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  • Day101

    Starting School and a Dog Bite

    September 10, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    On August 21, while I virtuously did my morning aerobic walk on a lovely leafy street at 5:30 am, a pack of dogs came at me, and one of them aggressively lunged at me and bit me on my left leg. It drew blood, which dripped down my calf as I walked to the nearest emergency room— luckily a scant two kilometers away. My attack was obviously a ho-hum medical event, as the bite was quickly cleaned and dressed, and the first of five staggered anti-rabies vaccines was injected in my arm. Easily treated, and the whole package of antibiotics, wound dressings and injections was paid for upfront, $196. But the trauma has been longer-lasting. It takes a bad bite months to heal instead of weeks. I wasn’t even able to walk without a painful limp until two weeks had passed. And now I’m fearful of vagrant dogs on the street—which is actually a necessary fear. Needless to say, I am avoiding that street and the early hour. If I have to be on back streets in the dark (which I never am) I shall have my trekking pole with me.

    I decided to enter “Thai as a Second Language School” in August. In one month my two classmates and I whipped through the first level of “pre-advanced” Thai, Level 7, and are now in week two of the Level 8. In October, I will officially be “advanced!” Well, who knows what that really means. It is quite a shock to be in a school after eleven months without a classroom, classmates, textbooks and assigned homework. My independent learning has been very interesting, but spotty, as I dictated to the teacher what I wanted to talk about, and what vocabulary I needed. Although this was seemingly a good approach, it threw out all the vocabulary, grammar, expressions, sentence structure, and nuances presented in an organized fashion by the expert author(s) of the textbook. Oh—and also a teacher proficient in English to explain it all. If I ever start a new language again, the independent approach will definitely be the sidekick.

    I have just finished my third Add1Challenge (see if you’re curious). Every week I made a video about a topic in Thai, so I decided the best way to let all of you see part of my language-learning life is to send links to the videos that might be interesting. There are subtitles on all of them, by the way.

    *Buddhism for Thai Children—how do they start learning?

    *Thai Friends, Meet Oaxaca—a bit of Mexico here!

    *Thai Reading and Pronunciation—you’ll never believe this!

    *All about the dog bite. Trigger warning: there’s a picture of my leg:

    *Day 90 Video, comparing learning Thai independently and in school:

    In some of the videos I seem to be talking quickly and articulately. It’s because I memorized sentences corrected by my teacher. In the last two, I’m speaking more or less extemporaneously, so they represent my “true” voice.

    Please enjoy the photos, and if you leave a comment, please sign your first name.
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    Yikes, that is a significant trauma; I didn't know anti-rabies vaccines are in any way routine, but do know you are one of the most resilient people I've ever met! Your experience is far worse than the time in the 'mid-70's that I had to call work to inform them I'd be late because a pack of dogs (one of them in heat, presumably) had forced their way into my vehicle. No one believed that true tale! Will continue to travel vicariously through your videos.


    ...signing off as Dorothy


    Was there a reason the poor creature was shaved? Because of the heat maybe? If so, I guess looking ridiculous is worth it.

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