kop khun ka!

Since I know little Thai at this point, kop khun ka (thank you) has been my go-to. I pretty much say kop khun ka and sawadee ka (hello) for every single interaction. Hey, at least I’m polite! 🙂

This week has gone by so fast! We have had class 9:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday and we’ve also had homework to complete. It’s a lot to learn in such a short time period but I know I will be very prepared for when it’s time to teach my own class in Chaiyaphum.

On Tuesday, I decided to join Sarah for Muy Thai at the training center right next to our hotel. What a workout and so much fun. My trainer’s name was Pele and he was not too thrilled to have a beginner to train. I’m not the most coordinated and it takes me some time to really understand, so he would kick me (not hard) and punish me with push ups if I really wasn’t understanding. He also told me I have a “pretty face, but stupid.” He was super motivating…

Any way, although Pele wasn’t the best trainer, I’m going back tomorrow to hopefully train with someone new. Can’t wait! Best workout I’ve had in a very long time – was soaking wet with sweat and feeling a little faint towards the end.

After Muy Thai, I showered, got ready and joined some classmates at the bar downstairs called Doggy Monster Bar for a couple beers before heading out to a jazz bar called North Gate in downtown Chiang Mai. Tuesday night is improv night, so people from all over come and jam out with each other. Such a fun time and really great to hear people from all different places playing with each other. There was even a beat boxer from Chicago!

Wednesday night we had a lot of work to do – we had to prepare for our first practice lesson (Flashcard method) that we gave in front of our class today. We wrote out our lesson plan, created cheat sheets and practiced our lessons for hours.

The practice lesson today went well! We were split into smaller groups for the majority of the day and due to some extenuating circumstances, I was the only one that had to give my lesson to the entire class – SCARY, but I guess it was good to get the practice with a bigger class because tomorrow we actually go to a school and teach our 50 minute lesson to LIVE KIDS! I’ll be teaching 17 year olds.

My lesson consists of a warmer, context setting, picture preview, core dialogue, vocabulary expansion, and communicative activity – for all you teacher nerds that care about that! 🙂 My topic is countries and food, which is of interest to me since I love traveling and eating, so it’s a fun lesson!

After class today we all took a swim in the pool and finished our lesson plans. Then Lucy and I had plans to go visit the University Market and park (Chiang Mai University is right up the road from our hotel) so we started to walk and it began down pouring! We were able to find refuge under a bus stop overhang and stayed there until the rain stopped to a drizzle. We then thought it would be best to head back towards our hotel and find dinner. We stopped into this little whole in the wall – all of the best places here are holes in the wall that serve the most amazing and freshest food for $1 – 2 a meal – for a meal of grilled chicken, papaya salad and sticky rice. The chicken was amazing – you can just tell that it is the freshest chicken you’ve ever eaten and that it was probably killed a couple hours ago. If that isn’t farm to table, I don’t know what it is.

As soon as we got up to leave, it started to down pour again and this time, it was harder than we had ever seen it. The restaurant owner insisted that we take her umbrella (who does that?! so nice!!) and when we refused (we couldn’t take her only umbrella!) we agreed that we would stay in the restaurant until the rain slowed (we got to hang out with the owner’s cute dog that resembled a gremlin – total win). We waited a couple minutes and then darted to an “everything” store as they call them here and bought a couple of cheap umbrellas and waded through the rain all the way back to the hotel. Not gonna lie – very fun and very wet.

I just finished my last run through of my lesson and should get some sleep before my 6:00 am wake call.

Goodnight!

xo

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Delicious soup I had for lunch yesterday!

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The context setting portion of my lesson plan.

First Day of UniTEFL

First day of TEFL class is finished! 🙂

Had a great time meeting everyone in class – there are lots of Americans, as well as some British, Australian and one New Zealander.

Everyone is super nice and we had a lot of fun today in class. We learned about the history of learning second languages and the different teaching methods that have been developed over the years to help teach second languages. We did some icebreaker activities, as well as had to get up in front of the class to get us used to public speaking with hand gestures, eye contact, projecting our voices, etc. We also learned a little bit about the Thai culture and got a “warm-up” on how to speak Thai – this is not easy in the slightest. I struggled – hard. With time I know I’ll get better, but the today’s practice was not pretty.

After class, my classmate Chris and I took a walk to the mall to get our Thai SIM cards activated for our phones and to take a look at the gym. The woman at the phone store was so helpful, which was great for us because we had no idea what we were doing. The gym was very nice but a little expensive for a gym! It’s around $60 a month and at home I was paying $20 a month – interesting what is inflated over here and what isn’t. After the mall, we walked back to the hotel and got some dinner on the way. We stopped at some food vendors and got lightly fried octopus in a chili sauce – SO GOOD! I also got an iced green tea, which I have missed so much since my trip to Thailand in March. These are my favorite drinks here and probably full of sugar, so I will definitely need to find a gym if I keep drinking them 🙂

We also checked out the Muy Thai training center that’s behind our hotel – really, really cool. I may train there one day just to see what it’s like. Everyone that was training when we walked in seemed very nice so it would be cool to go watch/train.

Went to a bar with Chris to celebrate first day of classes with some Changs! There are a few small bars right downstairs from our hotel – very convenient!

xo

Chang Chang

Chang Chang

My Vacation Became My Life

Greetings from Chiang Mai, Thailand! A few fun facts about this city:

  1. Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, after Bangkok
  2. Chiang Mai means ‘New City’
  3. Chiang Mai city area has over 300 Buddhist temples
  4. There are estimated to be over 20,000 expats living in Chiang Mai

I first visited Chiang Mai back in March on vacation and I loved the feel of it – smaller city with lots of historic charm. I felt safe wandering the streets alone at 6 am when nobody was outside yet. It was the first time on that trip that I thought I could actually live here.

So, I’m back to the place where living/teaching in Thailand was just a small idea – now it’s my reality. Crazy how much can change in a few months. Quite literally, my vacation became my life.

As my parents and Peanut (my dog) dropped me off at the airport on Friday, I couldn’t stop crying. It was terribly difficult to leave them. I cried in the airport, on the 13 hour flight to Beijing (which may also have been due to the man behind me who took off his shoes/socks and stuck his smelly feet on my arm rest, but I digress), in the Beijing airport FaceTiming with my parents, and on the five hour flight to Chiang Mai. As brave as I’m trying to be, this is still one of the scariest, if not THE scariest, things that I have ever done. I’m leaving all of the comforts of home and my support system to try something new in a completely different location.

Today was my first full day here. I woke up around 2:00 pm (thanks, sleeping pills!), unpacked and organized my room, showered, and ventured out into the city. I walked down my street and bought some essentials and checked out the food stands along the way. I saw a beautiful statue/shrine of Ganesh along the way, which I cant wait to go back and take a picture of. I got some Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee – it was nice to have a little piece of home today! Also, I saw a woman bagging up some animal blood for sale – I don’t care what Anthony Bourdain says, you would not be able to pay me to eat straight up animal blood. And, there was man just giving another man a tattoo right there on the street – no tattoo shop or anything – wonder how clean that situation was.

I start TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) training tomorrow. I was hoping to meet some of my classmates today but didn’t really see anyone around the hotel! I’ll meet them tomorrow at 8:30 am – our classroom is only a 10 minute walk away, so very convenient. I was told that most of the students are from the US, with others from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. I think that I will start to feel more comfortable after I make some friends and get used to the area.

I’ll post more after I have some classes this week.

xo

Love these two!

Goobye dinner with my parents

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Love these two!

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Bon Voyage!

“You’re off to Great Places, Today is Your Day!” 

  

Well, the day is finally here! I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Beijing, which is 13 hours. I’ll have a 4 hour layover there and then will be on my way to Chiang  Mai, Thailand! 

Today is very bittersweet. I’m extremely sad to leave my parents, my dog, and my friends, but I know that this trip is going to change my life and challenge me in ways that I didn’t know were possible. 

I want to thank everyone for their support and love, especially my parents, who have been my number one fans and have helped me through my minor breakdowns about this trip. I love them more than they know and appreciate everything they’ve done for me to get me to this point. 

A very special thank you to miss Chelsea Rubin, my inspiration for this trip, as she has proved that you can do anything you put your mind to. I’m so proud of you Chels! 

I’ll be writing about my thoughts and experiences, posting photos, etc. on here so you can all follow along with my life in Thailand. Love you all and I’ll see you on the other side (of the world)!