Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Visits and Classes and Vacation!

End of April - a month ago, I felt like I had a whole load of hurdles to overcome before I could make it to this point, and as I look back, I'm quite happy with all of the events that have happened! Let me fill you in a little bit.

Michael's family came to visit at the beginning of April, and we had a blast while they were here! Every morning I woke up and felt like I had to pretty much hit the ground running! We went to the beach, visited Ayutthaya (the ancient capital of Thailand), rode the river taxi, wandered around downtown, visited our church, had Thai massages, and ate A WHOLE BUNCH of mangoes. (Good thing it's mango season!)

So, with that kind of a summary, let me give you some visuals to help you get a sense of what we did:

 Welcome to Bangkok! (Our first glimpse of them in the airport)

  The world map in Michael's classroom shows how far apart we live from one another (okay, I'll admit: it's kind of a cheesy picture)

  Koh Samet - our favorite island getaway - not too far away from Bangkok, and it has really beautiful beaches!

Yeah - not sure what this was all about - apparently Michael's dad was being as annoying as a mosquito, hence the mosquito zapper, I guess!

  Some family photos on the beach

Eating dinner on the beach at night - always so silly. Occasionally Michael and I are able to act semi-normal...but it's much more difficult when we're on vacation.

Courtney decided to order a seafood salad one night, not realizing that it would have little squids in it...mmm!

Waiting for our train to go to Ayutthaya (a day after getting back from the beach)

We hired a little tuk-tuk/truck to take us around to some of the main attractions of Ayutthaya, including to the place where they offer elephant rides. We didn't ride the elephants (much to the sadness of our guide, who would have gotten a commission), but we enjoyed petting and feeding them!

 The baby elephant was greedy, and also quite picky. It didn't want to eat the bananas, but happily helped himself to a couple of trunk-loads of cucumbers out of Courtney's basket!

After already getting sunburned at the beach, Michael and I both decided to walk around Ayutthaya with umbrellas so that we wouldn't be in direct sunlight - so Thai, but so genius!

 Aanndd - of course, we had to take some tuk-tuk rides! (that's a must when you come to Thailand)

 On our last day, we took a cooking class together. It was a great (and very delicious) way to end the trip! We learned how to cook several things, including red curry, cashew nut chicken, and fish cakes!

On one of his many trips to the market, Michael's dad was kind enough to stop and buy me some flowers to appease me for them eating all our mangoes. :)

Phew! So, after the family left, Michael and I had a couple of days to relax, then I started my first set of master's classes! I'll be honest: I was really nervous to start taking classes again. It's really tough to go from being a teacher to being a student! I've heard this several times in the last few weeks, but I do think it's true: teachers make really bad students. I laughed a lot during one of the group presentations I had to give; it was almost harder to keep everyone's attention during that presentation than it is to keep the attention of my high school students! I guess a lot of teachers think they know everything already, so no one really wanted to pay attention. Ha!

Anyway, the classes were great. The work load was not nearly as heavy as I expected it to be. I was in class for about eight hours each day for ten days, and it was about an hour commute one way every morning and afternoon. I was really tired every night, and extremely thankful for a light work load! I am not a night person as it is, but I really couldn't think my way through homework after being in class for so long! I met a lot of really interesting people - the diversity of our class was incredible; I really think I learned more from interacting with my classmates, who are all teachers in various international schools in Asia, than from the classes themselves. The next set of courses that I have to take is in July, and I'm excited already to see what those classes will hold!

For now - I'm working on finishing the final assignments for the courses, and over the next couple of days we will pack our things up and get ready to fly around the world to visit many of YOU! That's right! The more plans we make, the more excited I get about having some vacation time and visiting the friends and family that I haven't seen in a year. Blessings abound already, and there are so many more to come!

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