Three weeks in between posts this time - whoops! The weeks have been going by so quickly that it's hard to keep tabs on what day it is, let alone the month and time of year! Sometimes I feel like Thailand is a time warp - the whole "hot season all year" thing really throws me off. Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means it's the Christmas season at home, but here it just feels like any other day. It really surprises me to think that we've been here for almost six months already...
Anyway, on to updates in our lives. Michael has adjusted really well to teaching. Our conversations these days tend to revolve around questions like, "How do I get kids to pay attention in class?" and "If you were grading these worksheets, how many points would you give this answer?" and "Ugh....making tests is such a pain." lol. For me, it's really quite fun to be able to fully relate to Michael on the work level - that's never happened before.
Michael is getting used to the teaching schedule, which is a little bit random for him. He teaches anywhere from 1-3 history classes in a day, but still teaches the nursery kids and his after school class. He's balancing the time really well, and I can usually find him in his classroom (or our living room) working on "school stuff" in his spare time during the day. :)
School for me continues on as normal. I have a spare half-hour at the end of each day (my schedule changed slightly from last semester), so I've started teaching an SAT prep class for the 11th graders twice a week. It's been going okay so far and I hope that the kids are learning a few new tricks/skills that will be helpful for them as they look ahead to taking the SAT, TOEFL, and other such tests. Fridays have become my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE day of the week (not that they were at the bottom of the list before or anything) because we have volleyball club on those days! The new gym was recently finished, which means that the volleyball club no longer had to meet on the basketball court outside. Since we now have plenty of actual playing space, we opened the club up to the high school guys and girls, and started playing a couple of weeks ago. Most of them have never played before, so we're teaching some basic skills as well as just playing games for fun. I love it - it makes for an awesome ending to a week, that's for sure!
Being an English teacher means that the students tend to come to me with questions about any and all English words. One of my students came up to me during the lunch hour last week and said something that sounded like, "adee-kuwat" I had no idea what that word meant or what he was talking about, so I asked him to repeat it. He said, again, "adee-kuwat" and explained that it was a word he had seen when he was reading. He wanted to know what it meant. Still having no clue what word he was talking about, I asked him to spell it, and he started, "a-d-e-q..." "Adequate?" I asked. He said, "Yeah! That's it! What does it mean?" Haha. I explained, and then continued chuckling at his original pronunciation. English is such a weird language...I love the way some of the kids pronounce words that I haven't ever thought about pronouncing a different way.
Thanksgiving was this week, and since it's an American holiday, we had to work on both Thursday and Friday. I wished my classes "Happy Thanksgiving!" on Thursday, but mostly got goofy looks from my students (and a few "happy thanksgiving" replies). On Saturday, however, we had a fabulous Thanksgiving celebration with the rest of the foreign staff. We had a (really expensive) turkey and everything! All 30+ of us fit into one little tiny apartment, and it felt like home to me. I guess I'm used to squishing too many people into too small a space for major holidays or something... :) Anyway, along with all the traditional dishes (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, etc.) we had a few new ones: taco salad (thanks, Canadians!) and a Filipino dish called adobo. It was a fabulous feast!
Since it's November, the guys (teachers) have been working on growing out their beards. They made it into a fundraiser to raise money for a refugee camp in northern Thailand. Kids could buy tickets all month, and at the end of the month (this week, I guess!) we'll have a drawing. The kids whose names are chosen get to pick a teacher and choose how that teacher will shave his face. Michael's currently got quite a nice beard going...I'm a little worried that by the end of the week it will be half a beard, or a striped beard, or something strange like that. Ahh, no worries - they only have to wear their goofy beards for a day or two before they can shave them off. It's all in fun and for a good cause anyway. I'll be sure to get some pictures and post them at some point!
We did get to go see the new Harry Potter movie as well, by the way. Some people have asked if HP exists in Thailand - yes, it does, and it's a pretty big deal. My kids kept asking if we were going to see it, and if I'd read the books, etc. We went to see it opening weekend!
Actually, seeing movies here is lots of fun. There are numerous malls with movie theaters to choose from, and it's cheaper to see a movie here than in the states. (about $5-6 full price, if I did my math correctly) Wednesdays are also cheap days (about half price), which makes for a good mid-week date upon occasion. I'm super excited for the next Narnia movie - I'm sure we'll go see that whenever it comes out!
The next few weeks will be interesting at school, because we're winding down the time until Christmas break (two weeks), and right before break is the Christmas program, which is a HUGE deal at GES. Christmas isn't such a huge holiday here like it is in the States - I haven't seen many Christmas decorations or anything being sold in stores/along the street. But, since GES is a Christian school, we do have a Christmas program. It consists of an indoor program and outdoor program for the little kids and older kids (two nights of program fun!). That's on the 17th and 18th of December, and we've got lots of preparation to do before then!
Anyway, that's about all for now - I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and as we look ahead to celebrating Christmas, may you be joyful as you remember the birth of our Savior! Blessings!