1) A PiA fellow in Vietnam came to visit, and I suggested we have the authentic Southern Thai experience by going to Patong, perhaps the sleaziest slice of world I've ever seen, but something I felt we should do once. Mission accomplished:
This is pretty accurate as to what it looks like at night.
We met up with friends of another English teacher in my town. Photos are Matt's, used without permission. Deal with it
We then took a day of recovery in Phang Nga. It was once again nice to see someone else's eyes widen at my strange town. The things I get used to really are completely out of this world.
2). My mom, dad and sister flew out to Bangkok to spend Winter holidays with me! We spent a day in Bangkok before heading to a resort near Khao Sam Roi Yot national park:
Photos are Rebecca's no permissions DEAL
3. I went to D.C. to interview with the Foreign Service. I didn't get the job and I'm ok with that. I was going against people who were seriously more qualified than me. However the visit in general was awesome, just awesome. The party Friday in my opinion was one our best. D.C. north of U and south of K looks identical to how I left it but Mt. Vernon Sq. and Shaw are so different they look like a different city. The borders of upper-class D.C. are changing so rapidly it's like watching bamboo grow. I walked around listening to Homecoming and Heard 'Em Say, riding in the 5A from Dulles to Home -- well. Leaving it this time around was much harder. I also visited X, which reminded me exactly what was going on in my life 11 months ago when it took me 4 seconds to decide that I was ready to drop everything and move to Thailand, and also why teaching Kindergarten spoke to my heart so. Absolutely the best part of my visit was giving a powerpoint presentation to the kinders (framed like a storybook) about my time in Thailand. I told them I was 12,000 mi away (I was wrong it's about 9k), and that I biked to school every day and my now seven year old buddy looked at me like I was crazy and said "how you gon bike 12 thousand miles ev-ree day!?!" And noticed that my new school had "jungle, and there's trees everywhere, and, and there's mountains." Totally.
4. I went to Korea to visit our new family friend Quinlin, who took me around town! We saw sacred ancient tourist rituals performed,
stood in front of palaces shadowed by mountains,
and watched the sunset over a fort.
5) I read books and listened to new albums. A) Catch-22: It was very good. I was also reading a bootleg copy that I bought in Vietnam which seemed just right. B) The complete short stories of Flannery O Connor. I first encountered her in a short story collection I picked up at random from the MLK library last year, and "A View of the Woods" left me shaking. Many of her stories are good but after a while they start to run together into a stream of nightmares where the endings, developments and first three lines are all quite similar. I think she's better read in many sittings rather than the entire oeuvre in a week. But that's life. C) I started but did not finish "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and "The Last Tycoons;" the first didn't fully capture my attention and the second was really big so when I left it in D.C. and will finish it someday. D) Re-read Blood Meridian. Probably my favorite book. The first time around, the Judge captured me but this time I thought more about what Glanton is. I have a lot to say about it but I don't want to give anything away. E) just started Underworld so far so good.Albums: I) The Chronic. I see why it was/is important but it felt pretty dated, even next to Enter the 36 chambers. Some real gems though: Let me Ride for instance. II) The King of Limbs. an album I like but I wonder how we would view it without the Radiohead mystique. III) The College Dropout. Dan's right: if it's at all possible kanye is underrated. The album is superb. IV) Late Registration: Taking me a little longer to get into. V) This is Happening, LCD Soundsystem's last, an album I have been putting off for reasons I myself am not entirely clear on. Very enjoyable, has solidly entered my running playlist. Home is a great track. Still, All My Friends is their moment, like Everything in its Right Place is Radiohead's.
6) I distilled my frustration with the pro-choice arguments popping up around facebook today into a piece about the Komen/Planned Parenthood falling out. It's really difficult to empathize across political boundaries. But if Ward's research, which I cite therin, is to be believed, it's easier for conservatives. I have no idea what that means or why it would be.
Take the GREs, hopefully get a job, travel and then America.