Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unique Treats- Happy Pop

My students like to surprise me with interesting snacks. Here's one called "Happy Pop".

Colorful packaging, iffy ingredients, all signs point to 'excellent Asian treat'.

Inside the package was a lumpy lolly-pop and a blue plastic top.

 First impression.

 What ARE you? The best way I can describe it is a mix between a Tootsie Roll and a Sugar Daddy.

But check out that spinning top action!

BAM! Happy pop indeed!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thailand Trip part 4- (a few more favorite) Pictures

Our tour guide told us that a girl with long hair once lived here and that she killed herself when her boyfriend didn't rescue her. The students asked the guide what this girl looked like. He pointed at me.

The place where we painted pots had so many old and unique surprises! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thailand Trip part 3- Pupils

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to teach these delightful students! We stayed in Thailand for three days and two nights and (besides ordering room service at 11:30) there were ZERO major behavior problems. They are excellent and I love each of their unique personalities!

(Go here for Thailand Trip part 1!)
(And go here for Thailand Trip part 2!)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thailand Trip part 2- Pots

Ban Chiang, Thailand is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of some thousands-of-years-old pottery discovered there in 1966. It's also the reason for our trip to Thailand!

We visited a museum with all kinds of artifacts (no pictures allowed) and then went to a preserved dig site. 

Then we went to a shop that makes pottery and paints them using the same styles and techniques as the Ban Chiang people did thousands of years ago. 

So beautiful!

Then we got the chance to paint our own small pots in the same style. 

They also let us use their pottery wheel to try and throw our own pots! 

I'd say they did a pretty good job!

(Go here for Thailand Trip part 1!)

Thailand Trip part 1- Plants

While in Thailand, I was able to find and take pictures of some pretty crazy plants. Here are a few of my favorites:

A few weeks ago, after seeing this picture, I made a new New Year's Resolution to find and photograph a dragonfruit tree. I should have specified that I would like to be standing on solid ground whilst taking the photograph. I got ridiculously excited when I saw these outside of the bus window and even MORE excited when the bus driver took a wrong turn and had to drive by them AGAIN so I could take this picture. My students must have thought I was crazy. Now I need a new new New Year's Resolution.

I don't even know what to say about this. What IS it? My students kept saying that it was lettuce. Is there a kind of lettuce that grows on trees? Any insights?

I took a picture of this same plant last year and it only had three leaves. Now it has five!

We kept passing these trucks brim full of (what I thought were) sticks. I asked the Lao teacher sitting next to me and she said that they were sugar cane! I guess it's sugar cane harvest season in Thailand because we saw at least 10 trucks exactly like this one.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Field Trip Extreme

Tomorrow I'm headed to Udon Thani, Thailand with 35 fifth graders. I'm looking forward to some adventures!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Coconut Milk?

This dessert is called Nam Wan (sweet water). Like I said in this post, it's made with coconut milk, sugar syrup, ice, and little jellies. It's kindof a do-it-yourself dessert. All of the ingredients are laid out for you and you can put them together yourself.

A few years ago, I was in a restaurant similar to the one that I went to for Valentine's Day, and they'd run out of coconut milk. I was excited to try out my Lao language skills (I'd been taking classes for about a month) to inform the staff that there wasn't any coconut milk.

I knew how to say coconut.

I knew how to say milk.

I walked up to a lady who worked there and (thought I) said "Excuse me, I want coconut milk."

She first looked surprised, looked down, looked at me, and then looked confused.

I knew I had to revert to hand gestures, so I pointed to my bowl and said "Want."

THIS she understood, and I received my coconut milk.

I sat back at my table and wondered how she could have possibly been confused by my very clear language. Then it dawned on me- the word for milk is the same as the word for...boobs.

I had asked for coconut boobs.

So how HOW, you ask, can you tell if the person is trying to say 'milk' or if they're saying 'boobs'? It's completely contextual. The real word for 'coconut milk' doesn't have the word 'milk' in it at all.

I try to avoid using this particular word altogether.

Valentine's Dinner Pt. 2

Continuing on from this previous post about Valentine's dinner, here's the food that we enjoyed! We visit this restaurant at least once per month.


First I enjoyed a plate of delicious sushi (with plenty of wasabi!)

and Hong had green algae soup and mussels. Those fried shrimps were also mine.

Main Course

The main course is called Seen Daad.

Seen = Meat
Daad = a quick burn

A Seen Daad table has a big hole in the middle. The hole is filled with a bucket of hot coals and then topped with a metal pan with a dome in the middle. Broth is poured in the pan. The first step to successful Seen Daad is a well-fatted dome. As soon as it starts to heat up, it is necessary to coat the entire thing with fat. 

We then selected our favorite raw meats

and raw vegetables. 
The vegetables go in the broth and the meat goes on the dome.
Once they're thoroughly cooked, we dipped the meat and veggies in a peanut sauce (with garlic and peppers added)


Please ignore the hunk of fat and focus on that dessert! It is coconut milk and sugar syrup mixed with ice and an assortment of jellies made out of rice powder and tapioca.

Mood Lighting

It was such a fun evening!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Candlelit Dinner...Out of Necessity

Hong took me to one of our favorite restaurants last night and the electricity was out! We were given some birthday candles that provided us with romantic lighting. It was so fun! I'll post about the food later.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Origami Hearts

 I really enjoy having the students decorate our classroom for holidays. For Valentine's day, we made a ton of origami hearts and made garlands for the door and window. (inspiration from this blog!)

Before I gave them colored paper, we practiced making the hearts using old scrap paper. I ended up liking them even better! It was fun to look at them and be reminded of lessons already taught and learned.

 My favorites were these hearts made from worksheets used in a unit about sound!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In which I (am) sell fish

The following conversation took place after I drank a bottle of “All You Need” without sharing with Hong.

Hong: Jao pen kon kai ba!
Me: I’m a what?
Hong: Jao pen kon kai ba!
Me: I’m a crazy egg?
(of course, I got my tones wrong)
Hong: Not kai-egg, kai-sell. Jao pen kon KAI BAA!
Me: I’m a person who sells fish?
Hong: YES
Me: Why? People who sell fish don’t share?

Uproarious laughter.

End scene.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lettuce Wraps- Lao Style

Pan Ba literally means Fish Wrap. It's fun to make and delicious to eat!

1. Leafy greens- lettuce, cabbage, and an assortment of herbs. There’s also a small bag of rice noodles in there somewhere.

2. Fish- It comes strapped tightly in a piece of bamboo (they use it to hold on to when the fish is being grilled). If you need instructions about how to disassemble the fish, head over to this post about how to eat grilled fish.

3. Sauce- This sauce is called Jeow Pan Ba - Fish Wrap Sauce (also mentioned in the grilled fish post).

4. Toppings- bean sprouts, lemongrass, chili peppers, unripe star fruit, long beans, peanuts, horseradish, fried pig skin, eggplant, and cucumber.

Now, assemble and eat!

1. Get a wrapping- either lettuce or cabbage (I usually choose cabbage because I like the crunch).

2. Add a piece of fish.

3. Choose any toppings! My first wrap contained a long bean, some mint, and bean sprouts.

4. Hong’s wraps are usually more robust than mine. His had mint, a pepper, noodles, and another leafy herb (not sure what it’s called, anyone know?)

5. Dip in the sauce and eat.

6. Make another! I decided to get a little adventurous with my second one: eggplant, horseradish, noodles, peanuts. A little strange. It’s fun to try different combinations!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Autumn-and-Spring Tree

I went back to take more pictures of the beautiful autumn tree mentioned in this post, only to find that it had already started sprouting new leaves!

These pictures were only taken six days apart with a heavy rain in between.

My two favorite seasons wrapped up nicely in one tree!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Experiences- Buffalo Skin

While cooler weather and bonfires make me think of roasting marshmallows, Hong is reminded of days in his youth sitting around the fire roasting buffalo skin. So we bought some.

As I didn't feel comfortable starting a bonfire in my front yard, Hong fried the little pieces of skin in a pan.

Right after I took this picture, the smell of frying skin wafted to my nose. I slowly backed away and took one last picture before shutting the kitchen door.

I am sorry to say that I didn't actually taste the buffalo skin. Maybe next time. The smell was an experience in itself.