Monthly Archives: February 2015

Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)

At first I was skeptical of Som Tam. They said it was a papaya salad but I didn’t look like any papaya I had ever seen. It was white/green and shredded. It seemed to me that shredding papaya would result in a sticky wet mess. 

I discovered though that the shredded papaya comes from green papayas, picked long before they are ripe. With the mystery solved I began to embrace som tam, especially once I figured out how to tell them to make it NOT spicy! I prefer one chili in it, enough to give it some flavor but not make my mouth burn. 

A Thai friend brought us by her 

Word Search Fun

This week has been a time for fun and frolicking with the students. Finals were completed last week so this week I have just been doing worksheets with the students. 

My sixth grade class was doing one on transportation today and found a “naughty” word. I knew something was up but they wouldn’t say anything. I looked in the word search where they were looking and found it just as a student started saying “S-E…”  I said “SEX” aloud and they all laughed as 6th graders would. 

It seemed like a fitting way to end the class as I stare at a diagram of a penis and a vagina on the back wall everyday. 

Corporal Punishment

The parents of a first grader told my colleague to hit their son when he acts out in class…

Welcome to the world of Thai schools.

We are told to hit the students. We never do of course but I’ve seen it happen. Surprisingly enough I would say it is most common in one of my PreK classes. It seems to happen for random reasons such as a kid is sleeping in the path of the game, a kid is crying (makes sense to hit them to just make the cry more, right?), a kid won’t stand up or sit down, a kid fell and bumped their head, etc. It never seems to help the situation and only makes my job as the teacher harder.


I’ve found that the best way to get my students talking outside of class is to compliment them on something. They then get really excited and want to tell me all about it. I can see their little brains working as words just fly out in semi coherent thoughts, sometimes actually forming sentences. It is such a wonderful thing to witness.


The fruit place outside of my house recently started selling small coconuts. Tonight I purchased my first one. I have had coconut here before but typically one of the larger coconuts where the only way to get the meat out is by scraping with a scraper. With the smaller type of coconuts, the meat just comes out after the liquid has been consumed.

A part of the shell is pulled away and a straw is stuck through the meat so that the coconut remains a “closed beverage.” It is the most refreshing beverage on a hot day, especially in smoothie form after a day of golf.

I’ve really embraced coconuts while in Thailand and hope I can find some reasonably priced ones back in the States.


Chinese Lunar New Year

In Thailand, as in a lot of SE Asia, there are a lot of Chinese. As a result, the Lunar New Year is celebrated. This year marks the year of the sheep or the goat (they share the same Chinese character so it is hard to tell what the precise term is in English).

There is not a celebration at my school as there is not a large enough Chinese population in my area. Only one of my students was missing due to the celebration. I was quite impressed that he had the foresight to tell me that he would not be in class today for our test and that he would like to take it on Monday.

Our local mall has covered all of the “winter holidays.” As you will note in the photos below and in a previous post, they still have their Christmas decorations up (however the moving santas are no longer lit) but have added Chinese dragons and lamps for the New Year. It is a very pretty site to be welcomed by a dragon.