It’s my seventh week in Thailand and I, like others, finally got round to writing a blog. So much has happened here that I really think I’ll struggle to put into words – but here goes.
Firstly, Bangkok is like Marmite: 22nd October
The first couple of days in Thailand were spent in Bangkok, for an orientation with a handful of other people. Orientation was essentially a 2-day opportunity to get a little bit settled, explore Bangkok, get to know each other a little and, most importantly, be told more about the schools we’d be heading off to, what to expect, a few hints and tips for teaching English abroad and some customs of Thailand – all of which the only way to get used to is put them into practice anyway. Bangkok itself seems a bit of a “love it or hate it” place – and it definitely wasn’t my cup of chai.
Admittedly I did start wondering what exactly I’d got myself into when a woman named Plah (“Thai for ‘fish’, like a tuna, like a SHARK”) told the five of us going to Assumption College Nakhonratchasima that we’d have little help from the school, no teaching assistants and classes of up to SIXTY students. Oh, and that we might just freeze in Korat.
Thankfully, that’s just not true.
After a really uncomfortable 3-and-a-half minibus journey to Korat (most of which I thought an alien was about to pop out my stomach), we were greeted by Archna, who has turned out to be a mother hen/aunt/real-life deity. My first impressions of Korat were (and still are) pretty good; the air is clean(er than Bangkok), the people inside and outside the school are super friendly – even with the huge language barrier – and touch wood, the weather has been an absolute blessing. Maybe Plah should move to the UK and then she’ll know what freezing really is.
My First Day at Big School St. Mary’s Hospital: 27th October
So we weren’t completely thrown in at the deep end, we spent the first day of school observing other classes. What’s sweet is that some of the kids I observed can still remember me from that one lesson, and tell me about their weekends or offer me really strange cakes and treats!
Nearing the end of the day, we had our pictures taken and I had the alien-popping-out-of-stomach feeling again, so when Ms. Boom (Mother Hen Jr.) told us we had to stay on the grounds until 4.45, I started crying. As soon as she realised I wasn’t just upset that we had to stay in for so long, she walked me (a bit awkwardly) by the elbow to the hospital just across the road. Turns out the alien in my belly was actually a ruptured appendix I’d been walking around with for a week. Sigh.