Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving, moving, moving...

Over the weekend our offices and classrooms were moved to the “new” building.  Bearing in mind, it is actually an old building, and not all of our classes have moved yet.  The move has been in the works for two years.  So upon hearing “we’re moving this weekend” the other teachers told me that might or might not happen.  Except this time it did happen.  So Friday after school some of us packed and taped and labeled things for the ten soldiers to move on Saturday.  The student tables and desks were moved, and we even have western style toilets now!  Never mind the running water still only functions half the time.  Being on a University campus, the University wanted our “old” building for college classes.  So it relegated us to this older building.  But don’t worry; we’ll do it up!  We’ll fix it!  During one class today I was interrupted by the sound of a power drill in the wall directly adjacent to the chalkboard.  Guess we’re still not done fixing it up after two years in the works.
Also, the computer lab, where I teach computer class, is still in the old building.  So the students and I have to commute back across the road and the schoolyard to the old building.  As if 50 minute class, no passing period, and computer boot up and log out time weren’t enough in the way of obstacles for accomplishing anything.  I’m also leery about when they do get around to moving the computer lab – how long will I have to teach computer class with no computers, and a workbook with no accompanying text book?  I can run some copies or print stuff out…oh yeah; they haven’t set those back up yet.  In fact, the students’ desks and classrooms are all set up, but the English program office is currently an empty room.  They just finished the floors, you know.  And Monday morning, we arrived at the new building to the piles of boxes everywhere and no teacher desks.  I’m currently positioned on a kitchen counter, sans Internet and typing in word.  I’m going to get a lot of grading done, having set up my grade book in Google documents.  Having to hop from my laptop in the office to the computer lab, that made sense.  How silly of me, trying to make sense in Thailand.  Thankfully Gen and I already have plans to go for a massage after school.  There are several good places right by our apartment building.

Speaking of which, as for my living arrangement, Saturday morning my host helped me load my suitcases into a taxi, and I moved into my new apartment.  So Friday evening, packing the office.  Then packing my suitcases.  Then Saturday and Sunday beginning to unpack my suitcases.  Monday morning: beginning to unpack things in an incomplete office followed by teaching in two buildings.  Blah.

Other recent events of note: fun times taking the wrong bus around town.  Being approached by a creepy guy asking me (very insistently) if I want more English teaching jobs.  I'm not so sure that was actually his motive.  Leaving said guy standing in the street.  Debating with another interesting South African Ex-Pat English teacher.  Discussing the parliament of Antarctica (you had to be there).  “Promise me Sarah Palin won’t be President!  I changed three Acts of Parliament in South Africa!”  “They kicked me out of the country, you know!”  Personally, I think it may have been for reasons besides political differences that they kicked you out of the country, creepy.

And we mustn’t leave out: calling students up to the front to give examples of “I’m about to do something."  I set two ground rules: no leaving the school, and no jumping out the window.  So naturally: male student: “I’m about to kiss you!”  Begins approaching me.  Not knowing what else to do, I turn the other way and put my hand out, rejecting said advance.  Class falls into laughter.  Well, I hope they remember “about to.”  The second grammar class of the day, the standout example was "I'm about to peeping Tom."  And yes, he knew full well what he was saying, aside from the grammatical error.

After all the excitement of the past little bit, Monday wrapped up quite nicely with Spaghetti for dinner and an hour long massage for 200 baht, which is currently equivalent to $6.74 U.S. dollars.  :-) The spaghetti was some of the first western food I've had since my airline breakfast, and it really hit the spot.  They actually have a fair bit more dairy around than I expected, so I've been able to get yogurt (some of the only dairy I can eat).  And 7/11 has loaves of bread, well closer to half loaves but in any case.  Today's school lunch was a cabbage soup, rice, curry fish balls and a dessert resembling frog spawn.  Pretty much all Thai desserts are something with very unique texture, little flavor that is then doused in sugary syrup to compensate.  Sometimes crushed ice is added if you wish.  I must say it was quite fun to play with as it rolled across my spoon, and it didn't really taste like much of anything besides the added sugar syrup.  I think it was actually fruit or plant based, the frog spawn comment is courtesy of the Dutch teacher.  It does give a good visual description.

A quick note on pictures: I'm being careful for now because I'm still getting my bearings and from my reading you have to be careful of people who don't want to be photographed.  Or even better, the people that allow it then come after you demanding payment for it.  Plus, I need to become known as a resident - hanging around with a camera screams tourist.  Then when you run into creepy guy on the street claiming he's got another English teaching job or what have you for you, having your camera out is one less thing to be concerned with.  As a farang I already attract plenty of stares, I want to keep my eyes and awareness on the streets.  I've got plenty of time for pictures.

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