Friday, August 31, 2007

Things I am looking forward to in the U.S., Part I

I think this will be a new (and short-lived) series for my blog. It will probably sound like I don't like it here, which is not true. I do like Thailand. Sometimes I love Thailand and wish we weren't going home. And at other times, I wish we were leaving tomorrow.

One of the things I am really, really looking forward to in the U.S. is hot water. We have a little electric hot water heater in the upstairs shower, but that's the only hot water in the house. And unless it's a warm day, the water doesn't get that hot. In the cool season, the water barely gets past lukewarm, and the house is 60 degrees. Not fun, especially for little kids. I'm really looking forward to a long hot shower on a chilly evening, or soaking in a tub full of hot water.

And then there's the hot water from the tap. The only time I wash dishes in hot water is when I boil it on the stove. It's going to be so nice to just turn on a tap and get hot water to wash dishes. (Even better, we might have a dishwasher!) And then there's the laundry. Most things can be washed in cold just fine, but there are a few things I really prefer to wash on warm or hot. I've resorted to boiling certain items of clothing on top of the stove to get them really clean. I'm also looking forward to being able to toss a load of laundry in the dryer, and have it come out ready to wear. It's a pain to have to line-dry everything, especially during the rainy season. It can rain for days on end, and nothing dries very quickly even in the house.

Small things but I'm still excited!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

College in Thailand

I'm almost done with my first (and, for the immediate future, last) semester of teaching college. I like it. It suits me far better than teaching kindergarten. I am fascinated by the English language, and the process of learning language, and I love the challenge of trying to help others master it. Or at least learn to pronounce words ending in "l."

I have realized that there is an entirely different expectation of college students here. I felt, as a college student, that I was an adult, and most of my instructors treated me as one. College students here are still treated like children most of the time. My boss addresses the students as "children" even though I have several students in their early 20s. They don't schedule their own classes; you pick a major, and the university tells you what you will take and when. They don't get homework, unless it's reading, because they "won't do it anyway." It's frustrating to be trying to finish material and run out of time, only to spend the next class period watching them complete a writing assignment they could do at home.

Teachers are accorded a tremendous amount of respect here. Students wai me in the halls (even if they're not my students, they know I'm a teacher because farangs do not just randomly wander the campus). They wai as they enter the classroom, they wai when they leave, they wai before accepting an assignment and they wai after turning in an assignment. It sometimes feels more obsequious than respectful, but that's probably because I'm farang.

At the more traditional of the two universities, the students all stand at the beginning of class and say "Good morning teacher, how are you today?" Then, at the end of the class, they all stand again and say "Thank you teacher, see you again next time." The students are also responsible for unlocking and locking the classroom and erasing the board. This university is very traditional, we don't even wear shoes in the classroom. One of my classes at KKU also does this, but the other two have stopped. I think they can tell it makes me a little uncomfortable.

Universities here also have a lot of control over their students' lives. Students aren't supposed to get married or have kids. I have a student who is married and has a daughter. If I wanted to "turn him in," I could get him kicked out of school just for that. I personally find this ridiculous, and I think a lot of Thais do too.

College students also wear uniforms to class. The boys wear pants, shirts and ties. The women wear skirts and blouses. You couldn't have paid me enough to wear a skirt and dress shoes everyday in college! But they do it, and they don't seem too bothered by it.

You know, I went to a school that told me I could only live in approved housing, and couldn't do a lot of things (drink, smoke, etc) and had a dress code. The thing is, I could choose to go to BYU or I could go to one of a million other schools where no one would care about my life beyond academics. These are government schools that control their students' lives, there isn't an alternative if you want an education.

I have a seperate rant about the curriculum I'm teaching but that will have to wait.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've been tagged!

My sister Erin tagged me. . .so here goes.

4 Jobs I've Had
Executive Assistant
Test Development Coordinator
English teacher

4 Movies I Love:
What Dreams May Come
The Princess Bride
Beauty and the Beast

4 Places I've Lived:
Provo, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah

4 TV Shows I Love:
Grey's Anatomy
The West Wing (we've been watching it on DVD)

4 Things that Make Me Happy:
My family
Good books

4 Books I Love:
The Shadow of the Wind
Ender's Game
The Bonesetter's Daughter
Harry Potter

4 Foods I Love
chocolate chip cookies
chicken fettucine alfredo
baked ziti

4 Vacations I Love:
The Beach
Visiting Family
anywhere I can get a massage
anywhere Trea has fun

I'd Rather Be:

2 People to tag:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's Official

We're coming home in October. We have tickets and today John told his boss. We wanted to give plenty of notice, since it's not easy finding farang teachers. I will tell my boss this afternoon. I'm a little overwhelmed by the idea of having to totally re-establish a household, but excited too. John's parents are coming and we are going to travel with them for ten days before heading back to the U.S. We will be staying with them for the holidays, and using that time to figure out where we want to settle. I'm going to try to blog a lot in the next couple of months so I can get in all my thoughts about Thailand, but I doubt I'll be able to get it all down.

Also, check out John's blog for a link to our family snapshots online. Lots of cute ones!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Growing up

Trea is pretty much potty trained. I say "pretty much" because she's had one accident (in the middle of a tirade) in the last week or so, and she wears underwear all day. She's still wearing a pull up for naps and at night, mostly because we co-sleep and can't deal with the idea of nighttime accidents getting all four of us up!

She's growing up so fast. . . .