So the last couple of days have been mental! After spending close to 24hours travelling to Bangkok, with very little sleep and a bit of wine, we finally arrived, with all our bags! Shortly after arriving we ventured into the huge, built up, city! After walking for miles we found a small shopping mall with a Starbucks which made my day! Myself, Kate and Molly went back to the hotel, rather than continuing into the city, and spent the afternoon in the hotel pool, which was lush! We were later joined by Lorna and Tonicha 🙂
That evening our 2 Thailand reps, Nick and Nicki treated us to a fancy meal in a near by hotel and presented Phoebe and Martin with a birthday cake, afterwards we were let loose to celebrate their 18th Birthdays on Khao San Road! It was INCREDIBLE, from going to my first real club (which was huge!), to watching people eat a scorpion 😛 … There were also many people from Powys, Shrewsbury and Oswestry which was great! We ended the night with a Burger King, which Alice was very reluctant to share.
The next morning we had planned to do so much, however in true teenage fashion we slept in till 1pm! Once we had finally rolled out of bed a few of us jumped in a taxi and headed to catch a boat. We ended up renting a private boat which took us to the Reclining Buddah, which was BEAUTIFUL… But being as blond as I am, I totally forgot to cover my shoulders and therefore had to wear a neon green robe I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to come to Thailand to go and see the Reclining Buddah, words can not describe how truly beautiful it is!
In the evening our reps took us to have dinner, however this time we ate on the street, and when I say street I mean a road, with cars driving around us! The food was unbelievably good. After dinner we were taken to Cloud 47 which is a rooftop bar that looks out over all of Bangkok, it was absolutely lush, however very expensive! Around midnight we left the hotel again to go shopping! You can basically shop 24/7 in Bangkok!!!
The next morning myself, Lorna, Molly and Kate boarded a 7am train to our projects, it was a very tiring journey, but totally worth it! On arrival we were greater by our host family and peter, with flowers and cameras. We were taken out by our thai family for Chinese food in a very posh restaurant and then went for a walk in Nakhon Sawan Park with our thai sister Sand! We fed the fish and then went for dinner ourselves in the Japanese restaurant in the mall.
The next day we spent the morning going to 2 of the schools we will be teaching at and I spent lunch time playing basketball with some of the younger students. I cannot wait to get started in the schools! I will be teaching secondary and Lorna will be teaching primary. We spent the evening learning thai from our host sisters, it is a very hard language, but I’m getting there slowly 🙂
Today we met the Lord Mayor of Nakhon Sawan and many of the council members, they were all so lovely to us. We then returned to the second of the 2 schools we visited and spent lunch with the youngest in the school (2-7). After work me and Lorna went shopping in one of Nakhon Sawan’s many malls and then returned home for dinner!
Tomorrow we will be going the temple to meet the novice monks that we will be teaching over the next year, we will also be taken to our apartment so that we can see what we want to get for it before we move in next Wednesday!!! This weekend our host family is taking us to Bangkok until Sunday, which will be a lot of fun and then either Monday or Tuesday we will be going to the beach, which I am overly excited about! I believe we begin teaching full time sometime next week, so I had best get started on my lesson plans 🙂 Sorry for the long post… so much has happened over the past few days and I don’t want to leave anything out!
So as of today I have officially finished paying for my year in Thailand with Project Trust! Which is crazy, honestly never thought I would get it all together, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the past year, I am unbelievably grateful 🙂 I received almost half my funding from charitable trusts, so thank you to all that helped me! Project Trust have been supporting me throughout the whole process, and without the support from the Project Trust funding raising team I’m not sure I would have got there in the end, thank you!
3 weeks from today I will be arriving in Bangkok, its insane! Everything is all coming together now, just cannot wait to get on that plane and start this incredible adventure 🙂
Wish me luck 🙂
Written by one of my closest friends, it’s so sweet, going to miss these two so much x
Ok some of you may have heard that on arrival at Coll I found out that I no longer had a partner to go away with. It made training a bit of an emotional rollercoster to say the least, however this morning I had a lovely phone call from Project Trust, they told me that I would be moving 2 hours north to a project in Nakhon Sawan. Instead of not having a partner I now have 2 incredible partners, Rebecca (right) and Lorna (left).
Ok so a little about Nakhon Sawan:
It is a provincial capital full of hustle, bustle, and much more besides! It is the 5th biggest city in Thailand and consists of thriving markets that assault the senses with pungent smells of ginger and lemongrass, of blaring Thai pop music, and of bike taxis competing on the roads with horses, carts and hooting taxis. Its size provides us with the opportunity to experience a unique Thai urban culture, though with a population of 200,000 it is not so large that we won’t be able to find our bearings. It is a unique city because a large number of its residents are Chinese, and as such it becomes the number one place to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It is a city of incredible cultural diversity, a melting pot of Thai heritage and Chinese traditions. Yet for all its cultural interest, this vibrant and friendly city is off the backpackers’ trail.
We will be teaching in four of the eight inner-city municipal junior high schools: two in the first semester and two other in the second. Project Trust has sent volunteers to Nakhon Sawan for many years now however this will be the second time volunteers have worked at the junior high schools. We will be a full members of the English department team, with our aims being to make learning English fun and more appealing for the students. The standard of spoken English amongst the students is relatively poor so our main role will be helping to improve the level of spoken English. In addition to this, we will also spend 2 hours or an afternoon a week teaching at the local Wat (Buddhist temple) teaching novice monks. We will also have a generous holiday period, both to explore the country but also to become immersed in Thai life in other ways.
Here’s a map to show you where I actually am:
Nakhon Sawan is around 4 hours from Bangkok, 8 hours from Chiang Mai and roughly 30 minuets from Uthai Thani, which is where another Project Trust project is based.
I cannot wait to get out there, it’s going to be a great year 🙂
After returning home from a week of training in Scotland I received a Cheque for £500… It is incredible how willing people are to help out a complete stranger, I have received almost half of my funding for the next year from charitable trusts, and with out the support from them I would most probably not be going, so thank you so much!!
Last week I made my way back down to the Isle of Coll. On arrival in Oban I met up with all the other Thailand volunteers. An amazing group of people who I am so excited to spend the next year with 🙂 Over the week we spent most of our time in lessons/lectures, learning about TESOL teaching, culture shock, Thailand, travel, safety, health, and many other things. Needless to say it was a tiring week. We spent most evenings either at the beach, completing lesson plans or filling in our One Awards booklets (formally OCN). We spent most nights in, what we called, the sofa/japan room getting to know each other 🙂 On the last night Project Trust held a ceillah (sorry for the spelling ), the next day we headed back to Oban and began to say goodbye to everyone, it wasn’t fun walking people to the train and saying goodbye, regardless of the fact that we will all be together again in a months time. During training we found out all over flight information, up until this point moving to Thailand never really felt real to me, but being told exactly when your leaving really does make it real 🙂 I can’t wait to get to Heathrow and see everyone again and begin this incredible adventure.
I will be living in Tharua which is a small town with genuine charm, located in the ancient province of Ayuthaya. It is set amidst paddy fields and has a rural and relaxed air, despite its proximity to Bangkok. Although small, it has an impressive number of spectacular temples and a wooden old town area that is bustling with activity. In the evenings, the streets are taken over by the night market, which fills the air with the smell of fragrant cooking.
I will be working in a school with around 2000 students, and I will be teaching classes of around 30 students each. Most of the students will come from relatively poor farming backgrounds, and others from the families of the growing industries on the outskirts of the town. I will be a full member of the English department, but with specific responsibility for conversational English.
The house I will be living in sits on wooden stilts in the corner of the school compound with a kitchen view out west to the sun as it sets over the rice plains. It is basic (and largely built in wood), though clean and well-equipped.
I am so excited to go to training on the Isle of Coll and meet, not only the everyone going to Thailand, but the person I’ll be spending the following year with. From there it is roughly a month until I moved to Thailand and I just can’t wait anymore.