Seafood at Pim’s

It is barely Monday evening and already I feel like it’s been a long week.  This probably has more to do with how much or how little rest I got this weekend than anything else.

Sunday was the day of activity for me.  Tawn was feeling under the weather, so he slept in.  But I got up and at 10:00 was at a local spa to take a 90-minute yoga class.  The instructor was a compact Thai woman (reminding me of Edna from the Pixar movie The Incredibles but with a leotard and no glasses) who worked us into a sweat very quickly, reminding me that I really do need to attend yoga classes more frequently. 

I returned home to pick up Tawn and then we went to his friend Pim’s condo for grilled seafood.  Star of the grill were the giant river prawns.  These creatures, minus the extraneous spines, antennae, etc. are about eight inches long.  The cook cleaned them, split them lengthwise, and then grilled them.  They were incredibly good – especially the “custard” in the head area.  Not sure what this is actually called, but it is a fatty substance similar in taste and texture to the marrow in osso bucco bones.

One of the women there also prepared a raw shrimp in a manner similar to the crab in my previous posting.  She pulled out the meat, put a green chili sauce and lime juice on it, then ate it.  I tried some.  It was tasty and the texture was still very soft and chewy – probably because it takes a while for the acid in the lime juice to actually cook the flesh.  See, I’m taking all sorts of gastronomic risks.  That reminds me, I really need to follow up on health insurance offerings for expats in Thailand.

Pim’s husband, Arm, is an avid wine drinker with accomplished taste buds and a wallet to match.  The group (about eight of us, mostly his friends) went through five or six bottles of wine, mostly whites, but concluding with a very nice Australian cabernet sauvignon that took a good half hour to breathe once poured.  But once it opened up, it really opened up.

After Pim’s husband and friends left, Tawn, Pim and I visited and played with her five month old baby, Tara.  It took about an hour, but Tara finally decided she wanted to hang out with me.  After that, we became inseparable friends.  She’s the first child on her block to have a farang to play with. 

So by the time we headed home at 4:00, Tawn and I were pretty exhausted.  But that wasn’t the end of our day!  We had dinner scheduled with Jum and Scott.  Jum was one of Tawn’s colleagues at United Airlines.  She and Scott were married in December, the weekend Tawn and I were in Korea.  I hadn’t met Scott before, but he is an American who has lived here two years, teaching secondary school.

So we met Jum and Scott at Bella Napoli, an Italian restaurant that Guido (I kid you not),  my Italian classmate, recommended on Sukhumvit Soi 31.  Specializing in pizza, it is the kind of restaurant that, the minute you walk through the door, you know it’s authentic.  The wood-burning oven is right behind the main dining room, providing a clear view of your pizza’s progress from creation to consumption.

It was nice to meet Scott and see Jum again.  One thing that meeting Scott reinforces for me is that I need to keep up with my Thai studies.  While he’s lived here two years, since he’s worked full time (in a 9-5 type job, not a flexible one like mine) he hasn’t learned much more Thai than I already have.  If I were to get a regular office job, it would be very hard to make much progress on learning Thai.

Of course, the fates like to mess with me.  No sooner had I arrived at that realization than this morning I receive an email from Suyoung Yuu, with whom I’ve worked at various film festivals.  Suyoung now works in international marketing for Intel corporation, based in Beijing.  And it seems that there is an opening in their small Bangkok office for a marketing position that would support Southeast Asia.  So she wanted to make me aware of the position.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I’m aware that my manager does read this blog from time to time.

The idea of settling into a job that would provide me with a work visa is attractive from the standpoint of helping secure my ability to stay here longer-term.  At the same time, the flexibility and earning power I enjoy with my current job is hard to match.

But that doesn’t really explain why it feels like a long week already…

In an effort to prepare for my Thai midterm tomorrow, I’ve been copying all of my notes into a new set of notebooks.  This serves to organize the notes, as I’m separating them into one book for vocabulary and another for phrases and grammar.  It also serves to help me review my learning.  So my hand is severely cramped as I’m been doing too much writing the past few days.  On top of it, I encountered a pair of words – duaygan and diawgan – that are stumping me.  They both mean “together” but they are not interchangeable.  And despite my teacher’s repeated explanations (in Thai) I’m still not clear what the difference is between them.

So this has given me a headache.

But enough Thai for the moment.  I still have quite a bit of work to do for my job, so I’ll focus on that first. 

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