Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting Back to Thai

First a little backstory: I had known in the back of my head about this podcast production called Bangkok Podcast, but I had forgotten about it until I read Cat's post that it was shutting down. So in my curiosity, I went to iTunes and downloaded a couple of episodes and was extremely impressed with the production.

So impressed, in fact, that I've been voraciously listening to multiple episodes per day, reminiscing about my time in Thailand from 2001-2005. Greg, one of the Bangkok Podcast hosts, has been there since 2001 as well and on his personal blog, he had commented about spending the last decade in Krung Thep and how much change had taken place. Boy could I relate to his photos of the new Paragon shopping center under construction and how sad it was to see the beautifully designed Intercontinental Hotel get torn down (at least I got to go inside once and tour the gardens before Paragon!) I also remember the opening of the MRT subway and how exciting that was despite the initial glitches.

Anyway, getting back to Thai. In their Bangkok Podcast, Greg and his co-host Tony have a Thai language series where they talk about learning Thai from foreigners who have become fluent in the language and they discuss how they did it and what it is like living in Thailand when this major form of communication is opened up to them. It's been so engaging and encouraging that I've decided to crack down on my Thai again.

I have 7 months to see how far I can get and this is my plan. Rather than go out and spend a ton of money, I'm going to work with what I already have and the goal is to READ. Reading will improve my vocabulary and therefore improve my speaking. It will open up my world.

So I will finish with my two novels I'm currently involved in and as soon as I'm done with them, I'm going to finish the Teach Yourself Thai book I'm in the middle of - and have been for over a year - and then get Benjawan's newest talking dictionary. Even that one is on hold, because I have her old one that I think will do for now.

Then I plan to go through all of Aidan's worksheets from his summer Thai school and read all the new words on them, write them out, translate them and study them. Learn Thai with a 6-year-old! I'd like to see how far I can take it by March or April 2012.

Because our goal is to go back to Bangkok at that time!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Golf is a US Citizen!

Our family reached a major milestone today. My husband became a citizen of the United States on this day!
He took the Oath of Citizenship at the Paramount Theater in Oakland this morning along with 1,200 other people from 96 countries. The balcony of the beautiful theater was filled with friends and family for the joyous occasion. Mom and Dad made the journey the night before and joined us.

The night before, the parents took us out in a celebration dinner at a steakhouse in Oakland and while the restaurant was more casual than expected, the food was outstanding! I just shared with Aidan and Mom, but Golf had a huge steak that he devoured and was a happy and satisfied man.

On Wednesday, the BIG day, Aidan didn't go to school so he could attend, too. The ceremony was just right, not too long. The MC could greet and say some sentences in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Tagalog, French and Hindi and needless to say, all of us in the audience were impressed!

Later on, the lady who would do the swearing-in oath, read the names of the 96 countries represented that day. When your home country was read, you would stand and by the end of the list, everyone was standing. They were then instructed to raise their right hand and repeat the oath line by line. It was cool.

Then new citizens handed in their green cards and received a certificate of naturalization. They now don't have to prove that they are in the United States legally. Think about it. I don't have to carry documentation with me because I am a citizen. Golf doesn't either. Made me feel so good and it brought a big cheer in the audience.

It was such a great day and Golf was on top of the world as we all were.

Next step in the coming months is to get his American passport.With a green card, his travel prospects were restricted, along with time limits. But with citizenship his options just expanded significantly.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Website Showcase: Baby Development News

Attention new moms! I want to show you a fabulous website called Baby Development News, which is all about ensuring your baby masters and fully develops all natural skills, abilities and talents during the first 24 months.

Baby Development News is run by webmaster/owner Dalene, who is a professional occupational therapist. She enjoys the company of children and especially newborns to age 10 years. Dalene's passion is to help babies and children achieve their full potential and develop their natural abilities.

BDN has informative articles on baby's progress, such as the time they are newborns and during their first year. On BDN you will also learn about the skills children must master, such as language development.

You also get valuable information about the best developmental baby toys and some informative baby food reviews.

So come check out Baby Development News to have all your questions answered by Dalene, who's got one heck of a site that greatly helps parents with small children.

Original Article written for the best baby strollers blog at Stroller Envy