Two in Thailand

After raising three children and watching them graduate from college, Bob and Carol decided to leave the educational field and pursue a dream that had been put on hold for 35 years (since graduationg from the University of Northern Iowa). "Two in Thailand" is the journal dedicated to that dream - to serve in the Peace Corps. This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed within do not necessarily represent the views of the Peace Corps or the United States Government.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!!!

Our son, Rion, and his wife, Anne Marie arrived in Thailand to help us celebrate Christmas! We spent the first three days in Bangkok before travelling to our site on Christmas Eve. The next evening, we exchanged Christmas presents. We then spent 3 days travelling to our four different schools (see below). We were graciously treated at each school and Rion and Anne Marie could really sense the level of respect that Thai people can place on visitors!! After the school visits, we flew Rion and Anne Marie to Krabi (near Phuket) in southern Thailand as a anniversary gift where they will spend a week before returning to Bangkok where they will meet us and do a little more shopping and sightseeing before returning to America.

Christmas at Bob's 1st School

We all arrived at Bob's school and had the students ask questions. We sang a Christmas song and then watched them open presents they exchanged withe each other. We introduced a gift exchange last year and the students really enjoyed it, so we thought we would do it again this year. We enjoyed watching their excitement as they opened the presents.

Introductions at Carol's High School

Carol's co-teacher presents Rion and Anne Marie at Carol's school. All 400 students were gathered at the school's stage area. All the girls screamed when Rion was introduced, but he told them that he already had a "girlfriend". We enjoyed a presentation of a play (in English), traditional dancers in beautiful costumes (some of the "beautiful girls" were actually boys), and a rock band. We then entertained them with a few games. We introduced our family and then made students come up. Bob would say, "Shake hands with my wife." The first student to run to the correct person received a small prize. We then encouraged them to come up and ask a question in English.

Pen Pal Letter Exchange

In November, Anne Marie sent Pen Pal letters from her 4th grade students in California. Bob's 5th and 6th grade students received the letters and wrote letters back to the students. Anne Marie brought back the letters and personally presented the letters to each student. The students were called individually to Anne Marie and kneeled to show respect and returned a "wai" when presented the letter. Rion taped the event so that Anne Marie can show the video when she returns to school.

English Camp for Grade 4

Bob teachers 5th and 6th grade. The 4th grade, however, has never had a native speaker. So we agreed to do an English Camp for the 4th graders. In the first picture, Carol is telling the students that she is 21 years old. After the camp which include 4 different activities, the students were presented certificates and posed for a picture!

Santa Visits Thailand!

An anorexic version of Santa Claus greeted the students with a "wai". We are trying to fatten him up with a lot of rice so he can fit the image of the American version of Santa!

Celebrating Christmas at Carol's Second High School

We did a Christmas English Camp at Carol's second high school. We played "Pin the Nose on Rudolph", Bingo, and speak with a native English speaker. Anne Marie and Rion enjoyed encouraging the students to speak English. On the way back to our site, Carol stopped for the Thai version of the Super Big Gulp.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bob's Drama Club

Bob decided to start a theatre group (and everyone wants to know where Lindsay got the genes). On February 2, his group will present "Goldilocks and the Three Bears- the Musical" which includes dancing to "We are Family" and Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild". The play will be in conjunction with 12 other plays (all in English) and be presented at a college north of Bangkok. The students will also do a dress rehearsal for Carol's Open House at her high school. They have the uncanny ability to memorize very quickly. Now, Bob is trying to teach timing and transition to facilitate the smoothness of the play.
If you got my e-mail about supporting this event which includes workshops and training for two days, please donate. The students would greatly appreciate your support -- and remember, most of these students have never been more than 50 miles from their village!!!

Pictures from Bob's School

Bob loves to teach the primary students. It's the best reward to see their effort and smiles!!! When he first got here two years ago, the students were scared to death to try to speak English. The first picture shows 5th grade students trying to practice introductions, the second picture is a group of boys who would rather pose than practice, and the last picture are a group of 3rd graders that have adopted Bob. They always are putting on white powder because of the heat and the fact that there is no such thing as air-conditioning in village schools. Yesterday, Bob witnessed 60 3rd and 4th grade girls get their hair cut and chemical treatment of their hair for head lice, another disadvantage to being poor and living in the tropics!!!

Peace Corps Quilt

Several volunteers decided that it would be great to present the Peace Corps Office a quilt that showed the location of each Peace Corps Group 118 member. Carol assisted with the project (and completed squares for several volunteers who had no sewing skills, including Bob). If you look carefully at the second picture you will see Carol and Bob side by side near the purple squares that represent Cambodia). On December 9, 2008, they presented it to the country director, Dr. John Williams.

Planting Flowers with a Frog

We have a lot of free time in Thailand because we can't get in a car and go to the movies or shopping mall. So what better time to take up a hobby and plant flowers? Bob is planting flowers as Ajaan Gop (Carol's co-teacher) watches. Ajaan means "teacher" and Gop is her nickname which means "frog". After a while, Gop, hopped right over and decided to help Bob. Ajaan Gop has been a blessing to Carol because she is a very motivated teacher and is excellent with the students.