Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rot-fai! (Thai for "train")

Greg here. I think most of you know I like photography and trains. So early Saturday morning I ventured out to photograph some of Bangkok's trains before it got too steamy outside. The best way to explore is on foot, so after taking the subway to the train station I set out along the railroad tracks to find some good spots for photography. In total I explored about 5 miles of railway. There were plenty of interesting things to see. A few of the better pictures are below.

An air conditioned express train from Bangkok to Surat Thani in southern Thailand speeds into Bang Sue Junction on Bangkok's north side.

A brief break in the clouds heats up the open air train from a Bangkok to Phitsanulok in northern Thailand minutes after leaving the the main railway station Hua Lamphong.

These track workers don't too thrilled to be on their way to work.

An express train for Chang Mai races through a poor neighborhood near downtown Bangkok a few minutes into it's journey.
Some of the tiny makeshift houses along the tracks in this poor neighborhood aren't more than a few feet from the train tracks. The tracks also serve as the main pedestrian path through the area.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

This is the building we'll be moving in
to next weekend!!!!
Last week was Greg and I's 3rd Anniversary. Hard to believe that it has already been that long. To celebrate we decided that we should make spaghetti, get a bottle of wine, experience our first Thai massages and then go out to lunch at the tallest building in Bangkok.

We had our dinner at home on the 18th, received the massages last Saturday, and went to lunch on Sunday. It was a great way to celebrate. The wine tasted fabulous and Greg even picked up some flowers for me.
Our $17 (including tip) 2-hour long massages left me a little sore, but feeling refreshed. The lunch atop the Baiyoke Tower wasn't actually that good, but the views were amazing. (pictures above)

This weekend we have no plans and that is good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Please Remove Your Shoes

After talking with some of our family, we realized that not everyone is aware of the Thai custom of removing your shoes before you enter some places. This is always true for temples and people's homes. For Greg and I, this is also true at work.
Above are two pictures from my school. The top one is children entering the building and if you look closely most of the have their shoes off already. We have cubbies inside where they keep them. Anytime we go outside we put them on, if we're going inside we take them off. The Croc Company must have their top sales in Thailand because nearly every child owns a pair!
The second picture is outside of the school office after school. Every entrance has a cute snail by it too for you to put your shoes (although most people only use it if they store shoes at school).
While I'm not sure the exact reason for removing shoes, it is a custom that we follow. Here is a website with some other general Thai Culture facts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Rabbit Room

Welcome to my room, The Rabbit Room. It's not quite complete, but here is what Ms. Pu and I have done so far to get ready. Right now my class list is at 10, although possibly 11 or 9.

1st: Attendance chart as they walk in. On the shelves there to the left they will put contact books that go from home to school for communication.

2nd: Here is our ABC wall. Right now the only thing up there is all of our names!
3rd: Calendar and Daily sentences for circle time in the morning.

4th: A view of our circle time area and the book center.
5th: Tubs for each child to use to keep books
and notebooks.
6th: My supply table!
7th: A view from the corner.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Special Sunday

Today we attended church at ECB. The Evangelical Church of Bangkok. It's a large church and we both enjoyed the service. We were there to witness 3 adult baptisms. One being a man who grew up in the church, but who had recently accepted Christ. One being a man who grew up in a Buddhist home in Thailand, but was introduced to Christ as a foreign exchange student in Idaho. The last being a former follower of Islam, who was introduced to Christianity by his son. His son acted as interpreter as his father told the story of realizing that Jesus was not just a prophet in the Koran, but the true and only God in Persian. While we know we want to try other churches, Greg and I both agree that it was quite moving to be a part of these baptisms today and why we picked the ECB for today.

Suan Lum Night Bazzar

The Suan Lum Night Bazaar is where we have ate dinner the past 2 nights and where we are planning to eat again tonight. It offers sit down restaurants or a food court style of eating. It also has a market where you can find fish pedicures, clothes, home decor and much more. It's about a 10 minute walk from where we are now and will be about a 10 minute walk from where we will live. A bit more expensive than street food, but well worth it. Plus Greg can find some good German beer here!

This is the huge beer garden area. Vendors line both sides offering everything from fresh seafood to french fries.

The Bazaar is on many tourist's "List of things to do" while in Bangkok, so Greg and I have enjoyed playing a game we've dubbed, "Where are they from?" We watch and listen and believe we have seen Greek, French, Chinese, Japanese, and lots of others exploring. We have brought a camera our first few times, but soon we will try not to be so touristy! If you come and visit we will be sure to go here for some good food and you can partake in "Where are they from?"

One Saturday in Bangkok...

After a week (well 4 days) of work we were looking forward to spending our first weekend in Bangkok.

For me, my weekend started off just as early as the work week, when I headed to the clinic for a physical. I needed to get a "Record of Good Health" for my work visa application. After navigating the BTS in the early hours. I located the hospital, registered as a new patient, completed my appointment, and returned home by 9:00am. The hospital/clinic I went to was called Bumrungrad International and I was very impressed. My appointment set us back about $15 total, not bad!

After breakfast, Greg and I were picked up by our Thai Properties agent, Jan to go and look at a few places in the Amanta Lumpini building. We looked at a few and have our top 2 picked out. Here are some pictures of our top choice. Please keep in mind that we will have our own furniture, although we will keep the bed for the extra bedroom and TV :-) Also, the bathrooms will receive window coverings, the kitchen will have all appliances and we have asked for black out shades in both bedrooms. I'm especially fond of the Electrolux Washer and Dryer. Finally, a washer and dryer in our own place!
This is front the entry way into the large room where we'd put our table, couch and love seat.
This is taken from the windows looking back toward the entry way (which will fit our hutch) and includes a half bath. I'm opening the closet to...... The Washer and Dryer!!!
Above is the view of master bedroom, right off of main room. Next picture is taken from by the windows. There is a spot for a desk in here, a large walk in closet, and a large bathroom (curtain needed)
Next is a few taken from the extra bathroom. A closet will be added in here. If you come and visit us you can use the bathroom with this amazing view!!!

This condo is our first choice, so Jan is negotiating for us to see if we can get what we want and still keep the price the same. We will let everyone know when we have a deal made!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting Settled

The entrance to my school. More pictures of inside coming soon.

We arrived in Bangkok late last Friday and have been getting more and more settled everyday. Our first night was spent at the airport hotel, but then we have been in our temporary housing since Saturday afternoon. Besides for only luke warm showers, it has met our needs thus far.

On Sunday we spent a day exploring, including getting some errands run. Greg has a work phone to use, but we bought me one at the large Pantip Complex. It turns out I bought a knock-off iPhone. We are aren't sure if it will be my permanent phone or if I will upgrade and get a not so cheap phone that I can rely on. Whatever the case, I will keep my SIM card and keep my phone number. We also did some grocery shopping and found out that making spaghetti with Prego Sauce will run us about the same as ordering room service for dinner. Tonight we are having street food :-)

Work is going well for both of us. Greg's commute to work is taking longer than expected, while the journey home is about an hour. Right now HTI has arranged a driver for him. He leaves around 6:30 to return around 6pm. It is a long day, but at least he can spend 2+ hours in the car unwinding or continuing to work.

My work is going well. I have been given my curriculum and expectations for teaching. I have met my assistant, Ms. Pu, and begun getting my classroom ready for the school year. Right now I will have only 11 students. I have met my other co-workers Ms. Tracy and Ms. Katie who are respectfully from Britain and New Zealand.

Ok, that's a short update. On Thursday I will try to post more. Both Greg and I have off that day, in honour (practicing my British spelling) of the Queen's Birthday. It is Mother's Day!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good Bye Hutch

This week as been a blur. We still don't think it's a real deal, but the truth is tomorrow we are leaving the country and moving to Thailand.

We realize that in the past months, weeks, and days we haven't had a chance to see and talk to everyone that reads this blog. We apologize if you are one of those people. While sometimes the world seems small, it also is so big and lives are busy. We hope you understand.

If you've wondered how everything went this week, here's a glimpse....
MONDAY: As the mover's packed we tried not to be in the way. Greg played SimCity on the computer and I read on my Kindle. They packed the couches last.

They made staging area on the deck. It was a hot day out so we provided some Gatorade!

TUESDAY: The cleaning started. The last thing we did was shampoo the carpets. Our friend, Brooke, let us borrow her shampooer!
The final product: One clean apartment!

One final picture. Just as we are leaving town, our friends Brooke and Andy got a new puppy. He's so cute that I had to post a picture. Here is Croix Thrall :-)