If it’s one thing to be nervous when driving with someone who is texting and driving, it’s another thing to be with someone who is texting and SCOOTERING. I seriously didn’t know it was possible to do such a thing while driving a motorbike/scooter…but alas, Thailand has taught me many things, including the possibility of texting and scootering. That does seem to be one of the highlights of living here: riding scooters everywhere. I have only seen one person ride a bicycle here (well two, if you are counting me). I have been able to find creative ways to hitch a ride with someone on a scooter. Now trying to give directions to someone who speaks no English is another matter. One of the guys who gave me a ride home kept on driving straight even when I was screaming, “Wrong way! Wrong way! Turn around!” while I was motioning to turn his scooter around. He just kept on smiling and driving until a couple kilometers away, he realized that I was trying to tell him something. It was pretty funny actually. That made me want to go home and learn how to say directions in Thai and Burmese. Those little incidents are always good motivations to learn a language, for sure.
Today was my first day of school. I want to start off by saying that I have had several “first” days of school where I am the newcomer, the specimen, the awkward “newbie.” I have definitely had embarrassing first days of school in my past, but I’m pretty sure that this first day of school trumps all. Luckily, I did not miss the bus, which is always one’s nightmare on the first day of school. I hopped on the bus, which is essentially a pick up truck filled to the brim with small children (and one very white ginger). I made it to school, and of course, being the white girl and all, had little children (mostly boys. What can I say? I’m such a heartbreaker) follow me around, touch my hair, play games with me, and give me candy that their parents gave them (I wasn’t sure what to say about the last part with the candy…having children take candy from foreign strangers is one thing, but when it’s the other way around, what are you supposed to do?).
The classes are structured around teacher rotation, so I hop around from class to class every 45 minutes (which makes it difficult when you are carrying a bunch of textbooks). One of the first things I did was write on the board with a blue whiteboard marker. I need to be very clear in saying this: the blue whiteboard marker was a little broken/leaky, but I was not aware of this at the time. For all of the classes I taught today, I used the whiteboard markers that were available to me, unaware that the first one I used was broken and thus, my hands were completely filled with blue ink. One of the things about living in Thailand is that it is very hot and humid, therefore causing me to wipe my face frequently throughout the day. So when I was describing to the students that my favorite color is blue, I didn’t seem to get why they all just started to laugh…until the end of the day…when I went to the bathroom mirror and realized I had blue marker all. over. my. face.
I’m sure I could make up some “fun fact” about white people and how heat and humidity can cause a blue pigment to transform their skin, but I’m pretty sure these kids are smarter than that. So other than the fact that my first day consisted of teaching English while looking like an awkward, smurf-like American, I’d say my first day went alright.