September 28, 2015

Thai-Style Waffle Roulette

I've been wanting to sit down and write for at least a week now. Somehow it hasn't happened.

I think I'm finding my own rhythm here in the mystical hills of Chiang Rai.

I wake up, drink a huge glass of water, get dressed and walk to work. I've usually sweat through my entire shirt by the time I make it to the little bakery on campus.

I play waffle-roulette, choosing a few flavors of waffle each day, not really knowing what I'll get. I save the stickers from the wrappers to ask my students during office hours. The burgundy sticker says red bean, and the dark blue says coconut. It's a waffle filled with chunks of coconut--pretty awesome.  One of them is too intense, it's filled with a strange custard. Not sure which color that is, hence the roulette aspect. The pink sticker is plain. I prefer those. Mostly because I smear peanut butter all over it when I get to my office. Protein. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

There weren't any pink ones this morning, so I got two small coconut waffles to go with my peanut butter and coffee.

Alan got me a mini French-press for my birthday, and it's gets good use every morning.

So that's breakfast. At my desk. Air conditioning on full-blast until the humidity has come down to a level where I'm not sweating. Actually, I guess it's sort of the other way around--until the humidity becomes low enough where I can sweat and have it evaporate.

Anyway, I teach 18 hours a week, and my office hours have recently been absolutely packed with students from my writing class who want to refine their projects before the due date. It's been a lot of extra brain work for me, but I like working with students one-on-one. It's a more human connection than teaching in a big class.

At noon, I usually get lunch in a cafeteria on campus where I'm likely to see colleagues. There are a lot of food choices--if you speak Thai--so I usually get whatever I can point to. I'm not very proud of that, so I am trying to add a few words to my vocabulary every week.

After work, which sometimes doesn't happen until 6:00 pm, I usually exercise. I've been walking and jogging on the university track lately. It's a nice place to exercise, and certainly less nerve-racking than walking on the edge of the street where you're competing with motorbikes and shuttles.

I found out when and where the volleyball club practices, so I'm going to try it out tomorrow. I'm excited and a little nervous. I hope I'm good enough to play with them. I've enjoyed being a big fish in a small pond for several years...

Alan and I go to the market almost every night for dinner. There's a lot to choose from, again, way more if you speak Thai.  On Mondays, there is a special market that most of the university students go to. It's fun. Tonight I found a gyoza (Japanese dumpling) station. Too delicious. I am trying to get myself to be healthier, so with my fried gyoza, I had a big fruit salad, Thai-style. Thai-style usually means adding soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and the hottest darn peppers in the world. This is salad roulette. Every bite has the potential to draw tears from the sensitive farangs (foreigner) novice eyes, and most bites at least make my nose run. Rumor, and perhaps biology, has it that spicy food makes it harder for bacteria to grow, which ultimately makes food safer to eat--I guess. That is one reason that Thais eat their food so spicy. I don't know the others. Glutens for punishment?

The food is going down fine, but I still can't stomach (not literally) some of the fauna near and inside our house. We had a pair of small lizards darting around our bedroom the other day. I successfully wrangled one outside, and gave up trying to find the other. There are spiders galore, and of all sizes. The tiny jumping ones are pretty annoying, but I'm not nearly as afrid of them as the I am of the bigger ones. Yuck. I'm even down with the daddy long-leg guys hanging out on our balcony, as long as they don't come inside.

Every time I take our laundry off of the line (it hangs on the balcony), I have a very strong fear that  spider will be tucked away in a cranny of my undies and come crawling out when I'm folding. I'm actually super surprised that it hasn't happened yet.

Alan and I bought a little dust-buster vacuum, which makes bug clean up a little bit less awful, but I still get pretty jumpy.

Every night I see roaches. Luckily, they are outside. Roaches are the worst. Or spiders. They are both terrible.

Ok, bug rant is over.