Wednesday, July 20, 2016

That'll ought to do it

One of my responsibilities as the International Principal is to make sure that the school (the actual building, swimming pool, parking lot, etc.) is safe and in good repair. As such, I do a couple walkthroughs every week, usually when I'm looking for someone I need to talk to ;)

Over a month ago, I noticed that there was a hole in the wall in a first grade classroom that had wires hanging out of it. Now this is very dangerous in my book so I reported it to our facilities manager (the swimming teacher, haha). I told him what and where and even gave him several photos I took with my phone. He was surprised and told me that he would get the repair man to come fix it.

I went to the room last week to make sure that it had been taken care of and found what you see in the photo below. I actually laughed out loud when I saw it and of course took a photo. It was a laugh combined with a disapproving sigh, by the way.

If you look closely, it's not just funny that they covered the hole with electrical tape. What do you see?

What I found even funnier than the repair man's flawless taping of the hole, was his backup scotch tape on top of the electrical tape! OMG, that's some doggone redneck crap right there!!

I think I'll go into the room and throw some two-sided tape on there just for good measure! Hell, I think I have some magnetic tape in my drawer as well!!!

I'm not making fun of anybody and don't want anybody to get in trouble for this...actually, it may be seen as the most reasonable solution for some at the school who are required to do things at the cheapest cost possible at times. I haven't asked yet.

Also, usually half of the things I post to the blog, I have already partially shared on Facebook. I think I'll not post this to Facebook as I have too many coworkers on there and it might look bad for our swimming teacher ;) or even me if the problem isn't PROPERLY taken care of before a kid is licking walls and happens across this shock hazard area!! On second thought...I think that electrical tape oughta do the job...in the case of licking that is ;)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Buddhist Ceremony Blessing Aloha Home


We've mentioned the Buddhist ceremony that has to be done when a new structure is completed and before people move in. Usually it's done for actual homes before the family moves in. I'm not sure that it is any different for an apartment complex.
Uncle gave us a Buddha statue as a gift :)
The monks came and gave a blessing with chants and then we fed them and gave them envelopes with money (donations) inside. As Pae and I are the owners, we joined directly in the actual ceremony. It was really tough on the ankles and knees ;)

It was a quick ceremony and after the monks ate and the main monk went to each floor to give each floor blessings by chanting and putting marks on or above the door of a room on each floor. It was cool to be a part of and cool to see. It certainly keeps the monks busy between weddings, home opening ceremonies, funerals and other things like that ;)
Here is another photo of the blessing ceremony. Pae and I, Mom and Dad and most of the family attended with a few other invited guests. No more than 40 people, so it was nice and cozy and laid back, just the way we like things.
After the ceremony, Aloha Home would be ready to be occupied from a religious/superstition standpoint. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we're almost there.


There is still a lot of work to be done before people can start moving in. We have had several people call and ask and also referrals from other apartments in the area that are full. The only thing holding us back now is waiting for the place to be livable. The rush to finish is pushed by the fact that universities start in August and students are just coming back to town and looking for apartments to live at. We're cutting it really close.


In true kid fashion, the girls all went into our "show" room and built a fort out of the boxes that held the refrigerator and television ;) The air conditioner in the room was nice and cool and it seemed to hold up to a bunch of crazy kids! The show room is one that has all of the furniture and electronics already installed. We are waiting for the rooms to be more complete and cleaned before we have the rest of the rooms completed with furniture, etc.
All floors are now officially blessed ;) They make these marks on homes, new offices, new cars, taxis, everything! It's something you will notice often if you are new to Thailand. 
After all of the guests and Monks had left, we went straight back to planning. We had to decide on where to put the eight CCTV cameras for best coverage on the property, how to best block the sun from the mini-mart and which direction to place the smoke hood for the small restaurant on the first floor. I think when we left, we had some ideas but no solid decisions had been made.
The funny thing is that now that we will be heading back to Bangkok, we won't actually be on hand for the first tenant to move in, or even by the time there are a significant number of people living there. The next time we might be able to go there is October possibly and New Years holiday is also possible depending on schedules. What we mainly have to concentrate on is working hard and paying off that loan ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Apartment Update July 15

I made it back home and met up with Pae who had been there taking care of some business for a few days already. I dropped Bubble off at the babysitter then hopped on my Nok Air flight. I got to the airport way early and discovered a food court that I didn't know existed and had some awesome Mango smoothie action...and Burger King ;)
I arrived back home to the Toyota Fortuner waiting for me at arrivals, Pae and family in the SUV. Yay! We drove towards home but had to pick up a bigger and better sign to attach to Aloha Home for advertising. The old one was like 1.5 meters by 2 meters. This one must be 2.5 meters by 3 meters! Pretty huge and only cost 800 baht to have printed!
Eventually we made it to the construction site. I walked around with Pae and Dad and took a few pictures. Today's update will have lots of photos taken from the far end of the building, rarely seen in previous updates ;) This one (above) is from the second floor looking out towards the road. It shows how much cement we've had laid so far for the parking lot. The cement will go all the way to the wall and have a cover to protect about 12 cars and 10 mopeds.
Another photo from the second floor looking towards the temple. This temple is a crematorium. Buddhists burn their dead and this is where that is performed. This might be a little disconcerting to some potential tenants. We had to take this into consideration when deciding to purchase the land and continue with the project. We think it will be fine. Only time will tell though.
Another view from the back of the property. We decided to brighten the Marina (blue) and change the Water Sprite (pastel green) to a brighter color as well. Things are pretty fluid and changing as plans and blueprints become actual touchable, see-able parts of the building.
Another temple view photo. Now that the cement of the parking lot is down and the other part of the land is muddy from the recent rain, all of the construction material is staged at the end here. There are actually workers staying in the lower rooms at the end during the work day as well.
As mentioned above, we got a bigger, better sign for Aloha Home. Here is Pae holding it up as we are about to hang it from the frame of part of the mini-mart.
I do believe that this is also NEVER BEFORE SEEN footage of Aloha Home ;) I was excited to take this photo, although I could have done without the mosquitoes that were feasting on my ankles and knees. See below for a short video that I took of the same.
The place still needs a lot of painting, the paint that is done already is just an initial coat and for us to be able to make final decisions or changes on color.
This looks much better than the smaller one. Placing it at the front of the mini-mart for now lead to a lengthy discussion on how to shade the mini-mart from the afternoon sun. And when I talk about afternoon sun, I'm talking about 40+ degrees Celsius during the summer and super direct sunshine. We're still discussing those options. Another thing that needs to be decided is on a smoke hood for the restaurant that will be there, run by P'Nut, Pae's brother and sister-in-law P'Ying.
Hat to get to bed early as the next day was the Buddhist ceremony to officially bless the place! That post will quickly follow! Looking good so far! Aloha!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Small hiccups are better that big ones

Aloha Home is nearing completion and we have quite honestly been very lucky that P'Pong and P'Neung have worked closely with the family and with us to try to make things go as smoothly as possible. From past experience with Mom's small apartment project, there are lots of things that can go wrong with the construction, planning and even the people building the structure.

We are just now running into some smaller problems that probably stem from a combination of "the fog of war" and "battle fatigue" if you will along with poor customer service.

Let me explain. Fog of war and battle fatigue are perhaps a little over the top, but at the tail end of the construction has been a lot of decision making responsibility for Mom and Dad. They have sometimes talked to us about the decisionns if they were big decisions; color scheme, number and size of washing machines, etc. But some smaller decisions they have handled by themselves. These things are coming fast and hard and multiple things per day that need to be considered and handled.

Some of those things are not just "things" like washing machines, televisions, cable tv installation, wifi installation, curtains, furniture, refrigerators, etc. Along with each of these things comes lots of details and planning (even construction planning).

Washing machines- Size? Load capacity? Turning it into a coin operated machine. How much to charge for each machine? Cemented area where the machines will be located. Will we have a cover to protect them from sun and rain? Will we have a CCTV camera monitoring this area? Wiring electricity to wherever the machines will be placed. (Many of these decisions need to be made before we actually have the machines, but for some, we need to know exactly what machine and it's energy usage, ect. before completing the associated work. Pae has just decided on the washing machines as she is back home helping out for the week.

Televisions- Not only do we need to decide what brand and size to buy (we did) but also how to install. Mount on the wall vs. sit on a table or tv stand. This is where I see a problem but others don't see the problem, so for me, it can slide for now. I'll explain. When we were considering furniture for the apartment, I wanted to have the flatscreen tvs mounted using brackets on the wall. Safer and saves room. After everybody talked about it, a decision was made to buy small tv stands for each room and just have them stand there, unmounted.

Not sure when, but recently the decision was reversed and they decided to mount them on the wall. Problem is that P'Pong, based on our original decision not to mount them, placed the electric outlet near the floor. Now we have mounted televisions with a black cord hanging down to the socket against a white wall background. Had there been a tv stand there, it wouldn't be visible. It's a small thing, but something I noticed and asked about. It is too much work to go back and bash holes into the walls and put in new outlets behind the televisions, so we shall leave it like it is.

Mom and Dad have been running around talking to people about internet and cable options. These aren't as easy either as there are lots of installment requirements, drilling of holes in walls, outlet considerations that need to be made prior to the walls being finished and painted...but we didn't have our decisions made on cable company or internet provider until recently so P'Pong just finished the walls and outlets/sockets and cable access points in each room based on where the tv was supposed to go. I don't think we will have any problem with internet or cable, but the work that went into the decisions required lots of time, travel, phone calls, sales pitches and stress as everything seems to be hitting Mom and Dad and Pae all at the same time and everything is kinda intertwined.

Curtains- A week or so ago, Pae went home for a wedding and was able to choose a color and style of curtains. After she came home, Mom made the order. With the order, of course, would be the curtain maker getting the size of the windows being curtained. I would assume that the curtain maker would either go to the site himself and measure or ask for specific measurements. This didn't happen, or didn't happen as I would expect.

Mom and Dad gave the man the measurements for the window. Window size, if you can imagine, is not the size that a curtain should be. The curtain will be set above the window frame some 10 centimeters and below perhaps 20 centimeters. But, based on the numbers given by Mom, the curtain maker just made the curtains the exact size of the window...so...um...no.

Twenty rooms worth of curtains are already made. They are the wrong size. We are not sure if they will serve their purpose (privacy, light reduction, insulation of cooled air, etc.) if they barely cover the window. So, now the plan is to just take a look after they install one curtain and rod. If it is indeed ridiculous looking and not going to be fit for purpose, Mom will take them to her apartment and replace the curtains there and we will order new ones. Again, we're half a year into construction and if this is going to be one of our biggest problems, I'll take it!!!

Furniture- Similar to only me worrying about the television cords looking out of place, there is something that Pae thought about that nobody else even considered. Furniture placement seems like it's already sorted out based on the placement of the entry door to the room. This forces the bed to be placed away from the door. The problem arose when Pae envisioned the layout of the rooms and realized that half of the rooms in the apartment would sleep with their feet pointing towards the temple across the street.

It is culturally rude to point the bottoms of your feet at people here in Thailand. Pointing them at a Buddhist statue, spirit house or Temple must be even more taboo!! Mom doesn't see a problem with it as there is a road and two fences constructed between the tenants and the temple. NOt just this, but Dad believes that people should always sleep from east to west or west to east. I'm not sure what that is based on, haha.

Pretty amazing right? Things that I would absolutely never ever consider, mostly based on a difference in culture ;) Interesting and makes me happy that I've been away from my home culture for so long, yet still am learning about the culture here. Ultimately, the tenants will be able to move their furniture around in their rooms to satisfy their personal beliefs.

Refrigerators- Another oversight by the customer (us) and piss-poor customer service. I often tell Pae that I think many people here in part time customer service roles are just at their jobs collecting a paycheck monthly. The less they have to do, the better. And I think it holds true for our refrigerator order. So, after deciding what model of refrigerator we wanted way back when, an order was actually put in. Mom and Dad or P'Pong, whoever ordered the 20 fridges, failed to specify a certain color. Most of the smaller fridges here come in 4 or 5 different colors; beige, white, silver, green, blue, etc.

That's right, we received shipment of the refrigerators and it was just a hodgepodge of assorted colors, with most of them being the least popular (worst selling color) green. Now, I would expect that the sales person would have the responsibility to ask the customer what color they wanted considering they come in different colors and each color would have a different SKU code and model number.

If not at the point of sale, the person filling the order or loading the machines on the delivery truck would need to know which color machines to grab from the warehouse or more than. Zero, nothing. The customer didn't specify what color? Take these ones that nobody buys and deliver them. Horrible customer service, but to be honest, to be expected here (from experience, not being mean).

I must say, again, that most of our small problems are coming near the end when everything is frenzied and happening so fast. I wish I could be there but I can't. I wish we could have been more involved in the daily decisions because I tend to be a stickler for details and perhaps would have caught some of these oversights or asked too many annoying questions as I tend to do ;) Or perhaps I would have also just missed some of these details, you really never know how you will react until you're under all of that pressure.

I'm glad Pae is there right now and can be a part of the decision making process. I appreciate all of the work and time that Mom and Dad have put into the project on our behalf. We'll get it all figured out. I am confident that out of the one million people in the province, Aloha Home will fit the needs up to twenty of them ;)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Aloha Home Banner

This wouldn't make a bad "handout" or something to stick on mopeds at the local mal to advertise our open rooms ;)
As the construction is in its final stages on Aloha Home, the family put together a small banner to hang from the building so passersby would know that we are opening in early August. The font and name "Aloha Home" was just put together by someone back home, quickly, so we had no input into that. We are still looking into options for signage that will stick out into the road for people to see and for advertising.

I guess maybe we should have a page on Facebook? Not sure yet.

This banner basically says all of the things that we offer; Monthly rent, free wifi internet and cable t.v., A/C, hot water, fridge, television, full set of furniture, CCTV for security, convenient and safe parking. It also gives contact info and says that we will be opening for business August 1st ;)
The real thing

We'll be there in a week to do the Buddhist ceremony (I think) to officially welcome Aloha Home to the world ;)

Updates forthcoming...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Editing Grammar Exams

I wasn't asked to edit the grammar midterm exams that I was copied on, but after opening a few of them I decided that I should have a more detailed look and pass on some advice to those who created them.

I can't share the exact words of the exam as it is against school policy, but I will give an example of one thing that really bothers me.

There is a section on the grammar midterm (fifth grade level) that is looking for plurals of nouns. There are five nouns given where the student has to write the plural (irregular ones; mouse - mice, foot - feet, for example...). But they are given the correct answers in a "word box" at the top of the section. They have to choose the correct answer and write it on the line next to the noun given. This is fifth grade mind you. **I'm changing it to something totally different than the actual exam even the grammar, but it will be easy to see why I am annoyed ;)

Word Box: baby dog, baby cat, baby rabbit, baby fish, baby elephant, baby tiger
1) What is a newborn dog called?           __________
2) What is a newborn fish called?            __________
3) What is a newborn cat called?            __________
4) What is a newborn rabbit called?        __________
5) What is a newborn elephant called?    __________
6) What is a newborn tiger called?          __________

There is zero challenge in this line of questioning. Note, in the above example I wrote "baby dog" rather than puppy...just imagine that "baby dog" was what we call baby dogs...the point is, with the irregular plural grammar, like mouse/mice...if you can think of four or five more commons ones, it helps o see where I'm coming from ;)...imagine the lack of challenge if there is a word box!!

Had they simply required the student to write "puppy", "kitten" or "cub" with a word box, that is more understandable. But giving them the answers is ridiculous and zero challenge.

I have suggested to change this section, or at least just delete the word box that gives the students a choice of what answers to fill in for each question. Who knows what will be done in the end. It benefits the school if the students do well on their exams. It makes the parents (customers) happy and feel like they are getting value for the tuition they arepaying...so, perhaps they are going for less challenging.

I understand that we are a private school and we need to make the customers happy, but I'm still bothered when the students are seemingly given a free ride.

p.s. I've just had a look at the fourth grade midterm...much better, same material, same grammar, just no word box, more difficult, a better indicator of a student's understanding of the grammar ;)

Food Chain Drills

In sixth grade class, we have been studying ecosystems. Today we had to figure out how Food Chains and Food Webs are related.

Diatom ----> Krill ----> Squid ----> Sea birds ----> Killer whale

So this is an example of a food chain in an Antarctic ecosystem.

With this, as English as a Second Language students, we got to learn new words such as "overlapping" and even "chain". Not rocket science, but again, it's not their first language.

As we drew different food chains on the board and dissected an Antarctic food web into its individual food chains, we practiced reading the food chains like reading sentences.

In the food chains however, the arrow points from the organism being eaten to the organism doing the eating. This brings a lot of more difficult grammar into play, but most of the kids do okay as long as we practice a lot.

We practiced verbalizing the diagrams, for example, "Diatoms are eaten by krill, krill are eaten by squid, squid are eaten by sea birds, etc."


From the video, you can hear the students say "Sea birds is eaten by the killer whale", to which their grammar is corrected...singular vs. plural, is vs. are.

But what you don't see in the short clip is some kids are very clever and catch my words, "Sea birds is plural" rather than "Sea birds are plural" while I'm telling them that they have to use "are" for plural sea birds...haha...so a couple were a little sketchy as to whether I knew my own grammar ;) But I explained to them that when I was referring to "sea birds", I was referring to them as "the term" sea birds, so, "the term is plural" rather than "the term are plural".

Confused yet? Haha, luckily only the kids who were  actually listening to what I was saying and thinking about it were the ones who will ask questions when they are confused or don't understand ;) Heck, even something like Fish or Krill you can say "Krill is eaten by" or "Krill are eaten by" so, yeah...

Odd, when I whipped out my camera to record, the students tend to put more effort into the drills. Otherwise, half of them need to have more "motivation" ;) I guess they know that the video will be shared in their groups and such. The girls in the back row actually yelled, "Wait teacher!" as the messed with their hair...trying to make it look nice before filming. I just gave them a blank stare ;)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Apartment Update- The Colors of Aloha?

Pae is coming home tonight. Yay.

She had a very productive trip back home , even though she went for a wedding, she was able to hold some crunch meetings with P'Pong and the family concerning some loose ends. Now that she has tied these loose ends, certain parts of the construction can continue.

Before Pae left here, we sat and decided some basic color combos that we liked. We were unsure of some of the colors and how they looked in reality compared to the mock ups that P'Pong sent to us. Pae found the actual color palates and sat down with P'Pong and decided on what colors to use for the design. Just for the record, here are the colors ;)

PLATINUM- The color of the major part of the building, front and sides. The back is painted a different color.
FLINT- The back of the building is painted Flint, which is a darker grey. They did this a long time ago as we needed to get it painted quickly, hadn't decided on colors and because nobody is really ever going to see this side of the building as it is about 1.5 meters away from the neighbor's apartment building. The handrails of the stairwell as well as the walkway handrails will also be painted Flint.

MARINA- Two of the decorative rectangles will be colored Marina, a nice medium blue color that we both like. We are still not sure if there will be a Marina color square on the street-facing side of the building, we are having a hard time figuring out if it's worth making it stick out (3D) from the wall at the extra expense. P'Pong and P'Neung are designing it, they will give us a cost, then we will decide.
WATER SPRITE- Another of the decorative parts of the building will be this pastel green color called Water Sprite. It took the place of Misty Cove as was previously pictured. Getting a feel of Aloha yet? Greens and blues, the land and the ocean. Grey? Well, there's always a 50% chance of rain in Hawaii ;)
BURNISHED SUN- And what is Hawaii without the sun? Burnished Sun took the place of Vanilla to brighten things up a little bit decoratively. "To burnish: to polish, make sparkle, make bright, shine".

Now, that's the Hawaii I know, because even though there's a 50% chance of rain almost everyday...the flip side is that there is a 75% chance of SUN!!! What the what??? Yup, that's right...How many times was I rained on when living in Hawaii, when there seemed to be no clouds in the sky? Often enough to where 75% + 50% = 100%
Pae also picked out curtains with mom. We couldn't really decide together but the result is nice. The hoop style curtain that we wanted was too expensive but more than that, they were not machine washable, which made it an easy decision to choose the pleated ones instead.
We went with the white curtain rods as well. The rooms will be painted white, so this will just blend in with the wall and not be too noticeable. I think it's going to look nice!
Can't wait for Pae to get home. I should actually be getting on the road towards the airport right about now! More updates coming.

Aloha!!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Apartment Update- Sliding Glass Doors and Soggy Gooey DIrt

As I mentioned in a previous post, Pae is back home for a wedding. One of her flight attendant friends is getting married, so lots of the girls flew to the wedding this weekend. While waiting for Sunday, Pae has been meeting with P'Pong and P'Neung, talking about little things, making decisions of little things and going to the bank to deal with loan things. Lots of things!!

I'm going to leave some pictures here of things that she sent back to me, since I'm still in Bangkok.
The "rolldowns" of the "minimart" are cream color. In our color scheme examples, they were colored colors to match the other colors of the building. P'Pong just told us that it has to remain cream color and can't be painted. That sucks, but it'll look great, just not exactly as we were planning.
The apartment is looking fine. It has a coat of primer on the front and is just waiting for the final decision on the color scheme. I think we're getting pretty close to that decision. It has to be made before Pae comes home ;)
They started laying some cement (three meters from the apartment) today. Pae and Dad were there to watch a little and take some photos.
They not only poured cement in front of the apartment, but behind as well. I'm sure the neighbor had their eyes on the workers, looking for any misstep that they could complain about or try to get compensation for ;)
You will notice that the back of the building has already been painted. The color of the paint is called "Flint" and is the same color that we plan to paint the hand rails on the front. Basically grey.
Before they can do any more cement for the parking lot, far right of our property, they need to remove all of the old dirt and junk that is currently laying there.
Not sure when that will happen. Truthfully, we're not even sure if the parking "structure" will be finished by the time people start moving in. We really didn't want to pave the whole rest of the property. We love green, we love plants, but the soil that is there is sticky clay that gets really nasty when it rains. That forced us to have to cement the whole thing. We'll have small trees or something along the wall, behind the parking cover, but for now, that's all we will be able to do as far as green goes.
Frosted sliding doors lead from the room to the "balcony/bathroom"
About tenants...the security guy from the apartment across from us and down one lot came by and told dad that ten people have recently come to him and asked if there were any open rooms...there is demand. That is good ;)
Windows and doors are looking great
The surprise of the day came when Pae went to pick up some girls at the airport who came for tomorrow's wedding. They brought a gift for Aloha Home ;)
**It could be a gift for the happy couple getting married tomorrow, haha, I haven't spoken to Pae yet..I just saw it online and it certainly looks like it's for Aloha Home. Wouldn't that be embarrassing! Well, I'm putting the photo here anyway! So much for fact checking!
It would be nice as a wedding gift too. I remember we got several wooden ships from guests when we got married!! Two to be exact.
She's coming along nicely. No more than a month and we should be able to open for business. Wish us luck! I am confident that Aloha Home will be a nice little place for people to call home. Eventually we will be able to move back home as well and be able to take care it on a daily basis and be more involved than we have been up to this point.

My Last Group of Sixth Graders?

This year may be the last year that I teach, but then again, it may not. There is really no telling what the school has in store for us or me specifically.

The International Principal role takes up so much of my time with preparations, communications, observations, interviews, coordination...pretty much everything you can think of and then lots of things that you (and even I) wouldn't expect. So, there is no "routine" for me, so to speak.

The only thing that is routine is my arrival at campus. I arrive around 7:30 and clock in. If I'm lucky, I've made it to the third floor Teachers' Room without being delayed. Open the door to the room, to set up my computer, pour a cup of coffee, say hello to all of the teachers...but before I can even sit down, before I can get my backpack off of my shoulders, I'm bombarded with the problems that will become half of my day's work. THAT is pretty routine ;)

I'm not complaining, it is what it is and I've grown to expect it. Sometimes, on a Monday morning, I forget what's on the other side of the door and cheerfully, wanting to start the school week off with a positive feeling. I open the door..."Ahhhhh! Guy! I have a problem!" Hahaha! Like clockwork!! Love it!

This year, my teaching hours have been cut so that I can concentrate on the IP responsibilities. I have eight contact hours weekly and to be honest, it's turning out to be a lot. I'm not sure if they'll still have me teaching next year or not. For me, I don't care really. I think that if i didn't teach, I'd miss it. I'd miss the daily interaction with the students. If I do end up teaching, I know I'll be busy with IP stuff as well as the preparation, grading, assessing and reporting that goes along with teaching.

Again, not a complaint, just an observation with an eye towards next year.

Whatever the case may be, I thought I'd throw a couple collages up of my current sixth graders. I have 35 in total in two separate classes.
Starting at the top, left to right: Mook, Milk, First, TenTen, Prach, Khaoklong, Thun, Tongkao, Pheem, Khunwang, Vanda, May, Prim, Punchty, Tony (Formerly known as Harry), Yok, Satang, Meen, Jeehye, and Yours truly
Above is my first group of sixth graders. They are a pretty good mix of boys and girls which is not normal. Usually I have a girl heavy group of kids one year and the next year a boy heavy group will come up from fifth grade. There is a lot of ability in this class, some of them have tapped into their potential but others are just going with the flow and doing the minimum allowed (which here means they can get away with doing squat).
CJ, Gwang, Pao, Prae, Khimmy, Camp, Cheer, Dream, Pop, Smart, Simone, Tah (Ninja), Gee, PunPun, Prem, and the dungeon keeper
And, my second group. These ones can really get under your skin, but they're just kids. There seems to be no "in between" in this group. They are either top of the class...or...rock bottom of the group. That said, a few of the rock bottom students have shown some progress this year.

So, these kids will be gone next year, off to high school (high school starts at seventh grade here). It remains to be seen if I'll get the new sixth graders or if they will have a new teacher for that level and leave me to my principal duties ;)

Apartment Update- Poopy and the Beast

Sorry, but I just had to share ;) Our bathrooms now have toilets installed. Aloha Home now has pooability!!
Pae is presently back home for a wedding and has been to the construction site. She will be finalizing some things such as paint scheme with P'Pong today. We think that we can have the building painted by mid-July and we should be able to move people into rooms Early August! There will still be unfinished work on the driveway and parking lot, but that all depends on if we can get a good break in the rain.

Exciting, scary...lots of unknown factors that come as they come and we deal with them as well as we can. Right now, our two biggest "problems" are 1) Rain has slowed the work and 2) The next door apartment owner is "harassing" P'Pong about the effect the construction is having on her apartment.

Rain...the workers just have to wait it out. The difficult part is that they are paid by the day, not by the job. So, if P'Pong calls them in to do some job that should take 8 hours, but it rains after 4 hours, they have to come finish the next day...double payment ;) P'Pong is managing everything beautifully, at least from where I'm sitting it seems like it :)

Neighbor...if you remember, her building is all kinds of illegally built based on property laws and statutes. We are just listening to her complaints now and waiting for our building to be completed and occupied. Once that happens, she can complain all she wants. I guess we can have someone from the government office stop by and see if there is anything wrong with OUR building vs. HER building. It sucks to have a problem with the neighbor before the building is even finished. It's always best to have a happy neighborhood ;)

Hopefully Aloha Home will bring some happiness to that neighborhood...our neighborhood!

Oh! Almost forgot, WE HAVE AN ADDRESS! Aloha Home has officially been given a street address. I won't share the address here, for obvious reasons, but even something as tiny as having a real address assigned by the city is quite exciting for us.
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