Sunday, August 21, 2005

For the love of Pete...(literally?)

Google search strikes again!

While doing an image search for "Running Snake" I came upon this image for Butt Cream.

I'm trying to prepare a lesson for my kids using "Can & Can't," so I was going the animal route..."A fish can swim," "A snake can't run," etcetera, etcetera, when I discovered BUTT CREAM.

I'm not sure about the connection between "Running Snake" and "Butt Cream" and I'm not even going to try and figure it out.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

I learn something every day!

Last year, while teaching my students the "Family," theme, I had a couple students mention that they had two fathers, two mothers, or both. I laughed it off, assuming, in my western mindset, that the kids were from a broken family.

I didn't think twice about it until this year, when I introduced "Family" again and received another, overwhelming response of kids claiming two (or in some cases more) fathers or mothers.

This time it caught my attention, so I asked my Thai assistant and good friend Chu, (Wichuda Kaewphibool), "What is this thing about two mothers or fathers?"

It seems that some rather large Thai families, (some are incredibly large, with as many as twelve or more children), may offer out their children (some or all) to surrogate parents for certain days of the week, the weekend, or other arrangements.

Mae Bun Tum: Means second mother.

Por Bun Tum: Means second father.

As Chu explained to me, some families may turn their kids over to the second (or surrogate) parent on certain days, or whenever needed.

The second (surrogate) parent is most often a single woman, often divorced, who has no children, or has free time to spend, giving his or her time, affection, and knowledge to the greater good of the kids.

Although it isn't as common for children to have a surrogate dad, some do, often naming their surrogate father as their father, rather than the one who is most absent from their lives.


The monsoons here are incredible. I can't say enough about them.

Perhaps it's because I came from a dry climate...The desert southwest (southwest Texas).

I've experienced rains in many locales and countries and nothing seems to compare to the rains here in southern Thailand.

After school today I decided to stop off at my favorite Thai restaurant. I ordered one of my favorite dishes, fried pork, mixed vegetables over rice with soup (pork vertebrae with bean sprouts, green onion, and flavorful broth) and a side dish of cucumber and raw green onion, all mixed with pungent, aromatic, and spicy Thai peppers...of course.

After finishing my meal at 2:15 p.m., it had begun to rain.

Five minutes later, it was a solid downpour, and by 2:35 p.m., I was soaked to the bone even though I had my umbrella with me.

It seemed as though the rain was coming in from every angle.

Now I'm home. It's 4:00 p.m. The rain is only now beginning to let up.

Over an hour and forty-five minutes of heavy rain...

This kind of rain in southwest Texas would kill people.

Looking out my front door, I can easily understand where the metaphors, "Curtain of rain," and "Sheets of rain," come from.

The thing that baffles me, is most of the soil here is clay...clay doesn't absorb water. So, I wonder, "Where the hell does it go?"

People here are used to the monsoons and seem to coexist with them well, but, I've seen pictures of past years when flooding took its toll on southern Thailand and still threatens to wreak havoc again.

What will this year be like?

The anticipation leaves me breathless.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

I woke up to a hazy world today.

A smoky scent tainted the air; which, although not uncommon here in southern Thailand where everyone seems to look for a reason to burn something, lasted most of the day.

By early afternoon I was getting curious about the smoky air. Suddenly it dawned on me..."The forest fire situation in Indonesia."

Weird. I had read about it, but didn't think it would affect us this far east. I could smell the burning smell, a lot like burning grass, most of the day, until our monsoon rains came in early afternoon and cleansed the air.

But not for long.

The haze was back by late afternoon.

Sometimes the rains here amaze me. The sky will suddenly get dark, the winds will pick up, and the rain will fall at an incredible rate. Looking outside my front door, I see where the metaphor, "A curtain of rain," comes from.

Currently the kids are outside screaming, "Nueng, song, sam, see, ha, hok, jet, paet, kao, sip, sip-et, sip-song, sip-sam"...while feverishly jumping rope in front of my house. They love it when I venture out and I stop and take the time to watch their antics.

Yesterday was the Queen's birthday, but I didn't go out into town. I only participated in the festivities by watching the fireworks from my balcony last evening.

Although I know my surroundings well, sometimes I just choose to vegetate in my apartment, reminiscing about Thai life and how that life interacts with a foreigner like me...

Till later,

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sorry for the long absence, but I've been busy...Well, not really busy-busy, just pre-occupied. Not much to report lately, but then I haven't really been in the writing mood of late.

Soi 3, the road I live on, looks like a freaking war zone. The Thai utility construction drones have been working on some damn project I can't figure out and lately this has included ripping up our road for seemingly no valid reason.

They ripped it up two weeks ago and have done nothing since. It's as if they got drunk one night and said, "Hey, we eventually have to rip up the road, but let's do it WAY early and screw up all the neighborhood foot and motor traffic so we can watch people struggle!"

Now that I think of it, this appears to happen in the west too. Perhaps construction crews are close members of a worldwide union. Maybe the famous "WAR PRESIDENT" should declare war on highway construction crews worldwide, instead of interferring in the middle east and killing innocent citizens???


I'm getting ready to begin practice for this year's play, "Goldilocks and the three bears." This year we're making it bigger and better! Last year we only had around fifteen kids or so. This year we're presenting thirty children, a good majority of them first graders, so things ought to be fun and interesting.

I've dumped my private class because I got sick of their laziness and I wasn't getting paid enough. But, there is a possibility I might restart it again later, but under different circumstances. So now, my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are free! My free time is important to me.

Well, enough for now. Just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive and kicking. I'm on a day off today since it's the Queen's birthday...three day weekend! Stay tuned!

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