Right now, my schedule looks like this:

Monday - Social and Economic Development of Thailand from 9:00-12:00
This class focuses on Thailand as a whole, which is very interesting since as of now, I have only been exposed to Bangkok. Bangkok does not represent what most of Thailand is like socially or economically according to my ajaan (also spelled ajarn, ajahn and a few other ways, but it means professor at a University). At some point in the semester, we will be taking a field trip to a neighboring province in Thailand to get to know more about Thai rural life.

Tuesday - Thailand in the International Arena from 9:00-12:00, Thai Cuisine from 13:00-16:00
Thailand in the International Arena is exactly how it sounds. We are going to cover Thai foreign policy and Thai relations with major powers, including the US, China, and Japan. We have a group term paper and presentation that must be over 20pgs. Good thing it will be a group effort.
Thai Cuisine is officially my favorite class. I appreciate enormously how much pride the Thai people put into preparing their dishes. My ajaan explained how Thai food is made to look, smell, and taste amazing, which it always does. Today, we learned how to prepare sticky rice and properly cut a mango. As my sister remarked, these are invaluable lessons that I am so happy I will be taking back with me to the States.

Wednesday/Friday - Beginning Thai from 9:30-12:00
Beginning Thai is, by far, my most challenging class. Not homework-wise, or class-wise. It's hardest effort-wise. The Thai language has 20 vowels compared to our 5, and also uses 5 tones similar to other Asian languages, like Chinese. Luckily, my ajaan is extremely helpful and very understanding to our underdeveloped Western tongues. By the end of the class, we are supposed to be able to speak in basic conversations. I'm thinking I will be lucky if I can nail down how to identify the difference between khaa (mid-tone), khaa (low tone), khaa (falling tone), khaa (high tone), and khaa (rising tone). By the way. All of those words have different meanings, including to kill someone. Needless to say, I have been very careful while attempting to speak Thai.


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