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Showing posts from August, 2015

I Bought Zucchini! and Other Highlights of Saturday in Mandalay

I deviated from my normal Saturday routine today.  I really didn't need more vegetables and since fruit choices are fairly limited now, I opted to skip my usual Saturday morning trip to Mingalar market for produce.  Instead, I went for a drive through the rice paddies.  Here are some photos:

Please come back - the internet is too slow now to upload more of the photos I took.

After the relaxing drive through the rice paddies, I spent a couple of hours at the salon being pampered.  Next was a trip to Citimart.  They had Australian imported iceberg lettuce and zucchini.  Ironic, in August to be paying top dollar for zucchini when some people can't give it away, but those people aren't in Myanmar.

Another lovely Saturday.

Another Typical Day...For a Queen

I did my normal chores today.  Here are some of the highlights (if you can call any errands highlights):

Mingalar market - nice to see all the smiles from my usual vendors.  Disappointing that there isn't a big variety of fruit in season now but I got a couple of pineapples, bananas and fresh coconut. 

I picked up the "dresses" that I'd had custom made.  Ok, they're moomoos.  I gave them a mu'umu'u (moomoo in Samoan) that I brought from Samoa along with some fabric I bought in Mandalay.  Total cost of sewing/fabric - $5 each.  My favorite mu'umu'u, which was made by a friend and co-teacher in Samoa had been damaged in Myanmar.  One of the ladies who does my laundry and cleans my apartment (have I mentioned I'm spoiled?) let the iron stay on it for too long and burned a whole.  The seamstress patched it as a gift.  BTW, I chose a lovely sky blue fabric for one of the mu'umu'us.  I'm wearing it now and it is very comfortable but I can&…

Should You Visit Myanmar During the 2015 Election?

Tourism experts in Myanmar are predicting a significant drop in the number of tourists during high season, 2015/16.  That's normally November - February, which is also the time for the best weather in Myanmar.

An historic election is scheduled to be held in early November, 2015.  That seems to have created concerns about visiting the country during that time.  The government has already started hiring additional police to start in September to help guard against any violent protests or activities.

I can't predict the future but am not concerned about being here during the election.  I do plan to be cautious.  I don't discuss local politics.  I don't go near rallies or large crowds.  I am keeping up my normal routine, visiting the local stores, restaurants, markets and pagodas.  To this point, there has been absolutely no problems that I've encountered.

The other expats and I have a game we play when out and about.  It's based on "slug buggy", an old game…

Mandalay in August

I've only been home in Mandalay for 2 1/2 weeks but it feels as if I never left.  School has started again, I'm back in my normal routine and life is good.

Last week, I took one of the new teachers with me to Mingalar for some produce shopping.  It was raining when we walked in to the covered market.  When we walked out, water was knee deep in the street.

This is just typical rain during the rainy season.  It is NOTHING compared to the devastating flooding in most other parts of the country.  Within hours, this water had, for the most part, gone away. 

I love being back to the Myanmar prices.  The dollar is currently strong against the Kyat.  Yesterday I exchanged $200 and got 250,000 K.  Before I left for summer vacation the exchange was around $200 = 198,000 K.

Prices in shops, markets and restaurants have gone up a bit to compensate but at places like Style Star (my favorite hair/nail salon), the prices remain the same.  Yesterday I got a manicure/pedicure; leg and foot scrub/…

Lived Through the First Week of School, But it Left a Mark

Orientation week was rough.  Too many meetings, not enough time to work with my new Assistant Teacher, Susie, to get our room/materials ready.  Ready or not, the kids arrived on August 10, 2015.

They're cute, smart, funny and energetic.  We spent the first week getting to know each other and practicing our routine and procedures.  Most now know that in the morning when they arrive, they put away everything from their backpacks, get out a slate to write "Today I feel...........because........" and then get their morning work sheet and get busy.

I write those directions on the board and they can read them!  Last year, nope.  Huge step ahead.  Thanks to our AIS kindergarten/Montessori teachers!

In addition to teaching a new group of first graders, I'm also leading our AIS Myanmar Flood Response effort.  I feel so lucky to have been so readily accepted in Myanmar - only seems right that I do whatever I can to help in the recovery from the devastating floods.

I'm also lea…

Back Home in Mandalay

This is going to be a quick update.  It's 4:57 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.  My body is still trying to adjust to an 11 1/2 hour time change (and I used to complain about DST!) and arriving with a nasty cold.  I'm getting there but still dozing off at 8:00 p.m. and waking up too early.

Instead of lying in bed thinking about all I have to do before the littles arrive for the first day of school next Monday, I decided to get up and moving.  But first, a quick update.

School staff were waiting at the airport and as usual, immigration was no problem.  Driving through Mandalay to the school felt both so familiar and different.  Dusty, scruffy, crowded and so different from Lake Mary, a planned community with manicured road medians, gated communities and homeowner associations who rule with iron fists.

My apartment had been cleaned and reorganized a bit.  It took me less than an hour to unpack and get things sorted out.  That was Thursday.  Friday I woke up early and went to school…