Thursday, January 27, 2011

Same-Same?

Inevitable comparisons arise for me, between these two lands that are often confused by others (on the bright side, I can now answer the question "how's Thailand?"). But what is Thailand like compared to Taiwan? As they like to say here, is it same-same? Or is it different?

Money - the exchange rate is almost 1:1 here making it really nice for me.
BUT in general, things are a little cheaper here than in Taiwan. For example, a plate of noodles is 25 or 30 (a dollar) where it might be 50 or 60 in Taiwan. Stuff in the markets is pretty cheap too, like silk scarves 2 for 100 (about 3 dollars). Taking orders now...

Food - I love Thai food! I've had pad thai 4 times in 6 days. Their food is often spicy, but with a little sweet and sour mixed in. One of the tastiest things here is the mango sticky rice, which has coconut milk poured over it. BUT I do have to say that Taiwan mangoes are better.

Transportation - People drive on the "wrong" (left) side of the road here, which has caused me to go to the wrong side of a taxi and look the wrong way before crossing the street. One nice thing that one of my cohort-members pointed out is they don't honk their horns here (like they do all the time in Taiwan).

People - People here are very friendly and sweet. My friend and I met a guy in Bangkok who drove us somewhere when we were lost, and even gave us silver bracelets that he had in his car for just such an occasion.

Classes - this isn't a difference between Thailand and Taiwan, but getting your MA is very different from getting your BA. First of all, the readings are much more difficult! I've been reading every day, and my brain is starting to hurt...this could also be an indication of my old age, but I've been going to bed around 10.... I remember the good old days when I could stay up til 2am, get up at 7, and be no worse for wear. I like my profs here, and have a Canadian one this week, a lot of the research cited is from Canada too, much to my enjoyment and my American classmates' puzzlement. But Shantelle is still the best prof I ever had. I wish she could see me now!

I had more floating in my head earlier, but it is after 10 now, so my brain is shutting off....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thailand

Here I am in Chiang Mai, which is in northern Thailand. Before coming here, everyone said to me, "Oh, you'll LOVE Chiang Mai!" and it's a nice place, full of delicious food, friendly people, and places such as "Golden Finger Massage" and "Washy Mashy Laundry"
It's quite touristy here, and very international, but it's always nice to see greater diversity. It's also been fun to see my cohort again (by the way, I love that word) after a semester in our respective countries. We are all enjoying a break from winter, though those from more northern countries even more so.
I've been finding some time for fun among my studies, and managed to get a pedicure and two massages so far (all good textbook reading activities). I'm thinking of taking a Thai cooking class on my last weekend here.
There are inevitable comparisons between here and Taiwan, one big one is that shops close MUCH earlier here. Taiwan is really the country that never sleeps. Most places are open til at least 10, if not 11, and there are a few 24 hour or late night places. I went to Starbucks here for a change of scenery to finish my homework, and found they were closing at 9, as did the mall, KFC and most other places.... so here I am in the lobby of the YMCA where I'm staying. It sure is nice to be warm again after 10 degree weather (remember: that's both inside and out).

One of my classmates came to visit me in Taiwan before we came here, and we had a lot of fun. We only had two sunny days, but still managed to go quite a few places. The internet here is really slow, otherwise I'd upload some pictures. Well, off to bed, I have an early morning again tomorrow!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Goodbye 2010



What a year it was...it kind of seems like a blur now.

Jan: It all started with getting accepted into an MA program and scrambling to register for the first course (which I managed to do, only a few weeks late).
Feb: Jeanine visited me from Korea during Chinese New Year!
March: Watching the final Olympic hockey game at an insane hour of the day
April: brought a delegation to Yilan for my birthday
May: did a 3km swim in the ocean. 10 years since high school graduation.
June: yea I have no idea what I did in June, must have been stunned by the aftermath of the final season of LOST, but I do remember saying goodbye to Hope after a fun year of her being in Taipei.
July: first Canada Day in Canada in 6 years, began my master's classes in LA, discovered Target...July was an exciting month!
August: Kenting trip and said goodbye to a wonderful roommate, Ashley
Sept: Started the crazy schedule of work and school, plus found out I'd be teaching in Hualian this semester too
Oct: big typhoon and flood in Yilan, oh and I got an iPhone!
Nov: homework, homework, homework, and found out I'm going to be an aunt!
Dec: the usual Christmas and New Years fun

I usually ask my students to discuss what they think were the top 10 news stories of the year, and here are a few:

The good:
The Chilean miners rescue
The World Cup

The bad:
The Haiti earthquake
The Pakistan floods

and the Ugly:
The BP oil spill
Wikileaks?


2011 has some great things in store so far:
January: visit from a classmate and trip to Thailand
Feb: Carol is having a baby
March: my grandma is coming to visit
April: Sarah is having her baby, my 29th birthday
May: take a nap....