Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dinner and view

Today the weather was unbelievable.  It was overcast and breezy.  It was the perfect temperature.  I have been loving the weather change here as well and quite glad that I am not experiencing side effects from Hurricane Sandy and the snow that Ohio saw today.  Anyway my point is it is beautiful.

Our view out our back porch is gorgeous..... right!?!?
  Something struck me the other day though.  I got closer and realized that I could see completely through the restaurant across from us.  I could see the trees on the other side of it.  I could see cars driving by.  Then I realized how common this was.  The building to the left is the same thing.  Granted that building is not in use any more but still.  Open.  Many restaurants here are open.  They have fans to keep people cool and create a breeze but still completely open.  That means birds, animals and anything can come and go as desired.  I dont know why I had not pondered on this before but all of a sudden I realized how foreign this was to me.

I know it is hard to see here.  But the red dots are the lights inside the restaurant.  You can sort of see the light coming in from the other side of the restaurant.  At night time I can see the people eating there and walking around!  Crazy stuff but it makes Thailand Thailand, and not America!

Speaking of eating and restaurants, Moe and I have been struggling to find the balance between eating out and cooking our own food.  Thai food is incredibly cheap.  Generally we can eat a Thai dinner for about 100 baht.  We can eat an American meal for about 300 baht at the high end.  It is definitely a big difference, the thing is though that neither is expensive for our standards here. BUT then again we can go to MK (Korean restaurant) or a fancy Thai place and spend about 200 baht.  The low one translates to roughly $3.50 and the high one to $10.   For two adults.... cheap!

Anyhoooo you might know all that already.  In order to keep things interesting, we have been trying to cook more at home.  Moe has figured out how to safely buy meat at the grocery store.  While they do have selections of prepackaged and priced meats they also have other areas of meat.  Chicken, fish, shrimp, and I'm sure other types comes in piles of meat in bins, baskets, or boxes.  People come up use their hands (I know gross!) or the utensils to choose what meat they want.  Then they take it to the meat guy who packages it up and prices it.  This way you know exactly what meat you are getting!  It is lovely and I think smart.

We have begun cooking American meals that we are accustomed to that make my heart happy.  We have had Chicken Alfredo, Spaghetti, Beefaroni (with pork), BBQ Chicken and mashed potatoes, Italian Chicken and other things.  Moe has learned to cook pork quite well as it is most cost efficient.  Beef is a rarity here, sadly.  Last night we made BBQ chicken on a grill thing that we bought.  It is electric but worked well.

Moe made sliced taters and onions and mushrooms.  

Moe thought this picture looked really cool and insisted I post it! The electric part was actually red but photographed purple!  

The final look of our meal! We also had corn.  Here normal corn is about 4 inches long but looks like an ear of corn.  It comes canned in some type of oil.  I personally enjoy it but Moe isnt a fan.  Probably because corn is my favorite but who knows.  Anyway, it was a good meal.  By no means one of our best meals but it was still good.  And it felt good to make our own food.  

Chico is doing great.  We are teaching him lots of tricks.  Moe has been researching all the time to figure out how to make him the best puppy ever.  I am very pleased with them both ;)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chiang Mai Night Safari = Great day

A few weekends ago we were asked to go to the Chiang Mai Night Safari with some friends.  We had no idea what to expect.  We had initially thought it was going to be quite costly, but when we got there realized it was quite cheap!  Always makes the day better when you start off saving money!

Anyway, basically the Night Safari is a zoo centered around a pond.  You walk around the pond to see all the animals and things.  It was so cool.  The view from the beginning was gorgeous! The first thing we saw when we got there were giraffes and there was a baby giraffe too! It was so cute.    
Then we saw tigers.  There were so many tigers here. White tigers and stripeless tigers and normal tigers.  Most of them were sleeping but we got to see one running around.  It was so cool.   I think that is what makes this place better than any normal zoo I have been to.  The animals were lively and moving around for the most part rather than just sleeping all day!

Next, we got to feed the birdies.  I was quite scared to do this, but it turned out to be fun.  There were hundreds of them.  When we walked in they were all sitting on the branches chirping away.  We held out our hands and they began to eat. All of a sudden they would all dart across to the other side of the cage.... ALL Of them.  It was so scary.  Here is Moe feeding some birdies.  He was the best at it!

We saw a chimpanzee, iguanas, tortoises, peacocks, leopards (and many other cats), parrots, owls, crocodiles, anteaters, lemurs, panthers, bats, and many other things that I can not remember.  
This is one of my favorite pictures because the panther is so silly!  Who knew cats sleep like that. 

What made this adventure unique is partially that we are in Thailand but partially the set up of the place.  As I said before, the animals were much more alert and awake but also because its Thailand you can walk around the exhibit or through the bushes to get a closer look! haha.  But it is true.  There aren't bars or concrete separating you from the animals.  It is generally just a net.  Sometimes there is a glass front for the scarier animals, but still nets on the sides for natural air flow.  If you really want a better view, you just walk around to look through the net.  Some of the animals are so close to the net that if you really wanted to you could reach out and touch it.... Moe was getting quite adventurous and touching as much as possible... though not setting a good example for the children with us ;)

Oh the other thing was that there were deer.  For me, seeing deer is not a big deal.  However, these deer were strangely.  You could walk right up to them, and they would just stare at you.  They would even let you feed them and pet them.  It was weird. 

OH and the camels.  They had camels by the deer at the end of the 'tour'.  They were quite smelly in my opinion.  Moe was feeling extra brave at this point and walked right up to the camel and started feeding it grass and touching it.  It was unbelievable.  There were 3 camels that were all jealous of the attention Moe was giving.  I was terrified of course and stood far away fearing for his life, imagining him getting spat at or kicked or something!  It was quite the experience though!

As we were walking out after a long but fun day with animals, we saw elephants walking around in the parking lot.  We had to go visit them.  For free we were able to pet them.  For 30 baht we were able to feed them LOTS of food. And For 100 baht we were able to RIDE them.  Of course we did all three things.  It was so cool.  Granted our ride on the elephant was through the parking lot but it was a start.  Hopefully at some point we will ride the elephants in the jungle or something...maybe even bare back.  

It was definitely a day to remember.  Sadly our camera died half way through the day.  Luckily our friends captured many pictures for us but we are still in the process of getting those from them.  I will share more pics when we get them.  It was a wonderful day and definitely a place we will take any visitors who make their way to us... hint, hint, come visit us!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

oh life

Wow, I have been a terrible terrible blogger.  I read a blog recently that said "I have been so busy thinking that I haven't had time for writing" and I think that sums up my life!  I have been quite busy with school and plans and things that I come home still thinking about it.  By the time I am settled I want to go to bed and not type!  But alas here I am trying to sum up the past month for you.....  Wow it has been over a month. I am so sorry.  Well lets be generic and hopefully I can post specifics on some things that we have done.

School has been very busy.  We just wrapped up our first quarter meaning work days, report cards, parent-teacher conferences and so forth were the forefront of my mind daily.  Now that is all over and thoughts of 'how can I make this quarter better' are all I can think about.  I guess that is the life of the teacher though.  Always trying to make things better or figure out the best way to do something.  I still have days that I am completely overwhelmed by the material I am supposed to teach and the utter disorganization of it all. In a couple weeks I am supposed to teach a 4 week unit on Thailand and I am terrified!! I know NOTHING about Thailand's history or anything else for that matter.  How am I supposed to fill minds with content when I know nothing!

The other thing that has been on my heart a lot with school is a certain student.  (I am being very transparent with you all today.... I guess thats what happens when you wake up at 6am on a holiday!)  I have a handful of new to CMIS students in my class and most of them have fit in swimmingly.  But one student has major issues and I struggle constantly with the best way to help her to learn and fit in with the class.  It breaks my heart to see her struggle through the materials but it even more breaks my heart the way the kids treat her.  I am trying to reach her but there are so many problems I do not know where to start.  She has become my little mission for the year! I lover her to death and have such high hopes for her.

Anywho, this week was holiday (break).  I really wanted to go somewhere but with our finances and Moe's soccer commitments we were here.  Plus since we havent had the chance to explore yet it was for the best.  Moe had his first game(s) as coach this week.  CMIS played in a tournament with 5 other teams from 4 other countries: Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong (they are their own country right?).  Anyway, it was an experience for Moe and he has learned a lot.  The team isnt that wonderful this year but it has been an experience ;)  They have played 6 games in the past 4 days.... In this heat, I think that is crazy!!

OH, the other thing I have not officially said on here....we got a NEW PUPPY!!!! Chico is his name.  He is a toy poodle/shih-tzu mix.  He is ADORABLE!!! He is also tiny.  He is the size of calf on a good day.  Chico definitely has been a joy.  Moe and I have loved teaching him tricks and he is one smart puppy.  We are attempting to make him bilingual with a few tricks done in Thai :)  Here is a picture of him though it is hard to truly see him!  He is black with a white chest and strands of white on his forehead.  His paws are white as well.  He is also a cuddler and loves to be held... I might be spoiling him in that but he is so small.

Ok hopefully I will get better at sharing things. I do have a few important things that we did lined up to share!  We went to the Night Safari and I went up the mountain to the temple.  Both were incredible!