Tuesday, 7 April 2015

March roundup

March seemed like a marathon month. Time, of course moves slowly and quickly at the same time but the last four weeks right now at least have felt particularly long. This puts paid to the old saying ‘times flies when you’re having fun’ because we’ve been having loads of it!

Of course, that’s if examining, interviewing and reporting on small children qualifies as fun, which in our book it does. The month kicked off with final exams for our students at Anuban Nakhon Sawan. The kids we teach are quite young, so the whole thing just went over their heads as they got excited about the impending holidays but for the older students at school it was a time of real stress. 

It was also quite stressful for us as we anxiously marked the test papers and hoped the kids had shown some improvement. We also had to go through the process of writing reports for all of our students, which in Ruth’s case involves documenting some curious information; whether the kids can run and stop, walk in a straight line, draw a circle, put rubbish in the bin, throw and catch a ball, etc.

  • A new purchase...
During the last couple of weeks of term actual teaching preparation and lessons were thin on the ground so we got down to planning our holiday. We also found time to have a wander round Index (a kind of copy-cat IKEA ) and noticed the mattress sale. Now, we’d been planning a new mattress for months as the complimentary one we received when we bought the bed back in April had long been misshapen and had always been ridiculously hard. We figured it was “the Thai way” until Nici - whose bed is also pretty firm - sat on ours for the first time and simply asked “What is this? Have you been sleeping on this?”. 

So we had a quick go at mattress shopping, which is especially fun because you get to lie down a lot, and picked one out. They delivered the mattress within the hour and even threw in an array of 'premium gifts' which will keep us warm next winter!

  • English Camp!
English Camp is an annual trip, at the end of the school year and only involves kids between grades 3-5 (ages 8-11) and only 40 chose to come to Bhumbhol Damn in Thak province, just a few hours North of Nakhon Sawan. The two and a half days were crammed with fun, games, song and activities mainly (but not exclusively) aimed at helping the kids to become more confident with their English. 

Spending some time with classes that neither of us taught more than one hour a week all year was great, and we had lots of fun getting to know these great little people and helping them hone their conversationally skills away from the formalities of school. It all got rather emotional at the end as two long serving members of staff were bid adieu and a special award for English Camp Spirit was given to a brilliant little girl called Eve. It was a perfect way to end the school year.

The end of the school year meant we were off on holiday, and there are many recent and impending posts about that so I’ll instead just focus on the last piece of preparation we ticked off before leaving: shaving Ruth’s head. 
  • The Shaving
The logic was simple: moving into March, and through April and May we were going to be travelling through the hottest and driest season in South East Asia, and a shawn head would be a) cooler and b) convenient. 

That, and she was going to look amazing. She does, too. It was fun shaving it off, not so fun for Ruth but within a couple of days she was waxing lyrical about the benefits. We’ll see what the kids make of it when we return to school!

  • Resolutions
New Year’s Resolution wise we continued visiting a new place in Nakhon Sawan with a great lunch at April’s Brasserie, generously covered by Nici and Jay!

We also made up for our shoddy reading in February by reading two books each in March: Amanda Palmer’s ‘The Art of Asking’ and George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm'. We’ve also continued making dents in Margaret Atwood’s ‘Oryx and Crake’, which we’ll finish in April, and at the time of writing (April 4th) we’ve already both finished our books for this month. Travelling is certainly allowing us to get well ahead of our target of one book a month!

April’s ‘Month Blog’ is likely to be very, very brief as we’ll be writing about our travels with Lauren and Tom in individual posts, so we’ll see just how many books we can finish over the next few weeks to pad it out! 

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