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As I'm waiting for the completion of my Ministry of Education background check (more bureaucracy!) before a good school can hire me, we've settled into somewhat of a daily routine.  That routine consists largely of me preparing lesson plans for my upcoming private classes while Tim and Nadia alternate between eating, watching Thai karaoke VCD's, or doing the occasional housework (which I do pitch in on, in case you're wondering).  Around 5:30 or 6:00 we head over to Patong in order to get Nadia to work; sometimes we stay until she finishes up at midnight but usually Tim and I run a few errands (grocery shopping, example) or just come on home.  When I'm not peparing for future classroom work, I'm working on music or video stuff on the computer or trying to decide which book I want to read a chapter or two in (I currently have several I'm in the middle of).

This all makes our lives sound rather boring but nothing could be further from the truth.  It's just that day-in and day-out we've become content with our usual routine.  Included in that routine is my weekly Thai language class (Saturdays and Sundays from 10 until noon; with four down and six to go I'm beginning to understand more of what Tim and her friends talk about).  We also manage to go swimming once or twice each week, as well as the occasional get-together with various friends (both mine and Tim's).

Added to the routine recently has been the beginnings of a search for a car to buy (which is the reason we're preparing to leave tomorrow for Bangkok — more on this in a bit...).  Because of a Thai cultural stigma against buying anything used, there are many deals to be had as there are more cars than buyers.  We're looking for an economical compact car (preferably automatic) and I've set a maximum budget of 80,000 baht (roughly USD $2000).  Tim already has plans for a taxi service (it's amazingly easy to obtain a chauffeur's license here) and I'm working out a price list for her.  I've found several cars that I quite like here on Phuket but one of Tim's busybody friends has convinced her that every used car here must have been in the tsunami and that prices (and risk) would be much lower up in Bangkok.  I needed to go there anyway to have a bank letter notarized at the U.S. Embassy (plus, you now need a letter from your embassy certifying your Thai address before a foreigner can obtain a Thai driving license) so I agreed to the trip.  I doubt if cars will be much less expensive there (and after buying why would you want to drive it halfway across Thailand before you know of any limitations?) but I figure it will be a nice break in the routine.

Of course, planning this trip once again makes me long for the old days when I travelled alone.  There are so many other factors involved when travelling with another person.  And this time we're travelling in a larger group — Opat and Nadia are both going with us (they both have family in Bangkok so a hotel needed to be found central to their locations so we wouldn't spend all of our time coordinating meetings).  Anyway, we've been having A LOT of difficulty booking a hotel in advance.  I don't know what's going on in the capitol this weekend but everything seems to be booked solid (even the dodgy places around Sukhumvit Soi 4/Nana).  Tim assures me it's "not a problem" and that we'll be able to find something by just showing up at a hotel or guesthouse (I doubt she'll be comfortable at a Khao San Road type of establishment).  Somehow I have the feeling we'll all end up sleeping on the floor of Nadia's grandparents' home...but I'm just going with the flow and not letting it worry me (too much).

When we return, the routine will be broken up further with the start of my first private EFL classes.  I'll be teaching at least four days per week — the routine will be an hour of conversation, a break for lunch (included in the tuition fee, prepared by Tim), and then an hour of reading/writing.  We're starting at the very beginning; I'll be using New Interchange Intro for now, supplemented by a stockpile of the "Learning Post" sections from the Bangkok Post and other material I've accumulated.

I won't let my routine be interrupted by my birthday (the 3rd of December), however.  I've let everyone know I don't want a party (a big reason for this is that the birthday celebrant is the one who pays for all the food and drinks and our circle of friends has grown exponentially from the time of Tim's birthday).  I figure with Nadia's birthday (the 19th), Christmas, and New Year's all coming up that we can have one party combining all of the special days.  And I plan to limit that guestlist severely...

Well, I've just realized today (well, tomorrow in the States but it is just after one a.m. in Thailand as I write this) is Thanksgiving.  I had planned to celebrate it by seeking out a turkey dinner (I'm sure that HAS to be a restaurant somewhere on Phuket who can prepare one) and watching a DVD of a football game a friend sent me.  But we'll be boarding a bus for Bangkok tomorrow afternoon so that's enough of a break in the routine for me this week...

Happy Turkey Day!!