Sunday, January 30, 2011

Funerals, Farangs, Fun. Not Necessarily in that Order.

I thought of this ingenious idea, I think you’ll be impressed.  Basically what happens is I type semi-thoughtful and semi-grammatically correct sentences throughout a longer period of time by typing blog entries into word and then pasting them on the page.

Now that I have you….

I went to a Thai funeral which continues on for seven days.  A very interesting experience to say the least; it was easy to feel like the five “farangs” on the front row, the ones weary of the octopus soup (it was delightful as is seemingly all Thai food), were the center of attention rather than the life of which was being celebrated.  “Farang” refers to the “foreigners” that are taking over the province with their crazy bike riding tactics and loud highlighter green bike helmets; as if the issuers didn’t know we stick out enough already!   Day five of Thai funeral…ate broth with pork skin…questionable!  My conversation back home at the dinner table will no longer consist of questions regarding the preparedness of foodstuffs.  Dad, Joe, Boars Head meat will never go bad…

On a more serious note, the last day of the funeral was rather moving and a real gut check.  It has been easy to get lost in the newness of the culture and country but the final day of the funeral helped me to realize how all human beings are related so closely even though we are raised in ostensibly two different worlds.  The daughter of the woman that passed gave a “final speech” before the burning of the body and even though it was given in a different language I could feel what she was saying.  I cried along with the other attendees as she choked through the final words.  The family was so selfless and gracious throughout their grieving.  They fed the funeral guests and showered them with gifts and smiles through such anguish and the pain only showed in the last ten minutes of the funeral.  I don’t know how Thai people do it, but their generosity goes beyond anything I have seen or felt.  Anyway sorry to ramble, I just wanted to share that.

Thailand is still fantastic, as it has been since I arrived.  I am slowly but surely learning some language action which is helpful.  I did not realize how frustrating life can be sometimes when you have no idea what people are saying and when people think you are incapable of speaking (if only they knew how awesome I am J).

Thai classrooms are different than in the states.  I observed a fifth grade English class, there was no teacher.  From what I understand class is somewhat optional.  If the teacher is there, class will ensue.  If the students are there but the teacher is not, class consists of playing Takaw (Takaw is the same as volleyball but is played with the feet and with a smaller wicker ball; chicks dig it) or football.  So in short, the observation went really well, instead of observing I took the liberty to teach the American chicken dance which is very different from the Thai version of the chicken dance.  I like to believe that coming from the chicken capital of the world, my version is most likely to be correct (silly Thais).  The students are very eager to learn English.  In Thailand, English is like the P.E. of America (so I will have the best job in the world).  Besides the great job, the Thai kids and people honestly believe I am Harry Potter; my celebrity status is through the roof!

Elephants are big and the ruins in Ayutthaya are pretty awesome.  I got to tour around the province and visit the Tesco/Lotus which is a fairly large “mall” with a “walmart” type store connected to it.  They had an A and W so I went large; cheese sticks, chicken sangwhich (for you jersey shore watchers), French fries and a large root beer in a frosty mug.  The only thing my plate that did not have a “Thai twist” was the root beer, totally worth it.  The Thai version of “Twilight” was filming in Ayutthaya, I was able to watch, I thought the main “actress” was gorgeous, my host mom told me it was not a girl; story over (lesson learned). 

We had an activity called “Thai Day” which was a lot of fun and a much needed break from the day to day activities of PST.  My group performed a cross country performance; I was in the South group so naturally I felt it my duty to teach everyone how to call them hogs.  You may now take pride in the fact that people halfway around the world love and can perform the hog call. HOGS BEAT VANDY! NICE!

Shoot me an email if you have any ideas on how to let family and friends view my videos and pictures…They really are not anything too special but it may help grasp a little taste of Thai culture and what I am trying to explain on this here bloggem..

Cross-Cultural Note of the Day:  The Thai word for “Guava” is also “Farang”.  If you say the sentence “Farang gin farang” (gin=eat) they laugh for days… 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Insert Cool Blog Post Title Here That Has to Do With Thailand and Other Cool Things That Are Cool To Me and Others

Hello Blog,

I already forgot what I included in my last blog post so I hope I do not repeat anything that would bore potential readers to tears.  The last 10 days I have been with my Homestay Family.  My Mae is fantastic as is my family and the people that wander into the house that might be family or might not be family as well as the 8 cats that are stray, or maybe they are not stray and the 9 dogs and the 1 puppy and the 15 fighting roosters that live under my bed and wake me up at 4:30 every morning and the lizards that eat the mosquitoes in the bathroom where showers are not taken but bucket baths are!  My grammar teachers would not count off......

I have spoken with my mother and she of course is worried about my well being if those of you close to me can not tell by the posts on my facebook wall as well as the concern shown about the roosters in the right hand column of this blog.  I would like to reinforce that I am doing well and I am having a great time in Thailand!  The people are the most generous, I think, in the world.  The culture is taking some getting used to, I don't know how many times I have been scolded for not taking my shoes off before entering the house!  Whoopsadaisy!

I know I am rambling and not telling any stories in full but I want to get as much information out in the short time I have for lunch here at the school.  In order to do so I will get a quick run down of lots of different things......


My house/room is great and spacious
I eat close to 7 times a day (Gin Kao Boy!) =  Eat RICE!
Restrooms are going great....western style toilet in my house, still have to use a sprayer....Anyone that would like to know more my inquire, I will oblige!
My family makes fun of me name it, I can't do it..........Washing clothes, eating correctly, drinking correctly, riding my bike correctly, saying hello correctly (sawatdee krap)...ect ect ect.  I feel like a 3 year old kid.  I have to learn how to speak, write, use the restroom all over again.  I suppose in America, since I feel like I haven't grown up, I am officially qualified as a "Toys-R-Us Kid".

Anyways, Thailand is  fantastic, I am very busy and the people here are wonderful just as I said before!  I will update again, please let me know if you are curious about anything Thailand...The little I know of the country is awesome so far and I can only imagine things are only going to get better and better!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Con Tep

A lot has proceeded since my last post on this thing.  I have been so busy I really don't know where to start, just writing this seems like an "epic" hill, for all you fratters.

First things first, I have successfully arrived in Thailand!  The activities have been non-stop since I have arrived which is most definitely positive; no time to think, just do.  I am in a hotel in the Ayuttaya province in Thailand.  Ayuttaya used to be the capital of the country prior to Bankok so it is fairly developed but still has it's fair share of poverty.  We received bikes two days ago and have been "bike training" ever since.

During a bike training session yesterday we had the opportunity to explore the village on a 18 km bike ride.  In the middle of the ride we stumbled upon a crane holding a human being over a creek who was attempting to throw electrical wire across the creek, the electrical wire was attached to a large ceramic spool.  I found this simple method very refreshing, they found it to be ineffective.  Here the electrical company is, on a dirt road, trying to throw a spool over a creek to supply power. I think they would have tried for hours, I mean they already had brought out the crane!  To make a long story short I offered my services in the form of my right arm (lets just say that Thai people seem to be more interested in sports that involve feet moreover any others so their form was a little off).  I grabbed the spool and successfully threw it across the canal, in turn supplying the village with power.  This will be my job for the next two years; only kidding.

I digress.  I am still very excited to be here, language lessons are intense but great fun and I will be meeting and heading to my first host family's home tomorrow (both anxious and nervous).  I hear they will make me eat a lot and I won't have anything to say to them which means conversation and laughter will be at my expense.  Squat toilets are working out great, will have one installed as soon as I get home!

I know this is not very detailed and probably not a very interesting blog post but I would love to talk to all of you individually when you, or i, get a chance.  Keep the emails coming!  I have a cell phone but I don't know how to put minutes on it and I have no idea what the number is.  I will keep you updated on that situation.  I am not sure the next time I will have internet access is but I will be in touch.  Much love and take care!

P.S. Ben Rector is the man!
P.P.S.  Pom Con Tep = My butt hurts (Fries family that is from biking, not other)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Almost There...That's Bidetcious!

Hello Blog....

When I started this blog a couple of weeks ago I did not know how to talk to it (first person, third person).  I currently do not know how to talk to it and it may be a while before blog and I become interwoven and connected in a full on human-blog relationship. Until the relationship blossoms into a beautiful flower please hang with me in my confusedness.

So here I am!  I am in Hotel Nikko in Narita, Japan where grilled squid is served for breakfast, oranges taste like grapefruits and "green drink" tastes all kinds of delicious.  Since this is my first adventure in Asia it is both wonderful and ridiculous that things are so efficient and technology seems more advanced than in the states e.g. the toilet has more buttons than the computer I am currently typing on.  I wanted to put a note in here for my immediate family more so than anyone else and I know I will be showing some humility in order to explain many things on this blog throughout my service.  So here it goes, Pat and Sarah, the bidet is the best thing since sliced bread after the second time. The first time one must figure the difference between "spray" and "bidet" buttons and then the key is to make sure the pressure is not on the highest setting or else it feels a prostate check (at least what I imagine a prostate check would potentially feel like).  What is a blog in my family without talking bodily functions?  It is not one...

Moving on,
I will be headed to Thailand in a couple of hours.  I am extremely excited and thankful that I have so many people, including family and friends, that are excited for the adventure I will be embarking on very soon.  I have never seen such an ecletic, energetic, fun-loving, caring group of people in my life which has also sparked much motivation.  Hopefully everyone reading this has my email address and can contact me, I will appreciate even the slightest encouragements!  I will update again when I have a chance, in the mean time take care and much love.

My skype name is LukeFries3...Please email me yours or just add me on Skype or whatever you do with Skype and hopefully we can Skype and Tweeter and stuff.  It will be awesome!