A Day in the Life: Tongue Thai-ed

I have been here almost 4 months now and have about a month left of school! Even less teaching. We have two weeks of school left before Foreign finals (English subject finals) and then the first week of March is Thai finals and they are finished! It’s amazing how quickly that snuck up after midterms. 

Anyway, as a wind down teaching and finalize my plans for when everything here issaid and done, I figured I should give a glimpse into the day to day here, so I can remember when I am senile and in case anyone is interested in pursuing this, they will have an idea what they are getting themselves into…so here it goes. A typical Monday.

6:30AM: Alarm goes off. Push snooze. 

6:40AM: Alarm goes off. Get up

6:40-7:00AM: Get ready, which takes about 10 minutes for a variety of reasons. The first being that we have a color code for every day of the week. Monday is yellow, Tuesday pink, Wednesday Hawaiian shirt, Thursday Purple, and Friday sports shirt. Everyday we wear a blouse the corresponding color, a knee length skirt and closed toed shoes. I have 4 skirts here, my Sperrys and TOMS and 2 shirts in each color. I have never looked less put together in my life. The second reason it takes 10 minutes is there is no point in doing your hair. Ever. I usually put it up in a clip or bun or pony tail because it is so damn hot. Lastly, I barely ware make up. Masacara. Check. Done. Looking fineeeee. 

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Where the magic happens. Thank you to everyone who has sent me cards and helped grow my greeting card border!

7:00AM-7:30AM: FaceTime sessions/breakfast. I usually straighten my room, eat breakfast and FaceTime either my parents or boyfriend during this half hour. Breakfast consists of either yogurt and a banana or this refrigerator oatmeal recipe I found on Pinterest. My boyfriend graciously refers to is as a clumpy, curdled unappetizing concoction he would prefer he didn’t have to watch me eat. I think it’s delicious. It’s just oats, some milk, yogurt and cinnamon that I let soak overnight and eat the next morning. Yum

7:30AM: Walk to school. It’s a straight shot down a pretty trafficked road, about a 10 minute walk. There is a roundabout I cross and at least once a week almost get hit in. There is also a really pretty temple we pass. See below. 

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I should note that every other Thursday I go to school at 7AM for Gate Duty. Everyday 4 teachers are asked to “guard the gate”. Basically stand at the entrance and as each student walks in, say good morning to them. All like 700 of them. It’s annoying, but interesting. They Wai (bow) to the Thai teacher and said good morning to the foreign teacher. It’s kind of cute. The little kindergarteners always come right up to your thighs and peer up at you, either too scared to say anything or shout GOOD MORNING! Then my kids come and are either excited to see me or too shy because they are seeing me outside of the classroom which is too much for them. 

8:00AM: Morning assembly. I walk my homeroom class down and all of the students line up around the courtyard for Thailand’s version of the Pledge of Allegiance. Below is a video I took of them this morning singing the song. The band is not usually there. After the song the students all chant and bow- I still don’t know what they are saying. Then there are announcements and it’s over.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65gmKqVSvbU

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Morning assembly on Thursday’s: Scout Day.

8:15AM: I run and get coffee from my favorite coffee place. It’s 35 baht ($1.25ish?) and delicious. The adorable woman there knows my order (Iced Americano, no sugar, a little milk) and charges me 35 baht instead of the new price, 40. However, she charges my friend Helen, who is Korean, 40. Everyday. Even though we order together. It’s kind of like reverse racism. 

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Helen watching the magic happen. Preparing to get ripped off.

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Homegirls parents are on the cup. Her mom still works in the shop

8:30AM: First period starts. On Monday, I have my homeroom for first period for Grammar. They are my favorite class. They are so well behaved compared to the other ones. And really smart too. Best grades, best conversation. Love em. Below is a picture of them doing their workbook today as we finish the Unit. On a typical day I have 4 classes. Usually I have each class for Grammar, then one class twice for Conversation or Reading and Writing. Grammar I use a book I was given and teach them whats in it, Reading and Writing and Conversation I basically am on my own. Those classes are usually more fun though. We’ve done pen pals and different fun conversation games and activities that helps me get to know them. Those classes are usually the nosiest though.  Today we did presentations on the “best flower” in Conversation  That was actually pretty boring. The kids aren’t the best presenters in English. Friday I have two classes. Which is AWESOME.

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All girls can’t have hair past their shoulder and all boys have to have cropped hair.

12:00PM: Lunch. Everyday my two friends and I go to this little vegetarian place about 5 minutes from school. Literally, everyday. Except some Fridays we go to a place across the street to get some chicken stir fry. You can eat at school but I have a few times and it’s not that great. Plus you eat in the canteen with all the kids and it’s nice to get away from the madness for a little. So this vegetarian place is owned by a mother and daughter and they make some great good. Everyday is something a bit different but they always have soup which I get quiet often. Rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, kale, and usually some radish or something. Sounds kind of boring but its soooo good.  This is the soup I got today with a little side bowl of their vegetarian green curry. It was a bit too spicy for me but I wanted to try it.

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3:30-4:00PM: Homeroom social. This semester the Director has asked all foreign teachers to spend the last 30 minutes of school working with small groups of their homeroom class on English and conversation. Usually, like before Christmas, this period was taken up with Christmas show rehearsals, but now I have it back. I tend to take 10 kids out to talk about their weekends, favorite things, families, or like last week we just played Hangman. With superlatives we were learning. It can be a lot of fun. Or a big pain. Somedays my Thai teacher uses it as time to catch up on things with the kids, since she is their real 4th grade teacher. So then I am off the hook. Today was one of those days. 

4:00PM: Free at last! I usually leave school at 4:01PM. My friend Alex and I blow the popsicle stand rather quickly. It’s so different from working at an office, I never left promptly. It’s great leaving at the same time everyday because you can actually get things done. Laundry, food shopping, running, dinner, cleaning, etc. I never wanted to do that after working until 6 or 7 and then commuting an hour.  Monday’s I actually usually go to my favorite place, Tesco, which is like Target to go food shopping for the week. I probably spend less than $20 and get yogurt and fruit and veggies to cook with for the whole week. Toilet Paper. Wine sometimes. 

Two days a week I tutor outside of school, either one on one from like 4:30-5:30 or with a small group from about 5:30-6:30/7:30. Being that I do get out so early and have a lot of time, it’s nice to tutor twice a week and keep myself busy. And get a little extra baht. I only tutor my students, which I am pretty sure I would never get away with in America. I don’t give them an unfair advantage for quizzes and tests and projects etc, but lets be serious. They have extra time with me outside the craziness of the classroom. So thats an advantage. And its great to see them all do well in that environment. But to be honest, I tutor the kids that don’t need to be tutored. They understand directions, can write paragraphs, read stories, answer questions, have a conversation with me. I wish I could tutor the kids who I can’t get through to. But such is life. It’s fun hanging out with them outside of the classroom. My small group tutoring is 5-6 girls from my homeroom class who are like a gaggle of geese. They are becoming a bit too comfortable with me because of tutoring. They want to touch my hair, ask me why its soft, why it’s blonde, how can I braid it. They gossip to me about the class. It’s hysterical. Half the time it takes me almost an hour to get them to finish a worksheet because they chat, chat, chat. But when I think about it, them being able to talk to me, chat and gossip with me will get them further than the superlatives crap I make them do. 

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One of the girls I tutor’s Dad owns coffee shops. Her nickname is Cream and her sisters is Cake. He sells these cookies at his store 🙂

6:30PMish or later: I come home and try and go for a run or do exercise or clean, etc. Lately, its been so hot and I have been tutoring a lot so it’s been a challenge to exercise. But the beginning of the semester I was pretty good about going 3 nights a week. My friends and I would go together down to the fitness park, where there is a track you can run around, it’s actually nice. It’s right next to the night market so you can grab some grub (pad thai, soup, fried chicken, smoothies, salad, fish, bubble tea, fruit, are the stands I frequent) And basically get a meal or fruit or a smoothie for $1. I can go down there with 100 baht (about $3) and come home with pad thai, a smoothie and a watermelon if I wanted. Can’t beat it. 

However, lately, I cook once or twice a week. I won a “multi cooker” at our school Holiday party and its rather useful. It’s basically an electric skillet that I will steam or sautee vegetables in and then usually make an egg or two. I’ll do some broccoli, potato, pumpkin, onion and cabbage with some garlic and eat that. It’s pretty good. You get sick of noodles and rice and soup and the same flavors, so its a nice break. But a bitch to clean and get together since I don’t have a kitchen (most Thai’s don’t, they eat out) so I do this all on my dresser or desk. 

8:00PM: Shower/eat/rest. Lately my friend Alex and I have been on a Revenge kick. So after dinner or working out or showering I typically stream a TV show (Project Free TV works here) and watch something. Or go on Facebook. Or FaceTime. Or do work. Or plan a trip. The usual. We may all meet up in one of our apartments and discuss plans or watch a movie. Just hang out. 

10:00PM: I pretend I am going to bed. Instead I usually FaceTime and go on Pinterest. Or Group text my friends since they are all bored at work. I never read here which is weird. I was a huge reader at home. I think it’s because my Kindle app is on my iPad and kind of annoying to read on. And because I am iMessaging my friends on my iPad so it distracts me.

11:00PM: Usually fall asleep.

The end! That is the exciting life of Teacha Alicia in Thailand. It’s amazing how quickly you become accustomed and adjusted to things. This all feels totally normal to me now. Walking everywhere, sweating, wearing a color coded uniform, riding a songtao to get groceries. Eating “out” many nights a week. Streaming all of my TV on our insanely slow internet. There’s been good and bad but all-in-all it’s been a good life these past few months and I will be sad to be done with school. I will really miss the kids. And minus almost getting run over a couple times a week, the commute is awesome.

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My preferred method of transportation. I may start a Song Tao company in the ‘burbs if I am unemployed when I get home…

 In two days my boyfriend comes! It’s  testament to how time flies! I cannot wait! It is going to be so great to see him and I hope he likes my routine as much as I do. It will be interesting to show someone how different my life is and gage a normal persons reaction. I feel desensitized now ha. I am sure he will love the 90 degree weather as well! Luckily I have 2 long weekends so we will be going to the beach to escape the heat! And I can’t wait to bring him to school, the kids are going to die. I think we are going to pretend he is a professional football player. They don’t really understand what American football is so it should work. 

My next blog will probably be about our adventures after he leaves, so ta-ta for now. 

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3 thoughts on “A Day in the Life: Tongue Thai-ed

  1. Great read! Brings it all to life for me. Sounds like you are now comfortable with it all – even the heat!! Enjoy your Dylon time, and say “Hi” for me! Luv you.

  2. Just returned from Chile, Argentina and Brazil so now have a chance to catch up on your blog. You really have a great attitude toward the good, bad, different and curious things that an observant and open minded person encounters abroad. You are doing it the best way by spending a lot of time in one place.
    We ha a great, but too short, time in SA. The highlight for me was a 2 day + crossing of the Andes by bus and boat: yes boat! The crossing from Southern Chile to Argentina is only possible because 3 large lakes provide a way to avoid otherwise impassable terrain.
    One is rewarded at the end by a two night stay at a great resort hotel from the 1930s. It is worth the trip just to be able to float in a pool while looking up a glacier. We also enjoyed Buenos Aries a lot but Rio was the best of the cities. Pictures can’t begin to do it justice. Iguassu Falls at the Argentine, Brazilian and Paraguay border was really spectacular. About 3 times as wide as Niagara and in the rain forest of a National Park. It was unspoiled had has the biggest volume of water of any falls in the world. We arrived at JFK just ahead of the blizzard and made our connection just before everything shut down.
    We arrived home in goo shape except for my black eye (don’t ask).
    Please stay safe. Love T

  3. Hi Alicia,
    Thanks for your Valentive greeting.I trust you had a wonderful day with your boyfriend. It sure looks like your days are jam packed. Hearing you describe the food you eat and looking at the pictures, I believe I would do better on the survivor show. If I were to visit that part of the world I believe I would come back transparent.
    I’m happy you are enjoying the experience. Be well and stay safe.
    Love,
    Uncle Buck

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