It’s week 3 at ACN and in a some ways, the first couple of weeks back were pretty darn sloooow. The fast-paced fun of travelling over the Christmas break left a sweet taste in our mouths that made the first week of the 7-5 working day even less tolerable – especially when one of those working days included a Sunday! What happened to “the day of rest”..? To top it all off, the kids were doing their best to exercise their vocal tract and the school lunches seem to have entered new levels of inedible.
Things are finally starting to settle down and gradually we’re all (teachers and students) getting back into the routine of early rises and earlier bedtimes. The school days still feel a bit staggered – there’s been an endless trickle of events, exams and activities at Assumption – so it’s still difficult to get into the swing of things. A prime example is that twice this afternoon alone, I’ve gone to a class to find the lesson has been cancelled and that the students are busy practising a performance. Half of me thinks WHEEEEE no class while the other half gets a wee bit concerned about how far behind certain classes are now from a series of cancellations. Lessons being cancelled or changed at the last minute is pretty common in Thailand and you have to also be prepared to perhaps cover someone else’s class (my go-to move is to bring out the extra wordsearches hiding in the depths of my desk drawers).
The weekends have been warmly welcomed this month and there’s been something going on around the city to entertain us. Thailand celebrated Children’s Day on the 10th, meaning lots of costumes, food and games stalls and happy families on the streets. Mr. Mattheuu and I found ourselves at an air force base on the outskirts of Korat (we actually asked to go to a lake in the city near the army base but hey ho) where the paths were crowded with vendors and activities. The main attraction of the day was an air force show, involved all sorts of different planes (sorry, wouldn’t be able to tell you which kinds) spinning around and doing corkscrews and other cool tricks!
We finished our day with a renewed faith in humans when a friendly Thai lady with a fairly good level of English noticed the two ferangs at the entrance to the Air Force Base – looking dumbstruck and stranded due to a lack of taxis – and offered us a lift back to Korat! She was our heroine for the day, leaving big smiles on our faces and giving us a little reminder that positivity and kindness is everywhere.
Last weekend (17th January) was a well-appreciated long one with no school on Friday as a tribute to “Teacher’s Day” (kob khun kha!), so we kicked it off with drinks with other Ferangs in Korat’s western bars. Coming from York – undoubtedly the best place in the UK for its pubs – the selection of bars and pubs here is limited and they’re not renowned for their atmosphere… There are a couple of Thai bars that show potential but your choice of poison has to be beer. Anyhoo – it was great getting to meet some people who’ve been here a bit longer than us and were able to give us a few pointers about places to go and things to do.
Because all I think about is food, a highlight of my weekend was being invited for an authentic and mouthwatering Indian meal with friends from the school and neighbouring schools. I’d managed to get myself a traditional delicious lentil and rice dish earlier on in the week with my “Indian family” from school to celebrate the Hindu new year, so it was a double whammy getting delectable Indian food on Friday too! I think some of the best food I’ve eaten since being in Thailand has funnily enough been from the Indian community here in Korat. Several dishes were served for vegetarians and carnivores, along with fresh chapattis and cumin rice (my mouth is watering all over again as I type this.) The hosts were incredibly welcoming and had a very curious and playful 4 year old son, who became the star of the evening (as four year-olds so often are when they have visitors!)
The Arts of Korat
Art is a bit scarce in Korat, but on Saturday we came across Arts of Korat, a 3D mirage museum that uses space to create illusions. There’s a bunch of different scenes and quite a few movie references – some being simply (but still effectively) painted on, some involving more shape and props. It kept us amused for a good half hour and made some brilliant photographs! I wouldn’t have wanted to go on my tod or without a camera mind, but it’s one of the few “must do”s in Korat.
Assumption’s Academics Day
Last weekend’s fundom rolled into Monday with Academic’s Day – which as far as I could tell wasn’t so much an academic thing, per se… more of an opportunity for more games, food and performances. Even the Brother Director (the “Head” of the school) was snapped in his formal white gown frying omelettes! As seems to be the way with all things Thai, most of the performances were made with only a couple of days notice and with that considered, the students did a pretty good job of putting together a show (even if some of the dances seemed a teeny tiny bit innappropriate of schoolchildren… again, this seems to a common thing in Thai culture!) Anything to have a day out of the classroom, eh?