holiday-2010--yes, still alive.

Uhhhhh late Merry Christmas. Mine was weird. I think it has something to do with 75 degree weather and lots of Asians (if I pretended real hard, I could've been on the West Coast) and a lack of Christmasy things. I did make mulled wine, though, and I decorated some teak trees with tinsel and lights.

I hope everything back Stateside was nice and cold and cozy and full of cheer.

For Christmas I got lots of cards and letters, a lighter, a scarf and Christmas ornaments from Gragen, and a sweet-ass picture posted on my FB of Chel, Eth, and Sam. Thanks, guys. I really *really* liked it. :]
I can't wait till the holidays are over, so I can stop missing things back home so much.

this 'n' that: list form.

1.) 19 days until Gragen comes and stays for a MONTH. I just booked the only private room in a trendy/hipstery hostel in Bangkok for four days when he gets here, and I'm really really really reallyreallyreally ridiculously excited. (PS: Michelle, when are you coming out here?)
2.) I got a new digital camera, for the whopping price of 7,000 baht (like $230). Comparable to what I would pay in the States, but considering the fact that most of the other teachers that live around me are paid 9,000 baht a month, it's a pretty hefty purchase here. This also means that I can now photographically document my life here (again).
3.) I was sick all last week and just discovered that it's because there's mold growing all over my closet, even on my clothes. So disgusting. Because my boyfriend works at a co-op and knows these things, I was informed that tea-tree oil works in the same way as bleach for killing mold, but is more environmentally friendly, and it smells purdy. I'm stunned to report that I actually FOUND tea-tree oil in Chiang Rai (obscure health-food store near the bus station). I just spent an hour scrubbing every inch of my closet and the surrounding vicinity, and sneezing the entire time. Hopefully it does the trick. Everything's so fucking wet here--they don't call it monsoon season for nothin'.
4.) I went to a baby shower in Huay Xai, Laos on Saturday. No one spoke English, and only two of the Laotians spoke Thai. But they pulled us off the street and into their yard/tents and got us drunk anyway, and we ended up tying good-luck strings on the infant's wrists and dancing crazily with the grandmothers while they forced whisky and Beer Lao (the most delicious beer in SE Asia) down our throats. So much fun. And I spoke more Thai there than I do in Thailand, which I find kind of funny.
5.) I've gotten used to ants crawling all over me, even when I'm in bed. Ew?


Sah-pain (or Spain, for those of you who speak English without a Thai accent) won the World Cup. Old news, but I haven't updated in a while. Too bad the final was at 1:30am on Monday morning and I was on the night bus back up to Chiang Rai from Bangkok. Happy about it. After the U.S. lost to Ghana (didn't expect them to get that far), and then having my two backup teams (NL and Spain) face off in the final, I think I can say that I had a satisfying World Cup.

Since when am I into soccer? Since never, but in Thailand it was EVERYWHERE and I got kinda into it. Plus I was with a bunch of Dutch friends for most of the games, and they were REALLY into it. Now it's over and I have nothing to do at night (and nothing to talk to my kids about--I almost instigated several little 12-year-old boy fights when I asked "Sooooooo whooooooo do youuuuu THINK...will....WIN...theeeeeeee WORLD CUP?" That is how I have to speak to my students, little dears).

Buddhist Lent is on Monday, which means....FIVE DAY WEEKEND...which means....KOH CHANG [Elephant Island]...which in turn means...SEVENTEEN HOURS ON A BUS. ONE WAY. But so worth it. Too bad my digital camera is b0rked, otherwise I'd take some sweet pictures of coral reefs and shit. Meeting up with a bunch of other ladies and gents from CIEE, most of whom I haven't seen since our first week in Bangkok. Going to be fun. Hiking and snorkling and ummmmmmm beach. :]

Graaaaaagen comes in September, and I'm excited. Still not sure when, gots to work out dates. It couldn't come soon enough. I miss that darn boy. Plus it'll be nice to have someone to go exploring with.

Anddddddd I come home October 6th, for two weeks. Mark yo calendars, if you're in Vermont. My dad's getting hitched to Laurie on 10.10.10 (ugh, kinda tacky...but kinda cool?--I'm super pumped at any rate), and then my Mama's 50th birthday is the 13th. But any of the 12 other days I'm home and not having family time, I'm free. And I want to see you. You know who you are. Kinda sad the timing will be too early for Matt/Robin's wedding, but wedding is enough for a visit. Plus my dad wants to make it a wedding slash Let's-Pretend-We're-At-Summer-Camp type deal, with kayaks and badminton and ping pong set up in the back will be oh so rad.

And Gina's birthday is the 22nd (Michelle's is the 21st--happy birthday, lady), and she has to have another surgery sometime in August. Not a huge one, but they're doing a new procedure they've just developed and never done on her, to clear some of the blockage in one of her heart valves. Pissed I can't be there, because she's terrified. But she is getting a GreenDay concert out of this (with both of my parents in tow...I can't picture that). Little girl sends me the cutest emails, love them to death.

Stream of consciousnessy update. I can't organize my thoughts. Time for shower, Arrested Development, bed.

tuh tuh tuh thailand update

Today's Kru Day (Teacher Appreciation). I expect, from each of my 650 students, at least a cake. Each. I also expect classes to be cancelled, because Thursday's my busy day and it's really hot out. But it's always really hot out, sooooooo nothing new there.

I brought my British friend Cripple Rich to school on Tuesday. (He's called Cripple Rich because last week he pulled a stunning feat of stupidity by smoking some pot and then getting on his motorbike to go to 7-11 for some water. One 3am hospital trip, seven stitches, and a surgically-removed toenail later, and Cripple Rich was born. So he's stuck in Chiang Rai till his stitches come out, which is fine because he's one of the cooler traveler farangs I've come across so far.) We watched a game of bocce ball, got waved at by twenty five million kids, and about half of them (12.5m) asked if his was my boyfriend (and then ran away screaming and laughing when I said no).

My fellow farang English teacher Alex and I went to see the White Temple on Sunday (murals of Keanu Reeves and Darth Vader next to Buddha--so random and incredible) followed by a trip to the Khun Korn waterfall, which was a kilometer hike uphill through the jungle. So worth it, though. By the time we got there I couldn't tell if whatever moisture on me was sweat or mist from the falls (gross?), but they were incredible. Fifty feet tall and NO ONE AROUND. And then we almost got killed by some falling tropical fruit.

I bought some gouda cheese yesterday. So pumped. Paid out the ass for it, but it's gonna be worth it.


First day of school today. I taught the word "favorite" by comparing football teams (Manchester United vs Chelsea). I don't watch football, I don't follow it period. But for some reason the Thais LOVE English football teams, and so I think I got it through to them. I might try and teach them how to play baseball, and make them diehard Red Sox fans. We'll see.
I'm teaching Mattayom 1, which is the equivalent of 7th grade, and they've grown up with English being taught to them constantly, but I got so many blank stares today that I had to backtrack a lot and start with basics ("MY NAME IS A-MY. WHAT IS YOUR NAME?" etc), and of course there's no air conditioning and I have to wear button downs, so by the time I'm done, even my sweat is sweating. Teaching is hard. But the kids are so cute.
So Thailand is hot. And Bangkok is pretty much a warzone. I didn't see any action when I was there, because the dissident general was shot the day I went to Kanchanaburi province, and when I came back to BKK I was only there for about five hours before I had to catch a bus to Chiang Rai. I think I'm more likely to experience spillovers from unrest in Burma than I am from anything in Bangkok now, since Burma is 30 miles north, and Bangkok is about 600 south.
Whew. And it's the hottest summer that a lot of people can Not that it really matters to me. 95 and muggy is the same thing as 106 and muggy--fucking hot. I'm getting really good at walking on the side of the street with the most shade.
My neighbors have five cows, a dog that hates me, numerous chickens, and two roosters. Cute. But the roosters decided to make their rooster noises at 2am this morning, and it was constant until six. I wanted to deep fry them so badly...
Other than that, things are good. Still don't have internet at my house, and I'm the only one living there, so I feel a bit isolated. The girl who lived in my house before I did left me the number of another ex-pat called Felix who was teaching here, and I called him last night. We went out for drinks with some random backpacker who was hardcore into Hinduism--it was cool. Riding on the back of a motorbike through a crowded city (and they drive on the left-hand side, too!) is the most exhilirating feeling. My mother would kill me if she knew.

Lalala, I think that's about it. I have another class at 2:50, so I gots to prep n shit. I miss you all. Esp. Sam and Ethan (since you'z all graduated and shit!!) and Michelle (cuz you'z hot).

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What I'd LIKE to bring:
- Pickwick (even though she's a whore and hasn't come in for a day or two--perhaps she was fisher-cat dindin last night, eeeeeeeeek)
- Lots of Cabot cheddar
- Futon (so comfy)
- My boyfriend
- The way Vermont SMELLSSSSSS in the spring.

Oh well. I'll have to enjoy these things before I go, I guess, and hopefully not go through withdrawal (this statement excludes Pickwick). 10 days, bitches.

oh yeah, that's right, I'm doing ME.

I'm going to a MOTHERFUCKING business trip on MOTHERFUCKING Martha's Vinyard next week with my bosses, for the annual New England Teaching Hospital Compensation Conference. Sex sex sexxxxxxx. I'm pumped because I'm pretty sure that all I have to do is make nametags and tell people where the bathroom is, and I looked at the hotel and the menu for the catering job and everything looks phenomenal and swanky. Plus this will look damn fine on a resume. Ugh what luck.

Spent last weekend with Gragen in NYC visiting lots his friends, in addition to one of my favorite Smithies. It was great, if overwhelming. Staying out till 5am isn't my thing, and staying out till 5am and then sleeping (et cetera) on a hardwood floor is definitely not my thing, especially for multiple nights in a row. I met ten billion of his artisty bohemiany friends, most of whom were not under thirty, and they consequently didn't think I was older than twenty, so I was the babyyyyy all weekend. But they were very kind and welcoming and excited to meet me. I dropped a lot of money on booze and food, but it was so worth it. I miss the city. There's talk of moving down to Brooklyn with Gragen when I get back from Thailand, but that's definitely jumping the gun (or like eight guns). We'll see.

Four weeks till Thailand. Bought my ticket, waiting for my visa.

Lurking in my cubicle.

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My grandmother died last night at 1:30am. I got the call this morning while I was in bed with Gragen, and I thought it was my mother calling to yell at me for not coming home last night. I kinda wish it had been. I'm so happy I saw her last Sunday, even though she didn't really recognize me and called me a combination of Mary, Theresa, and Tripsichore (a form of Indian yoga which also is her go-to name for whatever personal care aide she has at the house...we don't know). So I'm baking muffins and grabbing a beer with friends later...that's how I'm dealing. Wake Friday, funeral Saturday. I'm grieving in fits and starts. Fine for an hour, crying for an hour. At least she's out of her bed and in a betterish place now, hopefully. Going to New York tomorrow to help the family out with things. Man, shit just doesn't stop hitting the fan sometimes.

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I got my gallbladder removed at Dartmouth yesterday. And it's freaking blizzarding out. Every time I have surgery there's some form of extreme meteorological action going on. With the wisdom teeth it was miserable because it was the hottest week of the summer, which definitely didn't help the swelling. But with gally, here, it's lots of snow...which isn't so bad. School got cancelled for Gina and now she's home taking care of me all day, since both parents, and my stepparent, and Gragen all have to work. Way to pull through, Gina.
The surgery itself was a piece of cake, I guess. I had one of the most battle-hardened surgeons at Dartmouth and the fucking hottest resident I've ever seen performing it. My huge complaints yesterday was the intense pain in my shoulders from the carbon dioxide gas they used to blow up my abdomen and my dry/sore throat from when they stuck the breathing tube down into my lungs. Today's complaint is the incisions. Standard laparoscopic cholecystectomies call for three incisions. Somehow I ended up with four. Oh well. Adds to the BAMF look. But they itch like a motherfucker, hurt like a motherfucker, the muscles underneath them hurt like a motherfucker, and I have dried blood pooled in my belly button, which I can't get at because one of the bandaids covering the stitches is right I can't bathe until tomorrow, which is a bummer.
DESPITE all this, I'm pretty cheerful. The Vicodin helps, but I'm mostly just relieved to have the damn thing out. I've been getting lots of phone calls and facebook messages etc from well-wishers, and that feels good, too. Max slept with me and purred in my ear allllllll night last night, which felt really good, I got a package of fancy loose-leaf teas from my aunt and uncle, so I'm cozy with that, Gragen brought me chocolate, I have a pile of books to read, and a pile of pills if I need them. I'm all set.
I hope everyone else is doing well. :]

the only place you'll wanna be is underneath my christmas tree

Life is so so so hectic lately. I'm back and forth from VT to NY every weekend to take care of my grandmother while her regular live-in aide takes some mental health days (I can see why she needs them), and the weather has been so awful lately--and I'm sans snow tires, though they are in my trunk--that I've either been stranded in the Catskills or stranded at my dad's. I think the only thing more stressful than the New York State Thruway--and no matter how many fucking mountains New York has, I don't care, it's ridiculous, New Yorkers CANNOT drive in the snow--is my grandmother hallucinating and thinking I'm the Virgin Mary at 3 in the morning. Or thinking that we're back in The War and need to conserve bacon grease/tin/electricity/scraps of fabric. It's been interesting.

And on top of that, I realized that it's not October anymore, that it's not even November anymore, that it's not even the beginning of December. I JUST started my Christmas shopping last night, and I am ever so grateful for Amazon. I haven't even started writing out Christmas cards or made any Christmas cookies. Where has my mind been these last few weeks?! I love this time of year, but this winter has been so craaaaaazy. There aren't enough hours in the day. So loves so loves so loves, please forgive me if my Christmas gifts are sub-par, small, unoriginal, or consist of food/booze/IOUs/hugs. All I want for Christmas is sleep.

On the awesome cool fucking rad side, I got a job at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, passed my drug test, and only need to get stuck by a few more needles until I show up for orientation (which is scheduled for January 4 now, but uhhh I'll be in Arizona--oops? So I'm hoping they can push it back a few days or a week, ugh). A legit. that justifies the inexcusable number of Banana Republic oxfords I have in my closet. Yessssss.

I'm so excited to see all of my babies very very very soon.