Monthly Archives: February 2019

Chicken Feet

If you somehow missed it, I love Asian entertainment. Dramas, manga, anime, I appreciate it all. Consistently in Korean dramas in particular, the heroine eats chicken feet. 

This always baffled me. I’ve SEEN chickens. Their feet do not look edible. 

Image result for chickens

Walking back from class today, I saw a food stall with chicken feet! I did this cartoon-ish double take because I could not believe my eyes! I did not think such things existed outside of Korean dramas!

With great enthusiasm, I bought a stick from the baffled chicken woman and practically floated all the way home. I, Amy, was going to try chicken feet!

Eagerly I bit down and found…bone. Cartilage. Skin.

Image may contain: food

I Googled – and then YouTubed – “How to eat chicken feet” and watched in amazement as people wolfed these things down. Turns out, these things are supposed to only consistent of bone, cartilage, and skin. 

Image may contain: food

It took me 75 minutes to get through the first one. I gnawed on the second one for about 20 minute but my more aggressive approach meant I got more mouthfuls of cartilage and it crunched like a bean sprout. 

Image may contain: food

And, um, as much as I wanted to like chicken feet…I really didn’t. I put the rest in my fridge but I do not think I will get to them. I’m just not that big a fan of cartilage and crunch. 


School Uniform

I am officially the proud possessor of two school uniforms, complete with a myriad of buttons, clips, belts, pins, and buckles that go…somewhere. I have never worn a school uniform before and the uniforms in Korean dramas don’t look nearly this complicated! My Thai friend just laughed when I looked at her in bafflement. 

But I am grateful she went shopping with me. Otherwise I would definitely not have known I needed the Law pin, or the separate belt buckle, or closed toed heels. All the study abroad office told me was, “Go buy a uniform at the bookstore.” 

Pictures to come once I figure out how to get the dang thing together! (I’m snipping off buttons and clipping other ones on and other such baffling stuff. I sure wish my Grandma lived closer!) 

 


Midterms

Midterms start in a few days! We do not have midterms in law school. Your entire grade depends on the final. You would think a year and a half of finals would not erase four years of taking midterm…but somehow I find the idea of a midterm quite strange. I keep confusing people by saying, “finals are coming up!” 

But of course, I mean midterms!


Sweet Corn Milk

Image result for sweet corn milk malee

My first thought when I saw the Sweet Corn Milk was:

“That looks disgusting.”

My second thought was:

“I absolutely have to try it.”

After all, I am genetically half-Wisconsinite and half-Iowan. What better expresses that combination than corn milk? 

Turns out…it wasn’t terrible! A little sweet for my tastes but not repulsive at all. It tasted like a desert. Thailand really is obsessed with corn. 

My favorite part is the description: “Quality imported sweet corn from New Zealand which contains high vitamin A, E, B1, B2, B6, B12 to meet the needs of health-conscious office workers.”

Also, “Suitable for those on a diet.” Diet from what? Dairy? 


Food That Reminds Me Of Home

Confession time: I am starting to grow a little weary of Thai food. I know other options exist (I live a block away from a KFC) but when not eating convenience store ramen, I stick to Thai foods. When in Thailand, right? 

But with my touch of homesickness, I decided I needed something familiar. So what did this redheaded, Anglo-American Midwesterner opt for? Cheese? Brats? Pizza? A Miller Lite? 

Nope. I walked downstairs and bought myself kimchi. 

And it was amazing. Exactly what the doctor ordered.  

(Also, the packaging states: “Kimchi helps reduce boredom when eating much meat.” I threw it in my rice porridge, which just goes to show how amazing kimchi is. You can eat it with everything. I once ate it on a peanut butter sandwich.)


Chickens and Elephants

“My Grandma loves chickens,” I say to the 8th person in an hour. “She collects chicken figurines and other chicken stuff.” 

Lampang being the chicken bowl capital of…of the region, if not the world, I found chickens everywhere and on everything. Which of course made me think of my Grandma! And I am bad at keeping stuff to myself. So I made everyone think of my Grandma! 

Besides chickens, I found elephant stuff everywhere. My sister-in-law likes elephants. I did not tell as many people about her, but I thought of her often. 

Chickens and elephants. Grandma and sister-in-law. I will forever associate Lampang with those two people, even though they did not get to visit it with me. I think I am a little homesick this evening. But I am glad for this opportunity to travel and the fun of carrying memories of my loved ones everywhere I go!


Exchange Student

My Fundamental Rights professor does not know what to do with me. About three weeks into class, he finally walked over and asked if I was one of the students. As I sit in the front row every week, I found this question somewhat surprising. I said I was. He said, “Ahhh” and slowly backed away. 

Two weeks after that, he again walked over and asked if I was taking the midterm. I said I was. He said, “Ahhh,” and backed away. 

Finally, last week, he asked if I knew how the take-home process worked. I said I had no idea. He walked me through it, apologizing repeatedly for his poor English. 

I am still not sure if he knows I am a student like everyone else. 

It is funny the way different professors act to having an international student. Some immediately come up and talk to me; others pretend I am no different than anyone else and ignore me. Some go out of their way to explain concepts to me; others occasionally lapse into Thai when trying to explain a concept. Some call me Amy; others refer to me “your international colleague.” Or they avoid calling on me at all. 

It is an interesting dynamic and one that has made me vastly more sympathetic for all the international students in the classes I previously attended. I am glad I will have one more year of law school when I get back so I can make more an effort to reach out to them! 


Lampang: Day 3

For the final day of the trip, we visited a ceramics museum. 

Image may contain: dog and outdoor

First we painted pottery (I made a mug and it further confirmed my lack of artistic talent) 

Image may contain: people sitting, food and indoor

Then we toured the museum. Turns out, Lampang is famous because of this ceramics company and more specifically, the chicken bowls this company makes!

No photo description available.

Image may contain: people sitting, table, food and indoor

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, eating, table, food and indoorImage may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and food

Image may contain: food

Image may contain: people sitting

No photo description available.

Image may contain: indoor

Image may contain: shoes

CHICKENS EVERYWHERE

No photo description available. (Fatty chicken is my favorite)

No photo description available.

No photo description available.

I like chickens.

Image may contain: Amy Buchmeyer, smiling, standing and outdoor

We then piled back on the bus for a very long trip back. We left around 1 pm didn’t arrive back till close to 9:45 pm. I used the local version of Uber to call a taxi but the driver got lost on his way to get me.

Thankfully, one of the Thammasat staff persons stuck around to make sure all of us students got home okay. She called my driver when he didn’t show up at the right place. I think I was probably actually in the wrong (my GPS showed me in the wrong place) but from the gist of her tone, I think she chewed him out for going to the wrong location! She then very firmly told him to deliver me safely home. 

It was very nice to not wrangle with a taxi driver for once. Especially not so late at night. I arrived back safely and quickly crashed!

If you find yourself in northern Thailand, I do recommend visiting Lampang. I haven’t been anywhere else so I can’t say how it compares to the more famous destinations like Chiang Mai, but it has lovely views and interesting architecture. Here are a few random shots I took that didn’t really fit into my posts:

Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature (the view from my hotel)

Image may contain: tree, plant, grass, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, outdoor and nature(mountains!)

Image may contain: cloud, sky, house, outdoor and nature

 


Lampang: Day 2

Day 2 began with another temple visit:

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor

Image may contain: indoor

No photo description available.

Image may contain: indoor

No photo description available.

Image may contain: one or more people (I swear this cat thought everyone came to worship it. It just sat there and did not move)

After the temple, we went and saw…elephants!

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

Image may contain: outdoor

Image may contain: 2 people, tree, outdoor and nature

We got to feed and pet them.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, tree, outdoor and nature

That particular elephant kept trying to eat my hair. 

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature

Then more amazing food!

Image may contain: food

Image may contain: people sitting and food

Afterwards we participated in local cultural activities. We cooked…

Image may contain: 3 people, people eating

(I managed to confuse coconut milk with batter.)

Cooked some more…

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people eating, people sitting, food and indoor

(After several in competent attempts at folding the banana leaves into triangles, my Thai buddy and the kind woman helping us took my triangle and did it for me.)

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and food

We made “flags”

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting

(I like to think I behaved semi-competently with this one except I must admit my Thai buddy did the initial folding and cutting for me.)

No photo description available.

Some people made flower bouquets (I avoided because they used real flowers.) 

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people sitting, child and table

And then we “weaved” baskets using bamboo, which I apparently did not get a good picture of. At any rate, the 90+ year old lady assisting us quickly realized how incompetent I am with manual tasks, wove me a fish, and sent me on my way. 

It then HAILED.

No photo description available.

But thankfully cleared up in time for the night market that evening. I made a few purchases and discovered I am terrible at bargaining. (The people pleasing side of me comes out.) 


Lampang: Day 1

As I said in my previous post, I spent the weekend in Lampang.

On Friday, we toured Thammasat University’s Lampang campus. It is a striking, open school that feels rural and empty after the bustle of the Bangkok campus. 

Image result for lampang thailand thammasat university

No photo description available.

The “tour” of the school mostly involved a stroll to the new library. 

Image may contain: people sitting and indoor

Besides the gorgeous mural of books, the place resembled McDonalds with the bright red and yellow everywhere. (Another student more graciously compared the colors to Gryffindor) 

Our new Thai friends shuffled us in, snapped a few group photos, and shuffled us towards the former library, now picnic/banquet/empty rooms area. They then fed us an amazing Thai lunch where the dishes just kept coming.

Image may contain: people sitting, table and food

Following lunch, we went to a local school to “teach English” and paint fences. “Teaching English” involved mostly playing games like red light green light, hangman, and rock paper scissors. The Thai university students with us explained everything in Thai so we did not actually use much English. But I had an absolute blast. I met lots of cute middle schoolers and shared lots of laughter and smiles. I felt like I was back being a camp counselor. Except perhaps a singularly inefficient camp counselor since I could not for the life of me remember any of the games or songs we used to keep students engaged. 

Following our “community service,” we got a tour of Lampang. 

Image may contain: tree, plant and outdoor

We visited two temples and a historically important house.

No photo description available.

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor

Image may contain: sky, house and outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor

Image may contain: Amy Buchmeyer, smiling

No photo description available.

You know the movie The King and I?

Image may contain: house, tree, sky and outdoor

If I understood correctly, this was the home Anna’s son owned later in life. He ran a successful lumber business from Lampang. 

Image may contain: tree, sky and outdoor

After our tour, we went back to campus for another amazing, traditional Thai meal (I was apparently too busy eating to take picture) and some fun entertainment. We watched traditional Thai dancers, officially “met” our Thai buddies (they’d been instructed not to tell us who they were so we would have to guess), and a few people sang karaoke. (Well, 3 people did and then they sent us home.)

No photo description available.

It was very fun! 

Image may contain: 2 people, including Amy Buchmeyer, people smiling, people standing