The Life and Times of a Farang in Bang Pa In

Young students in a classroom in Thailand.

As you can tell from the cover photo of this blog post, I’ve become a science expert while teaching little kids about trees and shapes. In other news, I saw the two smartest kids in my P3 Math class looking in their Thai-English Dictionary. I asked them what word they were looking up. The two eight year-olds giggled and pointed to the word ‘Penis’. That never gets old.

*Anyways* let me update you on the life and times of a farang in Bang Pa In:

This is Cue. His hair inspires me everyday to be the person I want to be.
(He is actually a pretty cool 8 year-old. How could he not be?)

A month or two ago, I made the mistake of picking up one of the small children in my P1 Math class. It’s fun to pick up little kids and throw them in the air. I could’ve never imagined what attention this would spark. Kids are constantly telling me to do ‘Superman’. Some don’t mind interrupting class to ask if I will. The students in P1/3 go as far as climbing on me as if I were a jungle gym. I can’t walk past their classroom without at least a few students running towards me, screaming, and grabbing my arms while jumping up and down. I guess this is a compliment? I end up doing ‘Superman’ for a significant amount of time each day. During gate duty after school on Tuesdays I usually spend most of the hour throwing kids in the air and having kids hang off my arms as I swing them around. It’s exhausting. I usually go to the gym but I’m thinking about switching to an all kid-throwing workout.

Drawing Class
I’ve turned my weekly P1 science experiment class into a “Teacher Luke will teach you how to draw this cool thing!” class. We all seem to have a blast and I’ve actually become a much better drawer. Some of my favorites have been Santa, a centaur, an astronaut, an alien (it taught them the parts of the body without them even realizing it!), and Olaf (from ‘Frozen’, not to be confused with the Count by the same name).
I taught the students how to draw Olaf after teaching about the four seasons. Of course in Thailand there is no such thing as winter- there’s just the hot season, the wet/rainy season, and the cold season. Right now is considered the ‘cold season’. It is currently 93 degrees Fahrenheit with a high of 97.

Children’s Day?
There was an eating contest at school on Children’s Day- have I mentioned that there is a Children’s Day? If everyday weren’t already Children’s Day (I feel like my parents saying that). The first part of the eating contest was eating an entire bowl of powdered sugar. The next part included eating a muffin, a banana, some cookies, and a bottle of juice. the final task was to blow up a balloon until it popped (metaphor for eating too much?).
Besides the eating contest, Children’s Day consisted of music, games, a teacher soccer game, and poorly planned donations to the monks at the Temple for which our school is named. Each student came to school with their parents and brought instant noodles, bags of rice, cookies, and sugary drinks to be donated to the monks. The students then put the items in garbage bags, mixed together with other items. After everyone had put their donations in garbage bags, all the donations were taken to a separate room to be sorted. Instead of putting items in separate garbage bags originally, they decided they would just mix everything together and let three lucky students spend the day sorting the donations. Please explain this to me.

Tess in Thailand!
I don’t think I ever mentioned that Tess was in Thailand! I got to spend a weekend with her and her friends in Bangkok and a weekend in Phuket. It was so cool to get to show her some of Thailand. I can’t wait for her to come back in just SIX DAYS. And she’ll be back in 9 days (sooooo long I can’t wait!). We’re going to Koh Lanta and Siem Reap, Cambodia two separate 3-day weekends. And she gets to hang out in BPI! What I’ve been waiting for!

A Thai Hospital
I’ve been having some stomach issues pretty much since I’ve been in Thailand. I finally decided I should get it checked out. For any health issue you in Thailand you go to the hospital, so that’s where I went. As I walked through the entrance, 35 heads turned to unapologetically stare at the white guy entering. That’s always fun! They (correctly) assumed I could not speak Thai and found the one person who could speak some English. She asked what the problem was and I pointed to my stomach. She said “diarrhea” in a loud voice and repeated this to everyone else working, making sure they could hear her. Some people were unsure so said “diarrhea” back to hear and within seconds multiple nurses were shouting “diarrhea” and pointing at me.

As I waited to see the doctor, a nurse asked, in so many words, why I was in Bang Pa In. I told her I was a teacher at Watchumpon and I guess she thought that was great, because she decided to take me around introducing me to all her co-workers. She took me into different doctor and administrative offices telling everyone I was a teacher from America. I nodded my head and smiled as we stared at each other and I repeatedly said “geng maak” (very good!).

FYI- the doctor checked me out and I’m fine, no need to worry! I may need to slightly lay off the spicy food, though. Here’s a picture of the bathroom to get an idea of the cleanliness of the Bang Pa In Hospital.

If you can’t tell, it’s not clean

I’m heading in to Bangkok tonight to get a much-needed good burger and good craft beer. Chang, Leo, and Singha (the only three beers almost everywhere in Thailand- equivalent to American Light Beer) just don’t cut it.

Tomorrow is Bike for School (or Family, or Watchumpon? Different teachers have told me different names for the event.), I’m psyched. All the teachers were given the coolest shirts with a picture of the Royal Palace in Bang Pa In and some Thai writing. I think the shirt will make it into my weekly repertoire. It’s a 22 km ride (almost 14 miles). I’ve never ridden a bike that far, so I’ll let you know how that goes.
Taken from a long-tail boat in Ayutthaya last Saturday. I spent the weekend with my friends visiting from Isaan.

Talk soon.

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