So for half a year now I’ve been living in Thailand! Eek 🙂
I celebrated yesterday by going out to a Sports evening with all the teachers in my school and workers in the Tesaban (Council) Offices. We left at 4pm and arrived by 5pm at Phattalung, where all the nearby district offices had spent the day and weeks before competing in Volleyball, Football and most importantly tug of war. Tug of war was the most important for Tesaban Khaochaison because we won! Every team paraded around the sports field and track, which took over an hour because some teams had live bands and dancing (some of the dancers were ladyboys, some students.) Then the Mayor of each town was invited to pose for photos with all the teams and introduced. With the opening ceremony finished, it was the final football match, to see who would be the winner. During half time there was a tug of war again, and the women from Khaochaison came first! (Well done girls!) The guys from Khaochaison came second. Everyone was really excited we won so we all went running on the field to congratulate the team.
This week at school is my second to last! Though I’m not actually teaching, as its exam week for all the students. Yesterday I watched films in the office and re-tested a few students during lunch break that failed their English exam. I’ve been told to retest them, and if they fail, I will have to retest them again. And again. And again. Until they miraculously understand and pass! That’s right, in Thailand you can’t fail a student, and they are allowed as many attempts as possible to pass. Needless to say everyone “passed” yesterday. I was pretty much told to let them pass even if they’re not very good, to save me having to keep testing them. So I lowered my expectations and they earned good grades. Even the ones that can’t tell me their names without a lot of prompting and asking in Thai! It’s ridiculous but that’s how it works here.
It is the students’ last week in school too, so I’ve been receiving lots of hugs, and now can’t walk anywhere without at least 5 children trying to hold on my 2 hands. They manage it somehow. Next week I am still in school but just “marking” exams. My exams are speaking so I decide there and then the grades but hey, I’m getting paid so have to be in school, even if it is just to sit in the office and watch movies.
Two weeks ago I escaped the small town with Lee and went to Hat Yai to party! We went straight after school on Friday evening, had a western meal out, then got ready. We found ourselves in a really nice bar called The Pubb, where Thai people were singing live English songs. The women were amazing, singing covers of Adele. We drank alot and towards the end were dancing and singing too, but no one else in the place was that animated so the singers were singing mainly at us. When Gangnam came on, the male singer pulled me up on stage to dance. Slightly embarrassing as Lee chose that moment to go to the Bathroom so I was on my own, and drunk, so I knocked the pole over with the music on. Whoops. Thanks to teaching I’m not a stranger to being on stage in front of lots of people and dancing! When there was a chance I ran back to my seat though. Since we had drunk alot we decided to have a break from ordering more drinks, but the waitress kept coming over with new ones, and we realised someone was buying them for us. It was two malaysian guys who spoke English and no Thai, who thought we looked crazy and they joined us at the next club, Bix where we danced and drank some more! The night was really good and ended up in McDonalds at 4am in the morning trying to soak up the alcohol.
The next day after a fry up we went shopping round town, and I purchased a big travelling back pack for my adventure to Chiang Mai. Also managed to catch up with Kylie, who I did my training with, and her boyfriend Tom, who moved over here recently to also be a TEFL teacher. Spoke to them for ages, and was great to see them. They are staying next term so hope to see more of them! Late Saturday we got a mini van back to Khaochaison.
My visa runs out next week so I also had to go extend it this week. This meant another 2 hour journey to Satun immigration office, where it clearly states in English that the whole process takes only 15 minutes, all over the walls. I was there for 2 hours. This is because not only did I have to get a new visa, but I needed a re-entry permit too, so that I can leave for the UK and come back and still work. Also because I’m leaving soon, I had to get another piece of paper stating to the Government that I will actually be gone before 90 days. After all this was finally completed they gave me back my passport with all the relevant stamps, and I asked them where is my work permit. Cue lots of talking in Thai and nobody telling me what is going on. Eventually I asked them to speak in English and tell me whats happening, I guess they had lost it. Not only did they lose it, but they had given it to a previous customer, a filipino lady by accident. The organisation in these places needs to improve. They apologised and after ringing my agency, came to an arrangement that meant I would receive my work permit back eventually. It arrived yesterday in the post.
At the start of the month my school hosted its Open Exhibition day, where students had the day off lessons and a huge marquee was set up with different subjects and activities. It was a really fun day and I think everyone enjoyed it. During the morning students went to each subject and took part in the activities. I found myself making bookmarks and throwing darts at balloons as well as painting statues (of an elephant, obviously!) In the afternoon there was a competition for best dances, and best “sing a song” (Karaoke) I videoed the best performances but wordpress won’t let me upload the file unless I pay so you’ll have to look it up on facebook!
I also made another video for my Mums 50th Birthday. It was hard being here this week knowing everything was going on at home. It was Mothers day, Mums birthday and her party. I just wanted to be there, I’m ready to go back now. Luckily just over 4 weeks and I will be there. I’m definitely counting down the days! My Year 5/2 class helped me for the birthday message and they were great, and were excited to know the video was being sent to England.
I’m currently at school writing this and I think the other teachers know I’m just going to be watching movies today, they just bought me a bag of popcorn! Ha, even though I miss home, I still love Thailand.