The Fall…do-do-do.

       I’m sitting in my room, chilled nicely to the hum of a sleek, modern (sleek, modern?) air-conditioner, awaiting an evening of celebration.  Celebration – what does ‘celebration’ mean?  “It’s like a party.  Um…do you know what a party is?  So, on a holiday, or if it’s your birthday, you celebrate.  Or, it’s like this.  I’m celebrating (Eric screams, jumps up and down, and pumps his fist.), or wait!  Yeah, perfect.  What am I doing?  (Kids correctly guess ‘kicking a football’ after which Eric screams, jumps up and down, and pumps his fist.)  THAT’S celebrating.  Or, wait…you asked what ‘celebration’ meant didn’t you?  Crap.  Hey, stop hitting him with that broomstick!  Get down from that desk!  Don’t pop that balloon, man.  Come on!”
      That’s teaching for me in Thailand.  I’m schooling level M3-M6 at the secondary school known as ‘Senaprasit’ in the small hamlet of Sena, about forty minutes outside of Ayutthaya which is, again, the former seat of the Siam Empire during the appropriately-titled Ayutthayan Period, which ended in the mid-1400s after a reign of some 400 years (the Burmese finally succeeded in torching the place, after twenty-two previous efforts). 

         Every morning, my alarm rudely awakes me at a robust 5:40am, the cocks failing to crow until after my shower is complete.  I am a grump every morning, and as I march the twenty minutes across town, I hate my life and I hate the smell of Thailand, I hate Asians in spite of their warm shouts of, “good morning, Ajarn (teacher)!”  I pick up the bus next to the junk yard at ten ’til seven, share a seat with a be-uniformed snotnose, and ride for 40-50 minutes, trying to sleep over the deafening blasts of Thai pop on my multi-colored bus airbrushed with, inexplicably, caricatures of Fred Durst and The Gorillaz and that band that yells a lot with the Asian-American singer named Mike that used to be popular when we were in middle school.  You know who I’m talking about…I just can’t recall right now.  Anyway, that’s how that goes, and as a result, amazingly, I’ve become capable of sleeping through anything, really. 

        Sena is small, but that doesn’t keep it from being frenetic at 7:50am.  Walking through the market, we are greeted with the sights and smells of 130923934520985 motorbikes driven by reckless 10-78 year olds, along with live snakes trying to escape their inevitable fate of digestion.  There are live bullfrogs, giant fish flopping to death on wooden tables too small for their size, and the ever-popular rat carcass, splayed out, gutted down the middle, lengthwise, in giant pyramids in the hundreds.  Amazing.

       Class is interesting.  Walking through school, Kelly and I are greeted by shouts of, “I love you!”  Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter.  Everything is interpreted sexually by these high schoolers (I am teaching age 14-18), and their sexuality is constant and disconcerting.  “Teacher, look at this picture!”  It’s a finely dressed, makeuppy young lady, winking slyly, lushly, at the camera.  “Beautiful, teacher?”  “Yes, I don’t know, I guess so.”  “Boy or girl, teacher?”  Teacher doesn’t respond, but swallows his tongue.  Students flip the page to a young boy, maybe 15, in his school uniform, looking scholarly and serious, bespecaled, and teacher prays to Allah or whomever that the resulting result wouldn’t be as it was.  “Same, same, teacher!”  They flip the page back and forth…your students are marching toward Patong Beach, teacher.  How does that feel?  Your students are more sexually-progressive than your entire state, teacher.  How does that feel?  Oy.

        Well anyway, teaching is tough at times, but getting better every day.  I’m pretty decent at it, and I think the kids like me (not like that).  I wrote a play called, “You’re Going to Eat That?” for my students’ competition, a study on how to order food, and I’m eagerly anticipating the word from the trades.  It might be optioned, I hear…remedial, educational English is all the rage in Hollywood since I’ve left, or so I’ve been told.  Yes!

       My friends are going to be in town in a little while, and we’re going to rent some bikes and roll around the island for the sunset.  I haven’t any plans in the near, for my life can’t allow such breathing room, but I hope to hang around town for a while…it’s remarkably dynamic.  Sleepy where it should be exciting, exciting when it should be bedtime…Ayutthaya.  That’s that, anyway, students.  I’m going to get going and get gone.  I wish you very well, and I wish you to visit.  I’m tacking applications for backpacking partners for Asia in March-April, and for Australia in May-June.  By “accepting applications”, I mean I’m asking if you want to go. 

I’m full of tea and egg, so I’m off.

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~ by nearhelsinki on November 29, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Fall…do-do-do.”

  1. I always look forward to these. Partly in a sentimental way, and partly in a “wow I love clean water” way.

  2. Well put, Aaron.

    I am glad to hear of your adventures, Eric, both olofactory and exposure to Un-American, Un-Christian Sexuality. Bravo on the updates, Sir.

    As for your recruting exercise, I would be honored to accompany you on this journey to Asiastralia… But time will tell, time will tell.

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