It’s pretty hard to believe that July is almost over and done with. We’re at 2 months and change until we’re back in the states at this point, and I’ve been following my jokingly-laid out original plan pretty much to the day. I was figuring on taking about a month to a month and a half to stop freaking out over being away from everything and everyone, at which point I would start to settle down into a routine, and by the time it came time to go, I’d probably wonder where the time went. So far, I seem to be right on track. August is probably going to roll right on by too, considering all the stuff we’ve already got lined up. Tryn has two long weekends, at least one of which we’ll spend hanging out on an island, and we also have some kind of giant, world-famous rave that’s in Asia for the first time ever.
On the getting-my-head-knocked-off front, Watcharachai Gym looks like it’s a winner, so hopefully I can stick around there for the rest of my time in Thailand. The head trainer spent all of my pad rounds with him doing some serious technical nitpicking, which as Tryn pointed out, is what I came here for to begin with. Of course, the other guy I worked with was a crotchety old Thai man who smoked between rounds, who represented the other half of what I came here for. I must not have been hitting hard enough for his liking, considering after the first two punches I threw he smacked me in the head with the pad and yelled “COME ON! POWAAA!” Followed immediately by me trying to keep my glee to myself, because he probably would have socked me again if I started laughing. Technical correction is great, and definitely something I need, but there’s something to be said for just going balls-out the whole time, too. Reminds me of a fencing coach or two that I’ve had. I also got to spar and clinch with some of the Thais, one of whom is a champion in his weightclass, and the other who has over 150 fights. I didn’t know either of these things before I started working with them, which is really probably for the best. I got completely ragdolled in the clinch by the first guy, who’s about 20kgs lighter than me. That’s 40-ish pounds, and I’m looking pretty good in the low 140s right now. Deflated ego Eric’s ego has been deflated. So all in all, it was a pretty great experience, although I may have overdone it a bit. I only intended to stay from Wednesday to Friday, but Tryn decided she wanted to come down after work and train too, so I ended up going through Sunday. Oops.
This weekend, we actually get to cook again! Which is a stupid thing to get excited about, but I really do miss it. We’re visiting one of Tryn’s friends from orientation, and for some reason, her house has a stove in it. I’ll have to hope that I haven’t slipped so much that I don’t burn the house down. They probably wouldn’t appreciate that much.
I’ve learned something that I suspect all of my teacher friends already know- children are walking little bags of disease and contagion. Tryn got bronchitis two weeks ago from one of her kids, which jumped ship over to me and switched it up into a sinus infection. Thankfully we’re both in the clear at this point, except for some residual coughing. She swears her kids are adorable, but I don’t see them on a daily basis, so I really only know them as living plague vectors. I guess it’s a small glimpse into the future once we start spawning.
It hasn’t really been an overly-exciting couple of weeks since I last wrote, I don’t think. The visa thing is still not taken care of, due to nobody being all that certain of what papers I need. We think we have it nailed down at this point, so now Tryn just has to corner her boss about it and actually get the damn things. This hasn’t been particularly easy, considering nobody in the school seems overly interested in helping me out with immigration. It’ll get done one way or the other, even if I have to drag her boss by the hair to the immigration office with me. It’s just aggravating in the meantime.
Most of the last few weeks has been doing some gym recon. There wasn’t anything wrong with the one I’d been training at, but it hit me that I’m not really going to have this chance again, so I want to swing around to as many as I can while I’m here. Although, at the same time, I’d kind of like to find a home base and make some friends while I’m at it. Next up on the list is a place called Watcharachai Gym, which is run by a former fighter of the year award winner, who went 13-0 in that year . He’s also one of the trainers/fighters from Kaewsamrit, which you might recall I mentioned a few entries ago is Primo’s gym while he’s over here. Obviously I’m pretty psyched to go get some work in there this week. If it works out, I’ll hang around there for a while and see if I can get a fight once I get my weight down to where it needs to be for that. Although I’ve already lost 15 pounds since I got here, so Jaa-ification is proceeding well.
That’s about it for now. I’ve hit the sort of weekly routine where I haven’t got as much to say as often, just because I don’t think anyone really gives a crap about “Went to training, ate rice, almost got run over trying to cross the street” updates. Settling in is good, but I’m still looking forward to coming home. And steak.
I’ve reached a point where I occasionally have problems thinking of what to write here. There’s really only so many times I can tell everyone about training, or how hot it is, or eating parts of animals that I’m probably happier not knowing. So I’ll move onto a new topic- bureaucracy!
Last Monday, I went with Tryn to Ayutthaya(former capital of Thailand when it was still Siam) to do our visa extension paperwork. She had no problem, because she was also picking up her work permit, which allows her to stay through May of 2013, if we so chose to(we’re not). I figured mine should be easy enough, since my visa is a type O, which is sort of the catch-all for anything that’s not working, students, visiting family, or getting married. You know, O, for “other”. Shouldn’t be too tough, just fill out the form, tell them “My wife is a teacher who’s going to be here for another 3 months, so stamp me and I’ll get out of your hair, but you don’t have any left because you’re a government employee, so just give me the okay.” This should be simple.
Should be is the key phrase. Eventually, we found out that I can only get my extension once my first 90-day visa is within a month of expiring. That takes me through August 2nd, which means today is the first day I’d be eligible to get an extension. This is something we found out once we’d already driven to another province to get there, and we only found out because Tryn’s co-teacher who came with us to translate told me while I was doing my form. And then, we only found out from her because Tryn had to tell her “You know, if Eric gets deported, I’m leaving too.” Because there were zero shits given about helping me out up until that point. THEN we were told that I was a week too early, which could have saved us the wasted trip if her dumbass co-teacher had bothered to let Tryn know before we went. So instead, I’m headed back down by myself at some point this week to hopefully navigate Thai bureaucracy and not get punted out of the country. Sounds like it’s going to be a great time!
It’s not all bad, though. I finally got my birthday burger, and it was totally worth it.