February Update

Hello blog! Just a quick check-in to let you know I survived the holidays. December Sketches, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, Valentine’s, Etc.

I finished the December Sketch-A-Day Challenge  and completed 31 sketches for the first year ever! It wore me out, though, and I wasn’t super thrilled with all of my sketches. Well, okay, here’s one that turned out nice.

1283_10153285232801444_4819764677978382105_n

I’ve also have visitors. Four whole people in December, including my brother and some very dear friends. Two of whom stayed for almost a month.

12308668_10102739836966609_5765862649390803123_n

And then my parents visited, and we went to Cambodia, which was my first time leaving  Thailand in a lot of months. Then my parents went to India, and then came back to Bangkok where I met them a week later, so it was like they visited twice.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 6.33.01 PM

At the end of a long day of touring Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, commonly referred to as Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is actually the most famous of many ruins, and we are standing near the back of Angkor Wat in the photo above.

Oh, and on my birthday I had dinner outside by the river with these lovely people (and the guy taking the photograph, sorry Andrew!). They even got me a CAKE, which was ridiculously sweet. Then, at home, I had a drink out of this glorious unicorn goblet which recently arrive in the mail from Lady Higg.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 6.44.01 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 6.46.16 PM

I’m also writing, when I can. I’ve been wrestling some plot demons, but I think I’ve found a solution—to at least some of the problems. What with preparing final lessons and student grades, picking up an extra class, making travel plans for my last few weeks, and job hunting, it’s been hard to find the time. Did I mention I’ll be home in less than a month? See you soon!

Advertisements

Rainy Season

Friday night. Throwing a few extras in my purse before trotting down the stairs and heading out. Ako was already on her way to town, picking up a friend, and I would follow after. Others were already in town, all of us converging in a little while on a restaurant in the night bazaar for food and drinks. Some of us just wanted to get out of the house, some of us had transferred Saturday plans to Friday due to an early engagement on Sunday, and some of us had missed a bus to Bangkok due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. My phone was in my hand on its way to my bag when my bedroom AC shut off and the lights went dark. Seconds later, the phone rang.

It was Ako, already partway to town. “It’s raining,” she said. She was under the roof of a store somewhere between the school and Phitsanulok, trying to decide what do. As we talked I made my way to the window, narrowly avoided tripping over my harp in the dark room, and opened the shutters to let in the remaining light.

“Huh,” I said. “It’s not raining here yet. No, wait, here it comes.”

Ako carried on into town because she was already wet and halfway there. I decided to wait a while; usually these storms pass in twenty minutes or so. Soon the initial downpour eased slightly, and I ran downstairs and put my purse inside double layers of plastic bags and got ready to move out—but the slackening turned out to be an illusion. A few more minutes brought another downpour. The word “torrential” came to mind. I stood with the door open for a few seconds and thought about it, but it just seemed stupid to take a motorbike out into a storm like this if you didn’t have to. Even if the power was out, and the light was leaving the sky.

I stood by the large kitchen window as the light faded, feeling the cool air through the screen and staring at the rain, willing the sky to keep its glow for a few minutes longer. I turned on my cell phone every few seconds to illumine a dark corner behind me, and to check for lizards on the wall nearby.

Maybe 25 minutes into the storm, I heard a loud noise. It was a cross between a wail, a rusty door, and a foghorn. It was followed by others, a chorus of creaking, mechanical noises. I grew up with a river in the backyard and I’m used to frogs singing in the swamp at night, but this was a breed of frog I had never heard before. The rain continued well past the half hour mark, and soon I was only imagining that the sky was any brighter than the rest of the dark around me. I couldn’t stay here without light or food, but going out into the storm still seemed like a foolhardy proposition.

When David called, he solved my dilemma (he was the “missed his bus”  portion of the dinner crew). “Don’t go out if you don’t have to,” he said. “I just watched a motorcycle accident happen in front of me. The roads are a mess.” He had already given up on going to the restaurant, and offered to bring me pad thai when he came back to the school. Yes. Minutes later, I remembered the frog-shaped rechargeable lamp on the table, surely purchased by my Thai roommate for instances such as this. Soon after I was happily writing by lamp-light at the table, and not much later the power returned. David made it back as the storm was finally fading to droplets and sprinkles, and by this time the strange frog noises had grown as soothing as a foghorn in the night.

Oh, and the Pad Thai was delicious.

Me and Ako on a nature walk

Me and Ako on a nature walk

Me and David at a chinese temple not far out of town

Me and David at a chinese temple not far out of town. In this photo, we look RELATED.

The view from the chinese temple

The view from the chinese temple

Sick in Thailand

Hello. Sorry for the lack of updates. I haven’t even gotten around to taking the motorbike photo I promised. It’s just weird to stop during a daily activity and say, “Hold up guys I need a photo!” Zooming off to the city has already become far too normal to be event-worthy. But I will get you that photo, maybe this week!

Settling in has been good and bad. I love all the people here and the new friends I’ve made. I feel pretty insecure about my job and my abilities as a teacher. Somehow we keep getting through another four to five classes each day, but it seems like the material is always too easy for the kids sitting in front and too hard for the kids sitting in back. It’s hard to find a balance.

This weekend is a holiday weekend. There is no school on Monday for the Buddhist holiday of Vesākha, where (from what I’ve gathered from my students) it is traditional to visit a temple, light incense or a candle, and process around the temple three times. I was feeling a little bummed that I didn’t have any exciting travel plans for the long weekend, but simultaneously relieved that my lack of exciting plans precluded any exhausting overnight bus trips, since I never sleep well on those. I had decided to drive to Sukothai, a historical site a little over an hour away, but relaxation won out when I woke up with a fever yesterday morning.

It is a truly bizarre experience to be living in Thailand and find yourself unable to get warm. I had to get one of the comforters out of storage. It is a bright blue which actually matches some of the pillowcases I had bought, and the design features a child’s version of the solar system complete with all the planets. I stayed in bed literally the entire day aside from necessary trips to the bathroom—which is more challenging than it sounds, because there are stairs, and you can see through the stairs, and part of my illness manifested in a touch of vertigo. I thought I was feeling better in the evening, until I ran downstairs to ask a valiant friend to bring me some items from the convenience store (yogurt, and grape juice). I tried to move back up the stairs too swiftly, nearly fainted, and had to sit at the bottom for a few moments and regain my composure.

When I woke briefly at 3 AM my fever had lifted, and things seemed promising for today aside from the killer stomach ache which seemed to have manifested in place of yesterday’s headache. I couldn’t decide where eating was a good idea or not, but I eventually went with yogurt and plain, room temperature noodles. When I said I hoped to lose weight in Thailand, this isn’t quite what I had in mind. Now it is afternoon again, and the stomach ache has receded for the moment…. only to make way for the return of headache and fever! Huzzah!

Hopefully I will fell better enough to give you a more exciting update soon.