- two harddisk crashes
- one harddisk replacement
- a second trip in July-August 2007 (6 days in Vientiane)
- a hell lot of work
- an upcoming relocation of workplace
- an upcoming trip to Krungthep
- a PhD thesis to write
Meanwhile, two of the lao*miao* consultants have graduated from high school. One is now studying (FOC) at a branch of one of the two Buddhist universities in Thailand. The other is balancing studies at a Sangha College & a private college in Lao.
A third consultant for whom Pali is the subject 'I dislike the most' has started college studies in parallel with his final year of high school. Two schools, twice the amount of classes, homework, assignments & exams...& this aspiring overachiever is trying to maintain a minimum of an A grade (maximum would be top score) for every subject - except Pali ;) A younger brother of his has also ordained as a novice in order to go to high school, the fourth boy in their family to do so for that reason.
A fourth consultant has passed the level 4 Pali exam in Thailand (passing level 3 earns Thai monks the title of 'Phra Maha'). He is now supporting himself through university by teaching a heavy schedule of level 3 classes fulltime on weekdays & in the evenings on weekends after his morning & afternoon university classes, earning the same pay as what the cat's Akha friends earn by working on farms in Chiangrai.
Has not been smooth sailing all the way, there have been hiccups, entrance exams, 'wat politics', uncertainty, hilarious 'lost in translation' moments, worries, adjustments to city life, a 'wicked' abbot (an example of a 'lost in translation' moment), power failures, studying compulsory subjects that they have zero interest in, etc. On good days we are grateful, on not-so-good days we appreciate how such days help us appreciate the good days even more =)
There are still many others who wish that they could have the chance to study beyond high school, like PS, who is now back to farming for a living. & higher education alone won't solve the problem of the lack of job opportunities...