Tuesday, January 31, 2012

35 Accents in the English Language

I've always had a small issue with sticking to my authentic Brooke Shoko voice after being exposed to a different English accent for a while. The first incidence of this began back when I was young and visited my cousins in Alabama. I didn't gain any type of accent, but instead just began to sound like an idiot. Ever since then I've noticed how easily swayed my speaking ways are after consistent accent exposure.

As of late, I've been exposed to all types of English accents on a regular basis:

Sill- New Zealand
Karen- Ireland
Lisa and Albert- Holland
Veera and Vivi- Finland
Manuela- Swizerland
Alexa- Austraila

So, for example, after spending a bit of time with Sill I'd be sputtering out words like "reckon", but pronounced it as "reekon". Or slightly saying "vas" instead of "was" after spending time with Manuela.

The silver lining to this strange cloud, however, is that I love accents. I love seeing how so many different nationalities attempt to speak one language but come out with such varied results. Which is why I was so happy to find this gem of a video I'm posting below. Friends Bom, Bae, Alexa, and I had a huge laugh over it last night.  This chap impresses me, to say the least. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Typical Thai Eats

Lots of onion and GARLIC in everything! Today my soup had entire garlic shallots in them. No kissing for Brookie tonight.
Tomatoes, cilantro, mushrooms, carrots, and so many delicious fresh vegetables.
Nam Piik Pao- A deliiiicious chili paste they use for tom yum kung (see below).
Had an excellent cooking class in Kuraburi from a friend named Pad. This dish: Kai lookuey. Deep fried hard boiled eggs topped with fried and fresh onions and a tamarind sauce. I was skeptical at first, but I assure you- it is tasty!
Tom Yum Kung- a flavorful soup infused with ginger and lemongrass. Also served with prawns, greens, and tomato.
This dish is simple but good. Cooked greens (I say greens because I have not a clue as to what these leaves are and have never seen them in my life), onion, garlic, and egg. Great source of protein eh?
Enjoying the feast with some other volunteers. Pad (back middle) is the lad that taught the class.
THE FOOD HERE IS SO FLIPPING SPICY. They just throw these suckers in anything like it's no big deal. My spicy tolerance, however, is getting so much better! Ice water anyone?
The fruit. Ohh the fruit here is so wonderfully sweet. Love buying these little pineapples at the market. Trying all types of fruits I've never seen before. Mango is still my #1 fruit though. Two per day (ideally).
Buayloi. A Thai dessert we made at my current project. Flour and water steamed and served in coconut milk.
Let's just say the final product looks much better than it appeals to my palate.
The food at Home and Life (current project) is delicious. A meat-curry creation served every night with rice and vegetables.
I should mention, though, the best part of mealtimes at Home and Life- sitting by sweethearts like Go! Ohhh he's adorable.
Some of the most authentic eats have been at my favorite spot to grab a meal- street markets! Pad Thai, fried chicken, sweet banana crepes, fresh fruit, fried fish, and anything you can imagine on a stick.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kuraburi: Welcome to Thailand!

What to say- An amazing first couple of weeks in Thailand.  Have absolutely loved spending time in Kuraburi and am so sad to leave tomorrow.  I'm confident, however, that the additional experiences that await me will be just as great! I'll have to write more about the Thai culture and some experiences soon, but I thought I'd slap on a few photos at the blogspot. Cheers.

Welcome to Kuraburi. This is basically the main strip of town.  Got here by bus, just 5 hours north of Phuket.
The lovely little bungalow third in from the left has been my place of residency for the past couple of weeks. Love love it.
A peek inside the bungalow . . .
The main purpose of Kuraburi: teaching English at a learning center for Burmese refugees through Andaman Discoveries.
Beginning the day with their "stretches". Hilarious.
Something new to me: you alwayyyys take shoes off in Thailand before entering any home, business, etc.
Grade two, the kids I spent most of my time with. These kids aren't permitted to attend Thai school due to lack of citizenship.
The nursery babies!
I liked the way this photo turned out.
Lining up for some grub.  Loved how they all waited for each other to portion up and then offered a prayer before eating.
Bon appetito, baby.
Putting the hands together and bowing is a common sign of thanks and respect.
Ollie, the Burmese teacher's son. The youngest at the learning center.
Some of the local Catholic commisioned volunteers were super hospitable and showed me around.
They took me to Greenview Resort up the road for some treats and visiting.  Returned the next day for a swim. (Pool at left)
They also took me to the beach another day- gorgeous! And empty- Thai people aren't much into sunbathing.
The watermelon festival was a huge deal here.  HUGE. Went on for ten days. I think I attended eight of the ten??
Rain or shine, they had a huge turn out every evening.
And, unfortunately, just could never bring myself to snacking on these critters. Maybe next time. :0
I helped the local volunteers with their booth. Lady on the bottom left greeted me with an "I love you" every day.
Another Thai friend, Toon, showed me around some of the gorrrgeous back country via her motor bike.
The pier in Kuraburi, where you can catch a boat to the Surin Islands.
She also took me on a separate day to visit her father's fish farm.  Entertaining, to say the least.
Have enjoyed countless fun and delicious meals with locals and tourists. "Aroy mak mak!" 
And today. Said goodbye to the kiddies. No fun, but so great getting to know them and feeling like I contributed in some small way.  Loved working with Andaman Discoveries and the Muan Mit Thai Foundation. 

Off to Thai Mueng tomorrow for another adventure at the "Home and Life" orphanage for a couple of weeks. About a 4 hour bus ride south. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shanghai: 23,000,000 plus

So great to return to the amazing city of Shanghai!  Mother and I were greeted at the airport by her high school bff and long time friend, Leanne.  Leanne and her family were excellent hosts to us all week- showing us around a city of 23 million, taking us out for delicious eats, sharing their tips and tricks. Lots of shopping, people-watching, and sight seeing. Every day was fantastic. 
Xiao Ni, Leanne's cook taught us how to make dumplings! So so delicious. I miss her cooking!
Exhibit A: "Jiaozi".
And since we were in the neighborhood, decided to visit my students from a couple of years ago. So wonderful to reunite.
My classroom, now turned into a dormitory.
Bessie, one of the teachers.
Loved hanging out with Leanne's girls- Margaret and Sage. This is them, utilizing the dry ice remains from our Cold Stone.
Sage baby!
Any good mother shows her child how to urinate in front of a business's entryway.

The Bund- Shanghai's historic district. Leanna took us in the evening for the most spectacular view.

 The non existent mirror that I thought was there. oops. 

"Get down, cougs."

Preparing to eat the only bad meal of our entire trip. It was dis-gus-ting.
Seeing Suzhou.  A beautiful, quaint town of bridges and canals, just a train ride from Shanghai.
We tried lots of street food, which was (usually) delicious! These little crunchies- not so delicious.
Production of the dumplings . . .
I love this photo as well.  Such a great trip to the Orient with Mother and the Erich family! So great to share the Chinese experience with Mum.  Wo ai ni, Mama!!