Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Spin the Globe to the Other Side
After 48 hours of traveling (11 of which disappeared, stolen by the international dateline) and 5 airports (Anchorage>Seattle>Seoul>Bangkok>Chiang Mai - the best part of which by far was lunch in Seattle with Max!), I arrived in Chiang Mai at 8am on a Thursday. (Side note: Korean Air rocks my socks - a pair of which they give you onboard to make your flight more comfortable. They have unlimited juice and movies, and great food which made the 11 hour flight seem shorter than most domestic flights I've taken recently. The Korean food I had made me think I could live in Korea forever - if the airplane food is this good...)
I was taken directly to campus and was not expected to teach only because it was National Teacher Worship Day. Students created flower arrangements and gave them to the teachers and I didn't have to start class on my first day in Asia. The next day however, I was standing at the blackboard in front of 28 Thai students who appeared to be in High School but I was assured were in my English 103 class (not sure why they call it 103 because I believe it is the first course they take). I taught 3 classes and was extremely glad it was already Friday.
The nice thing and the worst thing about CMU is that the curriculum is completely planned out for the teachers. There are hundreds of sections of each class so it must be kept consistent across the classes (especially with those pesky foreign teachers coming in with crazy ideas...) and my classes range from mildly engaging to mind-numbingly boring through no fault of my own.
I spent my first weekend getting a cell phone, figuring out how to get around, and trying to find a place to stay (my PiA buddy Nick was nice enough to let me crash in his room the first few days). I ended up staying in the same apartment building as Nick (Baan Thai) and was mainly sold because it has a pool big enough for doing laps, and the fact that this is the view from my apartment.