Friday, September 24, 2010

It's been a long time since the last post (almost three months, lol), but here is what has been happening.

With the exception of one class, I did really well on my midterms. I got the highest grade in the class in both Fluid Dynamics and Computational Methods in Civil Engineering, the second of which is the undergraduate/graduate mixed class I have been so worried about this whole semester. It has been really tough but clearly the studying paid off. I got the 10th highest grade of 270 students in my Thai Studies class, I'd say I did pretty well considering I was competing with 268 native Thais. I did about average in Hydraulics, and bombed Statics. The statics exam was, in my opinion, the easiest exam I took. I was the first one done in the class and I thought it was extremely easy. But when I got my result, I was quite sad to see a 24/50. The second lowest grade in the class. I talked to my professor, who is not really a professor but a bridge designer at the Thailand Department of Transportation, who comes to campus once a week to teach my class. I looked over my exam and was upset about many things he took off points for. I was even more upset that he explained the questions in Thai in the exam room, which is against the rules. At the time I did not care because the questions were easy, but when I went to talk to him, he had clearly said some things while speaking Thai that I needed to know about the questions. When I brought that up, he became pretty angry and argued with me. I decided it is best not to be on a professor's bad side, so I smiled and thanked him and moped all the way back to my dorm.

The school system here is different than in America in that the final grade in each class is made up solely of the midterm and final grade. Also, grades are given on the 'bell curve', where only 10% of the students can receive and A, and 10% must receive an F. Since I was in the bottom 2 in Statics, I am on track to receive an F at the moment. I am going to have to study really hard for the exam to pass the class now. The good news is that I have never missed a class, and most of the students in the room have. The professor cares a lot about attendance so maybe I will get some brownie points ^^

Finals start in less than two weeks so I need to start studying pretty soon. The only classes I am worried about are Statics and Comp Methods. I will post how the results turn out.

In other news, I moved yesterday. My old dorm cost about twice as much as all the other dorms on the road I live on, mainly because it is so close to campus. My new dorm means I have a two mile walk to school every day in the sweltering humid weather, and the room is about 1/3 the size of my old room. The good news is that it is much cleaner, and the bathroom is not on the balcony (I don't even have a balcony now, lol). It is also much closer to Grapevine, where I hang out most nights. So far I have only seen two ants, and they were promptly squished on sight lest they lead their colony to my room.

I speak Thai fluently now. Haha, just kidding. In fact, I am surprised at how little Thai I know after being here for four months. I do, however, have quite a knack for the five tones they use, which is really hard for most people to master. Now I just need to learn vocabulary. I am fairly good at writing and reading, if only I knew what the words I was reading meant. My Thai friends are always telling my that my pronunciation is superb (I like to gloat, can you tell?) so it is good motivation to keep learning.

After finals I am going to Laos or Cambodia for a few days, the traveling to Phuket and Phi Phi Islands with my American and Thai friends. Travel is very inexpensive in Asia, so the estimated cost for the whole week and a half of vacation is around $150 all inclusive. That's a great deal, especially if you could see the places we are going. Google Phuket or Phi Phi Islands, they are tropical paradises. I'm excited.

My dad put money in my account to buy a new camera (Thanks again!) because I left mine in the taxi the first night I was in Thailand. I found a nice one at a decent price and have already taken over 100 pictures, mostly in Ayuthaya, the city I went to last weekend. Look on my facebook profile to see the pictures if you have not seen them already. Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of Thailand before it was overtaken and destroyed by the Burmese. It has a ton of ancient ruins of temples and buildings, and the air is fresh compared to where I live. It was a great trip, check out the pics.

It's late so I'm not going to write much more, so here is a synopsis of a few interesting things that have happened in the past few months:

I saw an elephant walk by my dorm yesterday right next to the interstate

A gecko in my bathroom scared me so bad I almost fell off my balcony, seven stories from the ground

I like spicy food now

I have not been sick from food, not even once (it pays to be a vegetarian)

I accidently stepped on a sacred pillar of holiness at a shrine. got in big trouble for that one

I tried grasshopper

Thai people roll their R's just like hispanics

My friend was robbed at knifepoint in my current neighborhood

I still haven't seen a live snake (thank God!), only a dead one

Thai people use an umbrella no matter the weather. They use it for both rain and sun protection

I know the name of nearly ever fruit in Thai, but the only vegetable I know is pumpkin

I can count from 1-10 in Thai faster than I can in English, a very recent feat

There are about 20 stray dogs living on my road

Thai people are scared to swim in the daytime, they do not want to get tan

I taught a Thai person some Spanish

One of my best friends is named 'tangmo', which means 'watermelon'

I have another friend named piglet

A bus I was on exploded a few seconds after I got off of it. (more like a sudden fire and loud noises...no shrapnel or anything. If I were on the bus I would have been able to evacuate before anything bad happened)

I have been to three yoga classes taught in thai

A chinese woman told me I was a vegetable

My nose is considered very attractive in thailand. too bad that belief isnt held in america too

I have still not found anyone who can pronounce my name correctly

That is all for this post - leave comments!