Why #firstworldproblems Shouldn’t Exist

You’ve all seen it. Facebook memes sporting “#firstworldproblems” to poke fun at the trivial complaints and nuances people in the “first world” express. Or to further stress the matter of “first worlders” taking everything for granted.  “I hate when the wall outlet is too far from my bed so I have to get up to charge my phone” or “I hate when I tell them no pickles, and they still give me pickles.” The memes also imply, whether intended to or not, that those not raised or residing in the “first world” take much less for granted and appreciate more. But here’s the truth: Whether you were born in a “first,” “second,” or “third” world country, you’re still human. Some things you will like, some things you won’t. Some things you will appreciate, some things you will complain about. We are all humans with opinions, and just because you […]

Thai Language: Logic and Insight into Thai Culture

Travelling halfway across the world to a region of tonal languages, I was daunted by my complete unfamiliarity of the Thai language concerning tones, script, and that I only knew how to say one word. But four months later, I have come to love the Thai language for its simplicity, logic, and insight into Thai lifestyle.

Let me begin this post by saying one thing: Thai people love rice. “Gin khaao leeo”  means “I already ate,” but would be literally translated into English as “I ate rice already.” The word “khaao” means “rice.” But wait…I didn’t eat any rice. I just had some Pad Thai. Oh well, the Thai language forces you to say that. Why? Because the Thai language was developed around culture and tells us about what’s important to Thai people. So, what’s the staple of Thai cuisine? You guessed it, rice! To further this point, if you’re […]

Summer Camp

As I mentioned in one of my more recent posts, the Burmese Refugee Project would be starting a summer camp for the Shan refugees engaged in our after school English tutoring program. This past Monday marked DAY ONE. In total, thirty kids are in attendance. The students are split into three classes based on level of English proficiency which tends to also correspond with age. I take the youngest group which consists of fifteen kids, half of the students.

The camp runs from 9am to 3pm, but I’m usually at the school by 8 to prepare for my lesson and the fun activity for the day. We begin with an hour and a half lesson of English, which I have discovered is WAY too long for my kids. 10:30 marks the beginning of activity time, which the kids love! The activities range from craft projects, such as making a beaded […]

An update from Pai

Not much has changed here in Pai other than the weather beginning to warm up and the air quality decreasing. It gets as hot as 97 degrees during the day as we’re entering hot season. And just to add a nice touch to the already gross, sticky sweat on your skin, rice farmers are beginning to burn their fields in order to prepare for the next planting season. The burnings are just beginning, but at their peak in April, the valley fills up with smoke and air quality becomes very unhealthy. Looks like I’ll have to wear a mask as the locals do.

This past Thursday was my last day of teaching after-school English. The student’s summer break from Thai school begins in mid-March and goes to early May, so we made some new plans here at the BRP. We are going to run a summer camp, which I’m very […]

By |February 28th, 2014|Gappers in the Field|

My Students

 On Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Sunday mornings, I teach a class of ten students for an hour and a half, and Sunday lessons are always followed by a craft. Most of the students are nine and ten years old. Their English is very basic, so my lessons are structured toward teaching them consonant and vowel sounds (which they already know, but need regular revision) and basic vocabulary. One of the hardest concepts for them to grasp is the addition of “s” to the end of plural objects because in Thai, no word is ended by the “s” sound. On the weekdays, I teach them in the evenings after they come back from school, so it is more difficult to keep their attention than on the weekends. That’s why I usually stick in a game to help them practice vocab, and at the end, give them 10-15 minutes to color.

Teaching […]

By |February 4th, 2014|Gappers in the Field|