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where in the world is steph.... Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -- Mary Oliver

elephants in the city

THAILAND | Monday, 22 January 2007 | Views [1389]

Today on my way home from school, I stopped at one of the street vendors to get something to eat for dinner. Trying to balance the bag of food, my change, my wallet, and not getting hit by a motorbike I turned around and was faced with the most unexpected sight. An elephant was walking through the round about directly in front of me. Now I have seen elephants before, but one in the city, walking down a road a block from my “home” was quite a new experience. The two men were trying to get people to give the young elephant food. (I say young but the elephant still toward over me as well as everyone else in the area.) I did feel rather sorry for the animal, but realize that elephants are work animals here in Thailand, much like a mule, or a horse. I walked around the elephant to discover a blinking light on his tail, much like the one you would put on the back of your bicycle. Even elephants can have modern accoutrements apparently.

     I have been very busy with school. We started teaching classes in the beginning of the second week, which was incredibly intimidating. In some ways it is getting easier, but also more complex now that we are in week three. Today I taught a lesson plan about families, and the students were extremely interested in my family. I had pictures from my mom and Bill’s wedding, and when doing my family tree had to make slight adjustments for ease sake. Things like my mom’s profession became a government officer, and Bill’s became tree farmer. I was trying to keep it things they could relate too, and well those were it.

     My schedule is that we either teach or observe every morning, followed by a group deconstruction of what happened during the lesson, and lesson planning for the following day. Afternoons are filled with classes (that I attend rather than teach) followed by more lesson planning. Home to do some homework, and back at school no later than 730 am. I am being forced to become a morning person, but I rather like Chiang Mai in the mornings, it is much quieter. I try to walk a slightly different way to school each morning, and I find on the sois (small lanes), people tend to be very friendly and greet you.

     Not all fun is gone though. This weekend I got to go to Bo Sang, also known as the umbrella village. It was the umbrella festival this weekend, and the shops all were decorated, there were tons of people out, and there was a parade with some beautiful floats almost entirely constructed out of paper. I went with two classmates of mine, and we had quite an enjoyable time. We discovered some new foods, like steamed rice cooked inside bamboo. It was slightly sweet, with a hint of coconut and a few black beans mixed in as well. It was fabulous! I think the most fun part about it was peeling back the bamboo to get at the rice; it resembled this very strange looking flower by the time you got down towards the end.

     My class also got together Friday night, for some good old fashioned bowling and beer. It was a riot, and a great way to spend some time with people outside the classroom. I was actually not the worst or even close to the worst bowler, which was so exciting for me, a definite first! Afterwards, a group of us went out to dinner at an Isan restaurant. A different faire than standard northern Thai dishes, Isan is the region in the northeastern corner of Thailand. Normally the food is quite spicy, but we all agreed that while the food was delicious, we all could have handled more heat.

     I am looking forward to the three day weekend I have coming up. I don’t have any plans yet, but I am sure to do something interesting.

Tags: Adventures

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