Books, General, Travel

Music, Monotony, and Monks

It’s been a while since I last blogged, a whole week I believe. I’d love to start this new week with an action-packed adventurous week that was so interesting I didn’t have time to write. Unfortunately, the truth is much more mundane than that. This last week has been fairly void of intrigue and fun. I won’t go as far as to say boring, but it’s the first week in a long time that has been routine-filled and monotonous.

Teaching really is one of the most rewarding careers one can pursue. Seeing the faces of children transform from cluelessness to understanding transcends any age, cultural, or language barrier that may be present. I know longer find going into school as any form of chore, and I find myself looking forward to lessons when I sit at my desk. Whether it is because of my [insert generic high praise here] quality of teaching, or the because the student’s at my school are pretty awesome, I find finally find myself thinking that i am making a notable difference.

Well, I thought that, until this weekend. Jade’s school is competing for a King’s award, which if they won would grant them the status of the best school in Issan. Everyone is working hard to prepare for the committee’s arrival, to the point where teachers and students alike were requested to go into school at the weekend. She spent time on Saturday and Sunday going through lesson plans, critiquing pronunciation of student speeches and songs, and looking through the boards displaying the English department. It was at this point she appeared home close to frustrated tears at what was written. Once I had seen what was written, I accompanied her, and we set about changing the spelling and grammatical issues without destroying the student’s work completely. let me tell you, it was a more difficult task than it sounds on paper. There were pages we literally couldn’t understand. We didn’t expect flawless English, but to read it with a complete lack of understanding is quite a feat. That, and getting a major to feature prominently on the front cover of every project displayed, such as ‘Teaher’ instead of teacher and ‘Symnonyms’ instead of ‘Synonyms’ as the project title.

As much as I could rant a lot about the whole thing, I do hope the school does well and that the committee visit is a success. And of course, that they don’t look to closely at the English stuff.

On Friday, I had my fourth rabies jab. Only one left now, not too bad. Just one trip left to hospital before I can forget the whole sorry affair. We were off school on Friday, so there was no-one to take me from school, and I was nowhere near a tuk-tuk stand to find one that would take me. My co-teachers asked the landlords if they could take me, and they agreed. Come the agreed time, they promptly asked if I could drive, and gave me the keys to their car so i could drive myself there and back. thai roads are interesting to drive on, but despite the apparent lack of health and safety, it felt pretty safe to drive there. Another experience to add to the list of things I have done since being in Thailand.

This week has seen the temperature drop. I know I have mentioned the falling temperatures here a few times, but this time, I really mean it. It’s been properly, below 10 degrees, cold. Jade has been hopping round the house in her mummy-sleeping bag, and I have brought a blanket and my sock a-game to school. If we had appropriate clothes to battle this weather with, we would be fine, if it was at home, we’d probably think it wasn’t very cold, but armed with nothing warmed than a thin kimono, the temperatures get to you in a country you think is hot all year round.

The debacle that was my parcel from home finally came to an end this week. We received a lovely parcel from ‘Flight of the Gibbon’ last weekend, containing an awesome and unexpected selection of goodies, but it was really nice to get something from home. The parcel contained some new clothes to take on with me, some Christmas presents, sunglasses, flip flops, and was a lovely thing to come home to on Wednesday evening.  The chocolate had even survived the trip un-melted!! The socks were definitely the highlight, and were proudly displayed at the earliest convenience in school.

I am plowing on with my resolutions this year, attempting to at least keep them going until january 31st. I joke, I will keep them until the end of the year (hopefully). Working out is fast becoming a part of my routine – the seven minute app workout really is efficient, and I hope, working. I accidentally missed a day on the app because I technically did the workout after 12, which has annoyed me, but I’ve kept it up well, and I am cutting back on rubbish I’m eating. I hope I start to see results. Learning Spanish is sporadic at the moment, but the app is helping squeeze bits and bobs in here and there. I am finding the picture of the day hard work, and although I have done it completely so far, it is the one I expect will get cut first, should one fall by the wayside during the course of the year.

Reading, however, is proving a little more challenging. After bout of books, I think I read myself out, and have barely read a page since. I m hoping to start the new week revitalised, and get Harry Potter read, but so far this is proving unsuccessful. i really need to get started on my Book resolution TBR’s before I forget to look and leave myself too much to do. I want to join more communities this year after involving myself more in the Bout of Books world, so I think I am goig to pursue that in more detail as the week goes on as well. That, and ignore my Dad’s jibes at the quality of the book I am reading!!

Music seems to be filling an awful lot of mine and Jade’s time at the moment. Hvaing removed all the songs from our various devices, it has left us with folder after folder of unidentifiable music. Thus, the unenviable task of listening to every single one and filling in the correct details has begun. I will be thankful when i have copious amounts of music to choose from, all correctly titled and ordered, but at the moment, I am fed up of the whole thing. If I hear one more song from the musical ‘Annie’ it will be way too soon.

Sorting the music has prompted jade and I to watch some musicals. I am quite the fan of a good musical, I’ve seen a few on stage, and on film, over the years. Jade fancied watching Mamma Mia last weekend, and after persistently singing tracks from the theme, we also watched Hairspray. I think it’s going to be West Side Story and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street next. Both are distinctly less bright and happy than the ones we have already watched. Oh well. We’ve also dabbled in some comedic shows, mainly by Trevor Noah and Rhod Gilbert who are both hysterically funny. Watching them has made us both realise how many films we haven’t seen that we should get round to e.g the Toy Story’s and Avatar for me, and The Silence of the Lambs, and the Godfather for Jade. We need to get sourcing them for our onward travels. I did finally persuade her to watch Guardians of the Galaxy, hopefully that will inspire a week or so watching the Marvel Cinematic universe.

I’ve sat round at my desk today and done little but read, write, and pop to the post office It isn’t a bad thing, but the monotony of sitting at a desk for hours on end every week is growing tired. The thrill of being paid to do nothing is less pronounced than when I first began teaching. Today was ‘brightened’ after an incident in the post office; I’m not sure I can ever show my face again. A guy shoved me quite hard as I was walking me in, propelling me forward, head first into a monk. Had it not been for him I would have undoubtedly face-planted the floor. Once i realised it was a monk I was using as a net, I realised how everyone had stopped to stare – monks can’t touch women, and I may as well have thrown myself at him. Wonderful. He was very lovely however, and apologetic even though the fault was mine (well the guy who had shoved me, but technicalities). He chatted in broken English as I went to buy Jade her box (yes, the whole ordeal wasn’t even for my benefit). After discovering I taught English, he bowed to me and bought the box as thankful gesture before leaving. People didn’t stop staring, I think in a mixture of disgust and wonder as to why I threw myself into him and then he bowed to me, until I left and hurried back.

See, it’s not that nothing happened this week, it just wasn’t our teaching observations, or first night out in Roi-Et, or a Barbeque at our American friend’s house, or Jade’s Birthday, or Christmas, or Boxing Day, or Sports Day, or Flight of the Gibbon, or Bangkok, or NYE, or Lopburi, or sunflowers, or monkey bites, or bout of books…well you get the idea.

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