Vail Valley student skips sword dancing class |

Vail Valley student skips sword dancing class

Stephanie Woodruff
Special to the Daily
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyStephanie Woodruff says she practices speaking Thai with the sweet, old grandmother who lives with her new host family.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” It’s Christmas time and surprisingly enough there have been decorations, lights and even Christmas carols in the land of smiles.

It’s actually kind of amusing, they have awkward, broken English covers of Christmas carols and huge, light-up snowflakes outside all the malls … and yet something doesn’t seem quite right. Maybe It’s the 95-degree-sun-beating-down-upon-you weather, but hey who knows.

It’s winter here, and now when you stand outside in the sun you can maybe make it 15 or 20 minutes before breaking into an all-out sweat.! But apparently this is one of the worst winters that Thailand has ever seen.

Kids in my school come to class every day with sweatshirts and scarves (and yet they still have the air conditioning blasting in every room?) and complain about how cold it is. Several of my teachers have caught colds and I hear people are actually dying because it’s so cold up north.

We will head down south with my host family for Christmas and New Years, then we’ll head up north to Chang Mai for a few days.

I’m supposed to give a speech to my school Christmas Day telling them the history of Christmas, and I find myself having to Google it. School’s pretty much the same though. I had the month of October off, even though all my class mates still went to school every day to just hang out ” I really didn’t understand that one.

Then the new semester started and I pretty much had all the same classes ” flower arranging, Thai music, Thai cooking, dancing etc. But I did escape from Thai sword dancing and ballroom dance class. But on the downside, I now have science and math with the English program in my school and I actually have to pay attention and do homework. I don’t know how I’ll survive that one.

After New Year it’s mid-terms at my school and then school lets out for summer holiday at the end of February and I have about four months of ” (I’d like to say “traveling” but that’s allowed, so I’ll just leave that one blank for now). But If you’re going to be in Bangkok anytime around then, give me a shout.

I switched host families about 2 weeks ago. This new family is very nice. They have a 15-year-old son in an international school here, a daughter in college, and another son on exchange in the U.S. right now. He went from Bangkok Thailand, population of roughly eight million, to Centerville, Iowa, population 537 or something like that.

At this house I have the sweetest old grandma who I’m now best friends with and I get to practice my Thai a lot with the three maids.

Speaking of speaking, my Thai is improving, slowly (notice the emphasis on slowly) but surely. I can order food from the street vendors and haggle with merchants while shopping ” what else do you need in this country?

Seriously though, shopping and eating run this country. Well not shopping so much, more walking around malls and looking at stores rather than actually going in.

I have never consumed so much food in my entire life, and I eat hardly anything compared to my host family. My little host aunt can sit down and pack it in.

Watching and Thai person eat noodles in truly amazing ” they will have a huge bowl of any type of noodles, and in approximately 2.5 seconds it’s gone. I swear they don’t even take breaths.

I actually had to make the infamous fish stomach soup in class the other day ” not an enjoyable experience surprisingly enough. They also eat coagulated pig’s blood in soup and whatnot, but hey that’s normal in foreign countries right?

Yes, the stereotypes are true; they eat a ton of rice ” every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks ” it all includes rice. I have been keeping track and there has not been a single day where I have not eaten rice ” that’s four months and 19 days.

I have eaten just about every type of rice imaginable I think ” steamed rice, boiled rice, fried rice, sticky rice, coconut sticky rice, Chinese fried rice, Thai fried rice, American fried rice, sweet sticky rice, rice soup, rice crackers, rice paste, and I had a weird Japanese burger type thing with a rice bun.

I feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump right now going on about shrimp.

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