Ayutthaya

Sunday Recovery

In a habit that I am far too familiar with whenever I end up drunk, I awoke the next morning on a sofa.

To be fair, this had been planned beforehand – I had left my schoolhouse windows open during the storm in Phachi on Saturday which resulted in my bed being soaked since it is placed next to said windows, so I had little option but to stay at Bubpha’s house. What was less expected was the massive headache and general sense of confusion as to what had happened the night before. I soon got a reminder, however, after checking Facebook and seeing that Art, one of Pekeng’s friends who I had apparently accepted a friend request from, was steadily uploading a slew of videos, all of which featured me singing karaoke versions of Green Day and Coldplay songs. I’m sure that won’t come back to haunt me at all.

Bubpha gave me some coffee and which put my body in a better state and we headed out to her Baptist church in Ayutthaya with the rest of the family. Her other motivation for keeping me in Phachi this weekend was so that I could join her for Sunday prayers. As I expected these were much calmer than the last time we had visited the church and were more what I expected Christian services to be like. However, much like before the services ended with a live band performing Christian songs, which were a highlight as they’re really quite good.

Afterwards we were given some lunch and I sat around talking to some of the other churchgoers who wanted to try out their English skills. It’s still weird thinking that Bubpha is so devoutly Christian in a country that is so heavily influenced by Buddhism, but this have given me some great experiences in Thailand that I doubt many people in my position have had before.

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We went to Rajabhat University after that as Bubpha wanted to visit their market. Although I briefly looked around it I spent most of my time here checking out the rest of the campus itself, which were a fairly big contrast to the Reading University campus that I’m so used to back at home, and had nicer looking buildings (although as anyone who studies at Reading will tell you, it’s not too difficult to find a building nicer than HumSS.)

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 uni2

thaihouse - EditedThe group from last night were apparently throwing yet another party in the afternoon, so we ended up back in the same house that I could only slightly remember being in the night before. I was soon whisked off on a tour around some of their other houses however, as many of them were keen to show me around now that all of our priorities were less focused on drinking and Karaoke.

I had much less energy and enthusiasm to get involved than I had last night though, so whilst I tried to comply with all the standard questions the group were asking me about England and English culture I eventually had to dip out to a room in the back of the house and fall asleep for an hour. We stayed for a few more hours after I had woken up, by which point I was completely overwhelmed with being the centre of attention and battling with Pekeng’s friend’s limited english to try and answer all the questions they seemed to be throwing at me. Still, they’re a really fun group of people, and they definitely provided me with some interesting experiences, even if there’s probably more videos of them than I would like there to be.

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I ended up having to stay at Bubpha’s again that night since my room hadn’t fully recovered from Saturday’s storm, this time stating in a room with a glorious air conditioning system. Whilst trying to sleep I thought about how weird the weekend had been; I never would have thought that I would end up spending it with the people that I did, but I guess the completely unexpected nature of everything meant that it was the most accurate way to see off the last remaining bits of free time that I have in this town.

 

PS

Watphachi Boat Trip

I spent most of Friday waiting for a boat.

Throughout my time here Bubpha has constantly told me how a trip around Ayutthaya’s river is one of the best things to do in the city, so it made sense that this would be where my official Watphachi School leaving party would take place. As exciting as this prospect was, having to spend all of Friday waiting for it to happen made my lessons feel like a bit of a slog.

Still, I had some nice surprises thrown at me throughout the day, which is basically another way of saying that I was given a lot of presents. One of the kindergarten teachers who couldn’t make the boat party handed me a bag with a photo album and a postbox-shaped money tin inside after school, a really nice gift especially considering I haven’t had much interaction with her whilst working.

mefern - EditedAt the end of my Prathom 6 lesson I was also approached by Fern, the student with a really obvious crush on me, who gave me a small transparent Christmas tree statue with flashing lights inside (of course it was going to be Christmas related). She also asked me what my favourite type of flower was, which is a bit like asking me what my favourite brand of table is since I’m so indifferent to them, but I told her the first name that came into my head. This ended up being red roses, so I really hope they’re easy to find in Thailand and that I haven’t accidentally sent her on a huge trek to find some.

***

 

As we drove to the boat in the evening Bubpha told me that it was so big that we could have invited the entirety of the school along. When we arrived I saw that she had been exaggerating a bit, but it was still pretty magnificent. As I boarded I was ushered past the huge table of Thai food and onto the upper deck, where we had a long photo session against the backdrop of the riverside temples before the boat set off. There certainly would have been room to take my favourite Watphachi students on board, although I guess that would’ve been a bit mean to the rest of them.

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pizzabirthdaypie - EditedI sat down at the table surrounded by both the entirety of the school’s staff and plates upon plates of food. Pujon and Bubpha had asked me earlier this week what I wanted to eat on the boat, and since fried fish and noodles were the first things that came to my head (I really need to stop making all of my decisions this way) I had these handed to me first, but it was soon followed by different soups and open coconut shells. Since I have constantly told the kids at Watphachi School that pizza was my favourite food, the school had supplied me with a couple of boxes as well. They’d really gone all out with this!

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I didn’t really get many opportunities to sit down and eat for long though, as the teachers kept pulling me up to take photos of the Ayutthaya views as we moved along. Really, I’m pretty impressed that I didn’t get indigestion from all the times Pilot brought me up to the front of the boat mid-food mouthful, but there were some really fantastic sights including floating markets and huge cathedral churches, which looked even more stunning as the sun began to set. It made many of the temples look like fairground attractions.

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When everyone wasn’t being distracted by the views or food we had a karaoke system to entertain us. Whilst it started with Bubpha and the IT teacher singing Thai songs I quickly found out that it had a limited selection of English stuff as well, so I ended up murdering some ‘classics’. I think more alcohol would have helped.

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***

During a family holiday to France I was 10, I have a clear memory of taking my bike and riding away from our holiday village to the outskirts of a field on more than one occasion, where I would just stop and stare into the distance for a while. Looking back on it I think it confirms that I was a pretty weird child, but it was such a nice moment that it stuck with me, and ever since then I think I’ve always strived to find peaceful, solitary moments like that again.

I was reminded of that moment on the boat, where I stepped away from the group for a while to look over the front as the sun set on the Ayutthaya river. Despite the noise behind me it felt so calm, relaxing, and kind of perfect. For a while I lost myself, aware of the company but also completely alone. It was a weird, beautiful feeling, and I think it sums up how I felt about the whole night.

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This has definitely been one of my favourite evenings in Thailand, but I think it reminded me of everything that I’m going to miss here when I leave. All of the teachers here, even the ones who I’ve had little to do with during school hours, have constantly gone out of their way to make me feel at home, and as a result through them all I feel a real sense of community. I don’t like thinking about how I’ve got less than a week of that community left.

 

PS

Present Misfortunes

With the long weekend in Chiang Mai ticking off the last of the major places I wanted to visit in the Northern and Central regions of Thailand, I didn’t have much motivation to travel this weekend, which meant that I switched my focus towards trying to shop for presents. Since that’s pretty one-note, I’m going to combine Saturday and Sunday into the same post for once.

sciencefair - EditedMy first stop on Saturday was Ayutthaya. Bubpha drove me there as she also wanted to visit a couple of markets, so the first place we visited was the market-square in Rajabhat University near Ayutthaya’s centre. The market itself wasn’t that notable, mostly selling the same clothes brands and items that many of the other markets I’ve visited have done, but the university was interesting, mostly because there happened to be a science fair taking place whilst we were looking around. I don’t remember ever having a science fair at school so the image of them I have was formed solely through how they’re depicted on US TV shows- that is, various stalls with awkward looking students sat at them containing hodge-podge displays about the solar system and other cliché subjects. This one wasn’t too far off that mark, although the students themselves were sharply dressed and looked like actually knew what they were presenting, despite the ‘made it last night’ vibe some of their stalls gave off. For others, it just seemed like an excuse to play darts.

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By this point I realised that the day was going to turn into more sightseeing rather than finding any useful presents. After the university we went to Wat Phu Khao Tong, a temple built by King Naresuan in the 14th century, which had slanted to the side making it look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The temple itself has stairs leading to the top, so climbing it I got to see some great views of Ayutthaya, but Bubpha told me when I got back down that the stairs had only just been put in and that visitors had to literally climb up the sides of the temple to get to the top prior to their building. That would’ve been much more adventurous.

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skeletonman - EditedWe went to Wat Thakarong after that, which was probably the most bizarre place I’ve seen in Ayutthaya. It was fairly huge and, whilst it had the usual shrines and temple-related stuff, it also stretched onto Ayutthaya’s riverside where various boats were being used to cook and sell food. Also around the grounds was a bird sanctuary and a small aquarium, and many of the buddha statues were portrayed in a hyper-realistic style, seemingly drawn based on the features of actual monks. Oh, and there were statues of Optimus Prime and Captain America, the holiest of religious figures, guarding the entrance the several of the temple buildings, plus various animatronic skeletons placed around that would creepily move up and down every so often with a pot beside them trying to get people to donate money.

To summarise, it was all a bit odd. Entertaining, but odd.

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 Once Bubpha had left I checked into a hotel at about 5 and walked to Ayutthaya’s centre to attempt present shopping. I had one place in mind that I wanted to go to but after entering and being confronted by an unhelpful staff member who was more interested in eating the dinner she had on her desk than anything else, I realised that I wasn’t going to get anything done this evening. Instead, I walked around the nearby park that was full of the usual ruined temples and stray dogs, before heading to a night market to eat. It would have been nice to have gotten a hotel room in an area that had more to do at night, but I enjoyed having a calm time in the city centre by myself.

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***

victorymomument - EditedSunday was more frustrating. I caught a van to Bangkok soon after waking up and was dropped off at about midday within Victory Monument, named for the massive statue commemorating the Thai military placed in the centre of the area’s traffic-laden roads, and headed for one of the nearby malls. Here I managed to sort out the present-related issue I had failed to do in Ayutthaya, so thinking that this would be the start of a successful day I ventured to Siam Square on the Skytrain (like the London Underground but, well, in the sky), what with it being the only other major shopping place I knew how to get to. The rest of my day was therefore spent wandering in and out of massive shopping centres, finding very little worth buying in terms of presents, before realising that it was getting late and getting the train home. Once I was back i realised that there were many other better markets and places in Bangkok that I could have gone to, so I guess the moral of this story is that if you want to spend a day shopping in Bangkok, plan ahead.

At least the early evening sunsets provided a nice end to an otherwise disappointing day.

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Infact, the weirdest moment of the day happened in Bangkok’s railway station, where after leaving the grotty pay-for-use toilets I noticed a fortune-telling machine by the side of the doorway.

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If you’ve seen the Tom Hanks film Big (and if you haven’t, go watch it) you’ll probably know how weird and intriguing these things are. A sheet of glass lay between me and a wooden carving of a peculiar looking old Thai man and as his cold stare beckoned me I couldn’t help but drop 5 baht into the machine to see what would happen. In the case below the figure was a small panel displaying the numbers 1 to 30 in a circle, and as the machine started an LED light flickered around the circle like a roulette wheel, eventually stopping and brightening on the number 9. Below the glass casing were rows of shelf compartments with numbers above each of them corresponding to those on the panel, all of which contained slips of paper. Taking a slip from shelf number 9, I turned it over anxiously to read it.

myfortune - EditedAs I should have expected, however, the slip was written in Thai, so I couldn’t actually understand whatever fortune I was being told I would have. Hopefully I can get someone to translate it this week, but since my train back was delayed by half an hour after all of this, it’s probably not a good one. On the other hand, maybe it was actually the same machine from Big, in which case I will hopefully wake up soon and be Tom Hanks.

I’m writing this a day late and that doesn’t appear to have happened yet, but there’s still time.

 

PS

Inner-City Schooling

As I caught myself humming the National Anthem of Thailand whilst getting ready for school this morning, it dawned on me that I really have been in this country for quite a long time.

To be fair, it’s a great national anthem. I haven’t seen the lyrics translated, but it just sounds so majestic, and despite having heard it every schoolday morning I’m yet to get tired of it. By contrast, I can get through about 5 seconds of England’s God Save The Queen before getting bored, and thinking about it I don’t know half the words to that either.

pilotcertificate - EditedAlthough the anthem is normally played from speakers during school assemblies today this was changed to the kids singing the words with no backing track as the flag was raised, which was a bit disappointing as my morning humming had really got me pumped to hear it. This morning’s focus was more on the many certificates that Bubpha had in her hands, which were to reward certain students for their involvement in class activities, and presumably for good results in the recent exams. I was pretty much delegated the role of the photographer for this, as seems to be happening a lot in the school lately, so my camera is now full of various teachers handing various students certificates. I was roped into handing them out too, although Pilot spent some time making sure I had the ‘giving a certificate pose’ just right.

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Yeh, that’s some good certificate giving right there.

baghead - EditedBubpha has been reading my blog a lot more recently and, probably based on my teaching stories from yesterday, she wanted to make sure that I knew how to play her invented game with Prathom 5. This morning we were back out on the field, except that this time Bubpha had brought along a rolled up jumper to give to the group of students who had formed a circle, which turned out to the crucial thing that I was forgetting. One student had to walk around the circle with the jumper and drop it next to another student, who would then have to pick it up, chase the original student and try and hit them with it. During all of this, the other students in the circle have to clap and sing a song relevant to the game, both of which are described on the same page in their workbooks.

So at least that’s a bit clearer now, although to be fair when I was trying to work out what the game would involve yesterday, “chasing and hitting each other with a rolled up piece of clothing” was quite low down on my guesses.

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After the ill-fated attempt last week we actually made it to Withayalai School in Ayutthaya this evening, where Bubpha’s friend Itiya works. The initial intention of going was so that I could speak to the headmaster and english staff as it had been suggested that I could have a job at the school after graduating from university, but Bubpha mentioned in passing the other day that I would be required to have a teaching diploma to be employed. So that idea is down the drain, at least for the near future.

ball games - Edited Still, I thought it would be interesting to see what an inner-city school in Thailand looked like, especially in comparison to the more rural area that I’m based in. The differences became clear immediately as we arrived; the grounds resembled a university campus more than they did a school, and place was swarmed with students either just hanging around after lessons, taking really unsubtle photos of me from a distance or apparently enrolling in an outside orchestra practice session. The place even had its own massive pool, and that alone could make it worth spending a couple of years on a teaching diploma.

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When I had met Itiya before she had been excited to mention that the school had its own ‘magic board’, which turned out to be a white board that you could write on. I know that doesn’t sound that impressive but once you’re shoved in front of it and told to ‘write something’ as I was it’s easy to get hooked, and I may have delayed Itiya going home a bit by spending too much time drawing smiley faces and being amazed at how quickly I could erase it by the click of a pen. I’ve clearly had a deprived education by not having access to this.

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***

Anyway, by popular demand (by which I mean one person asked me) I’ll leave with another update on the Bird In The Fan situation.

It’s still there, except it’s now sitting underneath one of the fan’s blades rather than beside them, and continues to give me a cold stare whenever it catches my eye.

The bird friend it made yesterday didn’t return and I’m beginning to get concerned that it might have had something to do with that.

It hasn’t even made any effort to improve the nest. All it does it sit there, watching.

Waiting.

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We’re all going to die

PS

Driving Into Rainclouds

betterprathom1group - EditedThe day started with another good Prathom 1 lesson, which was probably due to playing a writing game that actually matched the stupid levels of energy that they all have. They did all swarm around me again, but since I got my camera out that was more my own fault, and the result was a series of photos of them all clinging to me and waving. I guess I’m warming to them a bit more, but still, less handshakes would be nice.

The strange game I played with Prathom 5 yesterday was transferred to the field this afternoon, as the amount of running and tripping it involved made Bubpha worried that someone would smack their head if they played it on hard ground. This turned out to be a very good call, as most of the time was spent with the kids dancing, jumping, running and tripping each other up, with eventual winners being the students that didn’t end up falling over. It’s all fun to watch, but I would still appreciate someone sitting me down and explaining thoroughly what the rules are, because I’m still confused.

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***

fishcloseup - EditedThis evening we made our second attempt of the week of travelling to Itiya’s school in Ayutthaya, after Pilot the headmaster’s spontaneous staff meeting on Monday stopped us from going the first time. It didn’t really go much better today, to be honest. Bubpha initially wanted to leave at half 2 after all of our lessons were done but she was roped in to helping set up the displays for tomorrow’s Mother’s Day ceremonies, and after we actually left at half 3 Itiya phoned to say that she was feeling tired and would rather rearrange for next week. As inevitable as that was, we were on our way to the city at that point, and we weren’t about to let something silly like all our plans going down the toilet stop us from getting there.

Itiya had also warned me on the phone that Ayutthaya was currently being drenched in consistent, humid rain, but Bubpha said it would probably be clear by the time we finished our half an hour drive. It wasn’t, obviously, and we ended up having to skid round the city highways with windscreen wipers on full blast and a sense of hope that the stormy weather wouldn’t obscure any TukTuks or trucks right in front of us. The new plan was to try making it to Zenith, a company that provided local schools with foreign language teachers that both Bubpha and Itiya told me it was worth checking out if I was interested in working here in the future. We couldn’t find that either though, and after a while Bubpha drove us to the Baptist Church we went to yesterday to access some wifi and work out where we actually needed to go.

bubhaicecream - EditedAs it turned out, Zenith had infact changed their name to LearningLink about a year ago, so the reason why we were getting nowhere with finding it was because we’d been keeping our eyes peeled for a building name that no longer existed. Regardless, Bubpha found their number and shoved her phone to me after she rang them up and realised the receiver on the other end only spoke English. I ended up getting an email address from him so this whole excursion had some success, albeit success that I could have achieved from the comfort of my own schoolhouse, with considerably less rain.

We dropped by a food court on the way back where Bubpha promised me steak, which ended up coming from a restaurant called California Grill. It wasn’t the greatest place in the world, but considering it shares its name with a slightly dodgy kebab shop in Ipswich it was a nice surprise, plus the food court was a sight in itself. There were fountains everywhere packed with fish that looked like miniature hammerhead sharks, and as we stopped for ice cream before leaving I spent a lot of time gazing into the pools and trying to work out what species they were.

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***

Of course, all of this mainly distracted me from the fact that I have a whole bunch of stuff that I need to sort out before tomorrow. Pilot wants me to have a significant involvement in the celebrations tomorrow before I leave for Chiang Mai, and has asked me to write ten sentences about my own mother to read out. That should be interesting in itself.

Just as importantly, I need to pack. The sleeper train I’m taking with Harry tomorrow will take me on a glorious 14 hour journey before we get to Chiang Mai, which I’m pretty sure is longer than my flight from England to Thailand took. I was dreading it at the beginning of the week, but the more I think about it the more I’ve realised it should be the perfect opportunity to catch up on some sleep.

Right now, that’s something I really need to do.

PS

Faithbook

“Your washing isn’t ready yet.”

I had asked Bubpha if she could pick up my washing from the lady in Phachi I employ this morning, after realising that I was in dire need it back today. So when she arrived and told me this it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, and I faced the prospect of wearing dirty clothes for the third day running. Wonderful.

At least I could distract myself with the various games we played in lessons. As I waited for Prathom 6 in the school hall this morning i started bouncing one of the footballs that had been left in the room around, so when they eventually arrived this turned into an impromptu game of basketball with Nai, one of the students I play football with, holding a basket up at the other side of the room whilst I tried some shots. I actually made a few of them too, so clearly all of this unplanned sport I’m doing at the moment is starting to pay off.

fatherline - EditedPrathom 5 in the afternoon was an interesting one. Bubpha had them playing a game that she had made up which involved two groups forming lines, denoting themselves as ‘mother’ and ‘father’, and then trying to cut through the other line. I won’t lie, I didn’t have a clue what was going on with it most of the time. The kids seemed to have fun with it though, and Bubpha wants to film us playing it tomorrow so she can send it to some other teachers around Thailand who she’s told about it. Who knows, maybe I’m witnessing the start of something big in the primary school game world.

There's also a song that accompanies this game. Notice how it goes to a very dark place seemingly out of nowhere in the last verse.

There’s also a song that accompanies this game. Notice how it goes to a very dark place seemingly out of nowhere in the last verse.

***

praisehands - EditedOn the day that I met her way back in June Bubpha explained to me that she was a Christian, so despite my general lack of religion I let her know I’d like to come to her church service sometime. This evening she took me up on this, and after stopping off in Phachi to pick up my finally completed washing (never have clean clothes felt so glorious) we travelled with her son Pekeng and his girlfriend to Ayutthaya’s baptist church. This shouldn’t have been a new experience for me, but my only previous interaction with any sort of service was a yearly christmas eve nativity production that took place at our local church, which I grew out of after turning 10. I went with all the possible cliches in my head, basically – a decrepit churchroom, two hours of near silent prayers, and everything inbetween  – so I was surprised to walk in and find a live band playing to about 50 dancing churchgoers, all within a room about half the size of Watphachi’s school hall. They were all really into it too, and the bright blue church shirts everyone was wearing made me feel like I massively stuck out in my terrible white Thailand floating market top (like I said, my clean clothes were getting scarce). Still, this didn’t include everyone, as the band’s bassist was wearing a similarly coloured shirt but with the word ‘Faithbook’ plastered on styled in the logo of… well, you can probably guess.

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After the band stopped playing we were introduced to the pastor, a slightly quirky looking man wearing an interesting tie and trousers combination, and myself and several others were mentioned and greeted for being new to the church this week. Part of Bubpha’s reason for bringing me tonight was because some missionairies from Korea had stopped by the church, so we got to see a few song and dance numbers from them. The first two dances were pretty crazy, plus the dance music itself was far too catchy considering they were all traditional religious songs, but the last performance the group put on was an interpretive piece focusing on a girl who had refused God at the beginning of her life but turned back to him, and was accepted, after she had fallen on some bad times. I guess that’s not really too far-out for a church service message, but it didn’t stop all of the dances from being massively entertaining, and this is coming from someone who you’d have to pay to get to a dance recital under normal circumstances.

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Of course, there’s always that one guy whose dancing has to upstage everyone else. Tonight it was apparently Morgan Freeman’s long lost brother.

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We didn’t even end up reciting traditional Bible prayers in the end. Once the dancers had finished the pastor returned to the front and told a few stories I didn’t understand, what with them being spoken in Thai, before the Korean missionairies handed out parting gifts of hand-fans and skincare packs before they left for their next destination. The church provided food for everyone afterwards and I was introduced to a Chinese teacher working in Ayutthaya who spoke english, so we discussed our different teaching experiences. Apparently in his school most of the students can already speak fluent english, so I’m sure Watphachi would surprise him.

Bubpha even bought me a church shirt which was nice of her and gives me more of an incentive to go back, if only so I can wear it at the only place where it makes sense to. I don’t think experiences like this ever make me want to become religious, but I can definitely see why people would join. I enjoyed tonight mainly because the church gave a real sense of community, and through my own cynicism I think I’ve maybe not thought of that as a benefit of religion before.

 

PS

Megaphone Meals

“Good morning teacher!”

morning megaphone

“Good morning students. How are you today?”

“I am fine thank you. And you?”

“I am fine.”

The usual awkward pleasantries of my morning speech end after that. However once again I actually have something else to talk about, as Bubpha tells me to talk to the kids about what I did after school yesterday.

“Last night, I went to Ayutthaya in the evening. I went to the…”

I realise I have no idea what the name of the temple we went to yesterday was, so I turn to Bubpha to get it confirmed. Wat Chaiwatthanarm, apparently. I’m never going to be able to pronounce that.

“I went to Wat Tai… Chai Prat Two Na Ram Temple. It was very nice.”

Eh, close enough.

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I spout more stuff to them after that, mostly simple words about how England doesn’t have any nice buddhist temples like Ayutthaya does. They’re probably cottoning onto the fact that I’m just making it up as I go along again, but by that point I bid them goodbye with a “Thankyou” and walk to the side, triumphant that I got through another speech.

That is, until Pilot the headmaster hands me a megaphone and makes me repeat the whole thing again.

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 ***

Most of my bad day and mood yesterday stemmed from the triumphant return of English Camp this week to Watphachi school. My timetable schedules me to be there for 2 hours at the end of every day, but since a lot of that time is spent by teachers from other schools coming into teach, I’m often left to do nothing but sit in the corner and play games on my phone. Great for getting new high scores on Temple Run, pretty terrible for making me feel at all useful.

I told Bubpha all of this and I think she understands where I’m coming from. Today she told me that she was going to work on a new curriculum with some of the classes – the front cover of the textbooks sitting beside me display that they are British Council recommended ‘Teaching Kits’, so hopefully that should mean that I get more involvement in general. With the older classes such as Prathom 6 we’re sticking to what we’ve been previously been doing though, but since they’re the oldest class here their English skills are generally much better to work with. This morning I played hangman with them, but despite my attempts to use the more complicated words from their textbooks in the game they guessed them all pretty quickly.

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Probably a good thing, since that list of incorrectly guessed letters looks like it could have taken a very unfortunate turn.

Today’s English Camp didn’t go much better, but that was more my fault – I had a splitting headache for most of it and for some reason the afternoon heat is starting to get to me again. The school is apparently stopping the sessions at the end of this week as nobody seems to be happy with how they are going, so at least I now know we’re into the home stretch with it.

***

This evening Bubpha was desperate to show me how to cook Thai food; I don’t know if this was out of a desire to get me to learn something or a subtle indication that I should be paying back for the all the food I’ve been given here, but I’m not complaining either way. My university eating habits are terrible so this was probably the first time in a while that I actually put some effort into cooking a meal, albeit with a lot of help and Bubpha showing me what to do. We bought some oysters and pork from the market to fry Thai-style, although it turns out this is still pretty similar to every other method of frying food. Plus for only the second time in my life I made rice that didn’t come out of a microwavable bag, and managed to not mess it up.

Overall, it turned out pretty well. If I keep up with doing this I may return to uni with a greater incentive to cook better food, which certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing.

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But just to tip the scales back to lazy eating, I also had the Thai version of a pot noodle. It’s pretty much the same as any other Pot Noodle. With a bit more shrimp.

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At least it has an honest name.

It’s weird to think that today marks a month since I got on a plane heading to Thailand. I feel that in some ways everything has gone quickly, but thinking about how much time left I have here feels daunting on occasions. I’m not really sure why I’ve spent this week with more of an uneasy, anxious mood about me, but I wonder it’s largely down to the novelty of Thailand having mostly worn off by now and having to accept both the positive and negative aspects of my day-to-day life here. Hopefully, it shouldn’t take much longer for me to do that.

 

PS