Sunday, September 9, 2012

Updates and pictures

We chatted on Skype with my parents the other day; as we worked to set up a time, I realized how easy it is to lose touch with the people in my life whom I love the most. I had forgotten how long it had been since I'd talked to them, since I've been so caught up in the daily ins and outs of living. Some days, living far away from the home that I knew growing up is interesting; we like our life here, and we certainly feel that God has called us and has blessed us as we've lived in Thailand. On the other hand, living far away has downfalls, too, one of them being that it's easy to grow apart from family and friends who live in another country. Relationships take work and commitment, and even though we'll always be connected to our family through our blood, we still have to put forth effort to maintain those relationships, even when we are not physically present. Maybe these thoughts aren't incredibly profound, but I felt that I ought to mention them anyway.

On to the update - we've been busy, as usual, with anything and everything school-related! Those of you who are teachers or students know what we mean; since it's after Labor Day, most of you are back in school! We recently finished our thirteenth week of school, which means we only have about five more weeks in the semester! School things continue to go well, both for Michael and for me. We enjoy exchanging stories when we come home at night, and the stories usually involve the best and worst parts of each school day. Many of Michael's students are working on various types of history projects, ranging from building model pyramids to making videos about World War One. My 12th grade students have been eagerly asking me two questions recently: "Are you finished grading our research papers yet?" and "Did anyone plagiarize their research paper this year?" --> both of those are really great questions! My answer to both questions is yes. I'm happy to be (FINALLY) finished grading them, but I wasn't happy about the one plagiarized paper. However, they did a whole lot better than last year, which means they learned something from me this year!

Our annual school talent show was this weekend. The student government decided on a disco theme for the talent show, and in order to promote it as well as to raise money for an organization called HelpLive, a bunch of the teachers decided to dye their hair for school on Friday. Students could buy tickets for 10 baht and put their names into the teachers' boxes (like a raffle), then names were drawn to decide who would decide what color each teacher's hair would be.

 My hair was mostly red with some blue in front and white tips, Michael's hair was just plain orange. Very, very, orange. :)
 Purple, green...lots of fun colors!
 A couple of guys dyed their beards as well as their hair!
 Finished product - don't we look so good? :)

The talent show itself was a success, and we had a lot of fun. I took a couple of pictures of the show, but they didn't turn out very well.

In other news, I took a Thai cooking class with a fellow teacher, Kristi, last weekend. We went downtown (Bangkok) and took a class through a cooking school. We learned some of the staples and traditional Thai dishes, including Tom Yum (a sour/spicy soup), Pad Thai (a noodle dish), Green Curry, Laab (a spicy chicken salad), and some dessert that I don't know the name of. We went to the market and learned about the various vegetables and spices that we'd need, and we even learned how to make sticky rice! It was tons of fun...and now, I guess, Michael and Ryan (Kristi's husband) are expecting us to cook for them! Here's some pictures from our cooking adventure:

 We had to help arrange a basket of vegetables to make it look pretty. Doesn't that look good??
 Some spices and things

 Cooking my Tom Yum - I don't usually like this kind of soup, but it was pretty tasty when I made it. :)
 The best part - eating what we made! The Pad Thai was delicious. I sent my compliments to the chef.
 Cooking green curry
A quick picture with our head chef, Jay. He was hilarious and a lot of fun to learn from!

There's been quite a few activities in the last few weeks, and we also have some things to look forward to in the next few weeks. We have a staff retreat, including both the foreign and the Thai staff, in two weeks, and three weeks after that is our two-week October break! I'm working with the other women teachers who teach high school to plan a banquet for the high school girls, which will hopefully happen at the beginning of October. We don't have a prom or junior/senior banquet or anything at our school, but the music teacher and I thought it might be fun to have a formal dinner with just the girls - it's only in the planning stages right now, but if and when it happens, you'll hear more about it. :)

As a final note, we'd just like to let everyone know that after over two years of being in Thailand, we actually went out and bought our own dishes yesterday. Seems silly, yes, but I was super excited! We've been using various assorted plates and cheap flimsy utensils up until this point. They worked...but it's nice to have the REAL stuff now, and yes, that does include chopsticks!


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