Teaching and Thai Massages.

19 May

My lack of blogging activity over the past 2 weeks is solely due to the fact that I have not been so busy in over 3 months – not because I have lost interest or my new-found love for writing! :)

Teacher teacher

Since my last post, things have really gotten underway on the teaching front and I can honestly say it has been a while since I have been so exhausted. So, where do I begin? We finished off our two weeks of teacher-training on Wednesday last week and tomorrow I am off to teach my first lesson (alone)… I must say that (right now) my excitement exceeds my nerves and I am really looking forward to getting the hang of being in a classroom and getting to the know the children I am going to be teaching for the next while.

Monday and Tuesday last week were spent introducing and integrating us newbies with the rest of the staff who have been teaching at the company for quite some time… Most of which arrived in October (or around that time) last year. It is definitely the thing to come over to Thailand and teach for a year or so before moving on to either travel more or return to the real world back home. On Monday we had ‘Big Day Training’ and Tuesday, ‘Sports Day’. On Monday we had to catch the BTS Skytrain to the place where the training was being hosted… Words cannot describe how grateful I am to be living 1,2km and a mere taxi drive away from work in the mornings. My inability to deal with the heat, crowds and traffic just would not bode well if I had to squish into a sweaty train every morning and then  teach kids for the rest of the day. So without sounding like a brat, I am just so grateful we found our job first and then our apartment before settling into Bangkok.

Anyway, Big Day Training turned out to be quite eventful. Firstly, there were about 200 people in this one massive room – all foreign teachers, Thai assistant teachers and office staff. The chairs were positioned in a ‘U’ shape around the room, allowing adequate floor space in the middle – ensuring games could be clearly demonstrated. Well, my morning started off being a student and sitting in on a demo lesson which was being presented by one of the trainers. Within minutes of playing the circle game – I split my pants. Now, let me just explain… Finding black pants which are not too tight, not too loose and allow for decent movement – is not the easiest thing, especially when you cannot try clothing on at the markets. As a dived into my spot in the circle, after being chased around with a toy hammer, having 200 onlookers – hearing and feeling that rip sound made my heart sink. At first I thought I had torn a muscle. Thankfully not. Anyway, I spent the rest of the day walking around with a gaping hole in my leg – some looking at me with pity but most slightly confused as to how I could arrive at such a function with holes in my clothes!! :)

Those of you who know me – know that I am not really one for public speaking or having all eyes on me in front of lots of people. I kinda let go my fear of standing up in front of crowds last year but it has never been my fave thing. Well, something came over me on Monday and I decided to go up and represent my team and perform a demo lesson to everyone in the room… With a hole in my pants. Um, it went well – considering I have never taught before and I was quite proud of myself for not bursting into tears and running out the door. I realised that if I could do a lesson in front of 200 adults, I could definitely do it in front of 25 kids. I was in no way exceptional, but it was a good thing for my confidence and nerves!

Sports Day was fun… For the first hour or two. The event was set up outdoors. No aircon. A whole lot of people. Continuous physical activities. It was a scorcher, to say the least. The staff were all divided into teams and throughout the day we competed in sack race, 3 legged races, balloon popping, sliding on your bum in a line races. It was a lot of fun and it was great way to meet new people – but it was hot and by the time 3:30PM arrived I could not have been more thrilled to leave my fellow teammates and head home for a swim. (Oh, and our team came last…)

Cabbages and Condoms

Two weeks ago we met up with a friend from Cape Town who was stopping over in Bangkok en route to the islands. We went to a restaurant Cabbages and Condoms which we had heard so much about! The restaurant has a subtle display of props and decor all made out of condoms… Only in Bangkok! :) The food was wonderful and seeing friends and familiar faces from home is one of the greatest feelings! I am struggling to find the words to describe this restaurant – it’s one of those places you have to experience yourself. So, if you are stopping over anytime soon – I do suggest spending an evening here.

Home, away from Home

My love for Bangkok continues to increase. We have met some amazing people in the last week from all over the world, all of whom are in Bangkok teaching and in exactly the same boat as us.It always helps when people are in the same position as yourself – when they have left their home countries to experience and explore a new continent, country and city. The people we have met have all been so warm and inviting and have only further made us feel like this is where we are supposed to be. Although, the one thing I do struggle with is the pace at which the locals walk… There is very little concern for time in Thailand and people are generally ridiculously care free – never walking or moving in any form of a hurry. Westerners generally move with intention, on the left hand side of the road, sticking to one side of the elevator and moving out of others way. Not in Thailand. I have learnt to avoid any form of busy street (on foot) during peak hours. A 200M walk can take a considerable amount of time when you are stuck behind a group who is chatting or individual who is browsing. But yes, patience is a virtue… :)

Yesterday I (somehow) managed to convince Kyle to come for a Thai massage with me. I have been warned that this is not a normal massage in the sense that there are no oils used and you feel more like you have had a workout than a massage… But I thought I should just give it a try. Well, I am still not too sure how I feel about yesterdays experience… I had a little Thai lady standing on me, pulling me and moving me in directions I never thought possible. And the funniest thing was that Kyle was right next to me – enduring exactly the same thing! I walked out of that massage unable to feel my calves. My neck clicked more in 5 seconds than it has in the last 5 years and my arms felt like they were dislocated. Kyle claims to have enjoyed it – but I do not think I will rush back for a Thai massage anytime soon. If you are going to go for a Thai massage whilst in Bangkok, I suggest saying you prefer ‘medium’ strength… The language barrier does not really permit changes in strength to be easily elaborated on – something I learned very quickly. This morning I woke up feeling like I had just played a rugby match.

So, tomorrow it all starts. I am beyond grateful that Friday is a public holiday in Thailand as I do not know how my body is going to adjust to a full 5 day week of teaching… On Monday night, I was asleep at 8:15PM. And, the rest of the week I was out cold by 9:30PM. Every Monday I leave the office at 6:30AM, drive two hours to a school and then return at about 5PM (long day). On Tuesdays I am on standby – which means I only go out to teach if someone calls in sick. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I teach at the same school which is really nice! Most people move to a new school each day so I am rather pleased to be at the same school 3 days of the week. I went to this school’s introduction day last week and I could not believe how tiny the kids were… The kindergarten students (which I will be teaching) are ridiculously cute – even though most of them were sobbing hysterically because it is the first time they have been away from their parents! So yes, this is going to be a very interesting week and I will be sure to write an update next weekend! :)

Wishing you all a happy week x

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