I'm nearly at the end of my second week of teaching, so it's probably about time I let you know what it's actually like...
I'm feeling quite settled here, added a few more bits and pieces to my apartment, curtains for example. School's been pretty good, though more tiring than I expected. Art's lots of fun, although today I somehow got black paint all down my leg, suppose I should be grateful we have to wear skirts and not trousers. Computing is just about bearable, although every day there seems to be a new problem with each computer, which is driving me crazyyy, because me of all people is not going to know how to fix the damn things. The kids are very very sweet, I always get good mornings and good afternoons shouted at me, and all of them know my name which I'm quite impressed at considering I know about ten of theirs. There's some funny nicknames, so I tend to remember them the most... like Balloon, Prince, Nut, It, Or, Pooh, Pee, Famous, Earth, Green, Film, Gun... I could go on and on. Some of them have really good English, especially two boys in P5 who I get on well with. The little ones are lovely, I may have to sneak some home with me.
Last weekend two of my friends, Mo and Anna, from my MA popped in, like you do!! They're travelling around Thailand now and came to stay here on Sat and Sun after journeying down from Chiang Mai. They've already been to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos and had loads of great stories and tips for me for when I go. It was a great weekend, especially because it was mostly spent eating delish food. On Saturday night we went to the nightmarket for food with Steve (from my orientation) and then onto 'Pub Street', which is where Saraburi's nightlife is to be found. It consists of about 6 'bars', two of which are posing as clubs although they have no dance floors. There were some pretty crazy live bands on in them though. All the Thai girls looked gorgeous, as did we in our khakis and scrunched up hair. Nevertheless, as we are 'ferang' we attracted a fair amount of attention, especially when we made our own little dancefloor. A nice local guy bought us popcorn though so I was happy. English clubs should so start doing popcorn!
On Sunday we did attempt to be touristy by going to some nearby waterfalls but it went a bit wrong owing to my lack of Thai... managed to get a local bus to what we were told was the national park where the waterfalls are, only to be dropped at a motorcycle taxi rank at the side of the motorway where we would take a bike the rest of the way. They wanted a ridiculous price though for what was an 8km ride (you could go the 108 km to and fro Bangkok on a comfy minibus for less). Instead we had a wander around a spectacular food market, picking up some treats along the way, including the infamous mango and sticky rice. It's very sticky! The girls were a bit surprised at Saraburi they said, because it's not for tourists in any way we just got constantly stared at, two blondes and a red-head are going to attract attention in this place.
Yesterday was the Thai festival of Loy Krathong, in which you honour the goddess of water by floating Krathong's (made from banana leaf and flowers) with candles, incense, and small coins up the river, after you have said a small prayer. It's supposed to wash your troubles away. School was great as it was activities all day, and some of them were dressed in the most amazing traditional Thai costumes. They had a little parade out on the field at the front of school and each year group floated a Krathong on the small pond there. After school I went home and gave myself a well-needed pedicure in a somewhat vain attempt to clean my feet up a bit, they're permanently black. Then in the evening, the family and I went down to the river where we bought Krathongs which we floated away, it was really busy and there were loads of my kids about, and a big group of the secondary boys from across the road gave me a wai (a small bow which is used as a greeting) as I think they confused me with one of their teachers. Me and the kids also let off paper balloons into the sky. If you google Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai (where it's most famous) you'll see pictures of thousands of paper balloons in the sky which burn in the middle. It's beautiful. I also saw one crash, and burn. After all the festivities we went to a Thai restaurant (called Thai Food, original) which is famous in Saraburi, and had lots of seafood. I love spending time with the family, and as a way to thank them for their kindness I am tutoring Jang (their middle daughter who's 11) in English a few evenings a week. They were pretty reluctant to let me do it, but I convinced them. We had our first lesson this Tuesday and she's a good learner, and Mom-Jeab bought us lots of treats to eat while studying, then we went to Nut for dinner. I am going to come back about double the size, I'm constantly being fed.
Lots of exciting things coming up... this weekend we're going to the local farm called Chokchai, so I'm planning on a calcium fix. Then at the end of the month me and a friend are going to a National Park called Khao Yai, where they have some amazing scenery. Then at the beginning of December I'm off to Hua Hin with the family for a beach-break. I've also been told I get five days off at Xmas, and five at New Year. Thinking of spending Xmas on the beach (jealous?), and looking at going to Chiang Mai for New Year.