Monday, January 25, 2010

Five Days Behind

Living abroad I feel about five days behind popular and political news.It's like fashion on the coast of Washington, but least I digress. Goodbye Conan, I will miss seeing youtube clips (doesn't air in Viet Nam) of you on the Tonight Show. I guess I should say, see you soon rather than goodbye, since I'm sure you'll be all over the great wide web.

IMAX and Chatuchak Market

This weekend we made an obligatory trip to Bangkok to take care of visa issues. Win/Win as far as I'm concerned: visa approval and walking, shopping, street food, movies... A large portion of our time was spent waiting in line to buy tickets, waiting to watch and watching IMAX-3D Avatar. My students insist there's 4D Avatar where incidents of exploding brains and suicide have occurred (current event reports). Paired with the constant string theory lectures, my smelly feet (removed the Chacos while watching) and the packed IMAX theater, I'm pretty sure I saw Avatar in 4D, and unlike the rumors of the people who killed themselves because they didn't want to "leave the world of Pandora," I walked out of the theater unscathed. Whew!

Besides eating street food, temples, movies and picking up western garb I cannot find in HCMC, I always make an effort to go to the Chatuchak weekend Market. This time I picked up some brown and white decorative lights I've wanted for over a month now (a month of waiting, imagine). I'd spotted the light set when I was in Krabi for winter holiday, but they were over 250 baht per string. Deal, steal--I picked up the same set in Bangkok for under 100 baht. I'll be hanging the lights this week in between my trips to yoga class in district one, which, by the way, I love.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Happy New Year in Thailand!

Michael's family flew all the way to Viet Nam to see us during the winter holiday. We toured Saigon and then headed off to Thailand for some island time. On the morning of the new year, we flew from Saigon to Bangkok and Bangkok to Krabi where we spent seven of the most wonderful and relaxing days. We snorkeled, swam in the longest pool in the world, walked on the beach, played card games (Mark won every hand), ate street food, and read. A trip of a lifetime!

The holiday blues are setting in now that the Ianello's are gone. It was so nice to have many voices and personalities fill our apartment. Thanks Elle, Mark, and Carolynn!

Sofitel Lobby

Looking out from the Sofitel Lobby

The wondrous, winding pool with a bar and inflatable whales, which only Carolynn can wrangle.

Michael's Family and me.

A walk on Ao Nang.

Michael set his water bottle down and this monkey opened the cap and poured himself a cold drink.

Mike and the monkey

Mad for soda. These monkeys were not afraid of the crazy tourists.

So pretty! The ladies, not the monkey!
Elle and Carolynn

Fat Monkeys and one tourist

Portrait of the brother

Hong Island-Where we were left stranded without food, water or towels (for fifteen minutes).


We took our very own longboat island hopping. I've been on a boat where they squish thirteen people in the seats, but this time it was a comfortable five.

Chicken Island-Andaman Sea

Hello, Sailor.

The best beach corn, ever!

West Railay
Seriously sunburned

Limestone rocks of Railay beach

Carolynn Ianello-thanks for all the laughs!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Falling in Love, Again.

I fall in and out of love with reading. It's a torrent love affair: the passion, the mundane, the upset, the scars, the tears. What made me fall in love? I'm not sure if it was when my grandmother made the trip to Aberdeen and spent over a month reading with me, or the nights under my covers with a flashlight and Narnia tales, cliche, but real love.

Falling out of love has to do with required reading, the reading I require. I've been teaching for seven years, and for five of the seven years, I read the same books over and over and over and over again. I could have skimmed the novels, but I wanted to be able to respond to a student when he/she referred to pg. 15, line 18. Needless to say, I've been rereading The Catcher in the Rye and various other titles to their death.

Because my gig is teaching, and I'm passionate about the process and progress of teaching, this in love/out of love cycle will continue. BUT, today, I am back in love. I just finished The Brief and Wondrous life of Oscar Wao. I have some major complaints having to do with character development and sappy conclusion, but I read the book so quickly and was swept up by the footnotes, the fuku (curse) haunting the family, and the history of the Domenican Republic that here I am, in love with reading, again. There's no better feeling.

Mad Travels

"From now on, I'll describe the cities to you," the Khan had said, "in your journeys you will see if they exist." -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

This weekend I'll be in Bangkok shopping at the weekend market and eating street food. The sights, the sounds, the smells. Bangkok has my heart.

Friday, January 15, 2010

We Have an Extra Room!

Look, I know you're busy, and I know you have a job, but we have an extra room with your name on it. There's a queen sized mattress and a desk available for you, free of charge. Sound tempting?

While I love being able to pack up my bags and travel around the world, I often miss seeing familiar, smiling faces. So, check for cheap flights to Viet Nam when you have a spare moment. My friend Ambika found a ticket for around 700 usd in April--cheap cheap.

Pack lightly, it's hot here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vietnamese Fast Food-A Family Affair

I didn't grow up with a sibling, although I have many now, so it was an enjoyable and educational experience to hang out with the dashing duo: Carolynn and Michael Ianello.

If you think this looks entertaining, you should have been there for the lectures on string theory. Hours of endless amusement.

What Makes a Great Teacher?

I read the article What Makes a Great Teacher? from the Atlantic today because Ali Jessie posted it on Facebook. Like Ali, I am usually suspect of merit pay, but thought there were some great points in this article about teacher quality and student gains. A must read!

Monday, January 11, 2010


In Luang Prabang, on the main street, Sisavangvong Road, there's a clothing shop where most everything is made out of bamboo materials. Phao, the designer, picked the perfect dress for me and made the belt to fit while I tried on various outfits. I ended up buying two skirts, two shirts, and the green dress shown above.

Powerful Waste

I still want to see Avatar, but Dave sent me this ironic e-card, and it gave me a good laugh.