February 21, 2012

I basically speak Thai all the time.  My English is bound to fall.  One thing that really is falling is my ability to type.  If you never type, you slow down a lot and make mistakes.  I do speak Thai a lot better these days.  Visited a family I taught my first week here.  Crazy to realize how much more I can say and understand.  I'm not sure how I ever got along back then.  I couldn't do anything.

Comment from home:   We saw the news of the Thailand bombings, someone asked if I was worried, and I had to explain how big Bangkok is and how on a day to day basis it is unlikely you are near the highly touristy areas which were targeted.  Statistically safe.  Bangkok currently holds the Guinness Record for having the longest name of a place. Bangkok is actually the short version, the city’s ceremonial name is “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”.  

Oh yeah, the bombings.  I saw that on a couple newspapers.  Honestly, terrorists aren't exactly going to target the places I tend to go.  Yeah, Bangkok with all it's adjoining cities is just giant.  Just like the name. Everyone  an say the first part.   In Thai you never would say Bangkok.  It's Groongteb. Everyone knows that.  I once heard the full name, but that was just showing off that she actually knew it.  Nobody knows the long name.

Comment from home:   I was reading about the Songkran Festival  (mid April)  which appears to be celebrated with as much enthusiasm as the Chinese New Year or our Christmas.  

Robert's response:
Trust me, I'm so excited for Songkran.  It is absolutely insane.  I hope I'll be in the north for this year, as they go on for about a week.  Everyone who describes it makes it sound unbelievable.  I'm sure I'll be surprised by how right they all are.  I've heard there is a Chinese vegetarian holiday.  I'm looking forwards to it too. Being vegetarian here isn't bad, but you have to like some foods. Which I do.

Everyone knows that Thailand has three seasons - rainy, hot, and incredibly hot.  Bangkok is really hot because it is such a big city. There is one other city that is known as the furnace because it is that much hotter.  Basically I'm hoping that I'll be out of Bangkok for the hot season, because it'll be roasting.  It's hard to believe there is snow back home.  I'm not going to have a real winter for years between Jerusalem and Thailand.  Which means the next full on winter I do get will be miserable.

Side dishes.  Mmm.  Speaking of food, I have an announcement.  This morning, I officially made SomTum.  And it is delicious.  I did it all myself (Elder Benjamin doesn't know how to make it). And I'll be doing it more often.  Not only can I eat SomTum, and really hot at that, but I can also make it.  That'll be fun to be able to tell people.

Comment from home:  At the 2006 World Gourmand Expo, Asian desserts took last place in every category: tast, texture, aroma, appearance and presentation.

Robert's response:  Yeah, deserts here generally are lousy, we usually don't have any. It's just not big in Asia.  I'll die with all the deserts and candy we have at home.  Right now I just keep German or Swiss Chocolate in my drawer and eat a bit during study time, basically don't have anything else.  Other than that, it's fruit, or something western (or Muslim) if I do eat a treat.  I don't even notice that dessert is missing. Probably why I have lost a couple kilos.  No MTC french-fries and ice cream.

Yesterday I got to teach against idolatry again.  It's a big problem. Nothing like driving by idols on the way to church.  I joked about taking a quick stop by the local wat (we pass a couple on our new shortcut) after church as we drove by.  He said ok...  :)  We both find idolatry dumb, but funny at the same time.  We joke about it.  I
didn't think that my Old Testament studies would be applicable in that way.  That was Israel's big problem.  I didn't think I'd actually have so much to do with it as a missionary, and it such obvious forms. 

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