Thanks Again :)

Is it cheating if I say I’m thankful for the same things every week?  Or if I say the things I’m thankful for that I have back in the States but don’t have here?  Well, I suppose I can make up the rules but today I have new things to be thankful for anyway (along with many old things that continue to add spark to life here).

– Language Class
– Quiet nights
– A computer that stays on the entire work day
– Pork Chops for breakfast
– Yummy/ Nomnomnom
– Emails from good friends
– Progress with Lao
– Chinese speaking shop owners
– Banana chips
– Oh yeah, and a new house!
– Thai movies
– Having ideas that people like
– Tourist friends and sightings

My Lao boss was out of town last week and – wouldn’t you know – she brought me back some peanut butter from Thailand!  I carry it with me always (as I don’t have a refrigerator).  I had just been telling a coworker about the huge jar of peanut butter my wonderful (wonderful, wonderful) friends bought me before I moved and how that was the thing I was saddest to not be able to pack.  Its creamy so it took a few days to get used to, but when I eat it I make sure I’m sitting somewhere where my feet are free to dangle so I can bounce around in delight as I eat 🙂

Language Class

Its no secret that I think language class is da best!  I like my teacher, she has sass and spirit even if her techniques are sometimes a little flawed.  This might also be a good place to say thank God for Google that helps me get the kind of technical explanations I don’t get in class. I have two classmates who seem to be picking up on the information.  There is a culture of unwarranted encouragement here it seems, which I kind of scoff at when my teacher returns quizzes where I get 3 out of 10 correct (no partial credit!!) and she writes very good on the top.

The school is a little far away from work so I get motorbiked there.  Now that I’m wearing the traditional skirt to work this makes riding on the back of motorbikes a little more challenging.  I ride side saddle which is slightly terrifying (because I don’t have a helmet and although the traffic here isn’t crazy, I am always imagining freak accidents: giant geckos jumping off the ceiling onto my back like spiderman and pinning me to the floor, falling off a bike into traffic (which happened to me in Shanghai), a house falling on me, etc.) BUT I’m getting the hang of it.

Quiet Nights
The guesthouse I’m staying in now doesn’t have geckos making noises at night.

A Computer That Stays on All Day at Work
My computer had been shutting off every hour or so at work for a few days last week and like all technical problems was driving me bonkers.  But it got fixed and now I can use the computer all day without interruption!

Pork chops for breakfast
I can finally say I go (semi)local for breakfast.  Last week I made plans with the general manager to get breakfast together and he took me to this place right behind the museum that sells really cheap food and especially breakfast.  They have these miniature pork chops that taste just like the ones my mom makes.  Its weird to eat them (1) with my hands, (2) for breakfast,  but I confess I’m not loyal to breakfast food, at least not at breakfast time.

Yummy and Nomnomnom
The thought occurred to me today that I might be too old to still refer to food as yummy…but I don’t let that stop me.  “Yummy,” however, is not a word people use here, or at least, it wasn’t.  Within the short span of a week I have converted my office and now all the guys are saying it (where were these conversive powers when I was living in China!?), along with my trademark “nomnomnom” pre-eating mantra. We even figured out the Lao way to write this and it turns out that Nomnom is a brand of noodles here. I’m thankful for these phrases are a source of laughter in the office.

Emails from good friends
I always love these and I got a few this week that put a smile on my face. (Yours could be next! 🙂 )

Progress with Lao
Lao pronunciation = no bueno; Lao grammar = walk in the park (so far)
I’ve been making all kinds of sentences recently sticking together new words into the structures I think they should fit in and being understood.    I don’t know if the grammar is really logical to everyone, my background in other languages has helped, or if it was just a good week. Just from a phone conversation where someone said “Hello this is…”, learning to say “what is this?”, and finding through Google that Lao is a right-branching language I’ve been able to say and understand a whole lot more this week. More of the staff are switching to speaking Lao with me and I can understand their meaning better. I was particularly excited when I picked up on another function of the grammatical particle that signifies a completed action.  In class the teacher said in Lao “last week we learn…”, but we had never heard “last week” before and she asked if anyone knew what it meant and since I heard “week + completed” I guessed correctly that the new word in the sentence had meant last week. (In Chinese it’d be like 周了). These kinds of things get me really excited.

Chinese speaking shop owners
They’re great.  Shopping at the Chinese market makes my buying (or more frequently not buying) experience so much better.  I can ask for exactly what I want or at least explain it in a way that the store owner knows what I’m looking for.  And, I had been worried that I might loose my Chinese here but I think I have lots of opportunities still to use it.

Banana Chips
Found them at the newly discovered shop behind the museum.  Rather than being shaped liked discs, the bananas are cut horizontally along their length.  I dip these in my new peanut butter. One word (or perhaps, three): Nomnomnom!

New House!
See previous post on housing.

Thai Movies
I discovered Thai movies this weekend and I can already tell this is going to spell trouble.  Lao can understand Thai and I guess the people who make these videos didn’t thing there was enough of an interested English-speaking market so there were no subtitlesI learned a few Thai words, was entertained for a few hours. This was my first Thai movie and no, I didn’t watch it because I’m nearing 30 and looking for a younger man (Noona-Dongsaeng relationships are taking over the world!!).  I could recognize “30” on the cover (I bought the DVD) and that was more than I could recognize on any of the other covers.

Ideas That People Like
I proposed a few things to a few people that they ended up liking and it was a good reminder (and one I’ve really been needing) that I can do this.

Tourist Friends and Sightings
Various people I’ve met around LP and I have exchanged information  and they’ve gotten in touch with me.  One woman wanted information on where she could watch Korean dramas. (Am I good, or what?).  I didn’t force her into anything she didn’t want, I swear.  She said she had a friend that liked them but had been reluctant but based on my recommendation she’s gonna take the plunge. And I hope never look back! 

Also, yesterday I was walking home from getting dinner at my favorite noodle stand when a tourist pointed at me and said, “Its the ethnic cultural girl.”  No, I didn’t correct her and say “Excuse me, that’s Programmes Director to you.”  I just smiled, waved and felt happy to be recognized!

I love these Thanksgiving posts because I start out thinking I don’t have much and then am reminded that a lot of cool stuff DID happen this week!

One thought on “Thanks Again :)

  1. Jonathan says:

    re: unwarranted encouragement. this may be because you are coming from a place where 98/100 gets you a mere ”不錯!“

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