Hey! Long Time No See!

It seems like most of my recent blog entries start off the same way – I can’t believe how long it’s been, busy living life, hoping to write more frequently, etc., etc., etc.
The truth is, blogging is something I really do wish I did more of, but because things DID get crazy busy for awhile and I had to stop for a bit, suddenly there was more and more to blog about to “catch up” that it just got a bit overwhelming. Then, when I let it go longer, it became a lot like trying to pick up an old friendship when you haven’t seen each other for ages – when so much has happened in the interim, where do you start?

Well, it was my mum’s suggestion to think of blogging like that, and to think about writing a new blog basically as though I’m bringing an old friend up to speed with what’s been going on in my life. (I got another good idea from my dad, so stay tuned for that later!)

So without further ado, let’s pretend you and I are sitting in a Starbucks, sipping our crème brûlée macchiatos and enjoying the sound of smooth jazz providing a lovely ambiance for our first real good chat in a couple of months…
First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I am NOT really at a Starbucks writing this (so no worries if you’re not really at one either – all though if you are, I hope you’re enjoying a nice, falltime beverage!). I am actually sitting at home on my couch, in my pj’s (yep, it’s so hot here, it’s nice to change into something more comfortable when you get home!), drinking a glass of water and listening to the sound of old I Love Lucy episodes playing in the background.

There have been a lot of things that have happened since I’ve been back in Bangkok. Here are just a few things worth mentioning (in my opinion)…

First of all, I am really settling in at work. I have an absolutely amazing class of students, each of whom I look forward to seeing when I go to work. They’re not perfect, of course, but they’re pretty close to it! My class is creative, friendly, cheerful and LOVES to read! They make me smile every day. I’ve got one boy who dances just like a KPOP star, another quite boy who shoots me the funniest faces right out of nowhere, and a girl who’s taken to writing me encouraging notes on all of her homework – often things that really speak to me at the time… When our class weekly reading was a short play, one of my girls went home and painted some windows and a flower box to put up on our walls as a set; they look so good I have no plans to take them down!

Last Monday was picture day. After our pictures were taken, we got back up to our classroom and they all started begging me to take more pictures! Because there were only about 20 minutes left in the day, I figured – why not?

I went to a jazz concert the other night and heard the Swedish Jazz Kings (meh…) and the Shuffle Demons (wow! – and they’re Canadian, too!). It was quite a nice night. I have tickets to an acoustic guitar festival on Oct 31 and the final act is Tommy Emmanuel. I am SO looking forward to that event!!! I also have tickets to see Walking With Dinosaurs in November. I am pretty excited! I’m mostly just enjoying the opportunity to take off and do something different, affordable, and completely not related to school.

My reading and writing is coming along quite well. I now know all 44 consonants. This morning at church there were several songs I could sing along to decently well from reading the words. My church vocabulary is growing every week! And every week I am able to read more and more of the bulletin. I really, really wish I had the nerve (and opportunity) to speak more. I almost feel like the more I learn, the more cautious I am to use it. I talked to one of the Thai teachers at school about it the other day and I’m hoping that now she knows how much I want to try but I’m just shy (like she said some of the Thai staff are), I can try to have a little conversation with her when we are both in the copy room at the same time. I need to be more brave. That’s something you could pray for, please!

I have a Thai keyboard now, which is quite a novelty! I’m enjoying being able to type out my Thai homework, but it takes SOOOO long to find where each letter is! Sometimes I just sit and type out my name over and over again trying to get my fingers used to finding those letters.

This week is our fall break, so we’re off school! Tomorrow, Jessi, my friend from Nepal, is coming to visit til Friday. I am SO excited! We have a little list of fun things to do together (nothing big and touristy – which is good!), and it should be a nice and relaxing week.

I’ve booked tickets to Nepal for Christmas from Dec 18 to Dec 31. I’m really looking forward to going back and seeing my friends again. If I can’t be with my family for Christmas, the next best thing is being in KTM with my friends there.

I can’t quite think of anything much else to say right now! Oh, I guess here’s a little something else…

Little Language Things I Do Differently Now (after having lived internationally for a year)
1. I almost always say and write the word “mum” now, though I generally edit it back to “mom” before publishing/hitting send.
2. I have completely picked up the Korean English tag question “ya”. It has a slightly different use than the Canadian “eh”, so between the two of them, my dialogue is now peppered with tag questions. Eg. “We’re meeting at 7, ya?” “So you’re handing in your homework tomorrow morning, ya?”
3. I don’t bat an eye when a student asks why the air conditioner is ‘closed’ and if he is allowed to ‘open’ it, and simply reply, “yes, go ahead, I forgot to open it this morning”. An instruction such as “close the lights, please!” is infrequent only because I generally keep the lights off in my classroom…
4. After a brief and undesired adoption of the Australian (at least, that’s the only nationality I’ve heard it from) “yeah, yeah, yeah”, I’ve finally managed to eradicate it from my speech.
5. Every once in a while, I catch myself dragging out my vowels in a very American way. Not a full-on drawl or anything, but definitely not a nice, crisp Canadian sound. What’s really funny is that I can hear myself doing it, and I usually go back and fix it, and my students can’t even hear the difference… But, while I am more than okay with adding words to my vocabulary and changing intonation patterns, etc., I do NOT want to compromise my Canadian accent!!! 🙂

Well, I think that’s it for today. Hopefully I’ll be blogging more regularly now. I really am blessed by so much here – life’s not perfect, but it is great to know that I’m doing what God wants me to do, even when it’s hard. I look around and I marvel at the fact that I really am here. I never wanted to be here, never even imagined that someday I’d not only have been to Thailand but would be living here, and yet now it is so right. I can’t imagine being anywhere else…

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