Teaching English in Thailand: Days 60-61, Final Weekend in KK City!

Saturday 22nd August

Isn't it great when you feel like you're a million miles away from home on holiday, when you're really just on the other side of the city?

This weekend 5 of us ETAs decided to spend our last TET weekend in the city that central to all of us on our placements: Khon Kaen. It has been my home now for two months, and it is still surprising me with new and exciting places. We booked ourselves into the Mai Thai guest house which is fairly central in the city, but I completely lost my bearings so I could have been in Egypt for all I knew.


On Saturday we spent the day looking for a piercing shop, as it was ETA Hannah's birthday and she wanted to get her ear pierced. A tuktuk took us to Fairy Plaza, which is a little shopping mall that I have visited before. His idea of a piercing shop was a little jewellery stand in the main entrance with a stool for the ballsy customers. He took Hannah round to his side and sat her on the stool, amongst all the junk of the place. He didn't have any surgical gloves or anything that was clearly sterile, but he washed his hands with a bottle of alcohol solution so thats ok, right? The guy looked as though he could have just come in for a wander and ended up piercing quite an intricate part of Hannah's anatomy! I saw all the colour drain out of her face as he twisted the needle around in her ear. Somehow, he managed it and everything was ok- for now!

Dodgy
Our hotel was really nice and homely. Jess, Gwen and I had the family room, about 1 metre from the pool while Hannah and Valeria shared a double room. We swam and sunbathed for the rest of the day after the piercing scenario which was lovely just to chill. Jess and I went for a wander to get some pre-drinks for everyone (typical students) and I also ended up buying a new outfit for the night which I am in love with, and the price tag was pretty nice too! I will definitely miss the cheap and cute clothes available here. 

We went for dinner at Ton Tann market, which Kanang took me to on my first week of arriving. There were bands playing around the lake and there were loads of food stalls open for us to choose from. I had a bubble tea with a nice surprise treat of a big fly or wasp inside it which I had a nice chew on, thinking it was tea leaves. Gwen also ate a chicken brain which by the sounds of it was pretty disgusting too!


As it was our last night out together in Khon Kaen we thought we'd go all out, so we ditched the dodgy Thai beer for some classy raspberry Smirnoff vodka- thats right, not Glens! *heave* 
After an hour of funny drinking games the 5 of us piled into a 4 seater taxi (not a problem in Thailand apparently) and went to our 'local' bar Didines. It was empty in there so I was able to teach a tipsy Gwen how to play pool in peace! 

Mid- jig! Jess tried to teach me a dance which I absolutely cannot do
Next location was U Bar, a club full of Thai people where live bands play, as well as DJs. The drinks were crazy expensive so we each splashed on a cocktail (my first Mai Thai was delicious) and we hit the D-floor! A group of young people invited us to join them at their stand-up table on the dance floor. They gave us whiskey and soda water and laughed at us as we attempted to sing along to the band (in Thai). The DJ played crazy techno music with no words, so the night consisted of a lot of jumping, especially on our Jess' part! After the club at about 3am we went back to our hotel and enjoyed a little swim. We weren't sure if we were allowed (probably not) but we didn't make much noise so it was cool. 


We woke up to the best breakfast we could have wished for! A full English breakfast, complete with toast and a cuppa! I can't tell you how happy we all were to have this grace our beings. It was like an out-of-body experience. Much to my mother's surprise, I didn't finish it- in fact, I hardly made a dent in it- simply because it was so big!


The day was spent by the pool, enjoying the sunshine, and apparently giving the sun full access to my nose alone. Rudolph over here managed to burn her nose- which is nothing new- but it was fairly more tomato-like than usual. Brilliant :)


In the evening we went for dinner at an Italian restaurant called Pomodoro, which just happens to serve the best Italian food outside of Italy ever! I happened to over-hear an old nonna chatting away in Italian behind me, and really wanted to have a chat but had nothing to say! So when I walked past her and she said "buonasera" and then she shouted "spinga, spinga" - push! as I struggled with the door. It made me so happy, and very excited to go to Italy in just a few weeks time for my year abroad.


We walked to meet Jess and Gwen's mentor and girlfriend Daina and Nang Za, and they surprised us with gifts! They had made us each a photo frame with photos from our recent trips away- it was adorable! I'm not sure how I'll get it in my rucksack though mind... 


We went to a bar because Daina and Nang Za are insistent that I am "naughty" so they wanted to buy me a beer on a Sunday night, which is very naughty indeed! We had some hilarious chats and we even saw an elephant walking past so we all ran down onto the street and fed it some bamboo. It was the first elly that I had met so I was pretty excited! (and also too scared to stand very close to it for a photo!)


It was the perfect way to top off a great weekend! I only have four more days at school before we head back to Bangkok and then off on our jolly way! I can't wait to travel round the south!

Peace, 
Olivia

Teaching English in Thailand: Day 59, Reflection


I mentioned yesterday that a reflective post would probably come next week; well here it is now. This weekend I am away again (surprise surprise!) and I have a feeling that next week will be a busy one! So while I have time now, I'll give you a little 'after-thought' on my experience working as an ETA in Thailand. 

I didn't really have any expectations when I came to the school, which I think was the best way to go about it. It meant that I wasn't disappointed with much, like when the teacher came to the class with no plan of their own, leaving me to come up with something on the spot. I wasn't disappointed when I quickly learnt that the students' level of English was extremely low, and they were very shy, meaning we had no conversation out of class. No expectations meant I also wasn't disappointed when I didn't have access to many resources at school. I dealt with that by using the white board a lot and using my body a lot to emphasise what I was talking about- but that was all I had. It also meant that I had to focus my lessons around topics that I could explain, act out or draw- which isn't such a bad thing! It meant that I really gave the students my time and effort, rather than just handing them a work sheet to do which wouldn't have been much fun for any of us. After all, we are here to provide the students with a fun English experience, even if it means wandering (very far) away from the curriculum.

Things I have learnt


Some Thai teachers of English can't actually teach English (very well). You can see this in the older students at school who haven't a clue how to deviate from their daily greeting: "good morning teacher how are you [...] I'm fine thank you." I have even tried and failed in my quest to teach them other emotions that they may feel, instead of "fine." I feel like it is down to the teachers to let the students know that they are allowed to say something other than "fine" in this frustratingly robotic greeting routine.


I think that more qualified English teachers should teach in Thailand, to provide good teaching with exact knowledge of the subject. By this I mean teachers of English, from England- and good ones at that. Some of the Thai teachers struggle with teaching English, especially stumbling on pronunciation. Furthermore, a favourite technique of the Thais is 'listen and repeat', meaning their poor pronunciation is being shouted back at them after every word they say. This meant that when I asked "what is the time?" to a class, they would reply "what is the time?", rather than actually answering me. It is very frustrating that this way of teaching has been drummed into them from their first days at school, meaning it would take an awful lot to change it. 

Teenagers are still teenagers. Wherever you go in the world, the teens will still have attitude, still want to chill with their friends, and still be similar to most other teens in the UK. I was half expecting the students at school to be really interested in me. I thought they might try and have a conversation with me or they might all try and add me on Facebook, but its really not been like that for me. Their lack of knowledge of English really hinders their chances of having a chat with me, but they can surely try, right?! I mentioned on this blog a while back a girl from M4 who attempted to talk to me once, and it was ok! Shock! We had some exchanged words about ladyboys and all was well. So I know they have it in them! 

Culture shock

When I first came to my school, I was faced with a huge culture shock regarding their way of life and their teaching system. I never imagined that the way a teacher may teach would vary so much in different cultures. I was told by my mentor in Bangkok when we first met that many of the teachers use a microphone in their classes. I thought 'wouldn't that make it hard for them to move around and get involved with the class?' -well, the answer is yes! If a teacher is limited to where they can go by their mic lead, then of course the huge classes of 40 will be affected. The students at the back will chat and draw on each other whilst the ones at the front try to decipher the distorted voice of their teacher. I thought to myself "I'll stick to my good ol' vocal chord power, thank you very much!" And I'm happy to say that using my voice alone was enough to capture the attention of all the students in the class. 


Food

Before coming to Thailand I knew that I would be in for some funky food. I also knew I would enjoy a lot of it, being a lover of things weird and wonderful. However, I draw the line at congealed blood in noodle soup and boiled chicken feet. Yep- thats right- Thai people eat chicken feet. And they put them in your food, expecting you to eat them, too. And it doesn't stop there! Chicken intestines, raw baby crabs, raw, live 'dancing' shrimp, fish heads, chicken bums... You name any part of any animal that we would usually throw away in the western world- they make a meal out of it. Which is great! I love the fact that they are so resourceful out here. They really do make the most of what they've got, which I find really refreshing. Just don't make me eat it! Also, you will often find people wearing plastic bags on their head when it rains, and keeping left over food in their fridges for probably a bit too long.

Congealed blog and soup mmm

Dogs

There are stray dogs everywhere. I'm pretty afraid of dogs at the best of times, even if they are a pedigree, Crufts winning, bow-wearing pretty little thing- I just don't like them. So when there are tens of disease ridden dogs loitering outside your house, the streets, and even in the school, you've kinda got to deal with it. I also didn't splash the cash on a rabies jab either, which doesn't help the situation!

Crazy roads

Every day you will see madness on the roads. This ranges from scooters driving the opposite way up the road, people overtaking and undertaking wherever they like, people sitting in the back of pick up trucks, people asleep on the top of their open-top-brick-carrying lorries, overtaking on one-way-one lane roads.. you name it, it happens here. I'm still unsure about which side of the road we are actually meant to drive on- honestly!

"ooh, these bricks are so comfy!"

Thai men and safety

Thai men don't stare at me!! Every other country that I have been to, I have been gawped at for being blonde (or just insanely attractive). It can become pretty uncomfortable, especially when they start crowding round... But in Thailand, I really haven't felt like I stick out too much. The men don't stare WHICH IS GREAT, and if anyone does look for a little longer than they should, they usually then ask for a photo with me! I also feel very safe getting into taxis with Thai men. They usually just have a little chat with me which neither of us can understand, but we laugh it off and its cool. And I arrive at my destination untouched and alive- yay!

Brilliant taxi driver/ hair dresser

Genuine kindness

I have come into contact with some extremely kind people. Many of which don't have any reason to be so kind but it is just the way they are! This includes the receptionist at Kiri Nakara in Hua Hin who looked after me whilst I was lonely little lamb, my good friend Rowena who will cook me cakes until I am obese, my host Kanang who has housed me, fed me and taken care of me since arriving, hilarious teacher Ju, taxi drivers and so many other strangers. The kind, laid back attitude that the Thais have is great. I definitely feel like the English could learn something from them- I certainly hope I do! 

My Thai host Kanang whipping up a treat for me
Beautiful Rowena who has kept me sane for 2 months at school!
Invited to a wedding lunch by a stranger


Peace, 
Olivia

Teaching English in Thailand: Days 55-58, Not All Rainbows

Sometimes in life, even though things may look great to onlookers, they aren't always so dandy in reality. This applies to every single person on the earth, no matter where they are or what they are doing. To those of you looking in at the people like me who doing exciting things, it seems crazy that we actually still have down days. 

"You're in Thailand, you should be having a great time!" I hear you say.

Yes, that's true! And for the most part, I am, we are. But, just like anybody else, things still happen. The world doesn't just stop because I'm in Thailand. 

So this week was one of those weeks. I'll speak for myself and also my travelling pals when saying we had an exhausting yet amazing weekend in Pattaya, so it was inevitable some of us would come down with a crash. That, and the fact that we can count the amount of teaching days we have left on one hand can make us feel a bit.... meh. It is so close to the end of our placement, and although the past 8 weeks have flown by, it is also a long time to be living in someone else's home, eating food you would usually retch at the sight of, and of course, teaching a class of 40 all day long every day, when you have very little idea about what you're doing! 

So. This is not necessarily a reflective post on the past 8 weeks (that will probably come next week), but more of a post to explain that even though our Instagram feeds might look like a dream and we try to ignore the lesser-good bits when answering your questions of "hows it going!?" normal things do still happen. And by noting or mentioning these normal or even bad things, we aren't being ungrateful- and I would hate for it to seem that way.

Take this week: my host, Kanang, has had teacher training seminars for the past two weekends, and again on Monday and Tuesday. This means that she's pretty tired and of course this impacts upon how jolly she is- naturally. I feel bad that I have been off gallivanting every weekend whilst she has been studying, but what else am I to do? Seeing as she wasn't going to school with me on these days, Rowena and I had to get a taxi to school and find a lift home from a teacher. This is sometimes a struggle as I live half an hour away from school, so I really don't want to put people out!  

It does perk me up when my lift home is teacher Ju (the lovely lady who took me to town last Friday and to meet her hubby) because she's so funny. There were really bad floods and torrential rain on Monday, but this didn't phase Ju. She flew through those 2ft floods at 30mph, leaving me clinging on for my life and letting out the odd nervous laugh/yelp! Then when we came to the speed bumps that were clearly there, again, she flew over those shouting "OH, SOLLYY" after we were lifted off our seats in the car. And she had the nerve to tell me "Oh, don't wolly your seatbelt, I drive safe!" Yeah, right! So, Ju has kinda been keeping me smiling all week.

Another thing that can't be avoided just because you're on a trip, is death. Kanang unfortunately had some bad family news this week and attended the funeral on Wednesday. She invited me but I was sure that it wasn't going to be the pick-me-up that I needed. Its a bit of a hard question to answer, that one, as its not as simple as "would you like to go to the shops with me?" (which of course, is always a yes if it sells chocolate).

I was having a chat with another ETA who was almost speaking aloud about her issues. She was saying to herself (and me) that it was OK to be feeling a bit annoyed or sad about some things, and that its OK sometimes to feel like she's not enjoying herself here. That, and my bad mood this week is what inspired me to write this post. Especially because I had nothing exciting to write because I've had a boring week- another thing that's gotten to me. Some ETAs seem to be having the best time! They are placed near to the beach or to amazing sights, so they post pictures online that would make anyone a little bit envious. Some other ETAs are at schools that seem to put in loads of effort with them: they dress them up in Thai clothes, take them on school trips, get them involved in activities at school, their students are cute little kindergarteners (definitely jealous about that one), and more! But see- other ETAs are having a great time. Not everybody is thinking these things that I am perhaps being too moany about.

Where you will stay, what school you will work in, and what your location will be is just the luck of the draw when doing this job. This makes it exciting; when you don't know where you are going to be placed, or if you will be on a joint or solo placement when you receive your spot on the TET Programme with the British Council. Of course, the good outweighs the bad. It's a great experience and a brilliant way to spend a summer! 

Just remember, life still goes on when you're away for such a long time. It's not all glorious beach rainbows and ping pong shows, after all.


Peace,
Olive

Teaching English in Thailand: Days 52- 54, A Few Hours in Party Town Pattaya

Friday 14th August

Not quite Hollywood..
Thank God its Friday!!

I had a half-day at school because Kanang wasn't at school and Teacher Ju took me home at lunch, meaning I missed my afternoon class. It was the first time I had really got speaking to Ju properly, but she was incredibly caring and kind! On the way home she stopped off and bought me melon because she was worried I was hungry as we missed lunch. I told her that I was going to Pattaya that night, so she offered to take me back home to collect my bag, and then take me to Central Plaza to avoid me having to get a taxi later! I insisted that she didn’t have to do that and that I could get a taxi, but she wasn’t having any of it. She suggested we stop in at her house so I can meet her farang husband- a friendly Australian man. She showed me round her gorgeous house and directed me to the room I was to stay in with my friends next time I come and visit Thailand! So sweet! She took me to Central Plaza which saved me so much effort, ad I really appreciated it, especially because a non-Thai speaking person like me who doesn't know her Thai address has problems with organising taxis!

Once at Central Plaza, I sat outside in the sunshine as it was a beautiful day! ETAs Heidi and Iman were due to arrive anytime soon, so we could have some lunch before Heidi and I left for Pattaya, and Iman went her separate way to visit a friend. A cheeseburger and chips later, we were in the mini van on the way to Chumpae to meet Jess and Gwen. We were greeted by their mentor's friend Nang Za, who pulled up in her flashy white car and told us to get in. Soon, we had Jess, Gwen and their mentor Daina in the 5 seater car with us. “Queen, get on my lap!” demanded Daina. She’s hilarious.

Nang Za bought us ice lollies!
Every night they take Jess and Gwen out for dinner (and pay) because they are absolute legends. They took us to the walking street evening market as we had a few hours to kill before our 9pm bus. We had dinner at the same place we went the last time I visited Chumpae because it's so good there! After, Daina took us to her house where she lives with her parents and extremely fluffy little dog, so we could get ready for our 10 hour journey. Soon after, we were on the double decker bus, kitted out with blankets and free snacks. The journey went pretty fast for me because I managed to sleep for a few hours here and there. Poor Jess didn't sleep at all, so when we arrived in Pattaya at 6.30am, we headed to find a comfy place to drink coffee and relax! We found one a little while after walking through walking street, where last night's party was clearly not over for some! Dressed up (or down) ladies strutted past us in their 7 inch heels and 3 inch long hot pants, as men sat drinking beer, gawping at the 4 backpack-clad farangs sweating their way through the street.

Saturday 15th August

Walking to the ferry on the pier with Gwen and Jess
Such comfiness
The coffee shop wasn't actually open at 7am when we approached it, but the look on our tired, desperate faces made them pity us and open the door. We sat on the balcony overlooking the sea, in big hanging chairs for about 2 hours, drinking coffee, spilling coffee, and buying more coffee. We decided we'd go to the nearby island of Ko Lan at 10am via the ferry taxi that cost only 30 baht per person; bargain! Once we got there, we had to hop onto the back of two motorbikes so we could get to the nice beach. It was my first motorbike experience in Thailand and nobody died! 


The sight of the beach was tear- worthy: A beautiful long stretch of white sand and clear blue waters. During the day we bumped into more ETAs that I hadn’t met before but only recognised- what are the chances!? They joined us at our sun beds and we shared the usual stories of our experiences of TET.

Most of us grabbed all the sun that we could, as we all seem to agree that we haven’t tanned since being in Thailand! This is because we are teaching indoors all day long, so it is quite hard to catch the sun without it being an inappropriate lunchtime- sweat- session. The three boys somehow roped three of us girls into going on a banana boat ride. I had never been on a banana boat because I was always scared of getting knocked out by my older brothers on family holidays. I bit the bullet and threw myself into it (literally) and the next thing I knew, we were frantically holding on for our lives before being thrown into the water, each consuming about a pint of the ocean. It was quite a shock to the system, and I never imagined the impact would be that forceful. So, once we caught our breaths we all struggled back onto the inflatable banana and off we went again- this time, slightly petrified about the fall that was about to come. It came with more force than before, with an unfortunate blow to the head from a friend’s flailing limb. ETA Donna shouted “is everyone OK?!” as we all shared the same sense of shock and pain.
Time of our lives! 
"I'll go slow"... Not!
I unwillingly got back onto the banana of nightmares, with a throbbing lump on my head. Gwen was struggling to get back on, so rather hilariously Jay threw himself into the water like the hero he is, to help her on. She wasn’t having any of it, and I took that moment to also throw myself back into the water to join her in safety, away from that hellish banana! We struggled onto the driver’s jet ski, perhaps flashing a bit too much bum (and showcasing my terrible upper-body strength). We took an unsettling ride back to the beach, and I was worried that Gwen was in shock and that I was going to black out at any moment. Who knew a banana could cause this much trouble? The boys had a great time, and Gwen and I were afraid that we cut their ride short by being such pansies. Back on the beach, Jay advised me on my growing head lump and helped me to track down some ice, as he seemed to think he was a doctor.



After staying on the beach for a while longer, we decided to get the boat back to the mainland. The boat took about half an hour, even though the island looked so close. We all jumped into the back of a songtaew to go back to our hotels. Somehow, the Shakespeare hotel we thought we were checking into turned out to be a different one that we had booked. This meant that the boys were in one Shakespeare hotel, and we were in another, a few streets away. Some of the others were also in different hotels, as there were so many of us. Even though we were absolutely hanging after getting very little sleep the night before and having a fairly active day, we somehow managed to get ready and drag ourselves out for a night on the town. A quick pasta stop was followed by some games of pool as mine and Jay’s competition continues, and I beat him again a few more times since Hua Hin. The score now is 3-1 to me, muahahah.
Heidi with the list of events that we witnessed (all apart from the top two)
We headed to walking street in order to try and find some of the others. They had been to watch the cabaret while some of us didn’t fancy it. The night flew by, accompanied by strong drinks and abnormal sights. Three of us ended up going to a ‘ping pong show’, in which they didn’t only play ping pong. Above, Heidi displays all the weird and wonderful things we watched them squeeze in (excuse the pun) in an hour’s show for 200 baht each.

Busy Pattaya walking street. Photo creds: Jay
It was hilarious, uncomfortable and sad all at the same time. I wont go into too much detail, but there were cucumbers, razorblades, darts, whistles, ping pong balls, flowers, cigarettes, pens and liquids, all being used in unconventional ways. Fortunately for you, we weren’t allowed to take pictures. I kept a dart (that was launched at the balloon in my hand) as a souvenir. It smells clean, thank goodness.

Pole dancers in a club
After the show we were enticed by a free drink into a huge club. We found the RnB room and had a jolly ol’ dance to a bit too much Pitbull. I thought we were there for about 30 minutes but Heidi tells me it was 3x longer than that! It was getting pretty late by now, and we still hadn’t found the others. We grabbed a McDonald’s and headed home, dreading the 9am start that was due in just a couple of hours.
Look at the size of that disco ball!
Sunday 16th August

It was surprisingly less of a struggle to wake up than I thought. Maybe all the red bulls I had drank the night before were starting to kick in! We had a quick slice of toast before getting a songtaew to the bus station for 9am. We bumped into ETAs Jodie and Hannah at the station who were also getting the same bus as us. A life saving fruit stall pulled up as we were waiting for the bus, and a fresh coconut’s rehydrating properties were definitely appreciated by me. The 10-hour journey was less horrific because we could see where we were going, whereas we could only imagine ourselves careering into oncoming traffic on Friday.

Halfway through the journey we stopped for 20 minutes to grab some food. Our free meal ticket bought us some extremely tasty noodle soup, with no scary stuff in it! YAY! The second half of the journey wasn’t so good for me as it was hard to sleep with the sun beating down through the window. It seemed like we would never arrive at Chumpae, and when we did finally arrive (an hour and a half later than expected), we had to leg it to catch the last van of the day at 8pm. A welcome sight of Daina and Nang Za greeted us at the van station- even though they didn’t need to be there. They are so kind, simply making sure that we arrived safely! I’m definitely going to miss the pair of them, as we always have such a laugh together.


We got the hour-long van back to Central Plaza in Khon Kaen, and although we had planned to get some food as we were all starving, I decided to go straight home as I was so knackered! I even managed to explain where I lived to the taxi driver, who was absolutely mental and kept laughing at everything I said like:

“Turn left”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”
“It’s not that funny!”
“HAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAH”

So, after travelling for 22 hours this weekend and spending 26 hours in Pattaya, it is safe to say I had another great weekend, and that I am exhausted.

Peace,
Olive




Teaching English in Thailand: Day 50, Mothers Day, Vietnamese Food & Flashing The Cash

Day 50: Wednesday 12th August

It’s Thai Mother’s day! I mentioned yesterday how we celebrated a day early at school in traditional Thai fashion, along with a fun music competition. Today, all government run facilities are closed because it is a national holiday. This meant Kanang and I could have a lazy morning, before heading off for a leisurely Mother’s day lunch.

We went to a Vietnamese place that Kanang has told me about and kept saying we would visit for ages now. I am a huge fan of Vietnamese coffee, (although I’ve only tried it in Tampopo) made with condensed milk and filtered coffee, so I was hopeful that they would sell it! My heart broke a little when they told me they didn't have any, so I had to settle for a huge, delicious fresh coconut- it’s not so bad!
 
Mmmmmm-Hmmmmm
The d├ęcor of the place was really cool, with old and interesting things dotted about everywhere, including old telephones, motorbikes, chairs, oil lamps hanging from the ceiling, and lots of random framed pictures. I prefer visiting places like this, with interesting things to look at rather than the usual uniform decoration. However, there were cobwebs intwined with the aforementioned decorations which wasn't so edgy, but rather dirty.
Spot the car... #random
The food was really tasty and healthy at the same time, which is always a bonus! We ate some sushi style rolls, with noodles, shrimp, vegetables and tonnes of mint in (which I removed because me and mint will just never work our problems out), with a tasty dip. Also, we had all the ingredients to make our own little rolls, made with rice noodle wraps, vegetables, satay dip and shrimp balls. I was also happy that som tam graced our plates, even if it did have squid and octopus tentacles in it that reminded me of my food challenge in Chiang Khan!
Som tam gets pride of place, as always
Satay is life <3
After lunch, Kanang took me to Central plaza, the main shopping centre in Khon Kaen, so I could meet ETAs Jess and Gwen. I was so happy to see them, and its only been a few days since I was last with them! Having that little bit of what you know, really helps you stay sane when you're so far from home in a different place. We shopped, bought jewellery, big doughy pretzels and cosmetics that we shouldn’t have blown our budgets on… But who cares!? The hours flew by and it was soon time for them to catch the last van back to Chumpae. I waited in the pouring rain for a taxi for about 15 minutes. Usually there are taxis in excess of people, so I was quite surprised about the wait- but it was Mother's day after all. As usual, I phoned Kanang and put her on the phone to the taxi man to explain where we live, as I still don’t know how to say where it is!
 
New silver ring
Im pretty sure the taxi turned into a boat at one point as we drove through floods that covered the whole wheel arches of the other cars! If this was England, everyone would just stop; the roads would be closed and nobody would leave the house. In Thailand, they all seem to hop onto their bikes and into their cars and drive through at normal speed! The rain also meant that the power kept cutting out at home that evening, so I had dodgy WiFi to contend with. Oh the joys of monsoon season!

Happy Mother's day to all the Thai mamas!


Peace, 
Olive