet section was so absolutely atrocious. There were puppies and kittens of course, but there were also squirrels, sugar gliders, and little baby hedgehogs. Most were kept in very confining cages, something I am not a fan of. We only stayed there for a few minutes then returned to the outer perimeter, next to the plant section. Oh my goodness....they had every kind of plant imaginable. There were all sorts of fruit trees, including durian, rambuchan, lychee, papaya, mango, lime, lemon, banana, longan, coconut, jackfruit, tamarind, tropical plum, and several others that I could not identify. I am now the proud owner of a lime tree named sprite and a mango tree dubbed mr. mangoes. Awesome? Indeed. Pictures will be available soon.

From Jjs we went to Siam Paragon, which is a 9-story supermall in the middle of bangkok. We only went there to eat some mexican food, so we will be returning next weekend to see all the shops in that mall. The bottom floor hosts southeast asia's largest aquarium and an imax theater. I know the fourth floor had some car dealers (jaguar, porche, lamburgini, etc.) and Im guessing there are all sorts of cool stores in that mall.

When it was time to return to the dorm, paul left for some reason while we were in bangkok and we were told to take a specific bus with a yellow sign and it had to say #29. I asked a lady on the sidewalk in broken thai where the bus stop is and she responded in english we went to the bus stop and waited with about 300 others as all sorts of buses piled in and gathered customers. We saw several 29 buses, but all had a blue sign. Finally we saw one with a yellow sign and boarded (with a lime and mango tree in hand) and pushed into the crowd of people on the bus. When the ticket lady got to us, i told here where we were going and she said it was the wrong bus...we had an 'oh shit' moment for a minute there then asked why it didnt go where we needed to go. It turns out we boarded a number 8 bus, and since i was only looking for a yellow sign i forgot to look at the number. She said the bus was about to turn off onto a different interstate so she had the bus driver open the door (we were in the middle of the interstate in rush hour traffic) and we got off and weaved through traffic to get to the side of the road (all while carrying fruit trees). We waited for a long time for a vacant taxi but all were full, so we walked all the way back to the bus station (still carrying fruit trees) and finally boarded the correct bus. An hour later, we were home, and sprite and mr. mangoes have a nice spot on the balcony.