The Week That Was #2019-02

Wow! Posts two weeks in a row….

The week of January 7-13, 2019, was fairly active in my little world extending between my home in the heart of Old Town Phuket, Thailand, and a bit west to my office in the bowels of the Central Festival mall smack dab in the center of the island with frequent stops approximately halfway between those two locations on those days that I teach high school in the huge Plukpanya Municipal School. I rarely venture outside of this rather narrow band.

The view from my new in-school office on the 6th floor at Plukpanya Municipal School in Phuket, Thailand.
The view from my new in-school office on the 6th floor at Plukpanya Municipal School in Phuket, Thailand.

Last week began with three days of Mid-Term exams and my installation in a new office way on the sixth floor of a brand-new building at the school. I get to use an elevator that is strictly forbidden to students. The exams are taken very serious here (although, by law, no student is allowed to fail) and there is minimal involvement from the foreign teachers. All we have to do is write the tests and submit them for reformatting and a Thai translation of the instructions. They conduct the exams while we sit in the office waiting for the opportunity to grade them. Although testing was done on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week, the exams for my two classes weren’t conducted until Wednesday. I still had to show up and just chatted to other teachers.

Once I did get the completed test papers, I quickly marked them and emailed the grades to my agency. Nobody failed; I didn’t even have to manipulate a single score. Perhaps I made the exams too easy but I was still pleased with the results. It is difficult taking over classes right before exam time (and the holidays certainly killed any chance of review sessions). Now that those are over, I can move forward. I had been told I would only have to teach those classes until mid-January but that has now been extended to the end of the the school term (around March 1).

The rest of the week was fairly routine other than starting a new in-house course last Wednesday. My new student wants classes four days per week (2.5 hours each time) through the end of January at which time he will go to the Maldives for six months. He’s a bit below “beginner” level so I have got my work cut out for me. With the change in my schedule, I have had to start work on my daily articles for A Stamp A Day between teaching my high school classes and starting to teach my private lesson. As soon as I return home (usually 8 or 9 pm), I work on completing the ASAD article. I have been trying to pick topics for which I can write shorter articles as a result.

On Friday and Saturday, I manned a booth for my agency in the new Central Florestia mall across the street for approximately seven hours each day. This was done in conjunction to Thailand’s National Children’s Day and we were set up next to a large enclosure full of plastic bubbles. It was packed with kids, particularly yesterday as this was the main holiday (although schools were closed on Friday as well). Most of the time, I sat watching the kids play in the bubbles but every hour or so, the girls working there would close it to reset the bubbles and patch up carpeting, etc. the kids had managed to pull off. During those periods, the children (and their parents) mobbed our booth where we did some activities with the kids (mostly word-searches) and gave course information to the parents. I enjoyed it, although I never got so much as a pee or foot break during the entire time.

They had wanted me to man the booth again today, my usual day off. I declined mostly because I knew I would be tired as I planned to stay up all night watching the (U.S.) National Football League’s divisional playoffs for the American Football Conference West Division. My hometown team — the Kansas City Chiefs — had a remarkable season and were hosting the game amidst a snowstorm. They won, beating the Indianapolis Colts 31-13, marking the first time they had one a playoff game in 25 years. Next week, they will host the AFC Championship game (the last before the Super Bowl). I’m extremely proud of my team and wish I could be back home in Kansas City right now. I’ve decided to make them my topic for today’s article on A Stamp A Day (and will begin working on that as soon as I finish this one). In the end, I couldn’t stream the game more than one minute at a time (and the best quality was a stream from the Czech Republic) due to Thailand’s usual tactics of blocking that sort of thing so I just listened to the radio broadcast of the game from a small town in eastern Kansas.

Children's Day at Central Festival (old mall) in Phuket, Thailand, January 12, 2019
Children’s Day at Central Festival (old mall) in Phuket, Thailand, January 12, 2019

I didn’t eat anything particularly special this past week — just my usual Thai food from the local market, had lunch at school twice, and I ate a hamburger from McDonald’s one day while at Central Festival. I bought groceries on the way home from work yesterday along with snacks (several different kinds of tortilla chips as well as my favorite canned salsa from the U.S. as it was discounted more than 100 baht from its usual price). I had planned to eat the snacks while watching the game but it turns out I’m not hungry at 4:00 in the morning! The football game snacks might just become my dinner tonight…

I took a break from reading David Weigel’s The Show That Never Ends: The History of Progressive Rock after working on it for several days. It is quite interesting, but a bit slow-going. I began reading The Associate by John Grisham on Wednesday as I enjoy reading fiction more than non-fiction in the evenings. It relaxes me more than trying to learn too many new things.

Until next week….

Beauty in the bubbles. Children's Day at Central Festival (new mall) in Phuket, Thailand, January 12, 2019.
Beauty in the bubbles. Children’s Day at Central Festival (new mall) in Phuket, Thailand, January 12, 2019.
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