Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Animal Farm

Once again, we hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! And happy almost New Year! How in the world is it almost 2011? I still remember the fear of Y2K like it was yesterday. Ah poor little 13 year old Natalie with her velvet overalls was so scared. Anyways, our experience here has continued to present us with a fair share of challenges, and we keep overcoming them. I worry sometimes that I am becoming paranoid, every time someone talks to us I am afraid they are going to say something bad! But, we continue to learn and expand our comfort zones. And I am VERY proud to say that we have even had the extra energy and internal resources to have done some volunteer work (in a sense).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas: Part Nueng (One)

Hello family and friends! We are planning on writing a longer post about our whole Christmas experience, which was pretty insane. We didn't get around to it yet, but I did put together a video of a small but really fun part of it, a trip to the aquarium and zoo. As you will see we got to hold orangutans and "baby" tigers!! The first crazy part was that it only costs seventy cents to do so. The second crazy part was when we realized that even for so little, we might have gotten more than we bargained for when the tigers started nipping and swiping at us! The camera was put down quickly when it started happening, but you can still catch some glimpses of the situation.

Make sure to check back in a day or two (or just subscribe for automatic updates near the top left hand side) to get the full story of our day. Much Christmas love to everyone, and Happy Happy New Years!!!

If the video isn't playing here, double click on it to play directly in Youtube. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thanks for the love, and Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Ah, THANK YOU so much to everyone for their outpouring of love and support after we covered some of the hard times we've experienced lately! We really appreciate everyone who's reached out, even when we are so far away; each message has made both of us smile and feel infinitely better. Many of the people at our school have also been very supportive, which feels great! We were even told what great teachers we are, which is nice because in general people in Thailand are not very open about giving praise.  Personally, we are trying to stick together and have bounced back from negative emotions really quickly.  Living and working sure has given us a lot of opportunities to learn and grow.

While we have been missing out on a number of treasured holiday traditions, we have had fun teaching the kids about Christmas (I have gotten better about teaching them songs haha) and have gotten a bit into the holiday spirit. We have been making Christmas ornaments which the kids LOVE and we continue to settle in and tweek our teaching styles to be more effective. We also may or may not be having a Christmas celebration tomorrow, we will update about that too:) I went to a yoga class last night, which was especially meditative because it was all in Thai. It was fun to be the only farang doing yoga in a class of middle-aged Thai women. I also have gone to an aerobics class at my school a couple nights, which is always fun. It is the closest I have gotten to dancing lately. But this will change in a week when we go to the islands for New Years!

We both miss our families so much! And a special shout out to my brother Clark who just finished college at UC Davis with a degree in civil engineering, and Weston just finished his first quarter of college at UC Davis. I am sooo proud of both my brothers and love them with all my heart!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (as I'm typing this I am singing it in my head!) and Graham and I are sending love from Thailand!

Monday, December 20, 2010

UPDATE - New Pictures: It was supposed to be so eeeaasssyyy

Click Here for the picture gallery that goes with this post!
Today's Theme Song: Here 

Oh my gosh today has been one of those days, ugh. While both Graham and I try to be positive about our experiences here (and life in general) the flood gates of ick really opened on us today. So to all of you who may be a bit bored at your jobs, wondering what the world has to offer, let me tell you-what you got isn't so bad trust me! Today we suffered the consequences of simple mis communications that have resulted in a day full of frustration. No one can be blamed, but the inability to speak with people here, coupled with layer upon layer of social customs and norms, can be incredibly difficult to handle. And then we have some lingering problems in the states, which also sucks, especially when we both worked so hard to clean our slate for our time here. Ah, life, sometimes you are a....um, difficult. Thank you so much to our parents back home, especially my mom, Lynn, for all of their help making this whole dream (right now it seems like a nightmare-were we crazy to come here? sometimes I think so!) a reality. Teaching has also been very challenging at times. Today I actually had to hide some tears, as I dodged things getting thrown at me as I sulked out of my classroom. After trying so hard, walking around singing "We wish you a merry christmas" like a total idiot for an hour, with the kids being so loud and disrespectful, I could not but momentarily give in to the stress and cry quietly behind my fake purple RayBan glasses.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Island Fever

Koh Larn from the sky
Last weekend we traveled to an island and met up with several fellow members of the teach-abroad organization we came here with. The island was called Koh Larn, and it is a couple hours bus ride from Bangkok, and then another half an hour ferry. Because it is relatively close to the Capitol it was rather crowded with revelers who came for the day, but after 4pm the beach cleared out and it felt like we had the island to ourselves. Of course nothing here is quite as straightforward as it first sounds...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Indiana Jones Adventure

This weekend was a three day holiday to celebrate the birth of the King. Although Thailand is politically a democracy, it still has a monarchy which theoretically holds broad sway. The current king has been in power for ages and is very well loved, mostly because he uses the benefits that accompany his role to do good. There are some crazy rules regarding the king though, like is you step on his image you will go to prison for the rest of your life!

 We heard one story about a teacher being fired after he dropped a coin with the kings image in front of the class and stepped on it to stop it from rolling away. There was also a traveler a couple years ago that spray painted a picture of the king, and was sentenced to life in jail. He was eventually pardoned by the king however, who stated that he hoped prosecutors would relax a little when it came to such matters.

Anyway, thanks to the King we had 3 days to explore this amazing country......

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