Tuesday, February 24

I'm going insane

I'd forgotten just how allergic I am to Thailand in February. When I went in 2005 for 6 weeks I was taking 2 anti-histamines a day. I tried that again this trip to no avail. I was horribly congested all week.

I think I did a pretty good job of not taking it out on the kids though. I only got angry when they deserved it - you couldn't pay me enough to be a teenager again and it's because they make stupid decisions. Like hiding in the bathroom when I've caught the boys in the girl's room past curfew. However, there were only a few instances of stupidity and on the whole it was an INCREDIBLE experience. We built 14 tables and 28 benches for the school we were working at which means the 254 students of that school no longer have to eat sitting on the floor. We worked, we played, I sneezed.

Right, back to that. So the first plane flight back to Bangkok was incredibly painful. Bangkok to Moscow was better. I managed to go to work Monday and heard at least 20 times "Wow, your hair doesn't look nearly as bad as I thought it would" or "That's not a ~real~ mohawk. You need to shave the sides."

But by the end of the day the congestion was winning. So I got a sub. And I've stayed home all day today. Good move as most of the day has been spent sleeping. However, the congestion has moved COMPLETELY into my right ear. It's driving me crazy. I can't hear anything, it feels full of cotton, hanging upside down isn't helping. I know it will go away when the congestion clears up, but in the mean time, ARGH.

Also, somehow my dvd player has broken. And since I get no tv channels, that means my usual sick day plans of watching movies has been thwarted. Though I did finish reading The Fourth Bear (I love Jasper Fforde) and am almost done with Neverwhere (I also have a huge crush on Neil Gaiman). Neverwhere is especially excited as I started it over x-mas but then left it on a plane!! All subsequent trips to bookstores came up empty. However, the awesome school librarian ordered it for me and it arrived just in time for today's sick day!

Tuesday, February 17

So the thing with this hair is...

when Bree and I are walking around together we look like a couple. Especially true when we went and had side-by-side foot massages...

Yesterday one of the students said to me "Ms. S, people are looking at you and laughing about your hair." Me: "So, let them. It ~is~ pretty funny looking..."

We've arrived after a really, really long day. 9 hour flight to Bangkok, 6 hours in the airport, 1 hour flight to Chiang Rai, 1.5 hour drive to MRVR but then we're there. The kids "Wow! This is where we're staying?" We got settled for dinner and then after playing night games against, scratch that, WITH, ISB (Int'l School of Bangkok). However, our students are not so good at the mingling with our the schools thing. Turns out they have a superiority complex. Our girls thought their girls were whiny (I agreed), our boys thought they were better than everyone else (I disagreed). So we had a minor "discussion" about it last night. However, that discussion has been the only one necessary. They've been really great.

Due to a mix-up we weren't able to start our building today, instead it was team building this morning - good for our "bossy" kids and we're off canoeing this afternoon. I am really lucky to have this opprotunity.

Oh, speaking of lucky. I worked a lot with a parent to get our tickets on Thai Air at a reasonable price. He met us at the airport yesterday and upgraded the teachers to business class. I felt a bit bad about leaving the students in economy... but not quite bad enough to give one of them my ticket...

Sunday, February 15

New Hair!

Excited about our new dos!
Originally uploaded by Traveling Em

We're both really excited. I wish mine was a bit more purple on top and a bit more peaked, but oh well, it'll do for a first mohawk!

Saturday, February 14

Big Day

Today's the day of the faux/mo-hawk. I'm off in about 25 minutes to the hair dresser - perhaps I'm cheating a bit having it professionally done, but in the end I am too vain and I want it to look good.

Then, I've got a dinner party to show it off at.

I'm being picked up tomorrow at 1:45 to head to school to meet the students and then we'll travel together to the airport. I can't believe that after all the time spent planning and working, we're finally off. We'll be rebuilding a kitchen and adding a new water purification system to a hill tribe school.

But first, we'll go out and have lunch in Bangkok during our 7 hour lay over :)

I'll try to get a picture of the new do up before I leave.


Thursday, February 5

Latest Aeroflot Incident

Passengers had a pilot removed from the direct Moscow-NYC flight because the pilot was drunk.

Moscow Times story: http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/600/42/374157.htm

My favorite quotes from the story:

  • "It took him three attempts to say the words 'duration of the flight.'

  • At the same time, an Aeroflot representative sought to assure them that "it's not such a big deal if the pilot is drunk."

    "Really, all he has to do is press a button and the plane flies itself," the representative said. "The worst that could happen is he'll trip over something in the cockpit."

  • "I don't think there's anyone in Russia who doesn't know what a drunk person looks like," said Katya Kushner, who, along with her husband, was one of the first to react when the pilot made his announcement. "At first, he was looking at us like we were crazy. Then, when we wouldn't back down, he said, 'I'll sit here quietly in a corner. We have three more pilots. I won't even touch the controls, I promise.'"

  • An Aeroflot spokeswoman said the pilots were removed due to "mass psychosis" among the passengers and that ... Aeroflot would sue Sobchak (socialite who made the biggest ruckus) if the costs of delaying the flight were "very large."

Sunday, February 1

Baby, it is freaking cold outside

It's been between -15 and -20 C (0 to -4 F) over the weekend. And I got out in it. When in Rome, right? I went to watch a broomball game yesterday. Basically people chase each other around on a tennis court that's been flooded and hence a court of ice. Near as I can tell, it's like floor hockey with really small sticks made of duct tape. Seems to be easiest to maneuver around the court on your knees. If you try to run you just fall. But that also seemed ok as most people had what appeared to be pillows taped to their legs. I'm glad I got to watch and am also glad I'm not playing.

The nice thing about the cold is that the sun has returned. I love sun reflecting off snow.

It's supposed to warm back up to -8 tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get away with wearing only 1 pair of long underwear. I had 3 pair on under my snow pants yesterday...

Oh, speaking of yesterday (I guess that's what the whole post is about really), I went and saw an INCREDIBLE Puccini concert. The first half was choral music, second half a mini-opera in Russian style complete with leather min-dresses (think hot nurse) and stilettos. But with opera singing in Italian. Very strange. The choral part was my favorite. I love good choral music. Something I wasn't really cognizant of until I moved here.