Sunday, April 3, 2011

Post Quick, Before Everyone Goes Away!

Hey guys, sorry I haven't posted in so long.  I was trying to write a really epic blog post about Vietnam, and then I realized that the longer it took me to write this epic post, the less I would want to keep writing it and the less anyone would actually want to read it.  I might even go the way of Hyperbole and a Half, trying so hard to outdo myself every time that I end up posting less than once a month.

So, I'm back on the wagon - regular posting about mundane things in Malaysia!

Well, I can say a bit about Vietnam now - maybe I'll post something epic about it later - but basically, me and fellow ETA Nou used our weeklong school break to backpack from Ho Chi Minh City up to Hanoi.  It was quite the adventure.  Vietnam has very friendly people, very beautiful countryside, very good food, and very cheap goods.  I kind of wish we had planned more beforehand, though, because although we got to see some amazing historic places off the cuff, most of what I remember consists of noodles, strange toilets, and very long bus rides.

Anyway, pretty much as soon as I got back here to Malaysia, I was hit by a truck full of "Hey Guess What We Need You To Do?"'s, and I've been marathoning it ever since.  Also, my school up and changed everyone's schedule halfway through the week, mixing up a ton of classes and replacing half the ones I had, so now I'm back on icebreakers and introduction classes.  You gotta be on your toes here; the wind changes pretty fast!

Speaking of wind, it has been monsooning all over up in here for the past three weeks.  We were told the monsoon season ended in February, but no such luck: it has rained and poured and flooded practically 24/7 since I got back from Vietnam.  Actually, it was quite a sight; I'm pretty glad I got to see all those houses on stilts doing what they were designed to do.  Thankfully, it stopped just before the weekend, and we had some lovely sun for the past few days.

Last week, during all the downpour, we had five students from another school coming to visit for a sort of friendship/learning/exchange program, just for two days.  Me and the head English teacher Azimah had the responsibility of arranging their activities here - tours, sitting in on classes, and bonding sessions with the students.  This was where I came in, bringing a lot of scrabble, taboo, and telephone games.  MIF, you'll be proud - my kids have now been introduced to both Fake Scrabble and Telephone Pictionary!

The other point of the students visiting, we were told, was to foster some sort of friendly competition between their school and ours, which we had to arrange on the second morning.  But what would the competition be?  Scrabble?  Debate?  A three-legged race?  No, too standard, too predictable... Maybe... Of course!  We could hold an English Quiz Bowl!

And that is how I became a game show host on national televesion.

Nah, just kidding, it was pretty small fish - we had all of Form 4 come out and watch, and I had to rush through it because I had to run to KT literally the minute afterward and get my work visa.  Still, it was enjoyably awesome!  I wrote around 70 questions about various English topics, arranged them in Jeopardy style, and had two games, one for the boys' teams and one for the girls' teams.  Their boys won, and our girls won, so it all pretty much evened out.

By the way, my fancy two-page work visa very clearly said "male" on it - on both sides!  I got it fixed the next day, but I wish I had taken pictures when I had the chance.

This week, the big event was the AFS Alumni roadshow I've been trying to make happen for a month or so.  AFS has this scholarship, the YES program, which sends high school kids from Muslim countries to America and vice versa.  A lot of my kids are interested in applying, so I invited some YES alumni down to the school to give them a talk and some advice on applications.  I think it turned out pretty well, despite the fact that some random field trip for Form 5 had unexpectedly removed almost all of the eligible students from campus that day.  The ones who came were really interested though!

Hmm, I think that's all the main news for right now.  I'm really excited about my apartment being clean again - I spent the whole weekend on it, and it is finally glistening.  All I'm saying about that experience is: nature is not at all shy about visiting you in your home around here. 

Let's see... I'm still trying to get time to write a post about all the weekend trips the ETAs have been taking, the latest being the elephant sanctuary.  But now that post is competing for attention with the one about Vietnam, so who knows what's going to get posted next?  Either way, you should comment and make a lonely English teacher very happy.

I miss you all!

Here are some extra pictures for y'all:
Swing dance club!  I just realized I hadn't posted any pics of that yet.

Aren't they great?

Some seriously large spiders around here.  That is the chain-link fence outside the girls' dorm.  That is normal-sized chain link, btw.

A praying mantis of the most epic proportions!  I took an entire photo shoot of this guy.  It was freaky watching him turn his head around; he would startle and look towards noises like a human.

I'm pretty sure they're aliens.


  1. Vietnam sounds like it was really fun! Tell me another story- how about something that you saw happen that would never happen like that in America? People working out their little everyday problems differently? Or not working them out?? Kahl mai fowne.

  2. Hi Elise! I love the pictures! It's neat seeing you teaching...your dresses are beautiful! Bugs are really cute! Mantis is a special favorite for me and the frog (?gecko) looks so cute!
    Glad Vietnam was fun! and happy back to Teangganu again!
    Lots of love,
    Mom :)

  3. YEAH! I figured out how to post a comment!!!!


  4. Yay mom! That's aweseome!

    Okay Allen, I'll try to think of some cultural stories to tell...

    I miss you guys!