Thursday, November 6, 2008

One of my heroes just died

I don't know about you, but I don't have very many heroes in my life. But one of my heroes just died, Michael Crichton. He was my favorite author and sold over 150 million books. He became an amazing expert on every topic he approached and backed up his opinions with facts and was never afraid to buck the popular trends of his day. In fact, he is the only person to ever have the #1 TV show, #1 bestselling book, and #1 movie simultaneously in America. His success was not happenstance but emerged from the talent and character of this amazing man.

You can read more here.

Living in Thailand

I am a lazy blogger, I admit it! I returned to the USA in late June after a memorable trip to Colombia. I definitely plan to return there next year!

I have been in Thailand for over two months now. I spent my first month learning the Thai language at Piammitr language school in Bangkok. Then I moved to Chiang Mai where I am living now. I researched language schools before arriving and indeed the instruction at this school was absolutely first rate. My four week course, three hours per day, was 5700 baht (about $163). The class size was 2-3.

Do I speak Thai now? Absolutely not. I know perhaps 500 words and can make a few sentences. For a native English speaker, Thai is about twice as hard to learn and use as a romance language (but only half as difficult as Japanese, Arabic, Mandarin, or Korean). If you are curious about how difficult any particular language is to learn for a native English speaker, see this link.

Most people that I deal with in Chiang Mai speak some English. However, the difference between knowing something and nothing is big! I feel confident enough to travel around, can talk to a taxi driver, order food at a Thai-language-only Thai food stand, etc.