Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
This will be my last blog until I get back to Nebraska and add pictures! We leave our apartment at 3 am Thursday (Thai time) which is 2 pm Wednesday for all of you in Nebraska. I believe we will arrive home at 6-something pm to Omaha, but I'm not positive on that one. On the itinerary we got when we left Omaha, it said we were flying back to Lincoln--but that's not correct, so who knows!
We've had a great time here and shed some tears when we had to say good-bye to our kids and our buddies. Last night (Tuesday) we had a party with our teachers on the rooftop of a really nice hotel. There were 2 pools on the roof and were served lots of food and beverages all night long. It was really a lot of fun to see and talk to our teachers outside of the classroom setting. All the people we've met this trip (aside from school)--Kuhn Peter, Kuhn Daniel--were there as well. It was a nice farewell party.
Today we went to lunch with another Doane grad who is also on the Board of Trustees. We didn't have a whole lot of time to chat with him, but he was very nice.
That's about all I have for now, I will add oodles of photos when I get back to Nebraska, so look out for those!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I just realized I've been putting 2009 on my blogs, I'm an idiot. It doesn't feel like the new year when you've missed New Year's Eve. Today we went to the Grand Palace with our middle school buddies from school. It was SOO hot outside, but it was fun. The Palace was outrageous. It was all gold and shiny colors. We went through a museum of jewelery, money, etc from the past. After the Palace and after the kids went back to school, we went on a little adventure. First we walked to the Pier to catch a boat taxi. Doc had prompted us earlier on what to do if we either missed the boat if we didn't get off at the right time because the boat stops for 5 seconds and then is off again. Luckily, we all got on and off the boat at the right time. When we got off the boat, we walked up to the Sky Train and that's where we got lost. We supposedly got on the right train, but got off at the wrong stop, so then Doc found out where we were supposed to go...about 10 minutes later we were back on the train and going to another stop. So, we get off at the right stop, but our tickets wouldn't let us out to the street because Doc had bought our tickets when he was getting directions and the tickets didn't go through the meter for us to get on the train, so they wouldn't let them go through the meter to get off the train....so we waited around for another half an hour until we got that mess figured out. So THEN, we walked a few blocks to the restaurant--Cabbages and Condoms. It was quite the restaurant--I'll leave it at that. If you have questions, you can shoot me an email :)
So tomorrow we have a normal day at school, 7:30-4 and Thursday we have a carnival at school in the morning and then a Long Tail Boat Ride on the river around Bangkok for the afternoon. We are really looking forward to that!
More updates later!
Sunday, January 10, 2009
I haven't written for a while because we were at the beach all weekend and didn't have internet. Half of us stayed in A's (the guy who went to Doane who runs the school) beach condo and half of us stayed in the Dusit Thani Resort Hotel that is just 2 buildings down from the beach condo. I was in the half that stayed in the hotel and it was AMAZING! We will switch places to live next weekend when we go. The hotel had this huge pool, probably the size of a football field and a half in length and 3/4 of a football field in width. It was also right on the beach.
We got there on Friday morning about 11:30 and were out in the sun until about 5. We then went to dinner in town (Hua Hin) and went to a market there. The market wasn't quite as big as the night market here, but there were still lots of vendors and stuff to buy. Saturday morning, the people in the hotel got up and ate continental breakfast in the hotel which consisted of about any kind of food under the sun. You could get anything from toast to baked beans and everything in between. They had Thai breakfast, American breakfast, etc. Their french rolls were amazing, I think I had 2 or 3 each morning :). We were done about 9 am and sat out by the pool and walked the beach until about 4:30 pm. There was a little hut on the beach next to our hotel and they were giving massages in the shade, so a lot of us went for massages. It was awesome getting a massage and listening to the ocean. Saturday night the people staying at the hotel had a barbecue vouchers from the hotel, so we ate there while the others went to town to eat again. The barbecue was very good, but not your typical barbecue. There was fish, chicken, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, about anything you could ask for. It was also very delicious. While we were eating there was a live band playing on the beach. We left today (Sunday) about 1 pm and got home about 3:20. Tonight we are picking up laundry and going out to eat and planning for school this week!
That's about all I have for now. I was going to upload pictures, but it's really difficult because I don't want to upload my 500 pictures to a public computer or to Lyn's computer and take up all her space. So I will add them all when I get home! 11 days
I'll update later!
Tuesday, January 4th, 2009
We experienced the Night Bazaar tonight which is just a TON of stands with people selling and bargaining goods. It was quite the experience, they try to rip you off, like in New York on the streets and things. It's pretty easy to bargain people down and they also see that we are Americans and try to rip us off thinking we don't know what the money exchange is. They have ALL sorts of things there: bags, sunglasses, watches, clothes, candles, wood things, just about anything you'd ever want.
Lyn, Kari, Kassie and I wanted to ride back to the apartment and this guy in a "Tuk Tuk" said he'd take us 4 for 100 baht which is about 3 dollars. The only catch is, the Tuk Tuk is about the size of half a golf cart....and we are not exactly small people :) Well, we all got in and laughed about the whole way. It was just ridiculous, but a good price! He didn't exactly know where he was going either, so that was also interesting.
This is a short one, but there's not much to say. The kids were so so so cute again at school, like usual. More updates later.
Monday, January 3, 2009
Today we went to the school for the first time. First we had a little orientation with Kuhn A whose dad owns the school. Then we got to meet our middle school buddies who we eat lunch with every day and hang out with for about an hour. We only got to meet them and talk for about 5-10 minutes and then we went upstairs to meet our classrooms. They have K1, K2 and K3. K1 is like preschool, K2 is like kindergarten and K3 is like first grade. I happen to be with the K3 students. There are 18 in my class and they are SO cute! When we walked in they all screamed at the top of their lungs, "What's your name????" We told them our names and they went around and said their names (but we couldn't really understand what they were saying, but it was still cute.)
When we walked in, they were playing with beans in a cup, and the teacher right away asked, "You Teach?" SO, we did adding with the beans for a while. Then we had lunch with our buddies and they laughed at us all when we said we didn't like really spicy food. But good news, their cooks toned down the spicy-ness when they knew we were coming :)
We then played Thai games with the students, such as monkey in the middle, a game sort of like mother may I, volleyball, basketball, etc. It was really a lot of fun. They wore us out!
After that, we went back to our little kid classrooms and helped the teacher in the afternoon. The kids got really excited when we read a book to them in English. They loved that.
After school, we came home, went to a Thai restaurant and then came back to plan because we teach tomorrow. When we are teaching, we were told that the actual teachers leave the room and have break! It will be interesting with the language barrier and discipline! We'll see how it goes.
That's all for now,
Sunday, January 3rd, 2009
Today Kuhn Paul (another graduate of Doane who lives back in his home country) took us to Supan Buri which is about an hour outside of Bangkok. We first went to Buffalo Village and it is sort of like a museum thing that shows the way of life 50-100 years ago. We saw houses that consisted of a deck that was the "living room" and inside the house was the bedroom--that was it! All of the houses were on stilts so they wouldn't flood. We saw water buffaloes which sort of look like cows with big horns, they were dark brown and there were a few albino ones. We watched a show in which children sang and danced. They picked the 3 blondes from the audience to be their volunteers to play games with them. They played a duck duck goose game and some tag ones. They liked to pick on the blonde Americans and laugh. It was pretty funny. Then they had a buffalo show and did all sorts of things like make them lift their legs or smile or climb these stairs to get up on a platform. There was a (this is probably not PC) midget who was performing with them and he would try to take a running start and jump on one of them, but he had to get help from another guy to make it all the way up on the buffalo. It was pretty funny.
After that Paul took us to a place to eat. It was an outdoor restaurant right on a lake and we basically sat on this dock. He had ordered before we got back to the table so we weren't sure what we were going to get. They came around with about 7 courses and when we were about done with one, they'd bring another. The courses consisted of: rice, shrimp, fish, pork mixed with vegetables. morning glory, vegetable soup--tons of stuff! It was pretty good.
Then we went to the Temple of the Golden Buddha. Inside the temple was this GIANT Golden Buddha (as you might have guessed form the name :)). It literally took up the entire room, at least 50 feet high! People were worshiping it. As we walked around we saw people who were shaking cans with sticks in them and there were numbers on the sticks. They would shake the can until only one stick would fall out, and that would be their fortune number. They would then go over to where all these papers were and find their number and then read the fortune that matched the number. Before we went into the temple we had to take our shoes off (as we do before we go into any home, school, shopping places, etc). Paul said, "Don't be surprised if your shoes are gone when we come out." It freaked us out a little, but nobody's shoes got stolen.
At the same place where the temple was, there was a King's Palace that had been burned by the Burmese people. Burma and Thailand fight a lot and they chose to burn this down. We got to see the remains and walk on them, take pictures of them, etc.
Also, on the street leading to the temple, there were tons of elephants that were giving rides to people. We really wanted to ride them, but it would take probably 45 minutes for every 2 people and that would take too much of our time with Paul.
We then visited another temple that was much larger than the first. Next to the temple was a river that they call the "place of a million fish." There were tons and tons of large catfish-looking fish. They were probably 2 feet long and about 8 inches wide. They were the biggest fish I've seen in a while! We got to feed them over the side of the bridge, sort of like you do at the Omaha zoo.
Keep in mind we left the house by 8:30 am, so we were all getting a little tired by the end of the second temple (4:30 pm) so we drove back to the house which was about an hour away. Paul answered a few more of our questions and then he left. We went out to eat at a restaurant in a hotel. It was very good food, but I was the second-to-last to get my food and probably sat there for over an hour waiting. Everybody else was finished eating by the time I got my food!
That's all for now, we go to our school tomorrow to meet the kids! Should be fun!
Plane Trip and First Day
Our day started at the airport in Omaha at 6 am for our 8 am flight. It seemed like the longest day of my life! The trip to Chicago was easy, a little over an hour. We then had about a 2.5 hour layover there and ate some breakfast/lunch at the airport. Then we got on our flight to Tokyo which was about 12.5 hours. It seemed never ending! That is where we "celebrated" the New Year. And by "celebrated," I mean we counted down the last 10 seconds and 3 of us cheered to ourselves :). Our plane was a double decker, there were 10 seats going across and about 60-70 rows back. When we got to Tokyo, we had to go through a customs-like thing. Our bags went through a scanner and we walked through something similar to security. That took a while and we arrived to our next gate about 10 minutes before we loaded the next plane. The plane ride to Bangkok was about 7 hours.
What was really strange is that from Omaha all the way to Tokyo, it was light outside. That was a good 21 hours of us seeing sunlight because of the time changes. The flight from Tokyo to Bangkok was finally dark and we could sleep easier. When we got off the last flight, we had to go through customs, get the few bags that we checked and headed out to the street to get in the vans. The drivers that work for the school drove us back to our apartment, and we got to bed about 2 am Bangkok time, about 1 in the afternoon your time (Friday). We are 13 hours ahead of you here.
The apartment we are staying in is in the same building as Dan Jackman who went to Doane. Our apartment consists of 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms (3 have showers), a living room, a dining room and a kitchen. It isn't exactly what you'd think of when someone says apartment. For breakfast today (Friday), we had a variety of toast, cereal, fruit, orange juice, milk and water. We then went with Dan and exchanged our money to baht, 33 baht = 1. After that, we walked around the city, ate lunch at a Thai Ramen restaurant, walked to Lumpini Park and then went back to the apartment to go swimming on the roof.
Lumpini Park is a beautiful royal park. There is a running path, beautiful trees and flowers, a few ponds, places to sit, etc. We saw a statute of King Rama the Fifth outside of the park.
After everybody was pooled-out, we had some intense card games going on in the dining room--pitch, speed, war, etc.
We left about 6:15 for dinner at an Italian restaurant not too far from where we're staying. It was very good. Tonight we are going to play some cards and go to bed early to help with the jet lag!
That's all for now,