Friday, October 29, 2004

sorry it's been so long

as zainab put it, i've been slacking. no posts in a long time! but then again, i really only want to post if the mood strikes, and for some reason it hasn't lately.

yesterday, though, it was strange. i suddenly had a yearning for my house, for the way my parents' bedroom looks when it's late afternoon. i could see it, smell it. i could feel it. and more than anything i wanted to be there.

and then later that same day, i remembered visiting taher at U of I. i always visited him in the fall, and it was the kind of weather where you don't need a coat but you need gloves and a scarf. that autumn clarity is my favorite weather ever. here in bangkok, with its never-ending heat wave, i miss it all the more. i suddenly yearned for those days of walking around the immense campus with him, feeling very, very awake because of the chill in the air.

i don't know why these little things came to me so suddenly. i was reading a very good book, sitting in a cool breeze in our family room, and taher was right there with me. i was content with everything here. but that yearning, for my parents' house, for chicago weather, was real. and it made me happy because, as pleased as i feel about living in bangkok, i'm reminded of how much i will return to when we go home to chicago.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

ode to right now

taking stock... i do not know what it is about tracey chapman but i listen to her and i am suddenly very pensive. and inspired.

i am sitting here, at 5 pm. emailing. taher is outside playing tennis but i am skipping the workout today. we have recently begun to use the pool on campus for our workouts- since we have no change of seasons here, the 5 pm sun is scorching and the water feels wonderful.

the music is filling the room as i read messages from friends and family, and write responses. i feel peaceful and happy- i feel appreciative of the people in my life, i miss them. but also i recognize, once again, what a unique opportunity this is. living in bangkok. with taher. away from it all.

perfection? no, not really- the job is not perfect. the weather is not perfect. but on the job, there are kids who make me smile, who make me laugh- who make me an excellent teacher. as for the weather, we are blessed with plenty of cool breezes that come from nowhere but change the world in a few sweet seconds.

what have we been up to? this post needs some content, i suppose. ah, yesterday we went to the Dusit Zoo. a zoo like any other, really. nothing all that special. we spent all of our time there looking for only three animals- a serow, a gaur, and a banteng. the others, lions and monkeys and rhinos, we barely glanced at in our quest. we were really only there to find the aforementioned "weird ones". we found the serow's habitat but he must have been inside because we never saw him. as for the gaur and the banteng, we never did find them. we knew they were there because our Lonely Planet told us so, but sigh. mission not accomplished. i did look them up on the internet, however. the serow looks like a deer, the gaur looks like a bison, and the banteng looks like a big cow. i know, i know, i shouldn't familiarize the unfamiliar- never, ever liken a serow to a deer. it has its own serow identity.

but i have to admit, looking for them at the zoo, and just now on the internet, i was expecting some crazy otherworldly creatures. a gaur! i wonder how many legs that has! i bet only three! a banteng? yeah, i bet that's like an octopus except with lungs! yeah!

no such luck. deer and cows. looking for the farm animals was great fun, at any rate.

Friday, October 01, 2004

ko samet

my cousin reminded me that i still haven't blogged about ko samet- and i meant to, since it's the first of our extra-bangkok wanderings...

the weekend was very relaxing and very beachy. we took a three-hour bus ride to the shore, and then a boat to the island. and stayed at a place on the beach- the kind of place where they put mats out on the beach at dusk, so you can have your dinner right in front of the water. and at night they showed movies (i saw legally blonde 2 and it was just the movie i would want to watch on a beachy weekend!) ...

on sunday we took a speed boat tour, out to some of the other beaches around the island, and from there we swam and snorkelled... the snorkelling was nowhere near as colorful or tropical as my Red Sea experience, but it was still very fun. before i begin snorkelling, i always feel a bit anxious about having this mask on and having to concentrate on breathing through my mouth- for some reason i have no hesitation at all about skydiving and hanggliding and parasailing- air sports- but for water sports and breathing in a non-traditional manner, it's different. but eventually i got over it and stuck my face in the water and looked at the pretty fish :)

all in all, not much excitement to report about Ko Samet- other than the fact that it was the perfect getaway. we had fun, just being on the beach and splashing about in the (very) warm water, and eating waffles for breakfast (it has been so long since i've had a waffle!)... sitting around, looking at the blue water, school was the farthest thing from my mind. as it should be on vacation :) i'm thrilled that there are so many tropical locations accessible from bangkok- it's nice to whisk away to a totally new place, just for the weekend. oddly, though, watching people on wave runners at Ko Samet made me miss Lake Geneva in wisconsin! hmm.

i think monsoon season is my favorite

right now, it's 10 pm and there is some sort of typhoon going on outside- from our balcony, you can't see anything but water pouring down- and lightning and wind of course.

this is the best. on nights like this, the entire day is cooler and a bit more breezy, and you just know that at night, it's going to storm.

it's so exciting when there's a storm- we're safely tucked inside and it's fun just peering out over the balcony at the chaos, listening to the boom-booming thunder, hoping nothing strikes the building :)

i can't think of any other way to describe it other than say that it is very powerful outside right now. taher tried to take pictures but i think they'll come out as blackness. i hope i'm wrong though!