Finally!!! A new blog entry!

Trip Start Jul 18, 2009
Trip End Jun 08, 2011

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Where I stayed
Tai Ping Towers Condominiums

Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, August 28, 2009

One of the coolest things about my condo is that it is located in a great spot just Northeast of the heart of Bangkok. I have tons of restaurants (including an amazing and cheap dim sum restaurant), shopping centers, clubs, pubs, art stores, etc., within walking distance from my place. But the best part is that there is a really big open air street market right down the road in front of my complex. This place has everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, to street food, to clothes, jewelry, purses, etc. And everything is dirt cheap. I go there at least twice a week for my fruits and vegetables or to grab a huge meal for only $0.60 USD. One of the jewels of the market is a stand selling deep fried insects. Yes, I found one! One of the first questions I always get when I tell people in the states that I am in Bangkok, is “do you eat all kinds of bugs and stuff?” Well, the answer is yes. And not to be cliché, but if you go in with an open mind to eating them, they are really not bad. Now don’t get me wrong, it is no southern Conway delicacy, but I could certainly eat them regularly. Thus far me and my friend Daniel (who I teach with and who now lives right next to me) have tried Locus, Water Beetle, and Grubs. The Locus taste like a roasted pumpkin seed, the water beetle just tastes like pooh, and the grubs are actually really good. They are nice and creamy inside and remind me of a jelly bean with a little bit more rubbery outside. Ok, now that you have all thrown up, lets move on.

And I started teaching school on August 8. It was a little rough to start so early because I just think about all my colleagues back in MB and how they were all still enjoying the summer, but instead my summer has been cut short and the games have begun! In actuality though, I love my students and all of my classes. The students here treat teachers so different. There is such a higher level of respect and they don’t view you as a mean authoritarian person but as an important and revered instructor. Just a slight contrast from SC. HA! The schedules are a bit different so I see and teach about 140 different students in a 2-day rotating cycle, but I have gotten used to it. I have included pictures of my classroom. I tried to make it look the same as how it always is, and yes, I brought that stinkin map with me to BKK. The faculty at RIS is a bit different from the faculty at CFHS. The faculty at RIS come from all different countries and all different walks of life, so you have many different ideas and opinion circulating the school. No worries though. They actually put me in the middle school building because there were no available rooms in the high school, so I am kind of by myself. I love it. Oh, if I may go on a tangent here real quick, one thing that I dew miss (ha ha pun) is diet mountain dew! I am seriously having withdrawals from it. The only soda that they have here in BKK is Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Blue Pepsi (its gross it takes like mint), Coke Zero, and regular Coke. That’s it. No Diet Mountain Dew. And anybody who knows me knows that that was my vice. Every day at school I would have a diet mountain dew in the morning or would walk down and get a mountain dew, and it seriously was the best part of my day! Any of you who are coffee drinkers know what I am talking about. Now though, I have no mountain dew and seriously am a zombie to my students until like 11am. Don’t do it for me, do it for my students. Ok, sorry, anyways I am teaching Asian Studies, Modern World History, and Peace Studies. They are all quite different than anything that I have taught before and I am certainly enjoying learning all of the information while I am teaching it.

Not to get all history teacher on you, but right before Buddha was about to die, his followers said that they wanted to paint a picture of him so that his likeness could live on and all the world could know what the Buddha looked like (yeah sorry, the Buddhist statues that you have seen are NOT what Buddha really looked liked. He was actually quite skinny too). Anyways, Buddha did not want his likeness portrayed as he feared that he would then be worshipped as a god, and the real meanings of his teachings would become lost because of this. But his followers insisted that they have some sort of sign from him that they could depict for the generations to come. So what Buddha did is he took off his robe and folded it like you would fold a shirt. He then took his alms bowl, turned it upside-down and put it on top of his folded robe. He then took his walking stick and placed it on top of the bowl and robe. “This,” he told his followers, “shall be my sign.” So therefore these steeple looking things are basically a recreation of Buddha’s sign, and over the centuries they have been added with a little more artistic style to look more visually pleasing. So that is what that white steeple thing is supposed to represent. It was just really cool to see something that is such a huge part of Thai culture but which us “Farangs” know nothing about. Side note: “Farangs” is a term that if you are coming to Bangkok you will be called on a daily basis. It is a slang term used to describe a westerner of white skin. It is slang but not necessarily a derogatory term. It means 'Mango’ in Thai. The mangos here in Thailand have a green outside skin and when they are cut open, the fruit in the center is a bright white, hence the reason why we are called “farangs.” 

 After the visit of the temple, I hopped on a Klong (Thai meaning “boat”) and traveled down the Chao Phraya River. The river runs straight through the city and the Klong brought me right to downtown. It was a really fun day and amazing cultural experience.

Besides that, I have just really been getting settled in to everything. I have been having some great times going out with Daniel and Arina. I have found some great British Pubs to watch my English Premier League (Go Gunners!!), some great Italian Restaurants, Thai Restaurants, but sadly no Mexican restaurants yet. I have really been craving some chips and salsa and there is just nothing of the sort here. El Patio needs to start a place here! 
Thank you all so much for keeping in touch and sorry that it took so long for me to write. I am going to keep up with this thing like usual, pinky swear! I am still very happy here and am enjoying every day. I feel so blessed to be here and to be living how and where I am. Thank you all for your prayers and for thinking about me. And now I have plenty of room so start planning your visits, I would love to take you around this beautiful city and show you why I love it so much! Until next time, God Bless.

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