January 10, 2011 8:50 PM PST
Thank you, everyone, for the warm welcome! Vania, I'm looking forward to many meals cooked across from each other on Isara's hotplates!
I arrived on Friday and have had such a busy weekend! Here is a quick recap of my first few days:
Friday, Kirk showed me the plastic bottle boat and let me help him put on a few finishing touches. At 30 degrees on my first day, it was like the hottest summer weather from my home back in Prince George! After setting up my bed in the ILC dorm, I cycled to Tesco for the first time, which was an adventure in navigating Thai traffic and figuring out product labels. My parents would be shocked if they had witnessed my maneuvers on that bike ride. I was totally jetlagged, but in the evening I still had enough strength for Thai street food with James, Simon, Vania and Tara. The lit-up street was lovely! Finally crashed at 8PM, resulting in waking up at 4:30PM Saturday morning.
Saturday we (James, Simon, Vania and I) travelled by bus to Phon Phisai to visit Nok and Sam. We tripled up on scooters to go to the market, then ate curry and salad in Sam's home while watching music videos and sexy chatline ads. After lunch we went to the temple and made wishes through several means: ringing a gong, putting supernatural dripping water on our heads, burning incense, and touching a green stone(?) ball. Afterward, we sampled the delights of sweet Thai som tam, and the burning pain of the same dish Isan style.
Sunday, Simon, Vania, and I took the "yellow bus" to Tha Bo to see the market. Mostly, I bought food! I finally took my first pictures of Nong Khai, as well. Then back at Isara I had my first volunteer meeting, headed by Teacher Dave, Judy, and Kirk. Finally, a large group of us went for more shopping at the Sunday Market--where I almost got lost in the sprawling maze of food, clothing, and knick knacks. It's so easy just to eat and shop when everything is so cheap!
Yesterday morning was my first teaching experience with Isara. In the morning I assisted Simon with the beginner class at Ban Nong Jang school. At first I couldn't believe how rowdy the kids could get in class, but when Kirk told me that not a lot of teaching goes on at that school aside from when Isara comes, it almost broke my heart. I'll take over that class when Simon leaves. Back at Isara I assisted with Simon's beginner classes (which I will also be taking over), and Teacher Dave's 5B class. Managing a classroom takes some strategy! After classes we celebrated Tara's birthday at Warm Up and then Barnana--my first time at both of those places.
Now that it's Tuesday and there aren't any classes, I basically just feel like being a bum for the day...but if this trend continues, I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up going out yet again!
So far, I absolutely love Isara. :D