New Places. New Faces.

New Places. New Faces.

Finally, I’ve got a minute to sit down and update!  Things have pretty much been non-stop since I’ve arrived, and it’s hard to believe that I’ve already been here for almost three weeks.  I last posted when I was in Bangkok, and since then I’ve spent a week in Hua Hin for my placement agency’s orientation week, and am now in Rayong where I have been placed to teach Kindergarten.

I met some amazing people at the orientation week in Hua Hin; we quickly formed a little group that pretty much did everything together from foot massages to eating meals.  I really miss them!  Now we are all scattered across the country; some have begun teaching, others are taking a TESOL course, and I think it’s finally setting in that I’m going to be here for a while.  And that it’s going to get a little lonely.  But I am grateful for the orientation week because I had the opportunity to meet people who I will hopefully visit in other parts of Thailand.

Orientation Week

A little on Hua Hin.  It’s a mid-sized coastal city about 3 hours south of Bangkok.  It’s called “The King’s City” and he lives there now in his old age.  There are also a lot of expats living and vacationing in Hua Hin.  A lot of old, ugly white guys with Thai wives.  That’s just…weird to me.


Songthaew – Our normal mode of transportation in Hua Hin

During the orientation, we had classroom sessions  and daily activities where we learned about Thai culture, language and teaching.  We went to Khao Tao temple in Hua Hin and learned a little about Buddhism and received a blessing from a monk.  For me, it was one of the highlights of the week.




On top of the hill


Blessing by the Monk


Peace. Love. Hua Hin.

There were also a lot of dogs and cats at the temple, and we know I just loved seeing all the kitties!


Temple Cats


Temple Dogs

After that, we went to the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation.  Hutsadin is a rescue foundation that has bought elephants from owners who haven’t taken good care of them, and also cares for a baby elephant “Songkran” who was abandoned by its mother.  We got to feed the elephants pineapples we got from a pineapple farm in Hua Hin.


Cutting some fresh pineapples


Pineapples for Elephants


Who needs a boyfriend when you’ve got elephant love?

We also had the opportunity to learn a little Muay Thai at a local gym.  For an hour, the Muay Thai trainers taught us proper technique and then coached us one on one.  A note about Muay Thai gyms – none are air conditioned, so you get a really good workout!  Later that night we went to see a Muay Thai fight with fighters ranging in age from 6 to 20.  At first I didn’t want to go because it was 500 baht, about $16. But since everyone else was going, I decided to join in, and it ended up being a really good time!  I probably won’t go again, but I’m glad I went.




Your worst nightmare!


So after a few stressful days of not knowing where I’d be working, I learned that I would be in Rayong, which is a small/mid-sized coastal town in the eastern part of Thailand.  It’s known for being close to Ko Samet, which is supposed to be stunning.  It’s about a 45 minute ferry ride to Ko Samet, which I’m sure I will be visiting at some point.

I had initially turned down a placement about an hour north of Bangkok because it was working with kindergarteners.  I wasn’t prepared to teach this age group, and honestly, don’t really know how to approach young kids who have no attention span.  After turning down the initial placement, I was told it would only be a few days to find me another one, and well, it ended up being 4 and costing me an extra $100 in lodging.  When the Rayong position came up, I took it, thinking I’d be working with primary (first grade – fifth grade) kids.  When the final e-mail came through, it said I would be working in kindergarten. Ugh. Fail.  I didn’t want to cause a fuss, nor did I want to stick around waiting and spending more money on overpriced lodging.

Getting There

Getting to Rayong was quite the adventure!  I took a private car at 6:30 am to Bangkok, which cost me $60.  So expensive.  I could have taken a van, but that would have required being dropped off with all my luggage in an area of Bangkok far from where I was meeting the “agent” and then taking a taxi to the meeting place.  (Side note: The agent is the person who works for the school to find teachers.  The placement agency connects you with the agent.  The recruiting company connects you to the placement agency.  It’s very complicated, I know.  I’ve gone through about 4 different organizations just to get to where I am right now.)

So, $60 later, I’m in Bangkok at a random mall, waiting for the agent to show up.  When she finally shows up, we put my luggage in her car, and I have no idea if she is driving me to Rayong, or, if she is driving me to a bus.  It was kind of a pointless meeting, except for getting me to sign a “contract”, and it would have been much more efficient if I just paid for the car to take me all the way to Rayong.  We finally arrive at a van station, in the pouring rain.  The streets are flooding.  I get out of the car and am soaked within seconds.  The friendly van driver pulls my huge suitcase out of the agent’s car and puts it in the van.  He gets soaked.  I am now sitting in a van – I’m soaked and my shoes are soaked with the filthy street water.  And I’m not even sure when the van will leave because there’s no schedule, they just wait until they are filled up.


Just a normal rainy day in Bangkok – this is no big deal…

So as I’m waiting for the van to leave, I have to use the restroom and know I will not make the 2 hour trip if I don’t.  These vans don’t stop for bathroom breaks.  I get out of the van, in the pouring rain, and basically act out having to use the toilet because nobody speaks English.  One of the guys runs me to a squat toilet about two blocks away…I use it…we run back to the van.  I am more soaked than before.  And miserable.  We finally leave.  Two hours later, I’m dropped off at yet another mall in Rayong to meet the head of the English department for my school.  She picks me up and we head off to find housing.

Thankfully, I had already connected with one of the English teachers at the primary school here because he went through the same placement agency as me, and he suggested I check out his condo building.  The rooms are a little pricey at $220/month, especially for a city as small as Rayong, but they are new, have kitchenettes, wifi, and are cleaned twice a month.  There’s also a mini gym.  A few English speakers live here too, which is nice!  And I did not feel like looking at other places after 8 hours of traveling.


New place – cleaned twice a month and free WiFi! Yay!


This bed is hard as a rock…

Rayong, Thailand

Before I got here, the other teacher from my placement agency befriended a Thai guy who speaks English and lives in the condo.  He’s really nice and has been showing us around his town.  There’s an outdoor bar/restaurant near our condo that has live music almost every night, which will probably be our “go to” hang out spot.  Also, the Loi Krathong festival has also been going on too – it’s a festival to honor the water goddess and Thai people release these little boats into the rivers.


Pretty bridge at the festival


Loi Krathongs


Right before I burned my hand…

Anyways, I am still getting used to everything.  I feel like I’m never going to be 100% sure of what is going on during my time here.  I am so clueless half the time.  I have to just go with the flow and hope I’m doing things right!  Oh, and I know I haven’t said anything about my school yet because that’s a whole different blog post.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading!  I’ll try and post more often as to avoid these really long updates on my life!  Miss all you people back home!

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