Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday October 31st, 2009

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you have an enjoyable day.

My day was good, but uneventful so far. I woke up at 6 to go for our walk but no one was up so I went back to bed and slept on and off until 9. I got up and went on the computer then I helped my host mom in the kitchen. She had me cut up a whole bunch of pork, I really hate cutting up huge chunks of meat!!! While I was cutting we heard some drums and they kept getting louder so my host mom went to check what was going on. She came running back and told me to go out front to see. There was a parade going past our house to the beach for the festival!

For breakfast we had garlic pork and some beans in a really good sauce. After breakfast I read and watch ANTM and Vampire Diaries. I then went to turn on my iPod and it wouldn’t turn on so I went to charge it but it wouldn’t respond so I plugged it into my computer and it wouldn’t respond so I plugged it into the wall and decided that maybe it just needed some time! It’s been plugged in for 8 hours and it’s still not responding, I guess that is going in the package for home to so mom can take it to BestBuy and they can mess with it!

At 2 we had lunch which was so fish, pork, and noodles. At 5 Meow, Mike, my host dad, and I went and played some tennis. It was fun, I got some really funny pictures! After tennis we came back and I read while I waited for dinner. For dinner I had the leftovers from lunch. They gave me some Thai melon and a sweet sauce and I told Meow that if I didn’t like it that she was going to eat it, she said she’s never tried it and she doesn’t want to because it doesn’t look good (I don’t know how she is going to survive next year, she is like a 1000 times worse than me!!!). I liked the melon and sweet sauce so it didn’t matter. After dinner I read for 30 minutes and now I’m on the computer.

At 9:30 we are going to the festival. Festivals are held at night here because it’s a lot cooler. I don’t know what it’s going to be like but I’m excited! It is tonight, tomorrow night, and Monday night and we are going all three days. It’s like 2 blocks from my house, I can see it from the end of the driveway, so I’m really looking forward to going! I’ll write about it tomorrow!

Have a great day everyone! Lots of love!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday October 30th, 2009

Today was pretty fun. I woke up at 5 something but went back to sleep. My alarm went off at 6 but I didn’t get up until 6:30 so I was running behind. I had no clean uniform so I had to wait for the laundry until 7:10 quick change and pack everything up and eat. I was eating 10 minutes before we walked out the door, but I wasn’t the only one behind, Meow and Mike couldn’t get out of bed this morning either. We left the house almost 10 minutes late and we had to stop at the store to get a Thai flute for Mike (which he played on the way to school, most annoying). We were 15 minutes (almost 20) late for the ceremony so Meow and Mike had to fill out some form for the school. I went to the English Corner. I didn’t do anything first period because the class had a test, so I sat in the English Corner and read. They were running on a special time schedule today so I ended up being late for my second period. I had to perform a play, I was the narrator actually, for my English class (this was the last time I was going to be in that class because next week my classes change). As soon as the play was done I had to rush back to the English Corner because I was leaving.

Today I went with a group of volunteer students from New Zealand, Germany, and Finland as well as some former exchange students from my school (like Boom). We went to a bakery and got to make some desserts, and eat some! I talked with the boy from New Zealand, he was really nice. After we finished baking and eating we went for lunch. We ate Pad Thai for lunch. While we were waiting for the others to finish they taught me this song for the parts of the face. After we finished we went back to school where I had to wait for Gayoon to unlock her office where my things were so I didn’t go to class. At 7th period I went to Social Studies with Peach, but they were doing some newspaper things so I read. At the end of the class I talked with Peach and she agreed to help teach me to read and write. After Social Study I had Thai with Pa Taw. She talked with me about all sorts of stuff and when the conversation went to whether I’ve ever eaten crocodile (she heard somewhere the American’s eat crocodile) and decided to take out my flash cards as a hint that we should actually do a lesson. We worked on the flashcards and I got 56/117 right (last night I only got 41/117), I would be a lot better if I could remember any of the months!

After school I sat and read for a little while before Meow showed up and we left. We walked to the train station and then tried to call my host mom but she had her phone off so we had to walk to the hospital which was about ½ mile from the train station. She had just left, but we sat there for a while until we got a hold of her somehow and then we walked back to the train station to wait for her to pick us up. Once she picked us up we went to the end of the month market. It was crazy there and I kept getting shoved around and separated. After they bought the few things they needed we went to dinner across the street. I looked at the menu and saw some sort of Sausage Steak and was curious what it was so I ordered it. It was so small and came with fries and a salad with this really gross dressing on top. I didn’t eat a lot so I’m still hungry! After dinner we ran a few errands and then headed home. I changed and then Meow was flipping through the channels and found America’s Next Top Model so we watched that. After that was over I read for a little while and then Meow and I decided to take a walk on the beach. Tonight was the first night since I left home that I saw the moon, I was so excited! On the way back from the beach Meow was telling me about winter and she asked if I was getting any cooler, I told her no! She told me that some people die from the winter here, I said that they would never make it one day at home then!

Tomorrow starts the water festival, so we will go to that in the evening. In the morning at 6 my host family and I are going to walk on the beach, then I’m coming back and going back to sleep! Since I know I won’t be able to sleep again after waking up I’m going to bed as soon as I finish writing this and I shower! I have pics from today but I didn’t load them onto my computer yet so I can’t post them, sorry.

Talk to you all soon and for those who won’t check in again until Monday, have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday October 29th, 2009

So I’m predicting my death for a week from tomorrow just an fyi!

I should probably explain that, but just thought I’d throw it out there for starters.

Last night was the first night in two weeks that I slept through the whole night and I didn’t even take a melatonin! I woke up and got ready, I was even ahead of schedule this morning and had time to read! For breakfast we had some leftovers from last night’s dinner and they all had some eggs too. After breakfast we headed to school. On the way to school we stopped at a bus stop because my host mom’s mom was there and so we picked her up to take her wherever it was she was going. We then took a detour to school and stopped at a stationary store so that Meow could get her books for school, which she didn’t find, but I found some notecards there so I was very happy.

We arrived at school 10 minutes late for the ceremony. I went to the English Corner and read and talked with Peach while I waited for the ceremony to end and for the girls to come and get me for class. The first class was Social Studies and I didn’t pay any attention to what was going on because I was making flash cards, I know I should have waited until free time but I was excited and wanted to get going! After Social Studies we had English which was really funny because the English wasn’t always right and some of the things the teacher was telling them were off (she was a Thai teacher not a foreign teacher). After English they had Chinese so I went to the English corner to wait for lunch. I was really hungry so I went to the Cafeteria and got some fruit and a donut and sat and talked with some girls from one of my classes. After that I went back to the English Corner to wait for lunch.

At lunch I went to one place and they had nothing left so I went and stood in line at another place and they had nothing left so I went to a third place and they had plenty left, why I didn’t go there first I don’t know, wasted a ton of time! I got some noodles and pork but didn’t realize it was spicy until I started eating it. I didn’t have any water which was the main problem. I ate almost all of it but couldn’t finish because my lips were burning, had I had some water I probably could have finished it but we were sitting on the other side of the cafeteria far from the water lady! When I returned my dished I got some water and some ice cream and my lips quickly went back to normal. We sat around and ate some candy and talked before they headed off to their class.

They came back from PE early. They were all red and sweaty because they had to run 3 Kilometers in under 13 minutes! I said that there was no way I was joining their PE class because they said that today was only the beginning! We sat and talked and I worked on more flashcards. When the bell rang we didn’t move, so we ended up being late for religion. In religion they had a practice quiz and some notes then they had a little bowing thing to Buddha and then we were released early. They went off to take a Chinese quiz and I went to the English Corner to hang out with Peach. Gayoon came back for a little while and she said that tomorrow I am going with her to hang out with 70 AFS students and make some dessert thing in the morning, so I’m excited.

At the end of the day I had to do a quick practice with my group from English for a play we are performing tomorrow. Meow left and went somewhere. I was done at 4:20 but I didn’t know where Meow was so I had to sit and wait. At 4:40 Gayoon came and talked to me and we put together my schedule for the semester (this is a permanent one so I shouldn’t have to worry about sitting around bored anymore). She left at 5 and only one of the secretaries was left and she was packing up. At 5:15 I got kicked out of the English Corner and I still didn’t know where Meow was so the secretary called her. At 5:35 my host mom came and picked me up! We then went and ran a few errands and picked up one of the books Meow needs for school. After that we came home, it was about 6:30.

My host mom asked me to help make dinner and Meow was in charge. She told me to cut some lettuce so I did and she said it wasn’t right so I cut it differently (she was being picky!). After that she didn’t know what I should do so she had me set the table. Then her and her mom switched jobs and she went to run the store. I had nothing to do so I sat there. At one point they switched back and Meow was trying to make the dinner. My host mom came running into the kitchen saying something in Thai because Meow wasn’t doing it right and so was going to ruin dinner. After that my host mom cooked the meal. She had me bring the bowls back into the kitchen so she could put the food on them. Then we ate. Mike took a few bites then left, he said it wasn’t good. I ate all of mine except the tofu. I really liked it (we had Pad Thai). After the main part I had some fruit and realized how finicky Meow really is. She wouldn’t eat any part of an apple if a seed or any dirt had touched it, she had to cut it away! She is so weird when it comes to food, I don’t know how she eats anything, she is going to die next year in America!

By the time we finished dinner and cleared the table it was 8:05 so I read a little before coming on the computer. Now I’m finishing the computer and then going over my flashcards then heading to bed.

Before I go I should explain my prediction. My schedule is as follows:

Monday: Math (Thai), Free, English, Free, Lunch, Thai (Junior Thai like we have English!), Botany (Thai)
Tuesday: Science (Thai), English, Thai (personal lesson), Lunch, Cooking (Thai), Thai Dancing (Thai)
Wednesday: Social Studies (Thai), Thai Music (Thai), Computers (Thai), English, Lunch, Social Studies (Thai), Health (Thai), Thai (personal lesson)
Thursday: Social Studies (Thai), English, Social Studies (Thai), English, Lunch, PE, Social Studies (Thai)
Friday: Thai (2 periods of Junior Thai!!), Social Studies (Thai), Computers (Thai), Lunch, English, Social Studies (Thai), Thai (personal lesson)

I again predict my death for the end of next week!

The difference between me and a Thai, even one who won't go in the sun and bleached their skin! It's really pathetic that I'm this white after almost 3 months of sun!

The fruit from last night

Pad Thai before it is mixed

Pad Thai after it's mixed

My nightly plate of fruit that I eat more than 1/2 of by myself!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday October 28th, 2009

I woke up this morning at 2AM because it was raining really hard. When I woke up it was all dark, all of a sudden with a bolt of lightning and some thunder the porch light went on right outside my window (we never turn that one on so it was even stranger). I got up to close my drapes and found that it was raining into my room from the other window so I quickly closed the windows (as quickly as I could being the fact the rain kept coming and the wind kept blowing them open). After I finally closed the windows and drapes I tried to sleep again, but it took a long time. I finally fell asleep to wake up randomly at 4! I never do get a full night’s sleep, it’s so annoying! (I talked with Paul, the teacher from Australia, and he said its normal after a few months to start waking up at random times again. He said that after a month of so it will pass and I will be able to sleep again. I hope that it comes sooner though, I’m really sick of being so tired all the time!) My alarm went off at 6, but I couldn’t get myself to get out of bed until 6:30 and then it was only by reminding myself that I was excited for today!

We were late for school as we usually are. We arrived in the middle of the national anthem, so we had to stop and wait at the entrance. After we could move again I went to the English lab to wait for Boom to come and get me for class. I should probably explain that whole thing. On Monday there was a new guy in the English Corner and he came and talked to me. I don’t know who he is, but he said that Gayoon brought him in the assist her and that he was supposed to help me. We talked about school and what I like and don’t like about it and decided that I should pick a class to join so that I can make friends and be in some Thai speaking classes. I talked to Boom, the girl who went to Chili last year, and she said that I could join her class. Today was my first day with the class, that’s why I was so excited for today.

Back to today now. Once Boom came and got me we went to Social Studies, which turned out to be some sort of Economics/Politics class. The whole class was in Thai, the teacher can’t speak any English so the girls had to translate whenever he talked to me. I was given a packet just like everyone else, a packet written in Thai! I took one look at it and freaked, it was complete gibberish! I tried to focus on the teacher as much as I could so that I can try to pick up some things, but it was hard to keep focused when I didn’t understand anything. I was so shocked in class when everyone was talking and the teacher didn’t even care. Another thing that shocked me was that they don’t text in class, they call people in class!!!

When Social Studies ended I went with one of the girls, she went to Texas last year (I feel horrible because I spent the whole day with her and don’t know her name!), and we went to Thai instrument class. When the teacher came in we all moved so that we could face him, we were all sitting on the floor facing the windows not his desk. The whole class they just talked with him, I guess he’s funny because everyone kept laughing. He kept making comments that I was staring at him and that I scared him, the girls translated for me. I guess here they don’t always look at the teacher, something that I never thought about I just did.

After Thai instrument class they had Chinese 2, which is way more advanced than I am so I went to the English corner. After Chinese 2 they had English with a Thai teacher, and I don’t need any English help so I stayed in the English Corner. I ate lunch with my new class, some noodle thing that I really didn’t like but I ate because I knew that I wouldn’t be eating for a while. After lunch we went to Thai History. The teacher speaks a little English, but he mumbled so much I couldn’t understand him so the girl who went to Texas had to help me. I tried to pay attention and I understood some of the city names they were saying, but that was it. After History we went to Health. In Health we have to make a magazine, which looks like a lot of fun.

After Health we had a free period before the end of the day so we went to the Cafeteria. I ate some ice cream and they helped me with my Thai. I can now count to 100 and if you say anything in the hundreds I can tell you what it is in English though I can’t say it yet.

After school I went to the English corner and hung out with Peach for a little while before Meow came and got me. We then walked to the hospital and played tennis. When Mike showed up and let him play and took a rest. When Meow decided to be done my host mom wanted to try, it was so funny to watch, she would just swing and spin herself. After tennis we ran so errands like always then came home. For dinner we had shell thing, some cabbage and pork, and some purple and yellow corn. After dinner fruit was brought to the table, but I thought it was eggs because that’s what it looked like. My host mom said it was fruit and that it was very good. I tried some and it actually isn’t bad, not my favorite fruit but I liked it so I’m glad I tried it. After dinner I did my math homework (I’m working on logs, yippee!) and read for a little while (I finished Angels and Demons and now am reading DaVinci code). After I finish writing I’m going to shower and get to bed because I’m exhausted!

Hope you are all well!

P.S. I’ve decided that both journaling and blogging is annoying since I say the same things in both of them so I’m going to blog as my journal since that’s the one that people are reading and only journal when I’m not able to blog. I’m sorry if some of this is a little personal or feely but since it’s a journal now it’s going to have most everything!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birthday, Day trip, Spicy, "Athletic?!?!"

Okay so this is just a little update of the last couple of days so it won't be too long I hope. I'll start with Mike's Birthday. His birthday was on the Thursday 22nd but we didn't celebrate until Saturday 24th because Meow came home from the South on Saturday. We went to my host dad's parents house to celebrate. My host dad's sister and her kids were there, but I never met the kids I only saw them popping in and out of the house. Before we had cake Meow and Mike and I walked around the neighborhood taking photos. Some of the photos I felt really stupid taking with people around, but it was fun and we ended up with some really cool pictures (and some really stupid ones). My host mom bought a cake since they have no oven. They put the candles in and everyone had to count them to make sure there were 13. The lighter wasn't working so we only got one candle lit so we had to use the one candle to light the others. Once the candles were lit they sang their happy birthday song to him (it's in English but it's not the same as ours). He then made his wish and blew out the candles, he didn't get them all out but they don't have the tradition of "How many girlfriends" so I guess it doesn't matter (though he'd have three). After cake, they took some family photos and then we packed up and left, no presents or anything like we do it was really simple. After we left the grandparents we went to a beach with some statues in the water. They tried to tell me what the statues were, the only part that stuck was that the big lady was a sea monster and the little thing on the rocks was her husband who had run away. There were a ton of people on the beach and I realized that they don't wear swim suits to the beach, they go fully dressed into the water (at least around my house, I'm sure beach resorts are different). After the beach we drove home and spent the night doing our own things. I almost forgot, on the way home we drove behind a herd of cows that was being moved so that they could eat, that's something you wouldn't see in America!


On Sunday we all took a day trip to the city of Cha-Am which is about 50 minutes from Petchaburi. We left around 12 and headed to an old palace. The palace was on the beach and the whole place was absolutely gorgeous. Meow wore shorts so she had to wear this wrap thing so that she was properly covered (I saw several women taking them off or 'fixing' them so that they weren't serving the purpose anymore), we also had to take off our shoes as custom and we could only go up so many people at a time because it was made of wood so they didn't want to risk having too many people up at once (my whole family went up and we left some couples below). I couldn't take pictures of the inside but I got the outside. It was White and Blue and went right to the beach. The gardens stretch the whole place with lots of fountains and little rest areas. After the palace we went to Hua-Hin which is another city about 5 minutes past Cha-Am. At lunch everyone was staring at, but I'm beginning to get used to it. After lunch we went to this place called PlearnWan which is like this little place with shops, but that's about it. I thought it was funny that on this wall with different movie people they had Prince Caspian and Nicholas Cage, I always find it funny how much America is over here and in the most random places and things. The traffic was crazy and there were police everywhere because the 15th ASEAN summit is being held in Hua-Hin so delegates from all over Asia were arriving.

Day trip Pics:

So now I'm going to go a little out of order but I hope I don't confuse anyone. Tonight for dinner my host mom made some really spicy food. I've been doing well with spicy and am starting to get used to it so my host mom thought it would be okay to try me. I took one bite and was okay, took another and it started to get hot, the third bite and I was a goner! I ate a fairly large portion and then my host mom put more on my plate. I only had one small glass of water with it and my lips only burned for 20 minutes after (my tongue was fine before I left the table) so I would call the dinner experiment a success! I'm proud of myself for making it through the meal, though I did discover that spicy is a very good lipstick :-)

Now for the last topic I have to start from the end of Sunday (like I said a little out of order). Meow decided that she gained a lot of weight over break (I think she's fine but whatever) so she is dieting. She also decided that she is going to exercise now, no big deal except that she is dragging Mike and me into it too. On Sunday we stopped at a sports store on the way home to buy Mike new running shoes. Sunday night they all went running (I was falling asleep at the table so my host mom told me that I should go to bed). Yesterday Meow and Peach went running around the school (lucky for me that I didn't know they were going to so I didn't bring anything). Well today I couldn't escape! On Sunday my host dad decided that he was going to buy two tennis rackets and some balls for us to use. I've wanted to actually learn to play tennis for a while but never did,but this is so not the time to be learning new sports! Today after school we walked my host mom's hospital where there is a tennis court and met up with one of my host mom's friends who was going to teach us the basics. Now everyone should know me well enough to just picture me trying to play tennis, now through in the fact that I don't speak the language and the teachers doesn't speak English! Another thing going against me besides the obvious fact that I am NOT athletic is the fact that I didn't have anything but my uniform to wear because I didn't bring any exercise clothes here so I had to wear my uniform and I got a blister on the heel of my right foot. I had quite the audience and group of helpers by the time we called it quiets. I barely did anything but lose the ball. Meow and I probably spent more than half of our time looking for our balls (the good thing was that we started with 3 balls and left with 7). When the teacher went to play a game for herself Meow thought it would be a good idea for us to try a game! I don't think you could call a 'serve' (a really bad serve to say the least) a game (we did have a couple of occasions when one of us would get lucky and hit it back but nothing major). I am totally not athletic beyond skating, I am truly an Ice Princess and nothing else. As if today wasn't enough humiliation for a while, she wants to go again tomorrow! (I know you are all laughing at me by this point, I was laughing at myself too so don't worry! I told my host mom someone should be filming it.)

Well that's my little update for now. Wish me luck with this new athletic thing, she's talking about lifting weights too, which I don't think will be bad. The only thing good about this whole thing is I'm going to keep in shape for skating when I get home, well as best as I can at least!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So last week I went to the north of Thailand with Srunya, our exchange girl from 5 years ago, and her family (her mother, father, and younger sister Pim). We left on Wednesday October 14th. It was a long drive there, 13 hours in the car, though we did stop occasionally. We left their house at 7:15 (only 15 minutes later than I was told). At around 8:30 we stopped for breakfast, I had boiled rice which is a very common breakfast thing in Thailand (or it must be because that is always what I’m offered for breakfast). While we waited Srunya and Pim played checkers with beer bottle caps and a piece of cardboard for the game board. They played it in a way that I’ve never seen it played, so it was interesting to watch. After we drove for several hours we pulled over in Ayuthaya, which was the capital city over 300 years ago, to buy a very famous dessert. The dessert was made up of sugar noodles (which have the texture of hay) and something like a pancake. Once you got past the texture of the sugar noodles, it was very good. We stopped two other times in various locations along the road (they have stand in the middle of nowhere where sell things) and bought 14 of those large green things that remind me of giant green grapefruit and guava. Besides the few bathroom breaks we had we didn’t stop until we got there at 9. After we arrived at Srunya’s friends house we ate dinner and they all talked until after 10:30. After that I went to bed because it had been a very long day.

Thursday October 15th, 2009

For breakfast we had boiled rice. After breakfast we headed off for the day. We were staying at Srunya’s friend’s house in the mountains, it was so beautiful, so the day’s activities were in the mountains not in the city. The first thing we did was go to a monument for an old king from over 300 years ago. The kings loved roosters so there were over a 100 plastic roosters surrounding the monument. After we left the monument we went to some caves. It was fun to explore the caves, though it was just as hot underground and in the dark as it was outside and we had to fit through impossibly small spaces. We took a ton of pictures because Thai people love to take picture with everything and everywhere. When we finished spelunking we went and RODE ELEPHANTS! Srunya didn’t want to go with me because she said she was too scared so Pim went with me. It was awesome and the view of the mountains was so amazing!!! I don’t know why Srunya was scared because I loved it! After our ride we were given bananas and we fed them to the elephants (even though the elephants had been eating the whole trip). I hope that I get to ride an elephant again, it was so much fun. We returned to the house after that and ate lunch, they wanted to take me to some fields but it was raining so we had to stay at the house. I studied some Thai and then Srunya said we should take a short nap, which turned into a 2 ½ hour nap (it would have been longer but her mom came and got us to tell us it was time for dinner). For dinner we had shrimp and a famous northern Thai sausage. When I went to take the sausage they all looked shocked and Srunya told me that it was spicy, but I ate quite a bit of it and I didn’t think that it was very spicy at all, so I’m proud of myself. After dinner I didn’t do anything special.

Friday October 16th, 2009

We had breakfast at 8, more boiled rice, so that we could finish up the activities in the mountains before we headed into the city. The first thing we did was go water rafting. The view was so gorgeous, the mountains are amazing (I know I’ve said that so many times in this but it’s hard to describe them!!). They had an extra stick (that is what they use to paddle) and so Pim was playing with it, though she was making things harder for the man steering and getting us all wet. Eventually she stopped and we all took pictures with the stick. After we returned back we said goodbye to Srunya’s friend’s dad who had been our tour guide and then we headed to the city. The first thing we did in the city was track down our hotel, which was fun because we had to pull over every five minutes and ask someone to help us, and took us like 30 minutes to find. After we had settled into the hotel we went to the zoo and aquarium to see the famous pandas. It was a little disappointing because we only got to see the baby on a TV screen, but the adults were so cute, I just wanted to cuddle them! We had a police escort through the zoo so we never had to wait around for anything (we don’t know why he was so nice to us but we didn’t complain). The aquarium was cool, but nothing really special like some of the other ones I’ve been too, but the zoo was one of the most AMAZING zoos ever! I was a little disappointed because we didn’t get to see many animals because they really didn’t want to, but I got to see the flamingos so I was happy about that! The zoo itself was part of the mountain, so that was really cool. After the zoo we went to a market and bought some Northern food for some snacks and I bought a ton of desserts. We then went back to the hotel to wait for dark when we could go to the night market. When it was night we went to the night market and I bought some really amazing souvenirs and actually found a Thailand spoon, something I’ve been looking everywhere for! I tried some Guava juice, which was so disgusting I couldn’t finish it so I bought some water instead. I also bought some banana and chocolate pancake like thing that was really good (I later realized that we never ate dinner and all I’d eaten was some snacks and desserts! Oh well!). When we finally returned to the hotel it was close to 11 so we all went right to bed.

Saturday October 17th, 2009

We ate breakfast at the hotel. They had noodles and boiled rice and other Thai food, but they also had Pancakes and bacon and sausage so I had a little of both types of food. After breakfast we headed back for Bangkok. After a long period in the car we stop at a hot spring. They had a pool that you put your feet in, so we sat there for a while. The water was so hot that just setting your toe in it for a second felt like it was burning! After the hot spring we drove for another long period of time then stopped at a waterfall (it cost 10 baht for Thai’s and 100 baht for foreigners, which I thought was ridiculous). The waterfall was amazing (wonder how many times I can say that word, I think I will have to look up synonyms before I write again). I first got full of mud, then I fell into the water so I was really wet (I never stayed dry or clean for very long on the whole of the trip). We took a lot of pictures at the waterfall too, and then we continued on. We arrived back at their house at around 12. After we got back I got ready for bed, but then had to take and burn all of my photos to CD’s using Srunya’s computer because that piece on mine is broken because of the thing with Bashayer! I finally got to bed at 2 but couldn’t sleep until after 2:30 and then woke up at 7.

That was my trip to ChaingMai, I hope I didn’t forget anything but I can’t be sure because after the first two days I didn’t write in my journal so I am having trouble remember everything. I hope that you all enjoy this piece, I don’t know when I will post again. School starts again on Monday Octover 26th, so I will be busy again soon. I am still free this week for those of you who want to try and catch me!

ChaingMai pics on facebook:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

COC Camp

As you all know I have been on break since the 25th of September. I have posted a small piece about some of my previous activities, but as I have been very busy and have not always had internet I have been unable to post anything else. This is the first of two posts that I will be doing, the second will be coming either tomorrow or the day after (depends when I find time to finish it). This first post is about the Cultural Orientation Camp that I went to for AFS. It was from the October 9th to October 13th. I am going to try to give you details about the events, but I’m sure that I will forget things (I will look at my journal to try to remember everything) or won’t explain things fully so feel free to email me with questions as I now have internet every night again.

October 9th, 2009
I spent the morning with Bashayer, my friend from New York who is also on the scholarship and lives in the north. She was staying at a hotel not far from the place I was staying so I met her at 8:30 and we spent the day together. The first thing we did was go get some food. Her sister told us to go to a 7/11 so we went to try and find one. The first one we went to had nothing so we continued knowing that there was definitely going to be another somewhere close by. We walked through a market and I tried to convince her we should eat at one of the little road side places but she was afraid we would get ripped off so we continued to look for a 7/11. We finally bought some food at our 3rd store, a pancake with custard inside, a piece of sandwich cake, some butter cake, and some banana muffin thing (I also got a yogurt for some protein so don’t worry mom it wasn’t all junk food). After we returned to the hotel we sat down in the lobby and ate while we watched a movie. There were some children there and they thought that the two of us were very interesting so they kept playing by us and watching us, it was really cute. We left the hotel at 11 to head to the AFS office, and after traffic we arrived there around 1. We set our stuff in the office and then headed for lunch. They told us there was a place just down the road, so we walked and we saw this little place on the left but Bashayer’s host sister said that wasn’t it so we kept walking for about 15 minutes before turning around and going to the place that we had seen before. We ate some noodles and I got to practice my chopstick skills again (they are getting better I can actually get the food to my mouth sometimes now). They didn’t have water but they had this really gross tea that Bashayer and I tried to drink but couldn’t get more than a few sips before giving up. We went back to the office to wait because no one else was going to be there until 3. We sat and watched a movie and drank some hot chocolate (they had some in the back of the office and they told us to help ourselves). At 3 we had some meetings and then we headed to the hotel which was about a 5 minute walk but it was pouring and we didn’t know when it would stop so we had to take some cars. They put Bashayer and me in a room together, so we were happy about that. Once we got settled in we all met on the main floor to eat because there was a small cafĂ© there. I didn’t like what I got much, but I ate it all anyway. After dinner it was free time so Bashayer and I talked and read until like 11 when we decided we should shut up and go to sleep because we had to get up at 7:30.

October 10th, 2009
Getting up was a little difficult because I was still tired and I’m not a very good morning person (though I think that I’m much better than Bashayer). P’ Dai, the AFS leader, came at about 8:45 to give us breakfast which was a banana muffin, some muffin that I don’t know what it was but it was really good, an apple, and some apple juice which tasted funny but I drank as much as I could being the fact that my straw was broken. It was about a 2 hour ride and I read the whole way. Just before we got to the resort we stopped at a store (Tesco Lotus) and I bought some oreos and I found some Fruit Loops and I bought a pair of plastic shoes for the mud for later (100 baht). Once we got to the resort we settled into the house that we were at with the three others and P’ Jar, and AFS returnee who was helping out (she stayed in St.Paul, MN). We ate lunch which was fresh seafood and then we headed out for our activities. We took a ride in one of the Trucks to the river and then we took one of those really long boats with the roof to the along the river into this little spot in the forest that was filled with monkeys and mangroves. We got out of the boat and into the mud. It was fun because the mud kept slipping under our feet or we would go lower into the ground (it probably sounds gross to most of you so you will have to trust me that it was a lot of fun). We used our feet as shovels to make a whole for the mangrove trees we had to plant for our community service project. After we finished we went back to the boat and we sat on the front and the guy poured water over our hands and feet so that we could wash up (his aim was bad and my shorts got soaked). After we were all clean we went out to the ocean, which was connected with the river, to do some water skiing. Their water skiing is very different than ours, it is a board with a rope to hold on to and it is connected to one of those long boats (I don’t think they have boats like what we know because in everywhere I’ve been I haven’t seen one anywhere). I didn’t want to water ski, but I didn’t want to be the only one not to so I did. We all got off the boat and jumped into the water. The current wasn’t really strong but you couldn’t stand in one place for very long. I was the last one to go and it was a lot of fun, I’m glad that I did it. After the water skiing we went back to the resort and went canoeing. Bashayer and I weren’t very good at first but that was partially because I had a bad paddle so she had to try and do everything herself. Once I got a good paddle it was fun. We talked the whole time and were probably out there for an hour and a half or more (we didn’t have a watch) and by the time we got in everyone else was back at the house cleaning up and relaxing. For dinner we had more fresh seafood and it was really good. The bugs got really bad at the end of dinner so we all had to head inside for the meetings. We had a Thai lesson and I was very embarrassed because everyone knew way more than me and when they were asked questions they could answer and I just sat there and looked like an idiot! I was most embarrassed when P’Dai came over by me and asked if I even wanted to learn Thai, that is when I decided that I’m done with the English and that as soon as I get home I’m telling my host family that there will be no more English! I’m done relying on it, I want to learn Thai and I’m not going to until I stop speaking English and start speaking Thai.

October 11th, 2009
Nothing was on time, but what can I expect nothing is ever on time (not even movies, I went to a movie and was 10 minutes late and they said that the movie wasn’t going to start for 15 minutes after when I arrived!!!). We had a lot of meetings and discussions and I think that they were very helpful for some things. I paid closer attention to the Thai lesson and wrote down everything that they were saying so that I can study it. After the meetings and the Thai lesson we had lunch and then a 15 minute break before we made a dessert. They had already made the dessert but we took and put banana leaves together with these little stick things and then put the coconut, flour mixture inside and closed it with more sticks and placed it on a grill. I didn’t like it much but I ate it anyway because everyone else was eating it. After we finished making the dessert we cleaned up and went to Ampawa, the floating market I went to with my host family a few weeks back. The water level has risen a LOT since I was there! They bought us some ice cream and some other food for later in the evening. There were a lot of people there and I kept getting separated, but it was fun. When we got back we had dinner and then had free time which meant that Bashayer and I read while the other girls did their own thing.

October 12th, 2009
We packed up our stuff and headed to a golf resort to help with the YES Thailand Selection camp. When we got there we checked into our rooms, Bashayer and I were together again, and then went to lunch. We talked with Patch a little, our leader from DC. After lunch was free time for an hour before we had to get together to prepare our presentation about America for the students. I was given the topics of Host Family and Culture Shock, which was really easy for me to talk about for 5 minutes, I hope that they understood me they seemed to understand because I could see their faces comprehending different parts of what I was saying. After our presentation we had a 3 ½ hour break until dinner. After dinner there were some ice breaker activities which were cool to watch though I wasn’t very good at some of the things we were supposed to be doing. At night Bashayer and I watch movies and just hung out until we both fell asleep in the middle of Sweet Home Alabama.

October 13th, 2009
We were supposed to get up at 6:30 because breakfast was at 7, but I turned the alarm off and fell back to sleep until 7:10 so we didn’t make it to breakfast until 7:45. At 8:30 we had to go and say our goodbyes and then at 9 we were leaving. With 5 minutes left before we had to leave I went to download Bashayer’s pictures and because I was in such a hurry I didn’t pay attention to what I was doing or to her disk and it got stuck in my laptop because it was too small. We spent 15 minutes trying to get it out, using tweezers (which were too big because the space was too small to even be able to open them) and the little hook from a pair of nail clippers, nothing worked. When we got to the van we told P’Dai and everyone tried to get it out. We spent probably 45 minutes trying to get it but nothing worked! They dropped Bashayer and I off and Srunya picked us up (Bashayer was going to spend the rest of her time with me before she had to leave for the bus to take her home). When we got to Srunya’s her sisters all tried to help get the disk out and finally we did usually something similar to a crochet needle, I was so happy! After we got it out we went to lunch at one of the stands next to Srunya’s house. We ate noodles, they were really good; I had a little of everything so that I could try it all, some things I like and others weren’t very good but I didn’t mind them that much. After lunch we went back to Srunya’s and watched some TV shows on my laptop until 2 when we went to get ice cream. I had a huge sundae for 100 baht, it was soooo good! After the ice cream Srunya took me to get a foot massage because my foot keeps cramping. It was wonderful, though my foot still hurt a little afterward but nowhere close to what it was! While I was getting my massage Bashayer and I talked and she showed me pictures of her home and the city, I can’t wait to go and visit her in the summer it looks so pretty. When we got back to Srunya’s, Bashayer’s sister was waiting for her and so she had to leave. After she left I spent the rest of the night trying to load my pictures onto my computer, but something must have got messed up when we were getting Bashayer’s disk out because my computer wouldn’t let me, so until I can figure something out you guys get no more pictures, sorry!
Well that was the COC camp. It was a lot of fun and I loved hanging out with Bashayer, I wish she lived closer to me! I got a lot out of the discussions we had with the leaders. I hope that by the next time we get together (in March) I will be able to speak just as much as the others, that is my goal! The next blog I do will be about ChaingMai, my trip to the North! I love to hear from all of you, so write me!

I don't have pictures of every thing because I didn't want to take my camera on the water for those activities, Bashayer has photos but I couldn't get them yet so you'll have to wait for them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Little Update

This will be a short little update of the past three days which have been spent in Bangkok. I am going to start with today just because it's easier.

Today I woke up at 7:30 and read while the others got ready and then I got ready myself. We were supposed to leave at9 but of course we didn't leave on time. Its was 10 when we finally left the apartment and headed to the school to drop off one of the girls for class. After we dropped her off we stopped at the cafeteria and ate some breakfast which in my opinion was lunch food because they don't have an breakfast food here everything can be eaten whenever. After that we went back to the apartment because one of the girls forgot something and stayed a little while so they could watch a TV show. I am currently sitting at an internet cafe in the middle of Bangkok with Meow and two friends of hers waiting to go and see a movie and maybe get Thai massages after that for only 200baht which is just under $7!

Yesterday we actually left the apartment on time (9:30) and took the girls to the school and had breakfast. We then went to the ice rink, which took a while to get there because first you have to take the BTS (skytrain) several stations and then take the Metro for a while and then walk for a little while and no one knew where they were going and it was everyone's first time with the Metro because they all ride the Skytrain. I couldn't skate because the skates the gave me were falling off my feet and I was sliding around in them and they were falling apart so I didn't want to get hurt and thought it was smarter to just watch. After skating we went to Starbucks and then back to the downtown to shop. We shopped for several hours but all I got was 6 books(HP 4, 2 Poirots, Angles and Demons, and DaVinci Code). We went back to the apartment and rested for a while then went out to see what movies were playing so we can go today. After we looked at movies we went and looked at the clothes markets on the streets and I bought a really cute pair of shorts for $3.40 (100 baht). After that we went to the 7/11 and bought some food for dinner and went back to the apartment heated some water and cooked these cups of food that we bought, kind of like Raman in a cup. We then sat around and read or watched TV until 10:30 then got ready for bed though I was the only one who went to bed.

The first day we were picked up at 11:30 (they first said 12 then called and said 11) and headed off. We stopped in town to eat before heading out and then drove for a little more than an hour and a half. We sat in traffic for 45 minutes to make the last 5 minutes of our trip to the apartment. We settled in and then went shopping, though I didn't buy anything it was fun. For dinner we walked around and looked at all the option. I saw the Subway sign reflected on a window and was very exctied so I ate that while they all ate KFC. I sat and talked with this girl from Arizona for a while while she waited for some people to come and get her. She was really nice. She is in Bangkok on business for the Clinton Foundation she said so she was telling me about it. After dinner we shopped some more and then went to the apartment to just relax. We could't get the AC working so someone came and showed us how and then we all froze all night not knowing how to control the temp.

So far it is a lot of fun being here and I am enjoying spending time with everyone and seeing everything, though they probably think that I am very clumsy because I'm always tripping because I'm looking around and not watching where I'm walking. Well it's time for me to head off!

Talk to you all soon!!