Now that our second week and weekend are over I would like to take you with me on a tour of the wonderful place that is Isaan. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be bumpy ride.
You can’t even begin to compare the Thai school system with the overall Belgian one. Since you have probably read my former posts, you already know that the lessons in which the teachers teach ‘English’ are horrible. This + the lack of communication between the teachers make this a very frustrating undertaking. With some teachers we have the understanding that we each teach a part of the lesson, so the pupils are exposed to at least 25 minutes of ‘good’ English by the volunteers and 25 minutes of ‘very bad’ English by most of the teachers. When I gave my first part of my lesson about introducing yourself in a fifth year the teacher just copied my lesson and made the pupils write it all down again. If such things happen I wonder why I am still here. But nevertheless, we strive to look past those flaws and indulge ourselves in the fact that this entire trip is probably a once in a lifetime thing. And therefore we have to make the best out of it and don’t let a silly thing like stress get in our way (spoken/written like a real Thai).
The pupils really make our day, every day. Whenever and wherever we go, there are always children greeting us and shouting “Good Morning Teacher!” When you respond they start to giggle like crazy just because you said something in English. On Thursday it was so hot I was sweating really hard and I was having trouble to stand up straight because of the heat. A pupil immediately arranged a fan, plugged it in, offered to write down my lesson on the blackboard and asked if she could get me drink. I refused the drink and the writing on the blackboard but I was happy for the fan blowing cool wind in my face. Imagine this happened in Belgium. Do you think the pupils would react as such? I hardly think so.
Enough about school, you all want to know how we live now don’t you? To be honest, we can hardly complain. We have a western toilet, a nice bedroom (although the mattress is worse than sleeping on concrete), a shower which we can use multiple times a day and a fan which is in the ON position for the main part of the day and night. But we have to be careful. On a given morning I was putting on a shoe and I felt something crawling in it. A big toad had decided to stay the night in my shoe and was not very happy when he had to leave. On the same morning we saw millions (not kidding) of ants moving from one part of the garden to another, more sheltered, part. And when we have dinner, we almost always have a guest or two, be it a toad, a gecko or a giant flying bug, we love our new pet collection (except when they sting, then we hate them).
On Friday night an English teacher (one with whom we can have a decent conversation) invited us for dinner at her place. She has a sister who just loves to speak English and that is why she has to invite every volunteer for dinner. We gladly accepted the invitation of what was to be a very lovely night. We bought a pineapple and dragon fruit (Flashy pink exterior with a white with black speckles interior) as presents and they were immediately sliced and put upon the table. After we helped with the cooking we had a very interesting dinner. We ate flies (which are carefully bred in special farms) and drank a fish soup which housed ants. The flies were really good to be honest, especially with the dip sauce. After dinner we went for a walk with the teacher’s sister and were invited for soymilk with her brother. Every time we meet new people, we tend up eating and drinking.
On Saturday we went back to Surin to book our flights for our upcoming holiday. We are going to Phuket, Phi Phi Island and other small islands. Afterwards we fly to Bangkok and to Lob Buri, a monkey Temple. A temple full of monkeys, be honest, how exciting does that sound?
On Sunday we went for a walk to a nearby Temple (30 minutes flat) in the excruciating heat and decided to call it a day. We read a book in our room with the fan blowing at approximately 50km/h and just lay on our beds to relax and fill up our energy bars for the upcoming week.
One last thing: I have made it my personal quest to try every kind of Lays Chips Thai people eat. So far on my list:Nori Seaweed
Pecking Duck with sauce
Lobster hot plate
Hot and spicy crab
Baked bacon cheese with seaweed
Sausage and cheese
Cheese and Jam