Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life Expectency: 100

I could write a little about my first several days back in Hong Kong, but I won't. At least not tonight. Tomorrow is some random holiday, so my dad is off work. We're going to go on an outing to a museum and some kind of ancient village with acidic volcanic structures (or something like that). Anyway, I have to get up early to do that, so I'm typing quickly tonight.


I think I shall live to be a hundred. And why, you ask, do I think that? I was recently perusing the MSN mainpage (which is one of my new favorite pasttimes) trying to find interesting articles to read. One of them was discussing people who live to be one hundred.

The wonderful thing about centenarians is that they don't just live longer with ever-declining health and happiness; they generally are extremely healthy up to a year or two before they die. Instead nursing homes, these older people often are quite independent.

Here are some things that centenarians have in common: they don't smoke, they don't drink too much, they eat healthfully, they exercise, they don't have diabetes or heart problems, they think they have a decent amount of money (even though a large percentage of them actually live under the poverty line), and they don't get stressed out by things. Also, after they retire, they generally keep volunteering to help others, often at nursing homes that they could have been in.

Well, I don't smoke or drink too much. I eat healthfully, for the most part, although I do probably eat more junk food than I should. I exercise and I don't have any bad disease. I've never felt too bad up for money (besides the times when someone stole all the money out of my bank acount), but then again I've never lived under the poverty line either. Finally, looking over my past year of car accidents, identity fraud, broken wrists, and possible expulsion from my house, I think I handle stress just fine.

So I guess the only tick on my list is food. Whenever I reach for a piece of chocolate, I'll think about the question: do I want to live to a hundred or not? At the same time, there's quality of life to consider...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hello, Hong Kong

I left this morning.

Yeah, still kind of weird. I was in Bangkok for a whole month, and now I'm sitting in my "old" room in HK. Tomorrow I have to get up early for church. I'm going to Mom and Dad's church tomorrow, so that should be fun.

Anyway, this morning I checked out of my room at nine, and grabbed a chicken teriyaki from the 7-11 for breakfast. While I was sitting in the apartment lobby eating, this German guy comes running in and goes into the office right next to me. He starts yelling and screaming at the staff in there! Thais really value serenity and hate overt displays of anger. Anyway, he was really acting crazy. He was screaming something about how he's sick of their administration and he wants something fixed and he needs his money. And, get this, he even told them that he would give them five seconds to do something and he started counting!

Now, first of all, he sounded like a mix between an angry bull and a mad two-year-old. Second, most (if not all) of the people that office don't speak English. I've gone in there a couple of times myself and no one has understood me. Finally, he was scaring the poor people to death. As I said before, Thais aren't used to angry outbursts. Two cleaning ladies who were cleaning the lobby were just frozen when he was yelling. He finally ran out front to the security office (telling his girlfriend, "Don't try to stop me." Never a good sign). After he left, one of the cleaning ladies just put her hand over her heart and almost fell over. She was shaking, and she showed the other cleaning lady her goosebumps. Stupid angry man. I could hear him yelling out in the back at that point. I kind of wished that he would come back so I could say something to him about the futility of his actions. I doubt it would have helped, but it would have made me feel better.

After that episode, I took a taxi to Tipawan's house. Tipawan is the lady who picked me up from the airport with her friend Jang, and they were going to drive me there again. They took me to a shopping mall to look around, and we stopped at an Baskin Robbinsesque ice cream place. But it was the coolest thing ever! Instead of just bins of ice cream, they made beautiful, shapely mounds of ice-cream that were decorated with the things that made up that flavor. So kiwi ice cream had kiwi slices nestled among the scoops. The chocolate had quirly chocolate bars, and the mint had mint leaves. It was amazing. I would have liked a picture, but oh well.

The plane trip was fine. It was one of those huge, across-ocean planes with ten seats in a row. And I was the only person in my row. The plane was SO empty. There wasn't even a person for every row. I recommend that all of you fly Thai Air, because that was some of the most delicious food I've ever had. I ate chicken curry with rice and some kind of anonymous vegetable that's related to a zuccini and is good for women who are breast-feeding (I asked a flight attendent). There was also a creamy salad, a wheat roll, and capeccino pudding. Oh, and during the course of the flight, I ended up drinking water, apple juice, wine, orange juice, Chinese tea, and coffee. The wine wasn't my favorite, so I poured some of my orange juice in it, which made it pretty good. Kind of like a sangria.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. Collected baggage, found parents, exchanged money, caught bus, got home, showed off new treasures, and wrote in blog. The end.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Goodbye, Bangkok

I didn't have to be here today until 1:30. Well, that's when I had to be here, but I actually got here around ten because my lesson still needed a lot of work. It was nice not having to be here at eight, since I stayed out kind of late last night. I had dinner with one of the other teachers who works at IH Bangkok. Peter was a Classics major, so I learned a lot of fascinating stuff about coins and Greek and fun junk like that.

We walked around the crowded streetsfor a long time trying to find a place to eat, and after about forty-five minutes stopped at a roadside cart cafe. They had English picture menus, which is always nice. Unfortunately, looking back on it, I'm guessing that the English menus also are different prices than the regular menu. All the other outdoor restaurants that I've eaten at only charge thirty baht for a meal like that, whereas we paid a hundred. But oh well. A hundred is still only about $3.35.

After dinner we walked around more, just looking at things and talking. I always like doing that, but I don't always feel safe doing it by myself, at least at night. When passing a restaurant, I saw the weirdest thing ever in one of their outdoor fishtanks! I'm almost at a loss in describing them, but I'll try. At first glance they looked like crawfish, but then I realized that they were more like crawfish/centipede/praying mantis/shrimp dudes. They were swimming and scuttling around the bottom of the tank, and one was even cleaning itself just like a dog or cat. So weird. We watched them until a man in a blue apron holding a fish-net asked us to move. He was extracting one of the creatures for dinner.

Later we saw an outdoor bar. We were going to get a drink, so we sat at a rough, wooden table by some plants. Then we saw the drink menu. The prices were pretty atrocious, so we quietly snuck out of the place.
Then we went to 7-11 and got honey-lemon green teas. Much better, I think. I barely got home, but I had just enough money. I had two hundred and thirty-six baht at the beginning of the night. I paid a hundred for dinner, thirty for the BTS, and a hundred for a taxi. Yes, I had six baht (five cents) left when I got home.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pumpkin Lady

On Sunday I made it to the Pumpkin Lady's restaurant. It's the little hole-in-the-wall eatery that I visited with Mark and his mom a few weeks ago. It was probably the best food I've had since I've been here, so I wanted to go back. I had a map but I'm not that good with maps, so I was a little uneasy. One of the Thai secretaries here helped me practice saying the street name and the name of the food I was going to order until she could understand what I was saying.

It's near Victory Monument, so it's a little out of my way, but I figured it would be worth it. A change of scenery is always nice. I got off the BTS and started walking in the right direction. Or what I thought was the right direction. Unfortunately, it looked totally different from what I remembered. Last time we had walked underneath a huge overpass and then turned left onto the Pumpkin Lady's sidestreet. There were a gang of motorbike drivers all hanging around at the corner, and a truck selling durian on the other side of the road. The street I was on was a busy market with no overpass. When I turned onto what I thought was the main street, it didn't look right at all.

I kept walking and finally spotted a sign for a cross-street that read "Ratchawithi 7." The street Pumpkin Lady's street was "Ratchawithi 6." I was close! The only problem was that I needed to turn left onto the street and I was on the wrong side. Traffic was pretty bad, so there was no way I was going to get across the street. The solution? Walk all the way back to the end of the street and cross on a catwalk. I finally got to the other side, but it still didn't look familiar. I asked a guard for "Ratchawithi 6?" He didn't understand me at first, and I had to repeat a couple of times before he understood. He nodded serenely and pointed me down the street. I finally found the right street, but still no sign of bikers or a durian truck. I walked down the street and then, there! Right in front of me was the giant overpass!

I went under the overpass and saw the bikers. The durian truck was mysteriously missing, but oh well. Probably on some other corner hawking his smelly wares. A little further down on the right stood the smoothie stand. We stopped there after dinner last time to get some delicious banana coconut smoothies. And then, there, further up the street on the left was a green canopy. The Pumpkin Lady's restaurant!

I had been wondering why Mark had called it the Pumpkin Lady's, but I saw why as soon as I entered. The old lady there smiled at me, exposing a mouth of missing teeth with only two survivors hanging from the top. Her smile further wrinkled her brown face as I tried to tell her my order.
"Larb moo."
"Lahb KA moo?" She answered, cocking her head. I nodded, and she shooed me inside.

The building didn't have a front wall, and the green canopy hung over the front steps and the tiny kitchen in the front. Inside the eatery sat five tables, all covered with plastic teddy-bear tablecloths. The wall was graced with a scuffed cuckoo clock, and a tv in the back blared Thai news.

I sat next to the open window, trying to ignore the tv. Outside the window was a garden made up of plants in clay pots, a few hanging from the eaves. I watched people going in and out of the apartment next door, and kids riding by on their bikes. Soon, the Pumpkin Lady was in front of me with a green plastic plate. It held little pieces of meat, green leafy vegetables, onions, and other bits of goodness all drowned in a thick, clear broth. I ate the meal, alternately looking out the window at the apartment building and plants, and out the front wall at the street.

I could barely finish the meal. I really quite full halfway through the dish, but I felt bad about leaving that much food. I made myself eat more, and I could feel my stomach stretching with each swallow. I finally finished enough to not feel disgraceful and paid the Pumpkin Lady. Thirty baht. That's almost a dollar for dinner.

I walked back down the street, dodging motorbikes, cars, and children playing badmitton. I couldn't resist getting a smoothie from the stand, so I stood on a wooden plank while she blended my drink, trying to avoid small children and an overflowing drainage ditch. After I finished the delicious icy drink, I was almost too full to waddle onto the BTS and head back home. But I managed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bangkok Snapshot

Yes, it has been a little while since I last wrote. I usually don't get home from school until late, and by then I just eat, maybe read a little, and then go to bed. Also, Sergei (my computer, for those of you who don't know) has been acting a little sick lately. I swear, it's one illness after the other. He only got out of the hospital a little over a month ago, recovering from a crashed harddrive, and now he's having a "fan error." Anyway, I'm writing this on the computers at my school.

Back to my point. Or maybe I should start my point. I haven't taken many pictures while I've been here. I feel like this place is too hard to capture in a camera, at least for an inexperienced photographer like myself. I've taken a couple of pictures on the street, but after looking at them I realize how far they fall short of reality. I think Bangkok needs to be seen as a panorama, not little cut-out pictures. The best way to see Bangkok is to ride the BTS (skytrain) and just look out the window, something I do everytime I'm going to and from school. It's also a very bad place to take pictures, so there you go. Although I know a picture is worth a thousand words, I will ignore that right now and try to describe Bangkok a little, so you'll get a glimpse of what it's like.

Whenever I ride the BTS, I love seeing the differences around me, both in the people in the train and the scenery outside of it. Most people, especially women, dress very fashionably here. I think it's probably because it's a big city, since Soojee told me that most people in the country just wear t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops.
Bows are popular: bows on purses, on shoes, on skirt-bands, on shirt fronts. Shoes are also very important, and most women either wear fancy high-heels or unique flats. I usually laugh at my own feet; I wear my Chacos every day. Although we are supposed to look very professional at school, we don't wear shoes inside so it doesn't matter what I wear on my feet. There's also lots of uniformed school-kids, poor souls. I kind of hate uniforms, and some of these ones are just too much for me. The other day I saw three boys who were wearing light blue button-ups, short blue shorts that sat WAY down on their hips, orange belts, and those awful shoes with the fringe on the top. Poor, sad souls. There's also a sprinkling of long-haired hippies, black-shirted punks, jacketed hipsters, and the occasional cross-dresser.

Outside the window is always nice. Even though it's a city, orange and yellow flowering trees shove up through the concrete accompanied by the occasional palm. Shiny skyscrapers stand right next to faded, scrappy apartment buildings. I love those apartment buildings with their chipping paint and decaying roofs. Some of the buildings have ancient, birdcage balconies while others have viney plants exploding over their edges. Some aren't so picturesque: they just have cracked walls, clothing hanging out to dry, and rubber wash-buckets. 7-Elevens are everywhere here, and often a brightly lit Sev sign will be hanging from an old gray building that looks like it could topple in on itself at any moment. Signs for KFC, Subway, Burger King are all shoved in between Thai massage signs and coffee shops.

I went to Jutujak market yesterday. Yes, I went again. Since it's my last weekend here, I wanted to finish up my shopping. I kind of hate how stall-keepers usually pester me when I look at their stuff. I know they're just trying to be attentive, but I'd rather look on my own. Thankfully, it wasn't as bad today as it usually is. I think it's better in a market than on the street. I was walking down an aisle (probably my 64th or something) when I saw a t-shirted manequin on my left. I seriously stopped in my tracks to look at the t-shirt. That was probably a bad idea, since a sweaty man almost plowed into me, but oh well. Her t-shirts are the prettiest most whimsical t-shirts I've ever seen! She had these crazy street scenes, awesome trees, and cool animals. I spent forever just looking at all the options. I was just going to buy one and I ended up buying three. They're a little small, smaller then I usually wear, but since we don't have a dryer at home, I know they won't shrink. I figure I can put them on when they're wet and stretch them out a bit.
I'm very happy with my choices, although I would have liked some of the other ones too. One is black with sweet-looking owls sitting in trees at sunset. Another is purple with a city night-scene of curling buildings, winding streets, and a pointy moon. The other is teal. It has a tree with gingerbread houses in its branches and little dressed up rabbits at the doors. I really wanted one that looks like the Old Woman in the Shoe, but she only had it in light pink and light yellow, not my favorite shirt colors. Another lady there (one who can speak English) told me that she draws them all herself without a computer and then screen prints them onto the shirts. I am amazed! If she sold these in the US, she could make a ton of money. They are gorgeous.

I spent a little more time in the punk section of the market, which is fun. Thai punks are pretty great. There's the biker section. Well, that's what I call it. I'm not really sure if that's what they are, but the boothmen are decked out in jeans, leather, black t-shirts, and bandanas. There's the
outdoorsy ones with shaggy hair and cut-off t-shirts. Then, my favorites, the black-shirted punks who sell skull handbags, spiky dog-collar necklaces, and any kind of band t-shirt you could want. I was most amazed by a man whose booth was next to the entrance. He's a large man, much bigger than most slim Thais. He was sitting in a chair surrounded by wrist-bands, patches, and shirts, talking with a customer. He was wearing a black leather vest and combat boots, and his fading crimson mohawk was slightly drooping in the heat. He also had necklaces, some that appeared to be a bunch of teeth, covering his chest. At that moment I wished that I had a camera in my eyes that could be activated by blinking. But either way, I don't think I'll forget him too soon.

It's slowly dawning on me that I'm leaving soon. Next Saturday I'll be flying back to Hong Kong. I'm going to miss Bangkok. I love being here. The people, the food, the colors, everything. I flirted with the idea of trying to stay here, get a job here instead of going back to Hong Kong. But my practical side won over. If I'm getting paid in bahts, and the exchange rate is thirty-two baht to the dollar, I don't think I'll be paying my loans off very quickly. This does give me a lot of motivation to work hard, to make lots of money, to get rid of those loans. After I pay them all off, I won't have to be motivated by money and I can go wherever I want. Being here has also opened my mind to travel. There's so many places in the world.
Where can I go next?

Monday, June 14, 2010


My weekend has been pretty great! In just a little bit I have to go catch the shuttle to go to school again, so I'll try to write quickly.

My friend Soojee came to visit me on Saturday! We had a great day going around the city. The not-fun part was that the first several people we came into contact with (the tourism police, the tuk-tuk driver, etc.) would totally ignore Soojee and just talk to me. That is one thing I hate about being a white minority in another country. People either love you or hate you. Or they pretend to love you while they hate you. Either way, I don't like the deference at all. Then later, when we went shopping at a market, Soojee would speak in Thai, and then she had the advantage. One lady actually told her that for her she would sell her something for a hundred baht, but if it was for me then it would be a hundred and fifty. Thanks, thanks.

Oh yeah. Our tuk-tuk drive was interesting. The guy was supposed to take us to a temple, a shopping place, and then drop us at this backpacker's street. Well, the temple was fine, but the shopping part was just weird. We figured he'd take us to a mall or something. But no. He kept dropping us off at these single shops that were really nice. The first place he took us to was a tailor! What are we going to do at a tailor? The next place was a jewelry shop. We kind of glanced at the diamonds and then left. The next place he told us that we should look for a long time (he'd get free gas or something). So we went in to yet another jewelry place. The salespeople took us through all these fine jewel rings. We were like, "Cool. That's pretty." But we didn't buy anything until the very end when I found a mini-purse for one hundred baht (three dollars). When we got back in the tuk-tuk, he asked how much we spent. When I told him, his face kind of fell. I think he gets a commission on how much the people spend. Well what does he expect? Can't he see that we're young? I don't like diamonds anyway.

Anyway, we did go see the Prince of Persia. It's plotline is sometimes laughable, but overall it was an enjoyable movie. All-in-all, it was a great day.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a lazy day. I didn't get up until twelve. I watched a movie. I read. I went on the computer. For dinner, I walked out front to these little food carts where I ate some delicious pork, vegetables, and dumplings in broth. I love dumplings. Then I got a watermelon-kiwi smoothy. The whole meal was about one-fifty. So delicious.

And now it's back to school again. Sigh.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hinds' Feet

Confession: I like allegories.

It seems that in modern times, especially in the English-major world, allegories have a bad rep. I understand, I do. Allegories do not have subtle, well-crafted symbolism. When they have a bad guy, his name is usually something like Mr. Pride or Spiteful. Allegories do not have complex, multi-dimensional villians; they're just prideful or spiteful. Also, authors of allegories do another thing that most English-y people tend to despise: the whole point of their story is to convey a blatant, moral message. That's it.

I understand these criticisms, and I usually agree. Movies like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" drive me crazy because their message is so heavy-handed. Can't they figure out a more subtle way to disperse their message then having their characters blurt it out every twenty minutes or so? Do they think their audience is stupid? Even though I often feel like that in any other genre, I don't get annoyed by the in-your-face nature of allegorical messages. I mean, that's kind of the point.

Take Hind's Feet in High Places. It's one of my favorite books, and it's an allegory to the core. I stupidly left my copy in the States, but thankfully my mom has a copy in Hong Kong. I took it with me to Bangkok and have been reading it. This is probably at least the sixth time I've read the book, but it moves me every time. Sure, there are some things I don't like about it, like the way the author puts the Biblical songs into the book. Honestly, they don't fit. But other than that, I love it.

It's about the journey of a lame, rather ugly, and very timid girl named Much-Afraid as she goes to the High Places. The Chief Shepherd whom she serves and loves promises her that he will make her beautiful and make her feet like hinds'. Most importantly, the seed of love is planted in her heart. Much-Afraid goes through so much! She's given two frightening companions, Sorrow and Suffering, and they have to go through deserts and forests and climb precepices before they can reach the High Places.

Despite it's lack of literary prestige, that book always touches me deeply. When I read about Much-Afraid's time near the Sea of Loneliness or her struggle to accept her companions, Sorrow and Suffering, it really makes me think about my own journey. It helps me to see my journey through life as something bigger than my current state, my current dry spell, my current doubts. Sure, sometimes I walk through a Forest of Trials and Tribulations, but it is a process of refining me and making me more able to walk in the heights.

I figure, who cares if it's a great literary work? It helps my soul, and I think that's enough.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fish Massages

I can't write long tonight. I need to get to bed. Five thirty comes too soon!

I've been sick for the past couple of days, and I think that I'm just not used to the food. I haven't had much of an appetite, so I've eaten very little in the past few days. All this lovely Thai food going to waste!

Anyway, fish massages. One of my co-students told me that there was a fish massage place just down the street! I decided to try it on one of my lunch breaks so I trooped over there. The place was just a booth out in the street with all these fish tanks on the ground in front of benches. I removed my shoes, wiped off my feet, and plunged them into the tank.

My feet and the lower part of my calves were immediately surrounded by hundreds of little fish all chewing the dead skin off of me! It was so odd. At first it was really ticklish, but then I got used to it. Then it just felt like a massage chair's vibrator was surrounding my calves and feet. A vibrator with tiny teeth. I also put my hands in for a short time, but that's not easy to do, balancing-wise. After my fifteen minutes were up, I slowly pulled my feet out of the water, shaking off my gold and brown cloud of fish.

My feet were pretty soft.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Everywhere I Go

So the song "Everywhere I Go" by Five Iron Frenzy has been my theme song lately. I was just going to put up the chorus, but the lyrics are so great that I had to put them all up. If you don't like reading lots of lyrics then just read the chorus.

I was wasting time
Oh so sure to find somebody who'll
Never go
How could I know
None I'd found was true
None could be but you
The only one love divine
My heart, my mind are yours

Everywhere I go I see your face through the crowd
Everywhere I go I hear your voice clear and loud
Everywhere I go you are the light that I seek
Everywhere I go you have found me

Where could my heart go
Where you wouldn't be
Where you wouldn't know to find me?
Far far from here
Still you are near
Still you are near to me
And I see

I have seen you in the morning
In the guiding light you hold me
Closer than the air around me
You surround me always.

See, this is the kind of worship song I would sing under my breath in chapel when I was feeling slightly stifled by some of the music. Not only is this song musically intense but its lyrics are intense. Better than, pardon me, some of the drivel out there. I don't mean to offend anyone if you like those kinds of song. If you like the music, then I'm very glad for you. But quite often I had trouble singing songs because I didn't like the music or the words. I know that I can worship God anyway, even if I don't like the music, but that is hard for me. Maybe it's something I need to work on. Or not.

Anyway, I've been listening to this song every morning before I leave for school, and it plays in my head randomly throughout the day. I really love this song because it's so true. I don't think I could ever stop following God. Even when I'm ignoring him or being distracted by other things, he's there. Everywhere I go I see him. No matter what country I'm in, whether I'm on the beach in Korea or in a crowded train station in Bangkok, I see him. He's always at least in the back of my mind. I can feel his love for these people and this country. Even if I don't have friends or family here with me, I'm not alone.

Everywhere I go he surrounds me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh, Humidity

It's hot here. You might be saying, "Of course it's hot." You're in Thailand in June. True, true. I knew that it would be hot. And humid. And I came anyway. Still, it's pretty hot. I do think I am slowly getting used to it though. Living in Arkansas has slowly been desensitizing me to humidity (though of course not all the way). Still, Arkansas is nothing compared to this madness. The wet hotness grabs me whenever I walk out of a building, especially after a whole day inside my air-conditioned (often chilly) school. Several times I've walked out of a building and felt my throat starting to seize up and my breaths coming in semi-desparate gasps. I had to tell myself to breath slowly to keep from hyperventilating. My body must think that I'm suffocating or something. I do think I'm getting used to it, though. A little, at least. The constantly drenched in sweat part isn't my favorite, but it's getting better.

On a slightly different note, I am loving Thai fashion! Just tonight I was wandering around the street my school's on trying to find a Staple's to buy school supplies (which has remained every elusive) and I kept getting distracted by all the booths. The first time I walked outside of the school after dark, I was amazed at the transformation. The sidewalks were busy before, but they are booth-lined at night. People are everywhere. Jewelry, t-shirts, dresses, shoes, watches, DVDs, underwear, purses, you name, it's there. Some places even have colored light shows going in the alleys it quite wonderous.

I kept telling myself that I have to wait until Saturday to buy anything. Since I'm going to the big market, I should wait until I see all the stuff there. It was pretty tempting, though, since I saw so many clothing items that I wanted. It's like heaven here after countless unsuccessful shopping trips in the States and semi-unsuccessful ones in Korea. Saturday is only one day away!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So I did make it safely. Tipawan and Jang (the ladies who picked me up at the airport) were so awesome! They helped me get a sim card for my phone, took me out to eat, took me to a supermarket, helped me get to my place (which happens to be kind of far from everything, unfortunately), and helped me settle in. It was just great.

My CELTA course is going to be extremely time-consuming, so I probably won't be able to write very often. I started Monday morning. There's only six of us, and all Americans except for one Kiwi. A little disappointing, since a mixture would have been nice. Also, I am the absolute baby of the class. I'm twenty-two, while the next closest to my age is twenty-eight. Then they are thirty-one, thirty-two, forty-one, and sixtyish. But oh well. I will definitely learn a ton. We are going like lightening.

I taught my first class today. I was a bit disappointed in how it turned out because I made a lot of mistakes that I knew the moment I did them. The trainers are very encouraging, though, and on Friday I'll have another go.

I'm feeling very comfortable here, actually. Even though I'm staying alone and often go places alone (out to eat, shopping, going home, etc.), I'm not minding at all so far. It's so interesting seeing all the people and buildings, and just watching people's interactions.

Tonight was a nice change. One of my mom's good friends has a son near my age who is teaching English in Bangkok. She flew in today to see him, and I met up with them and his roommate for dinner. Both Mark and his friend Joel are crazy about food, so they took us to this awesome hole-in-the-wall Thai place. They ordered five dishes, and all of them were wonderful! They said that it was actually a little sub-par tonight. It was hard for me to believe that since it was so good! Both of them speak fairly conversational Thai, and we were always stopping to talk to construction workers, foodcart owners, and other people.

They inspire me to try to learn some more Thai while I'm here. It's such a fun language. Although it will be hard with how busy we are with the CELTA course. I have to get up at five-thirty and tonight I didn't get home until ten-fifteen. I still have to write a mini lesson plan, so I probably shouldn't be doing this now, but I figured Life needed an updating.

I'm hoping that this weekend I'll get to go to Jakujut market. It's supposed to be the biggest market in Asia! Stay tuned...