A Recap of My Thailand Adventures



^^ Currently jamming.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ― Henry David Thoreau

It appears that the last few posts have been empty promises of updating my blog. Part of me feels like I’ll kick myself in the ass later for not keeping up with it, so here we go again:

First things first, in reference to my last post, I experienced much sadness after noticing that the memos I’ve been keeping of the good/the bad/the interesting/the crazy events that have been occurring over the last 2 months have mysteriously disappeared. Well, cheers to those lost memories!

I’ll try and re-cap the key points of the last few months, but I’m sure I am forgetting some important things..

Month of October: After spending time with my family traveling around Singapore, Malaysia, and the South of Thailand, I said my goodbyes to my mom who was heading back to Texas, and to my dad, who currently lives in Bangkok (he’s saved my ass a couple times). I am so thankful to have had an entire month exploring bits of Asia before the course began, because it was an insanely busy first few weeks, and if I were to be jet-lagged AND cuture-shocked (can I use that phrase? whatever), it would have been a whole lot different. I already felt as ease with most Asian customs, etc. The first few days in Bangkok, I explored the city with the few people who also arrived early. We had a blast — getting a “little” wasted on Khaosan Road, exploring the floating market, seeing famous temples, convincing the hotel staff to open the rooftop pool at 5am so we could skinny-dip and drink whiskey until sunrise, yadda yadda, it was all fun and games — well, for the most part. I will never forget being so hungover and sick to my stomach the day we went as a small group to visit the famous Reclining Buddha. We had to take a few mini ferry boats to get there, and I don’t know what it was but I was on the verge of vomiting the entire time (sorry, TMI). Shout out to whoever was with me for dealing with the many “I need a water, I’m gonna vom, fuck my life” moments that day. I finally convinced myself to enter the temple despite feeling like death. “You’re in Bangkok, dammit! GROW SOME BALLS” I kept thinking to myself. I sat on a bench outside contemplating going inside the temple for a good 30 minutes, and decided I was willing to risk vomiting all over Buddha just so I wouldn’t miss out on the experience. Yes, I legit thought I was going to be “that girl”. I ended up going on right before closing time, so I was the only one in the room with the Reclining Buddha (see picture).

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For those few minutes, I felt at peace. It was the first beautiful golden Buddha I’d seen in Thailand. In retrospect, I’m glad I took the risk. Didn’t end up vomming all over Buddha, so it was a happy ending.

In the days leading up to the TESOL course, more and more people arrived, which meant more and more names and faces. At one point, a small group of us arrived back at the hotel, and there were a good 20+ people chillin’ outside. When did this happen?! Well it ended up being awesome and a huge group of us went out that night. Little did we know, this was just the beginning to an amazing month of partying, 7/11 trips, whack conversations, stripper poles, hookahs, and adventures that were to come in Hua Hin (the beach town where we did our TESOL course).

The TESOL Course: Sometime in early October, after spending a few days in Bangkok, a group of about 90 people from the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, etc. were transported to Hua Hin, our destination for the course in which we would “learn” to teach English. One of my favorite parts of the course was during the beginning week, when our class took trips to a beautiful temple, elephant sanctuary, and had a badass welcome BBQ at the beach. Our TESOL instructor, Jaco (who once quoted “I love laminating — I wish I could laminate myself!”), pushed us to step outside our comfort zones. Part of our introduction was volunteering to tell the rest of the class why they came to Thailand.

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Our level of comfort with each other was awesome, and looking back on it, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be with for that month. Everyone radiated so much positivity. Drama was non-existent.  Also noteworthy, the beach BBQ was when many of us first discovered Sangsom, the cheapest rum (a staple in Thailand, they call it whiskey for some reason) and best/worst thing to ever happen to your liver. Sangsom, particularly when mixed with Sprite/Coke and Red Bull, can cause one to say things they otherwise wouldn’t and dance to Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and Calvin Harris’ “Wake Me Up” several times throughout the night. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was another favorite drunken sing-along. So, besides the course being quite fun and useful for the most part, I became really close with many of the people in the course. We all lived in the same accommodation for that entire month, so it was kind of like living in the dorm again, except better because we were all there doing the same thing, which means most of us had similar interests and besides that, it was nice to have such a great support system during the transition to living and soon-to-be working in Thailand. After a long day at “school”, our favorite thing to do was walk to the nearest 7/11, grab a twin pack of Chang beer, a ham and cheese toastie (details later), and hit the pool or the beach nearby. Ah, good times. One of my favorite memories during that month was when one weekend, a group of us decided to assemble our “farang gang” and motorbike to an unknown destination (a random beach we found on a map, basically) around 4:30pm. Thing is, it gets dark around 6, and while most of us KNEW it was a bad idea, after contemplating it for awhile, our inner adventurous, spontaneous selves, decided to say fuck it on go on with it. Of course, it did get dark about halfway through the ride. OH, and it was also raining hard the day — I’m talking flooding status. This was my first time ever on the back of someone’s motorbike, and I was anxious, no lie, after hearing some horror stories of motorbike accidents, but it turned out to be a fun ride, even though my driver preferred to live life in the fast lane. At one point, we lost a member of our motorbike gang. SHIT, where did they go? Turns out they got a flat tire. That’s when we had no other choice but to stop on some random street in the middle of BFN and have a mini anxiety filled dance party for a good 30 minutes. We even contemplated going back to Hua Hin, but other farang friends were already on their way to meet us, so we kept going. I can’t recall the name of the place we ended up a few hours later, but it was badass. It was dark when we got there, and we pulled up to the first hotel we saw and luckily they were able to accommodate all of our crazy asses. We had to tell them we were all couples in order to get the best rate. That night, we ate some good food, drank Changs and Sangsom galore, went for a night swim (clothing optional), and hung out with some Thais. It was a good time. At the hotel, we continued drinking and stayed up until sunrise. The next day, some of us hiked up this mini mountain thing where there was an awesome temple. The stairs were broke, so it was sort of a rough hike, but the views were superb. We didn’t make it all the way to the temple due to a massive family of wild monkeys stopping us. That day, I also got attacked by at least 4829482947248 mosquitoes, and I for sure thought I was going to catch some disease and die. Such a worry wort sometimes.

IMG_4898 <—— The view from the hike.

Ok, I’m sure there’s more to tell but I can’t remember. I feel like I’m not even halfway done and this is already becoming a novel. Yawn.

Mina, our first Thai friend: There is a huge night market in Hua Hin every night. A lot of us would go there to shop around, but mostly to eat and drink beer (duh). One night, we all ordered beers from a random stand in the back of the market, and the owner noticed one of the ladies wasn’t drinking, so she brought her a mixed drink (which was rather strong). Sounds a little sketchy, but it really wasn’t. We ended up conversing with her, and she turned out to be the nicest lady I’ve met in Thailand this far. Her name is Mina. We were also introduced to Nat, who is equally as badass. That night, Mina offered us a ride home in her truck, and invited us back to the market many times. There were a few nights where she made excellent wings, and even went out with us to the bar a few times. I miss her! Sure, there’s plenty of nice people in Thailand, but I could tell she was genuine. The last night most of us were in Hua Hin, we made her a personal, DIY thank you card. Although we could have done more, I know she appreciated the gesture.

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^^ That’s Mina. She’s a badass.

So, that brings me to finish blabbering about the end of the TESOL course experience. The last days in Hua Hin, we all participated in an English camp at the local school. Sure, we had all planned and presented many lessons, but this was our first time to actually test out our skills with Thai kids. It was a mess. During our first break, many of were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, chain smoking and chugging red bulls, venting about our first real experience teaching. I had kindergarteners, and one thing I quickly learned, was that in less than 30 seconds, your entire lesson “plan” becomes useless, and you must be quick on your feet to think of a plan B, C, and so on. Although it wasn’t exactly “teaching English”, we found that running around the classroom and making monster faces was a good time filler. Whatever works, ya know.

OKAY now I know why it’s important to be consistent with blogging, because my hands hurt and I feel like I’ve written a novel. The worst part is that I still haven’t even gotten to the important part — you know, the reason why I came here and all, the teaching English part. But for now, I’m bored with this and surely you are too. If anyone in Thailand is actually reading this, you deserve a beer and a toastie. What are you waiting for? There’s a 7 Eleven right down the block. If you’re not in Thailand, what the hell are you doing with your life? Get over here.

This part is boring you to read, save yourself the trouble, it’s more of a mental note to myself on what I still need to cover (which is a lot of shit, especially the most important part — my experience teaching so far), so excuse the lack of organization. It’s also a way to ensure that my memos don’t disappear again.  My next post will consist of more important things, such as….

IMG_5189 IMG_5504 IMG_5553 <— The next chapter and my new home, Surat Thani.

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^^ My first solo trip was dope

  • Overview of the TESOL course, saying goodbye to Hua Hin and new friends, and traveling by train on my own to start the next chapter of my life teaching English in the South of Thailand.
  • Just say “Yes”
  • “Religious beliefs: 7/11″ (a narrative on the importance of 7 Elevens in Thailand)
  • The first week of teaching kindergarteners at a government school / teaching English in general and my experience thus far
  • An overview of the town I’m living in, Surat Thani
  • Expectations vs. realities / Living in Thailand vs. being a tourist
  • Adaptation
  • Language barrier gets intense
  • Walking down the street as a Westerner (and female)
  • Swimming with bioluminescent plankton
  • British phrases
  • No breakfast tacos, and other homesick thingys
  • Motor taxi burns, guns pulled, and finding glass in my foot
  • Songtows
  • Thai TV & soap operas
  • The guy I met at the bar who was in the Russian mafia and growled at me
  • Running out of phone credits is a real issue. Goes to show how much our generation relies on phones and technology
  • The times when I wanted to give up, and why
  • The random locals who ask “Where you go?”, have you hop on the back of their motorbike, and make your day
  • Lizards, frogs, snakes, and chickens are my neighbors. Also, beware of flying snakes?!
  • The kids who say “Hello”
  • KFC and McDonalds
  • Walking down the street and hearing “Teacher, teacher!”
  • My first solo trip to Krabi, and the most perfect beach I’ve ever seen. Also noteworthy is the monkey who stole and began to attempt to eat my hand sanitizer
  • The little huts that locals have outside their homes/businesses are so chill
  • Dealing with loneliness and learning to be comfortable with it
  • My students’ nicknames are hilarious
  • Adjusting to the “Mai pen rai” attitude
  • Non-confrontation in Thai culture
  • Asians and selfies. Asians and hiding from the Sun.
  • Witnessing the protests in Bangkok
  • Obsession with green tea
  • Cheesy kareoke on the bus from Krabi to Surat
  • Thanksgiving in Thailand and my first extreme case of homesickness
  • Changing apartments and mosque chants

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