October 5, 2015

A few unrelated topics including volleyball, tires, and lady-boys

Readers, I'm sure you've been on pins and needles waiting for the next post.

In the last entry, I think I mentioned that I was going to try out the volleyball club. Well let me tell you, they play some ball here at MFU! The first practice I attended was easily the hardest I've worked in the past 5 years. We started with a mile job at the track, then did some stadium stair jump training. That would have been a tough work out for me, but we followed up with a legit practice for 3 hours. I could barely jump by the end. It could be argued that I can barely jump anyway, but the point is, I really couldn't by the end of that practice. I ended up going the next 3 nights in a row, mostly to prove it to myself that I could.

They've asked me to be the assistant coach for the women's team, which I've sort of accepted, though I'm still not sure whether I can make that commitment in addition to my teaching load. Without a command of Thai or much knowledge about how the team runs, I don't know whether I'm ready right now, but I'm sure that I can bring a lot to the table as a pseudo-coach with a fresh perspective. I definitely bring up the average height by a couple of inches!

The good news is, the players are athletic, friendly, and most of them speak English really well, so they help me get through the practices. Since the first day, practices have gotten easier. My body has adjusted to the incredible buckets and buckets of sweat that I produce and we haven't done some of the more difficult drills.

So when I haven't been on the volleyball court, I've been on the motorbike, getting flat tires. It happened when Alan and I were on our way to dinner with friends. Our best guess is a pinch flat for the extra weight (me) on the back of the bike at a higher speed on rough roads. It was a stroke of luck that we came to a stop in front of a shop where the employees were willing and able to help us. One of them asked around and found a shop close by. The other literally escorted Alan and the bike to the shop. I stayed with the grandma at the shop who was literally sewing doggie clothes. Could that be any cuter? She also had a guinea pig which I tried to play with, unsuccessfully.

In other news, Thailand is so different from Turkey. Our university literally has a drag queen pageant called Miss Satellite. There is a huge poster of biologically male students dressed in black gowns, beautifully made up. In Thailand, so-called "lady-boys" are part of the gender spectrum. It's hard to write about in a way that doesn't other-ize too much, but sometimes, you just see a person wearing a man's uniform with his hair braided and make-up on. It's Thailand. It's a lady-boy. They play volleyball, too. Very well! In any case, if I could sum up how Thailand is different from Turkey, this might be the example I'd choose. I hope I can attend Miss Satellite 2015!

I think I've pretty much covered the news. Volleyball, flat tires, lady-boys. I also saw a big snake get whacked by a gardener, just a few feet from my office building. No biggie. Actually it was a biggie--a big snake, but not a big deal.

Clearly time for me to stop writing.

Best from Thailand--