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Volunthai’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 18 Nov 2012

Location: Geelong, Australia

MapJo, David and Maddy - Australia
johart31@gmail.com

Three weeks into our 2 month placement in Chiayaphum province, we are amazed by the different experiences we have already had. My husband, David, our daughter Maddy and I, came to Ban Nongplong with a sense of humour and adventure and we are finding these happily everyday.

We are living and teaching English at a small village about an hour from Chiayaphum. Our hosts are teachers at the school and have been overwhelming in their efforts to make us feel comfortable and welcome. Thanks to a combination of the Australian and Thai senses of humour, we have many laughs over our efforts to learn Thai. Our hosts are great teachers and very patient with us. Everyone has nicknames here as Thai names are so long. So on arrival at our hosts, we were given Thai nicknames. Davidís nickname, Chang (elephant), has caused constant amusement at his elephant mime. Maddy is Kratay (rabbit) and I am Baitong (banana leaf). We were wrapping sticky rice cooked in coconut milk with banana leaves at the time and I was an expert in no time Ė hence the name. I am getting used to responding to Kru (teacher) Jo or Kru Bi Tong.

We teach a range of students from kindergarten to seniors. Funnily enough the seniors quite like the same games and story books as the small children. Simon Says is a big hit as are card games such as Snap, Fish and Uno . Davidís attempts at Gangnam Style are globally recognized as worth a laugh. The students are friendly and often invite us to play volleyball, badminton or football after school. If we werenít eating so much delicious Issan food we might go home a little thinner.

We have participated in Buddhist ceremonies at the school and Merit Making at the local temple. This is a wonderful way to experience Buddhism up close.

We are looking forward to the rest of our stay and whatever adventures it brings.