News Flash: I’m a nerd in two languages.

A small forewarning, this post has no direction and is likely to be all over the place, kind of like my mood at the moment (but in a good way). First things first, improper grammar makes me cringe, except if it’s my own. Also, there’s nothing like a good spelling bee that impresses the pants off of me. Put the two together (grammar and spelling) and you’ve got my brain all hot and bothered. Now add in the fact that I’m learning a new language. It drives me crazy that I mess up sentence structures. It’s one of my motivating factors for studying so much. Well friends, I’ve got good news. Thanks to the lovely people in the Peace Corps Thailand IRC (essentially our library) I will soon be receiving Thai Reference Grammar: The Structure of Spoken Thai by James Higbie and Snea Thinsan. Just the way to get me randy. I’m literally counting down the days until I can expect to get it and then devour it.

The other nerd factor is hard to admit in open forum. Obviously the only people who actually take the time to read this blog are people who already know how much of a freak I am, but it’s still difficult to put it out there in print. First step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one, so, here we go. Hi, my name is Erin, and I’m a Harry Potter-oholic (-insert dull, ‘Hi Erin,’ here-). Since I was in sixth grade, I’ve been obsessed with all things HP. While never going down the dark, twisted path of costumed paraphernalia, I was one of those people who waited outside Barnes and Noble from 6pm until midnight so that I could get my copy as soon as possible. One year, I even went to a party and ignored everyone else after I got my book so that I could read it. God, I’m such a freak. Now being the ripe old age of 22, I have grown out of it a neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet-noi bit, but I definitely still read all seven books at least once a year (don’t worry, I’ve already done it once for 2011). Well friends, if you haven’t guess by now, I think you’re a silly ba-ba-bo-bo. I now have, in my possession, my very own, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows………in Thai.

You know it's bad when you can't even make out the letters in the title.

Before I even came to Thailand, I made a goal to read Harry Potter, in Thai, before my two years of service ended. This might seem like a silly goal, but I think it’s a legit one. I mean, it’s not like it’s War and Peace (something that I haven’t even managed in English yet), but harder than ‘today, I went to school and then came home with Meh’ (my current reading level). The funny thing is, when we had our mid-training interviews, I mentioned this goal to our Cross Cultural Coordinator and she asked me whether I though this was a realistic goal………….um, excuse me? This was probably the worst possible thing she could have said to me…or the best. Nothing gets me more amped up then someone asserting that I can’t do something. Way to go Adjaan Suchawadee, you just lit a fire under my ass in the name of reading Thai (which might have been her strategy all along, she’s sneaky enough to pull something like that off). Since getting to site, reading has become my number one priority for my SDL and I’m FINALLY starting to make some progress. Well, enough that my cockiness has encouraged me to buy Harry Potter. Phew, thank you language gods for your assistance on that one.

In other news, I went on a bpai tiao today to another province, I think it was Suphanburi? Anywho, what I thought was going to be a legit pickup for school uniforms or something of the sort (my Thai isn’t that great still) actually turned out to be a pizza and Tesco Lotus run for me and two other school peeps. I’m not complaining. I engorged myself with delicious farang food and the Thai mothering instinct of ‘feed-the-farang’ was in full force. (Like that alliteration? I know I did.) The reason that I mention it though is not to discuss how much I’m missing cheese, pizza, or anything else of the sort (oh but I am), but to point out the awesomeness that is about Pittsburgh, PA. I know, I know, I couldn’t wait to leave and am ready to spend the rest of my life traveling the world being a hobo, but there are times when I get a little taste of home that make me proud of where I’m from.

There are a lot of really cool things that have come out of the ‘City of Bridges.’ It’s the birthplace of the Mr. Yuck sticker, the first emoticon (thanks CMU computer nerds!), Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, the awesome sports teams Penguins, Pirates, and Steelers (oh my), um me, and of course, Heinz Ketchup. There are all kinds of stories that go behind Heinz and believe me, I’ve heard a decent amount of them being a history major at Pitt. As a child, there are a few cardinal rules you’re taught to abide by:  hate the Cleveland Browns and almost anything to do with the city, you must own an authentic Terrible Towel and know the respective ‘Here we go Steelers, Here we go’ chant, and, of course, it is a sin to consume other tomato sauce products not produced by Heinz. Now throughout my travels, I’ve had to let this go a bit, but I always get excited when I go to other countries and spot a Heinz bottle. So, here’s my little tribute to the ‘burgh.

Love that half of the bottle is in Thai.

In ending this post, just would like to leave with a little anecdote of advice my coteacher gave me when I told my Meh that yes, I really do want to bike, by myself, to my other school, about 10ish km away (my meh wanted to make sure that I meant to say what I did say and of course, dragged poor Aom in to translate when I clearly managed to convey both my actions and feelings about the matter effectively; no, I am not afraid to go alone because I want to be independent):

Things to be wary of:

1. Dogs (duh, I’ve heard about this for months now)

2. Motorcycles (another obvious one)

3. Don’t go too far (their idea of too far is about 2km)

4. Don’t go into the jungle (um, hello, we’re living in the jungle?)

5. People on drugs (wtf????)

This is my life. Things are starting to look up.

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4 thoughts on “News Flash: I’m a nerd in two languages.

  1. Erin!!! You are cracking me up!! That Heinz is in every part of the world. I can picture your future house with different Heinz bottles from all over the world stacked in book shelves. LOL. Alright, maybe not but you probable could start a collection if you have nothing else to collect. Harry Potter is not at the top of my list of books to read and to think of it, I have not read any of them or the silly vampire ones. I am more into the non-fiction books ie: serial killers, military secret missions, and good old biographies. But that’s just me. I’m loving your goal. The interviewer may just be sneeky enough to push you to your potential. Do you see yourself ever doing something like this past the required two years?

    I have a heart attack story to share with you. I didnt actually have a heart attack but it sure felt like I would have one. Well, two weeks ago Joanna and I went to go pick up a new TV for the house. I purchased one at Sears. While I was taking to the sales guy she left to go pick up some make up (Why she wears any, I have no idea). When she can back she informed me that Sammual Diamonds has 5 years no interest financing. (That is the same place I bought her ring from just weeks earlier) She told me she wanted to go look at rings with me. I tried my best to changes subjects, tell her I was tired, I was hungry and needed to eat, and any other excuse to get me out of taking her there. So as we talked toward the jewelry store (LOL, I obviously didnt win that one) my heart was pounding. Two thoughts came to mind. First, the people there would recognize me and say something to blow “Operation Proposal.” Second, she would see the ring I got her and say she doesnt like it. My mind was going a million miles a minute. But like the cool, calm, and collect kind of guy I am, she had no idea I was killing myself inside. LOL

    Upn walking into the jewelry store I made sure she went in first so she couldnt see what I was doing behind her. The manager looked up and saw me. We made eye contact and before he could say hello I was acting out “Sssshhhh, sssshhhhh, sssshhhhh.” All at the same time while pointing at Joanna from behind her. The manager caught on right away. Joanna some how headed right for the jewlery case where the “Passion Stones” were kept. (Passion Stone is the maker/ style of ring I got her.) Lucky for me the exact ring was not in the case. She began to look and try on different styles. After she starts looking through a catologe book which I kow has a few pictures and descriptions of the ring. Page after page I ask what she thinks of certain rings. “Oh that’s nice, so is that one.” Finally we come to the page with the actually ring I got for her on it. I asked, “What about this one, do you like it?” (Very casually and as if I didnt care about her response) She replied, “Oh wow, that one is beautiful!” My heart seemed to jump out of my chest and I seemed to be floating around. LOL What a relief!!

    Next the manager was showing us different center stones. She absolutely loves Emerald cut diamonds. Why? I have no idea. They are boring, plain, and have no sparkle to them. A few days before… actually two days before, I purchase a round cut diamond at a different jewelry shop. I was suppost to pick it up in a couple days. As we were looking at different diamond the manager asked what she likees. She responded, “Emerald cut.” Wow who would have guessed that one… Oh I know… me! LOL She added though that she wanted something that really sparkles. The emerald cut is at the bottom of the list for diamonds that sparkle. The manager explained that then proceeded to show us some round cut diamonds which have some of the most sparkle for your money.

    Basically, at the end of looking at all the diamond she turned to me and said, “you know what? I think I really love the round cut diamonds now.” YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt like I just scored the winning touchdown with no time left on the clock in the SuperBowl! YES! LOL. To keep her from getting any more ideas on rings/ engagements/ getting married, I made her a little promise. (This is just how mean I am when she has no idea what is actually about to happen.) I told Joanna, “I promise once the fridge and the TV are paid off in about a year, we will seriously start looking at rings and taking the next step.” Her face lite up like a Christmas tree. She was so excited!! Yes, I know… I’m a jerk…. I will probably get hit for that one after she remembers I said it. LOL But it will all be worth it. Well, I hope you got a laugh. I konw most the people I todl sure did, including her family. LOL

    I miss you cuz and I cant wait to hear more stories and adventures. Be safe and watch out for dogs, motorcycles, and of course anyone on drugs. LOL

    Jimmy Clouse

    • So happy to hear about the mission!!!! I’m so looking forward to hearing all about her reaction after the bomb finally drops! I love these stories, they make me so happy.

  2. Pingback: Welcome to Nerdville: Population One | Erin Flew the Coop

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