A typical work day starts at 8:30 in the office. I spend a lot of time preparing for classes – making lesson plans, flannel board stories, flash cards, games, etc. I work on the library project – navigating the latest hurdle, looking for support, cataloging books, researching topics, etc. I research Thai topics of interest for a blog or a potential project. About half the time I go to lunch with friends in the office, usually to a noodle stand or bring food in, occasionally to one of the two restaurants in town if it is a special occasion or the balat (city manager) takes me out. Lunch is also a good time to run errands – head to the dalat (outdoor market) or post office. Sometimes I go home to have a granola bar and read. I teach one morning and one afternoon and have a standing meeting with the kindergarten teacher once a week. My Thai tutor comes once a week and I make an effort to study every day, I will admit frequently halfheartedly. I get very discouraged.
After work I go to Thai aerobics. It is outdoors in front of the fire department. About 15 – 20 people show, all ages. By the time I ride my bike back to my house, it is dark. No nightlife here. I make a simple, healthy dinner typically with veggies, rice or pasta, and sometimes an egg. When I have it, I treasure a glass of wine or a rum and fruit drink. I eat in front of my computer listening to a podcast – 60 minutes or an NPR show (Wait, Wait Don’t Tell is my favorite). A priority is showering fairly early as my bathroom (and kitchen) walls have about a 2 foot gap between the wall and ceiling – more bugs come out later!
I settle in with my hard drive and either watch a movie or TV show while I knit or create flannel stories or color flash cards. I journal a few nights a week - it is also a scrap book that I like looking through.
The weekend is about eventful as the week. Saturday mornings is storytime. Often the kids will hang out for a while. I read the book they have checked out or they color or play a game (bingo or memory). They like to color on the white board and pull out flannel stories to tell each other. I market, clean my house, go on a bike ride, read in my hammock , do laundry, iron, mend (clothes get wrecked really fast here), other chores. I typically am not too social. I actually like it that way – a break.
I get out of town every couple of months and catch up with other PCVs – good for the soul and also for some farang food and alcohol! Festivals frequently interrupt the routine. As the local farang, I often have a prominent presence at these events.
Dalat - daily outdoor market. I am lucky, some villages don't have a daily market. I buy pineapple and grapefruit (Thai grapefruit is simply outstanding) from this vendor. Her daughter comes to story time and is so smart!
Me, Kayley, Bobby, and Luke visiting a wat
Erin, Kyle, Jade, Dom at a great farang restaurant
Buddy, my dog friend
May and Ja-o at the whiteboard. The top photo is Ja-o's mother.