Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Best and the Worst

They are looking for my replacement!  That's crazy and wonderful and sad all at the same time.  They will actually have 2 full time teachers here at the school, since there will be 4 grades and not 3.  One of the teachers thinking about applying emailed me and asked me what the best and worst parts of teaching and living in Thailand have been.  It really made me think and I thought I would share my response.  Enjoy.

Hmmm.... The best and worst parts of living and teaching in Thailand...

- The kids

- There is a good variety of ages and subjects, so it doesn't get boring

- The kids (did I already mention them...?) :)  Seriously though, the kids are so smart and fun.

- The school is really nice and they are great at getting me the supplies and things I need for my lessons.

- It's really laid back.  If my lessons are done and I am getting everything done I am supposed to, then I don't have to be working on my free classes.  Sometimes I head to town before 5:00 because I am caught up.  I can also go out and get lunch if I want (on days that I don't have class right after my lunch break).

- The thai teachers are fun and really helpful and supportive.

- Teaching (no matter where in the world) takes a lot of work, time and energy.  Just remember that you're a paid, full-time teacher so you won't have nearly as much free time as the volunteers.

- The exams at the end of each quarter can be time consuming.

- At the beginning it can be quite overwhelming getting used to the planning, teaching and kids.  That gets easier with time, but the beginning can be tough.

- No bills!!!!  Your room and food are free so you won't have anything you have to pay for here.  That is so very, very nice.

- Your own room and space.

- The Thai people are the kindest, best people I have met in the world.  

- You will really get a feel for the culture.  I'm sure you know this, but living somewhere and just traveling somewhere provide very different experiences.  Phichit is a small town and you will really get a feel for authentic Thai life.

-  Lot of free time!  There is a lot of down time in the evenings and on the weekends.

- The school director, Tang, is really great.  She's fun and supportive and helpful.

- The fruit!  They reallllllly know how to grow killer pineapples and mangoes here!  They also have lots of fruits that aren't commonly available in the US.

- Low cost of living.  Things here are a lot cheaper than they are in the states.  We (I'm here with my husband) have been able to save some money and that is nice.

- The people you'll meet and the friends you'll meet.  If you're here for a year you will get to know 3 separate groups of volunteers and make some great friends.

- The traveling and adventuring!  We have been to some really fun, beautiful places and made some amazing memories!

- Food.  I am a big food person.  I miss a lot of things that are hard to get/not available.  This has honestly been the #1 hardest part!  Haha!  We ate the meals that the school cooks made for the first 15 months or so, but now we just take the money and make our own meals.  That has been really nice.  Thai food is fine, but every day, every meal it can get old.  I can't wait to eat Chipotle and Chik-Fil-A when I get home!

- Transportation.  This really fits into both the best and worst categories...  you will have a bike for transportation around town.  They have trains that run to the other cities that are cheap and easy to use.  It's fun to bike around the town and not have to worry about a car/gas/insurance/payments.  I miss having a car of my own.  (bear in mind that I have been here for 2 years.  The first year is wasn't bad, but I'm just ready to be able to get around on something other than a bicycle!  Haha)

- Weather.  It's really hot and humid pretty much always.

- Church.  I don't know if you are LDS or not, but we are.  It takes a lot of time and work to get to church.  The missionaries there are so helpful, but the translation is not always the best.

- I mentioned free time in the 'best' category.  If can be really nice to have a lot of free time, but it can also get boring sometimes.  Once again, this is something I noticed more during the second year than the first year.

- Being far away from family.  I am really close to my family and it's hard to be away from them for so long.  They don't celebrate Christmas here.  I worked the last 2 Christmases (the next teachers won't because it'll fall on the weekend), but that was hard for me.  I'm pretty hardcore when it comes to holiday traditions and I really missed those.  Luckily, technology makes it easy to talk to family and that helps a lot.  I also have my husband here, so I have a build in best friend :)

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It has been such a great experience.  I am so glad that Tanner and I decided to come!  We've had our ups and downs while here, but that's how it is everywhere.  We have learned a lot and made a lot of really great memories.  I know that we'll look back on this time with fondness for the rest of our lives. 

Cooking with Kung

Kung (D-day's dad) that Tanner tutors has been talking about taking us to cook cashew chicken at a local restaurant. We finally went! He took us and Tanner and I cooked with the cook there.  Kung translated and visited with us. It was a lot of fun and the chicken was really good! After we cooked we got to eat the cashew chicken. He also ordered some tom yum soup and stir fried cabbage. It was tasty and I got really full!

I love how much Kung loves hanging out with Tanner!

On the way back to the school Kung took us to one of his favorite coffee shops.  He got coffee and Tanner and I got honey lime juice.  The shop was so cute!

We actually went back to the restaurant where we cooked the very next day.  The new group of teachers got here, but Tang, Ake and Ton were up at Central plaza in Phitsanulok with a booth for the school the next day. They left the truck and some money for us so we could take the girls out. We decided to go back to the restaurant and get cashew chicken (that's how much we love it!). We thought we would get one big plate of fried rice, two pots of soup and 5 plates of cashew chicken. Tanner went and ordered. Somewhere during the process there was some miscommunication… We ended up with 5 HUGE platters of fried rice, 4 bowls of soup and 5 plates of cashew chicken! It was way too much food! It was really, really good, just much more than we needed.  With every plate/bowl they brought out we just laughed harder!  Right when we thought we had all the food they would bring out more!


We've been missing dill pickles.  We found a recipe and gave it a try.  We made two batches.  The first batch turned out really great!  

The first batch was so tasty that we made a second batch (a really big one).  Sadly, the second batch was NOT good.  :(  We'll have to try a third batch and see how it goes. 

Field Trip

We went on a field trip. We went to a temple about 25 minutes away. King of Thailand from about 300 years ago was born in Phichit. He build that temple. There were lots of ruins and then there were 2 newer temple buildings that are in use today. 

When we were there we had 4 rotations. Teacher Kookik and I were in charge of the easiest rotation.  We had a sketching rotation. The kids would come and we'd give them paper, and pencils. They would take about 30 minutes to draw and color the temple. We found a nice shady spot under a tree with a great view. The kids all had so much fun and I enjoyed having a change and getting out of the classroom for half the day.

On the way home Post climbed up on my lap, picked up my hand and wrapped it around him.  I thought that was sweet. 

Coconut rice treat


Ioon and Yada

MeMe and Post

Fair by the Temple

There was a fair down my the temple last week.  Tang and Ake went with all the teachers.  There was shopping and food, dancing and a stage over the river with performances.  

This stand had coconuts every way!  Whole, cut open with the meat shaved and floating in the water, and my personal favorite: the naked coconut!  They had removed the entire shell, but the sphere of meat was left intact, with the water still inside.  I was so amazed that Tang bought one to share.  You just stab the straw right into it to drink the coconut water, then eat the rest.

We happened upon an area where there was a dance performance.  They had all of us white folk join them.  Tons of people loved that and there were lots of pictures being taken!

There was a little photo area set up. 

There was a scarecrow and a buffalo head scarecrow...

They had candles that you could buy and light.  You put them on the water and make a wish.  Tang and I bought some and put them in.  

The stage that they build over the water had some performances.  While we were there a group of 30-70 year old women did some dances that looked like Zumba.  It was mostly the same moves done to 4 or 5 different songs.

 This booth had "candy reckless"...