Sunday, October 30, 2011

ABC - I hope it's as easy as 123

Little by little, I'm finding out more and more about what to expect in the classroom (which still doesn't add up to much.

Today my fellow teacher Angela and I stood in front of all the students, their parents, and the teachers of Wangchanwittaya and introduced ourselves.  Luckily no major embarrassments occurred! After the announcing of the FARANG to Wang Chan, we followed our coordinator PeeMam to the office where we received the teaching schedule for the next two weeks.  I have 18 classes a week! Also, I'd like to mention that I was placed with the Mattium 1-3.  Angela has MAttium 4-6.  What does this mean for me?  I'm teaching the younger students...who probably don't know much English.  Therefore, I quickly walked home and started back at square one on lesson plans.  I guess I'll find out in the morning what level of English we're looking at here.

The school has been very welcoming - many teachers have passed by to say hello, and everyone smiles (of course).  Our town is literally about 2 streets.  One with 7-11 and the market, the other with restaurants and laundry.  It appears that most places close early.  On my way to eat dinner last night (about 6pm) many of the shop keepers I had seen earlier were packing up and going home.  However, I did happen to find an amazing restaurant where I had spaghetti with pork and 8 fried shrimp for only 120 Baht (which is only about 4 dollars!) During dinner the owner came out and asked if we were the new English teachers.  I guess news does get around fast in a small town.

For now, though, I'm taking a break.  I'm going to go stroll through the beautiful campus and find my classrooms for tomorrow.  Then I'm going to go buy some markers to add some color to the very childish drawings I've been working on for lesson plans.  And THEN I may go have a beer and relax for the rest of the evening.  Also, there's a group of cats at the next house - we named momma cat Minerva.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Farang, Farang!

It's been 6 days and 22 hours since I arrived in Thailand and I already feel like I've been here forever (in a good way).  A few hours ago I finally departed from my orientation family and moved onward to the school I will be teaching English at - Wangchanwittaya.  After many months of mispronouncing it, I think I finally have it down.

Now that I'm away from the big cities of Bangkok and Pattaya, the word "Farang" is getting passed around quickly and frequently.  "Farang" means 'Westerner'.  The other teacher, Angela, and myself took a quick tour of the campus and met the principal of our school.  After which I had the most delicious cashew chicken and "omelet".  It appears getting an elephant guest during your dinner is not the most unheard of occurrence - although it is annoying and makes you feel bad for the elephant that's being led around town by men.  I'll wait to visit the elephant sanctuaries up north before I hop on that ride.

During my few days in Bangkok I was able to see the Grand Palace, ChaoSahn (spelling?), and hang out with some fellow amazing human beings.  I still think the local bar hangout was my favorite take away from Bangkok.  I heard that the street it was on is now under flood waters, and I hope that everyone stayed safe and dry in that area - especially the pork-on-a-stick-man!

Going to Pattaya was also quite an adventure.  There I got to see the Gulf of Thailand for the very first time.  It's much like other Gulfs, a bit murky but still fun to be at. It appears that elderly men frequent the Pattaya area for cheap sex. Yes, that is correct.  In fact one Irish 'gentleman' hopped on the back of our truck ride and explained that he hates Thailand.  "It's filthy, full of garbage everywhere, the women sell themselves for money - I hate Thailand" but then quickly explained that he "just can't leave the women!". One of many dirty old men you'll find in the sex capital of Thailand.

But now I'm in beautiful Wang Chan, Rayong.  The people are welcoming and the campus is gorgeous.  There's a rather large ancient tropical looking tree with a picnic table below it - I think it has my name on it during any lunch hours.  I have internet, a bicycle, and a cold shower.  Life is pretty amazing in Thailand.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Airplanes, Pollution, Jet Lag

And finally, I'm in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Although the 26 hour flight was the longest hours of my life, it was well worth the wait. Upon arrival, due to massive jet lag and being in a country that is exactly 12 hours ahead of my hometown, we decided the bar would be a good place to be.  6am and quite a few beers late, we finally slept...for 4 hours. Then it was off to the Market where shoes are 10 dollars, watches are 3 dollars, and food is...even cheaper. The smells - not very good.  The tastes - nothing like American Thai food. I call myself a non-picky eater, however, a few dishes rendered me no longer hungry. 

Pollution - apparently my immune system has never been accustomed to such a thing.  After living in the middle of nowhere Texas for so long with nothing but clean air, the epic amounts of pollution have caused my throat to slowly, but surely start closing up. Thankfully, in Thailand, people hand out antibiotics like candy. Soon, this sour throat will be behind me and I can enjoy eating and drinking again. 

This might all sound quite miserable, but I'm sincerely having an amazing time in Bangkok.  Today we went to the Royal Grand Palace.  It shines with brilliant golds and color tiles everywhere. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha located within is amazing. 

The pictures are coming soon, today I finally had enough internet to write this message.  Later I will post again when I am on my way to my school, ready to start the semester.  Can't wait to be out in the rural area where I belong! :) 

Friday, October 21, 2011


Although I'm not yet done with the plane rides to Thailand - I have a couple hours to spare before I board the final leg of my trip to Bangkok.  Word to the wise - if you have a flight halfway around the world, spend the money on the better seat class. When they say aisle seat, they really mean the middle of the row.  When they say there's in flight movies, they really mean only some passengers get to view them.  13 hours just hurts the mind and body. Hurts.

HOWEVER! The fact that I am not in Tokyo, Japan after going since 4am yesterday morning (nearly 24 hours now), I'm getting excited. Just one more 6 1/2 hour flight and I'll be landing, and running as quickly as possible to my hotel bed. No shower, no teeth brushing, just passing out in what I can only hope to be a 12 hour coma.

Also - having amazing company on flights helps.  Otherwise, I may be in a Japanese mental hospital at this time. :/

One more to go! :)

(P.S. I already miss my cat Tuesday :( ...and my family :))

Monday, October 17, 2011

Packing Day!

The clothes are in the laundry, the soaps, medications and bug spray are in plastic baggies, and the nerves are setting in.  Today is packing day! 3 days until I'm ouuuuutttaa here!

Today is that pivital moment where I decide what gets to go to Thailand - and what gets left behind.  When I arrive at my hotel and start thinking "WHY DID I LEAVE THAT!?" - I will reflect back upon today.

Also, I found out I will be staying at the Ebina House my first week of orientation!

So wish me luck on my travel abroad - I'll try my best to stay out of trouble.  I'll work with the stuff that fits in my suitcase and not worry about what's left behind! :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

12 Days Until Take-Off

In 12 more days I will be on my way to Thailand. I will be spending my first week at Louis' Tavern Hotel.

I've been compiling checklists before I go.  Here's my condensed version:

1. Bug Spray
2. 20 pairs of undies in case I can't find a proper laundry facility quickly
3. School/Work papers
4. Passport and Visa
5. Reminders of Texas
6. Thailand travel guide
7. Music for my incredibly long plane ride
8. Umbrella
9. Camera!
10. Sleeping pills. Because I'm pretty sure I'll be too excited to sleep for the entire first week I'm there :)

Anything I'm missing?!