Sunday being my usual day off and the Friday afternoon announcement that local schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday for Chinese New Year — not to mention extremely high temperatures and a huge dip in internet speed caused a great deal of relaxation (err, laziness) at the Jochim household over the past couple of days. The Thais really have the right idea on how to deal with the heat: they sleep through it. I haven’t yet mastered the art of not waking up in a pool of sweat, however.
Finally, we seem to be past the huge number of holidays and other activities that served as disruptions in the school schedule, starting in early December with Thai National Day and Constitution Day, continuing through Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, Mid-Term exams, and culminating with Thai Children’s Day and National Teacher’s Day nearly two weeks ago. I believe last week was the first in more than a month and a half where I worked a full week. My students were quite attentive and productive during most of the week so I rewarded both high school classes with a rare “Games Day” on Friday which was as much fun for their teacher as for them. It was a very long week, indeed.
This third week of the year was a little odd, albeit rather routine.
I didn’t teach very much this past week, which doesn’t really bother me. Living and working in Thailand, you come to expect more cancellations than not. I don’t ever have classes on Tuesdays at the large municipal school where I spend my mid-mornings to early afternoons but I still journeyed to my agency that day in order to teach a two-and-a-half hour lesson in the evening. I was informed five or ten minutes before class time that the student was ill. Wednesday was National Teacher’s Day in Thailand so all the government schools were closed and the students were extremely ill-behaved on Thursday. I was quite strict with them on Friday and they settled down somewhat. My evening student cancelled again on Thursday and a young girl I’ve been teaching for nearly a year now cancelled her Saturday morning lesson. On both of these particular days, the students had cancelled at least a day in advance but nobody thought to inform me to save me the bus trip to the agency. It’s really annoying, but I can always find something to do in the office.
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.
At long last, the silence has been broken! Honestly, I start too many entries in a similar fashion on this blog. The last period of activity stretched from the end of July 2018 until i posted my New Year’s Eve shaky-cam video earlier this week. I haven’t checked but I believe it to have been the longest gap in the history of Asian Meanderings and perhaps going back as far as ‘Burque Blog. Does anybody remember that incarnation?
As the end of 2018 approached, I thought that the best way to rejuvenate what was once my one and only blog was by taking a look at the year that was. I began sorting through photos taken and journal entries written each day in attempts to find something interesting to highlight. There were quite a few blog-worthy happenings throughout the year but I quickly bored of trying to find them and put them into a form that people would actually enjoy reading! I got as far as mid-March before I abandoned the project.
I have been “silent” here on Asian Meanderings for quite some time now. I have, however, maintained daily (yes, daily!) and often lengthy articles on my main stamp-collecting blog — A Stamp A Day. As my place of work is closed today (and I have my regular weekly day off tomorrow), I felt that this holiday weekend would be a fine time to try and get caught up on my other blogs.
For my stamp and postcard blogs (and sometimes for this one as well), I rely on historic images and maps of places all over the world. Many of these images fall into the public domain and are free from copyright. To illustrate my articles, I seek out high-resolution images on a daily basis and most of these come courtesy of Wikipedia.
When I’ve had to do image searches, however (sometimes current maps but usually vintage maps especially for former African colonies that no longer exist), my go-to for many years has been Google as I found their “View Image” button extremely useful especially when setting the Tools to show Large-sized images first. In recent months, I’d become frustrated when so many of the top results had been watermarked with Getty Images becoming especially prevalent.
I love to go out to eat in Thailand as it’s always an adventure. The best food is to be had from the myriad of road-side stalls, some of which appear after nightfall along random sidewalks and others are more permanent affairs in markets or other long-established locales. There are indications as to what is on offer at some of these vendors but I long ago perfected the method of pointing at what I’d like to eat as I often don’t know the name in either Thai or English. In restaurants, I follow the same method of pointing at the picture of what I’d like. Sometimes these have a number. If English is involved, there is guaranteed to be at least one big example “lost in translation.” Here are a few of my favorites….
In my summary article late last month — “I’m Still Here!” — I mentioned having accumulated a number of photos on the theme of unusual, unexpected or humorous things seen in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is quite common here to see things that leave you scratching your head and the usual expat response is simply, “TIT” — short for “This is Thailand”, meaning “No explanation necessary”. The countless misspellings, odd translations, construction misalignments, entire families (plus the family pet!) riding tiny motorbikes, and so much more become part of the landscape after one has been here awhile. However, if you stop noticing them altogether that may be a sign you’ve stayed too long!
I’ve lived in the “Land of Smiles” for thirteen years and nothing really shocks me anymore. There are still pleasant surprises and for those I am grateful. Nothing here makes me really upset or angry (anymore). The occasional “unfortunate” incidents are dealt with in a more-or-less Thai sabai-sabai (“easy, no problem”) manner and quickly forgotten. I was even able to laugh at my near-arrest (paperwork completed but not filed) for walking on the sidewalk (“impeding traffic” as I couldn’t make room for motorbikes desiring a shortcut rather than using the road) within a day or so of it happening. Most of the “TIT” moments I take in stride and many I find endearing and part of the reason that I love living here. I hope that you find enjoyment in them as well.