We now have motorbikes! Mobility has made me feel more at home in Thailand, for sure! We have so much freedom. On the second day of owning our bikes, we pointed at a map and said, "Lets go there!" So we set off on our journey, only to get lost 5 minutes later. We ended up circling the mote a few times and somehow we made it onto the superhighway (which was the thing we were most terrified about driving on). Then we were in this little undeveloped area, driving along the river. But alas, we were victorious! We managed to get completely lost multiple times but eventually we found our way back to our home. It was a good way to face our fears of driving in Chiang Mai. I am now fairly confident that I can find my way back if I ever get lost again. There are some great landmarks such as, "the mountain," "the mote," and "the river." For those of you at home who know about our directional-awareness-issues, have no fear. We will be fine.
Motorbikes have been very helpful as our schedules fill up. We are driving back and forth between campuses multiple times a day. In addition to our poetry and drama class, writing center hours, and chapel, we are teaching informal english classes twice a week, taking thai class twice a week, I am still teaching voice lessons, and I am now coaching an under 11 girls basketball team... and I may or may not have just inadvertently started up a little drama club for a few of the nursing Ajaans. So life is fairly busy, but its filled with some pretty delightful things.
Coaching is great fun! 9-11 year old girls are hilarious! I have so much fun just watching them interact and act goofy. I'm not a very tough coach, although sometimes they say I am when I make them run two lines in a row. I think I've lost a bit of my competitive nature since high school, but I'm trying to get it back. Knowing how to coach is harder than I imagined it would be. I am still searching for the balance of structure, freedom, competition, and fun. Most of the time I just want to let them do whatever they want. They're are only 11 years old- they should just have fun and not worry about winning or losing. But then I remember when I was that age and basketball was a huge part of my life. Competition was what made it fun- not necessarily winning or losing, but the thought that what we were doing was important. Now, after having received a college education, I realize that in the large scheme of things, a basketball game is really not that important. But in order to make this a fun experience for the girls, I need to become an 11 year old girl again-- which is not that difficult, really. I loved being 11.
Teaching, teaching, teaching. I don't know about teaching. After I graduated with a music degree I figured I'd go back to school eventually to get my masters in teaching. What else can I really do with a generic music degree? Last week I was convinced that I did not want to be a teacher. Here are the reasons why: 1. I have a ardent dislike for planning lessons. 2. I don't like telling people what to do. I feel that these two items are vital parts of teaching. Although, my situation here is quite unique. I'm teaching a subject that I don't know much about and we have no curriculum. So making lesson plans means hours of searching the internet for sources that seem reliable, and learning about a subject the day before I teach it. Its an adventure every time. Perhaps being a choir director at a high school would be less stressful. BUT, I still don't like telling people what to do and I don't know if I'll ever get over that one. Maybe one day I'll suck it up and be a leader (though I'd much rather follow...).
1. Our first basketball game: Everyone was super excited to play our first game against PRC, a neighboring thai school. The game was supposed to start at 3:30pm, but the other team didn't show up until 4:15, so we had quite a thorough warm up. When they finally arrived, the whole gym went silent. It was like a scene from a movie in slow motion. In walked these giant woman who were taller than me. The girls on my team are about half my height. All of a sudden, parents were rushing down from the stands to talk to coaches and athletic directors. "There is no way my daughter is playing against them..." It turns out, they were 16 and 17 year olds. After much discussion and confusion, it was decided (while I stood meekly by) that they would not be playing the PRC's high school team. The girls were pretty disappointed. When we asked them what they wanted to do they all really wanted to play them even though they were giants. Brave little ones! It would have been an interesting game, that's for sure! In the end, they just scrimmaged against each other, which may have not been the best for team morale (there was already some drama developing within the team).
2. A chapel to remember: One of those times when everything seems to go wrong. Our usual chapel routine is to wake up at 7am and go down to the office to pick up copies of the sermon we had written for the students to read. Then we would pass the copies out, sing a couple songs with my guitar, read the sermon, and pray. The first problem this morning was that the office was closed, so we could not pick up the copies. And of course we didn't have the original, so we had nothing to read from. Then Amy quickly decided to let me entertain the students while she went back to the room to get her laptop to read from. The second problem was that I had no guitar. My guitar string broke for the second time, and I had completely forgotten to borrow a guitar the night before. So Amy left me alone, with no guitar, standing in front of 100 expecting nursing students, at 7:30 in the morning. First song on the agenda: Amazing Grace. I asked if anyone played the piano and a timid girl came up to the stage and sat at the piano. Luckily she knew the song Amazing Grace and she started playing. Third problem: she started playing in a key that does not work for voices at 7:30 in the morning (too high!). Fourth problem: no one knew the words in English because we didn't give them copies. So the beginning of chapel consisted of me screeching (literally screeching) Amazing Grace while the nursing students mutely observed with wide-eyes. Oh, Grace... How much you are needed! Eventually Amy came back and on her way back the office was open so she was able to get the copies. The rest of chapel went smoothly. Good times.
P.S. Pictures will come soon (I think).