Tuesday morning my computer, for the second time since I was “downgraded” to a 5-year-old laptop for work (don’t want to risk me being out of the country with a computer still out on lease), wouldn’t power up.  I kept pressing the power button but to no avail.  Finally, after the eleventh attempt the motor actually kicked in and the computer came to life.  It is probably an issue with the power switch. 

Fortunately, I picked up a 120 gb Seagate external hard drive that includes software to conduct automatic backups.  I’m at the internet cafe right now because I’m backing up all of the My Documents and Program Files folders – about 11 gb of my 20 gb of internal memory.  Not taking ANY risks here.

Since my computer only has the old USB ports, about 1/50th the speed of the new USB 2.0 ports, most of my morning has been reserved to get the backup performed.  Fortunately in the future the backup will automatically determine what has been changed since the last backup and will only copy those files, saving a great deal of time.

So I’m off to find the Union Language School on Thanon Surawong, near Silmon and Rama IV – right near the infamous Patpong District (think ping pong balls) and, oddly, the Bangkok Christian Hospital.  This is where good Christian doctors remove ping pong balls lodged in unfortunate places.  Union Language School is a Christian-based organization that has a good reputation for structured Thai program, different than the approach of American University Alumni Association, which is total immersion and no structure. 

Supposedly AUA students take longer to learn but speak with a better, more authentic accent.  ULS students learn quicker but risk speaking forever like a farang.  Many people go to ULS to get a structured start and then make a transition to AUA after a few months.  Some people continue to do both at the same time.  Since ULS courses are 4 weeks in length, 5 days a week in the mornings, I’ll do one between now and Christmas and then evaluate whether to continue in January.

Also, I’m off to Central Department Store at Chit Lom to find a container to hold our silverware.  Also, some sort of racks to organize dishes would be useful.  Right now our cabinets are a bit of a mess.  

This is what constitutes the 10% of things left to be done, having already completed the critical 90%.

For those of you wondering, the weather is quite bearable.  Highs around 33 C which I think equates to about 86 F.  Light breezes throughout the day except right around sunset when the wind dies down.  We’ve been having some rain, usually light showers, in the mid-afternoon which helps to cool things down a bit.  They say it takes 6-12 weeks to acclimate fully.  One down.

Finally, received a call from Rick Yang, a UA flight attendant based in NRT who lived for a decade in Bangkok with his Thai partner.  He’s been a good source of perspective on the challenges of moving to Bangkok and not speaking the language.  The good year is that after a decade he is fluent in Thai so I figure that sometime before 2015 or so I’ll be at least conversant!

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