Good day internet friends. How are you? Good, I’m glad. I’m great too, thanks for asking. Anywho. Man halfway through December? Craziness.
Christmas is almost here! Which also means New Years is almost here, which I’m super stoked for. I’m off school from Dec 28th-Jan 5th and I’m going down to Phuket to meet up with my fellow teacher amigos. Good times and shenanigans will be had. Otherwise life has been pretty mellow here the past couple weeks. I do however have a few things I want to whine about, and due to the language barrier between me and the other teachers, I figured I’d shout about it into empty internet space.
I have two gripes about the interworkings of money and Thai banking. Mind you, the amount of money I’m about to complain about is very minimal, but still. It’s principle.
Number one. I have a Thai bank account that I set up when I got here and have a debit card just like back home. I figured that one of the perks of having a Thai bank would be avoiding the annoying withdrawal fees that US banks charge when you use foreign ATMs. Nope! I made my first withdrawal from my bank the other day and pulled out 500 baht, and the ATM had the nerve to charge me a 15 baht service fee. I was like, “Are you for realsies yo?” Yes, I know this is less than 50 cents, but still, the nerve of this automated jerk. What am I not paying you for?
Complaint number two. The way that my salary works here is that my school pays my agent, and then she in turn pays me via direct deposit. On the first day I got to school, my agent made the mistake of telling me that my school gives her 39,000 baht, and out of that she pays me my 25,000 salary. If you do some quick calculations, you’ll deduce that my agent gets paid 14,000 baht per month to pimp me out. Seems a little excessive to me, but hey, she got me the job so I can’t complain. BUT, when I got my first paycheck this month, she tells me that she only transferred 24,965 baht because she’s deducting 35 baht for a transfer fee… So you’re telling me that you’re profiting the equivalent of ~$450 a month off me and you won’t eat the $1 transfer fee?? First my bank embezzles my 15 bahts and now this? I have 50 baht worth of extremely minor frustration going on here.
Okay, that’s enough whining for now. On a happier note, the weather here has been fantastic the past couple weeks. I know it has been raining a ton down in the south, but up here it’s been like California weather. Like high 60’s/low 70’s and not much humidity (that’s like 15-18 celsius for my worldly friends). While I’ve been stoked about this, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, the Thai teachers at my school appear to be dressed for an ice caving adventure. They’re all bundled up in pants, jackets, gloves, and blankets. I came into the office at like 9pm the other night in a tank top after working out and turned my fan on because I was still sweating. Three different teachers came up to me with shocked looks on their faces saying some variety of, “You’re not cold??” From what I read on CNN, it sounds like weather back home is actually cold these days. I saw pic of ice on a car in S. California the other day. Madness. See that liberals? It’s cold outside. We told you global warming was silly.
I wish there was a special font for sarcasm.
Anyways, what else. I saw Hunger Games last week! It was really good. I reread the book before I saw it, which I kind of wish I wouldn’t have, because it was kind of like seeing a movie in theaters for the second time when you know what’s coming. Still really good though.
Thai theaters are so nice. They’re kind of like Arclight theaters where you have assigned seats, and the seats actually recline. So comfy. Plus the sound was amazing and the picture was HD quality. It was really interesting to see the video-tribute honoring the King that’s played after the unnecessary amount of previews and commercials. During the video, everyone in the theater stands up and it shows their respect. Apparently you can actually get arrested if you don’t stand up during this. Very cool experience.
Everything else is good on this front. I think I’m slowly but surely becoming a better teacher. I’m learning from my numerous miscues about what works well and what does not. I even got through an entire lesson of my M-3/3 class yesterday (my most difficult class) and they actually paid attention. Not a single student got up and left halfway through class! Last week I took role at the beginning and I turned around and half of them were gone. Needless to say, I take role at the end of class now.
I’ve also developed my go-to lazy/Monday lesson. The official title of this lesson is “conversation practice.” It’s very simple and involves sitting in a circle as I ask them questions about their weekend. What did you do? Oh you watched football? Who’s your favorite team? You went shopping? What did you buy? How much was it? That kind of stuff. It’s may seem silly but conversational English is one area that needs improvement. Everybody wins!
As always, I love and miss you all. I’ve had a couple random pangs of homesickness over the past couple weeks, but it’s nothing a quick nap can’t cure. To everyone that sends me snapchats, they make me happy and I would send more if my phone had data. To my people back home, hope you’re keeping warm. To friends here, only 2 weeks left! Can’t wait to see everybody. Peace y’all, Bald Eagle out.