Dragons and midterms
Trip Start May 06, 2010
101Trip End Apr 14, 2011
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When I walked down to the washing machine, I half-noticed the sounds of thumping, clicking, and grunting. I didn't really take notice at first, and then I looked up to see a GIANT lizard running away from me. I had heard the sounds of its gigantic feet hitting the ground and its claws clicking on the concrete (and I assume the grunting was the labor breathing from trying to move all that girth at a rapid pace). It was at least 3 feet long and weighed at least 40 pounds. Thankfully it was running from me because I was paralyzed in fear and disbelief. I gave it quite a start, it tried to climb the 6 foot wall to get away from me before giving up and finding another way. I wish I had my camera with me so I could show you how absurdly large this thing was. It was so out of place running around the parking lot of my apartment. Though had I had my camera, I probably would not have had the presence of mind to take a picture. All that was running through my mind was the Animal Planet stuff I’d seen on komodo dragons and how they can take down water buffalo and smell blood 5 miles away, etc. I know this was a monitor lizard and that’s not the same thing as a komodo dragon, but they look very similar, especially when you’re caught off guard.
Before coming to Thailand, I had read up on what to expect here, so I was fully prepared for the possibility of geckos, scorpions, poisonous snacks, and even tigers, but I don’t remember anything about huge monitor lizards. Even if I had thought to consider these as my neighbors, I wouldn’t have thought they’d be around Chonburi, especially around Punna Mansion. Sal and Ed can tell you, my apartment is in a pretty urban area. It backs up to some trees, but there’s hardly enough there to house a bunch of huge lizards.
Anyway, I got Sal and Ed on a bus back to Bangkok. I don’t think they were fully prepared for that: a bus pulled over the side of the road and ushered them on without even coming to a full stop. I had to hug Sal goodbye hurriedly and then shove her onto the bus and just yell farewell to Ed. I cried when I got back to my apartment, it was really sad to say goodbye. I wish it was possible to see them more than once this year, but with half the world between us, it’s pretty difficult to get together often.
The students took their English midterm today. Everyone seemed to think it was easy. The students I was most worried about seemed to do okay with it. Many had help studying from their parents (one girl’s dad even made her a mock exam) and the students helped one another study as well. I hope they do as well as my conversation students did: I’ve graded most of those exams and no one has failed yet. Though it’s easy to be a generous grader when students are just talking to you, it’s harder to do that on a written test. I think they should manage okay.
The poor things have 12 more exams to take. They took all their exams in English yesterday and today and then have all the ones in Thai Monday through Wednesday next week. I guess I never realized that they have 18 subjects total. The will take exams for 5 days (thankfully they have the weekend to break them up or else their heads might explode).
There are more big changes going on with the people from school. One of the foreign kindergarten teachers is quitting. This isn’t much of a surprise; she kept talking about how she wasn’t sure she wanted to stay in Chonburi. The good news is they have already hired a new teacher and she’s come in the past few days to work with the teacher who’s leaving as a sort of on the job training. Hopefully the school can keep the teachers we have for the rest of the semester at least. I know we’ll have a big turnover come October, but I hope people can keep it together for the students until then.