Saturday, April 25, 2015

My (not really) day off

Finally, I get a weekend day and a day off from the grueling, 12-hour training schedule of the CELTA course!

A day I can kick back, relax, chill out and do some intricate language analysis looking at meaning, form and pronunciation difficulties facing English language students in relation to my lesson plan. Ugh.

Yeah, my day off was no day off.  I began early in the morning on my first written assignment which is due on Tuesday. After three intense hours of writing, I'd completed 1/4th of it. When I got into the second part, I discovered it was a lot easier and got through that in an hour.  Unfortunately, I also discovered that I'd completely misread the instructions for the first part, and had to edit it to the point that most of my work from the morning was for naught.

In the afternoon, I came back to the writing assignment and finished parts 2 & 3. It was dusk and I needed a break. I went for a walk and satisfied my artistic creative side with recording some video.  The analytical part of my brain had been on overload for some time. I saw some cool stuff.

After the walk, I finished part 4 of 4. The hardest part was keeping myself from writing too much. I actually love analyzing language, and I could written on and on about it.  There's a word limit though.  Any submission more than 1100 words is an automatic resubmit.  My word count for my completed task: 1099 words.

If you've watched any of my previous videos, you know that a standard Joko video takes edited chunks of footage and compiles them with an appropriate and hopefully compelling piece of music. That's my formula. I've done it so many times now that I've gotten bored with it and I'm looking to do something different. The problem is that Yangon and Bangkok are such obnoxiously loud places that I don't want to use the original audio. You don't get to hear what you're seeing in my videos because it's bad audio.

Suburban Chiang Mai is different though. It's quieter here. For the first time ever, I've made a video of a place here in SE Asia with no soundtrack. You hear what I was hearing. I think it gives it a certain ethnographic film quality to it that I don't get when I try to make it into something you'd see on VH1.

Video notes:

0:00 – The first 13 seconds of the video are scenes from my hotel, the Asaradewi Resort and Spa, here in suburban Chiang Mai, near Hang Dong.

0:35- That farang you see is Sylvester! If you've been following my CELTA Notes thread on the Staffroom board, you know about Sylvester.

1:08 – I'm just strolling through the neighborhood, and this comely old lady sitting in a road-side gazebo calls to me and gestures for me to come sit with her. Sure. Why not? She even speaks a few sentences of English. After about 30 seconds of sitting with her, trying to make small talk, she sticks out her hand and says something. I shake her hand. I didn't understand it at the time, but on review of the video, I now hear her say “Ha sip Baht” Fifty Baht ($1.60). A minute or so later, when I decide to leave, she says something I did understand, which was 'Sip Baht', 10 Baht. It's not like she was even photogenic, and she called ME over, what's this asking for money stuff? I knew I had no change, but I dig into my pocket anyways, and then say sadly, “Ohh... mai mee” (I haven't got it).

2:00 – The viciousness and valor of the animal kingdom. While the camera was not running, I saw something I'd never seen before. A rooster was viciously pecking away at a newborn chick trying to kill it. Amongst animals, I knew that males frequently try to kill babies that are not of their own bloodline, but how would a chicken even know which chicks were his or not? I think it was just straight up trying to kill possible future competitors for food. You'll see the defenseless chick lying prone on the concrete. What kept the chick from dying was a juvenile chicken running up and intervening. It distracted the big cock and let the lone chick recover enough to run away. I don't get it. This juvenile couldn't have been the chick's mother. It doesn't look old enough to roost. It might have been a sibling from another brood, but I didn't think chickens have any sibling protection instinct. The whole thing was over in a few seconds, but it left me befuddled.

2:36 – A Thai cowboy was leading a cow down the road with another one untethered behind it. The trailing cow stopped at the main road to eat some particularly succulent roadside grass. The cowboy and lead cow kept going and were getting further and further away. I call out, “Hey, you're missing one!” (like he could understand that), and then I decide to help and cross the road intent on picking up the lagging cow's tether and herd the beast across the road. When I walk up, the cow raises its head and gives me a look. When an 800 pound animal of any kind gives you that look, you stop. You'll see in the vid how the professional does it. He skirts around the back of the cow and gets its lead from behind. Don't charge a cow. They're likely to charge back.


  1. I must admit, I truly enjoy your videos. They make me wonder if I should teach somewhere; I've had a TESL (Teach English as a Second Language) certificate for a long time, and used to volunteer at my church. However, I do not have a university degree, so I don't think I would be acceptable. Do you think it is necessary? I'll look forward to your response. Blessings, your fellow blogger, Lynn

    1. Lynn,
      It depends on where you go. Some countries, like Thailand, make have a uni degree a requirement to get a work permit. Others, like South Korea and Japan, do not. Having a TESL cert certainly helps, but as I said, acceptability varies from place to place, and even school to school.


Discovering Northwest Myanmar 16: Kataung to Mandalay

I call them "Burmese Doughnuts". They've got another name, but essentially, it's fried bread. The three-week adventur...