Micah: Unmitigated


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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship Bridge’

Different Names for the Same Thing

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Now, I know that all of you have been on pins and needles, waiting to hear about my adventure into Myanmar (Burma). But, my plans did not come to fruition, which all shall be explained in this semi-interesting story.

Saturday: I have discovered a new alarm, I was awakened by the playing of the national anthem at 6:50am. After the music, a womans voice comes on and words are said for what seems like another 10 minutes. Maybe it was the location of my guest house, possibly right next to a speaker, but it was loud. An early wake up was in the plans anyways, so I proceeded with my day as scheduled: Stroll to bus station, check on departure to next town, mosey back to guesthouse, check out, and store backpack.

As I was checking out, the owner of the place (a Thai teacher) asked me where I was from. Upon hearing that I came from the U.S.A., a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district, she politely asked if I could tutor one of her students. They had a big Spelling Bee tomorrow and she would really appreciate a native english speakers help. I told her that I wanted to make a run to the border, but could postpone it a few hours. So, I grabbed a bag of breakfast noodles from the market and returned to the house. The student showed up a few minutes later, and I was handed this list of Spelling Bee words:

The List

The List

There were actually 2 lists, each with over 200 words. I basically just tried to read the words as clearly as I could, and watch to see if she wrote them down correctly. The student was in the 10th grade, I think, and had much better handwriting than myself. She cruised on some words, probably the ones that she remebered from past sessions, and others were a struggle. The biggest difficulty was hearing which vowel to put in and especially how to finish words that end in “tion”, “sion”, or “ious”. It was a good learning experience for both of us, and a chance for me to talk a lot after a quiet past couple days.

After all the spelling, the Teacher also thought that one of the rounds would be “fill in the blank”. I told her this would be impossible, imagine a Thai person trying to fill in the following sentence: “Discrimination of any sort is ___ in a civilized society.” Answer: Abhorrent. Yep, How do you define abhorrent to a Thai 10th grader? I barely know what it means, but the teacher tried to define every word in the sentence above to the student. I humored her for a bit, but opted to just read some more words and create my own phrases. Mostly using my goto one “The Man/Woman was ___”.

The teacher told me that their current English instructors are getting on in years and that they could use a handsome, intelligent, and elloquent speaking man, like myself. (That is not word for word, her english was a little broken so I had to assume some things) My initial thought “Me teach English, that’s unpossible”. But, I gave her my email address, so we shall see what happens.

Part of me wonders whether I, Micah, should be teaching English to others. Let’s be honest and put it all on the table: English was not my best subject in school, I can barely understand it, I rarely read anything other than sports stories, and my pronunciation leaves much to be desired. I know I butchered a few words while reciting them to her, and even skipped many so as not to irreparably damage this young mind. With all of that, if the offer comes, I will have some thinking to do.

The clock struck noon, and the lesson ended. Discussing my border plans further with Teach, a Visa concern came up and she made some calls. Upon return to Thailand from Maynmar, tourists receive a 15 day extension. I have 21 days left on my 60 day visa, and 3 weeks to go. The lady on the phone made it seem that my 60 day would be nulled and I would be left with the 15 day they give me, leaving me short of my departure day. I don’t know the truth, but considered this a possible outcome. Plus, I worried about having time to catch my ride east. Thus, the husband of the Teach drove me to the border, so that I could see the “Friendship Bridge” and what lies across it, then dropped me off at the Bus terminal.

From there: lots of waiting, squeezing my legs into the minivan, going through checkpoints, and finally arriving in Sukhothai for supper. Also, I had a realization that it is good to be a man of average height and weight, and no longer dream of having an NBA or NFL type body. Travel like this would be near impossible (although if I was rich, I could roll in style). So, to all those kids out there, work with what you got. If you are short: travel is easy and you can get into the McDonald’s playland ball room. Tall and hairy: you can get into R movies and buy alchohol. Average height and looks: well, we just tend to blend into the crowd and thus can get away with minor looting during riots. ไป ลูก ๆ ของ ฉัน ด้วย การ ให้ ความ สุข ของ ฉัน