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Monday, November 15, 2010

A birthday cake, a chest x-ray, and some ancient ruins

Hello, Hello.  My birthday weekend began with an iced coffee and a pineapple pastry from Nell, no better way to start my 25th year!  When I got to school I was given my first piece of mail here, a birthday card from my sis Kathleen that sang and featured a recorded poem she created, super cute.  The kids were also very aware it was my birthday thanks to Kru Nell passing along the message.  While I was teaching my first class of the day I was serenaded by my M.3 students "Happy Birth Day To You," it was pretty special, and once I returned to my office I found my desk overflowing with cards from the students in Kru Nell's M1 and M2 classes.  Some of the cards were extremely artistic and detailed, and all of the messages were amazing, here's a sample:
  • "Kru Sarah I hope you happy in birthday and every day  You're good teacher.  You teach me so fun."
  • "Happy Birth Day.  Have a good thing come to your life."
  • "Happy Birthday Kru Sarah.  Kru Sarah is very good teacher.  Have an enjoy. I love you."
  • "November 12, your birthday! I like you so much.  You are rejoice!"
  • "Happy Birthday Kru Sarah have a good time Health, and I ask God to protect you forever."
  • "I wish you healthy.  You are so cute and beautiful. I wish you beautiful more than everyone.  I wish you happy in your Birth Day and everyday. I love you."
Small sample of the birthday cards!
I also received a delicious birthday cake from the EP program and was treated to my 4th "Happy Birthday" serenade of the day - I'm so thankful for a great work environment! Amidst all the birthday celebrations, there was some Visa/Work Permit business to attend to so Nell and I made our first...and hopefully, last visit to the Suphanburi Hospital.  It was an experience!  We were greeted upon entry by a few elderly patients on stretchers chillin' in the hallway.  The forms were all in Thai so our co-teacher, Kru Phon, took control. Once in, we were moved around from room to room, including one stop where Kru Phon said we needed to get our "butt checked," Nell and I both couldn't contain our laughter and were also seriously scared for what sort of procedure we were about to undergo, but after asking Kru Phon for more details and a few pronunciation lessons and quick game of charades, we figured out she meant to say: "blood checked," crisis averted.  As we were moving through the hospital, and attracting the attention of every single patient/doctor/nurse, we also passed a few prisoners shuffling along, carrying their heavy shackles while security kept an eye out, yikes! We then had to give a chest x-ray, assuming the most interesting position and using some seriously outdated technology, before we were shipped off to another room and another line.  Next, we sat down with a doctor where I attempted to tell him I had asthma and was allergic to penicillin...and I'm pretty sure he understood nothing, but he signed off on my letter of good health and I should be good to go.  I can only pray that I stay healthy in my year here and don't need to go back for serious medical issues!  

On Saturday, Nell and I decided to ship out to Ayutthaya, a 2 hour bus ride from the Soup, and a tourist hot-spot due to the ruins and temples you can find there (Ayutthaya is a former capital city of Thailand).  Nell and I rented a tuk-tuk (our favorite mode of transportation) for 3 hours to take us around town to all of the famous spots, most of them were built in the late 1400's to early 1600's, and it's pretty amazing that anything is still standing, although some look as though they are one brick away from toppling.  Once we returned to our hostel we took off again for a longtail boat tour around the city where we were able to see a few more temples with a beautiful sunset in the background.  We were also able to see the effects of the flooding around the city, with many buildings featuring a very high water-mark and some temples inaccessible due to the still high water.

Nell and I spent the night in relative luxury, we splurged on a slightly more expensive hostel for the bonus of hot water and I must say it was quite a tease, it made my cold shower this morning even more painful!  Sunday we did a little more exploring around the city center, the market, and we took a lot of jumping shots around the ruins before grabbing a bus back to the Soup where we pretty much passed out from exhaustion due to 2 days full of walking, climbing stairs and fighting off 95 degree heat.  All in all, a wonderful weekend and a good start to 25! Thanks for all the birthday wishes, I could get used to this whole 36 hour birthday thing with the time difference from the States to here! : )  Here's a link to some more pics on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2312213&id=1606236&l=53655f3be9

Love the tuk-tuks! 

Rocking the fisherman pants! 


  1. wow, so glad you figured out that whole 'butt checked' thing! yikes.

  2. Loooove the birthday cards! They must have been so fun to read. Just an observation... your elephant doesn't have "trunks up" in the title of your blog but you took an awesome pic I saw on FB with the trunk up :-) Take care of my dizzy daughter ♥

  3. Love the pics :) So happy you enjoyed your birthday! I am going to now embrace "You are rejoice!" as a new Thai catch phrase. Love it.

  4. Hello, Sarah!
    My name is Alyssa and I'm a senior at Arapahoe High School in Colorado. As part of an assignment for my World Literature class, we had to choose a country and do a sort of independent study on the country and its literature. I chose Thailand. For the last part of the assignment, we have to contact a person currently living in our country of choice, and I came across your blog. I was wondering if you would be willing to answer a few questions for me. Please let me know.
    Thank you!

  5. Hi Alyssa,
    I'd be happy to help and I'm sure some of my high school students would be willing to help too if you're interested! You can email the questions to sarahrall@gmail.com and I'll try to get them back to you as soon as I can.

  6. PINEAPPLE PASTRY! Yum. Hot showers are over-rated anyways. It's getting chillllyyy here.

  7. Haha just love the stories! What beautiful pictures!


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