Thailand Chronicles: I Promise I’m Still Alive (Ten Weeks In)

Hello all,

So I’ve been trying to post to the blog for the past three weeks but have hit a number of snags — numerous technological difficulties, a much more packed schedule, and numerous trips out of Bangkok have thwarted my attempts. That being said, me and my delinquent-blogpost-posting self apologize to the throngs of readers who were deprived of my prose and captivating videos for so long. And (Insert nerdy grammar joke here:) Me will be heading back to China soon to work on her own blogging career, so I’ll need to be even more diligent in making sure I update you in a more timely fashion with my next post. (That joke inspired by my illustrious, nerdy, and hilarious father, Tim Schwaar.)

Oi. What a nutcase. I don’t know why you guys read this. I think I’m suffering withdrawal because I don’t really have anyone here who knows enough English to laugh (or groan) at my stupid jokes.

On with the update. Since I wrote last:

  1. I got the opportunity to travel to Hua Hin, a beach town about 2 hours from Bangkok, to spend a weekend with a college-aged basketball player from the States and a few members of his Thai extended family. We hiked, played in waterfalls, lounged around an incredible resort beach and pool, rode a banana boat, collected sea shells, visited a night market, and ate our weight in fresh crab.
  2. I traveled to New Taipei City, Taiwan, with my team to participate in the William Jones basketball tournament. We played five strong teams: a USA Pro-select team (players chosen from different leagues to represent America — many are headed overseas to play professionally in Europe or elsewhere this coming season), a Japanese team, two professional Chinese Taipei teams, and a South Korean pro team. They were out of our league and we lost all our games, usually by a wide margin. That being said, we knew going in that our results would probably look that way and the exposure to good teams was absolutely worth it. We learned a lot and my players exhibited excellent attitudes throughout the entire thing, never giving up and working hard to improve on the floor. I was very proud of them. I also got my first experience coaching a team at an international event. I learned a ton about game-situation coaching and am excited to continue that learning in our next competitions.
  3. I was able to join a good Thai friend of mine at her home in Bangsaen, another beachfront area, and travel with her to celebrate Mother’s Day this past weekend with her family. We ate great food, saw the world’s largest handwoven baskets, rode her motorcycle all around her city, saw the university where she teaches Sports Mass Communication, visited an aquarium, saw the beach, watched monkeys lounge around in the middle of the road, and enjoyed hanging with her adorable five-year-old nephew.
  4. My team and I survived two and a half weeks of two-a-day practices in preparation from Taipei. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to work with them and lay the groundwork for the next (and final) practice session that I will oversee before I return to Chicago.
  5. I have had the pleasure of meeting or developing relationships with many, many people from all different backgrounds. From other basketball players from both the U.S. and abroad to coaches, other athletes here at the Sport Authority of Thailand, friends at church, neighbors in my apartment building, shop owners and office workers, referees, staff members for other sports organizations, and more, I consider myself supremely blessed that God puts me in contact with the people that He does.

Now that we are back from Taiwan and well-rested after a few-day break, we’ve jumped back into two-a-day practices this week. This schedule will continue (at least, that’s the plan) for the next six weeks. At that point, we will have another bout of competition. This time, we have two groups competing in simultaneous events (I’m extremely disappointed because this means that I won’t be able to attend both contests, but apparently you can’t be in two places at once). I will accompany a portion of our team who will play in a 3-on-3 tournament in Vietnam, and an assistant coach will take our younger group to Malaysia for a 5-on-5 tournament.

I need to hit the sack tonight, but before I sign off, here are a few videos from the last month.

June 24th: In which I discover that the Thai language doesn’t lend itself to many English sounds, including (but not limited to) the “th” sound and, as demonstrated here, the word “oil”


July 8th: In which I discover that to motorcycle drivers in Thailand, nothing is sacred


July 9th: In which I get to attend the World Volleyball Grand Prix and witness the crowd’s fervent affection for its national volleyball team


July 13th: In which it rained and the streets instantly flooded


July 20th: In which I get really excited over a trampoline


July 28th: In which I reveal that I’ve secretly been playing in pro leagues this whole time


July 30th: In which I celebrate the purchase of a guitar by bothering all my co-workers with it at the office

Enjoy. More soon(er).


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