Sunday, September 4, 2011

The end.

Wow this is our last night in Hua Hin, tomorrow night we take a taxie at midnight to the airport for our 5am flight home! This year has been full of ups and downs. Some days I can't believe how fast the time has flow by, other days it feels like we have been here for years, not months! The last week or so has been pretty crazy, getting our classes ready for us to leave, getting the new teachers up to date on where and what we are teaching the students, running around finishing things up, packing and cleaning! It's 1:50am Monday morning and we are FINALY finished! Had to race off to a friends house at midnight to borrow their scale, and thank god we did! We had to do some last minute reorganization so as not to be over weight! (we came with a ton of stuff, we are leaving a ton in Thailand, and are coming home with a whole NEW ton!) 

I am very excited to be coming home. Been missing my friends, family, and even just missing America. I will however miss some things here. The $5 massages are gonna be a hard things to let go, not to mention year round summer! Most of all though I am going to miss the kids I have taught. The first graders I taught really made everything worth it. They were such an amazing group of kids! So cute and so eager to learn.  Jeff and I have some students we have been tutoring on weekends and their family is one we are going to be very sad to leave. They have helped us SO much! They are doctors and when Jeff had Pneumonia they made sure to help him and fix him! They have three kids, the two older boys are the one we have been tutoring (their third is a little 3 year old girl named Mimi, to young for private lessons) the boys are 6 and 7 years old. such good kids, so much fun to teach! Today they wanted to say thank you (we are the ones who should be saying thank you to them! which mothers, we DID, a TON!) so they took us to Cha Am (the next town over) for a sea food feast! It was amazing! We had grilled prawn things (not prawns but a cousin of them), a huge fried fish, grilled clams, two HUGE plates of steamed prawns, some fried rice, and two plates of boiled crabs! The crab plates each held around 7 crabs! I don't think I have been this full in a long time. I thought about taking pictures of the food but it was just to good to stop and take pictures!  

Tomorrow night is our going away dinner with our friends here in town, and we are going to spend our last day chilling on the beach! The perfect way to end our year in Thailand. :) 

We will be seeing you all soon! Can't wait! 

Here are some pictures from our dinner:

Dr. Vichai, and Dr. Surida

Me and Chaleaf dancing in the road.

Us and the boys



Monday, July 11, 2011

Time flys

Wow. I can not believe that we have been in Thailand for 9 MONTHS! thats insane. The longest at one time I have been out of the country was a little over ten months and this is fast approaching that mark and quickly going to surpass it. We have been keeping pretty busy, last week i had my first day off in 6 weeks! It has a been a good busy though. the time is FLYING by fast, which is kinda good. (we miss home a bit) I can't believe its already midterms! that means only two months left until the mid-school break..

On keeping busy...I am filling about 2 to 3 days after work with Muay Thai lessons. For those who don't know what that is it's Thai boxing. and it ROCKS! Such a good work out and super satisfying when you've had a not so great day. Jeff is filling his days with Tae kwon do. Its nice we can train at the same time in the same gym (we have separate guys teaching us privately)
On the weekends we work at a place called WECI, which is a private english group tutoring company. I usually teach just Saturday mornings, but I have been covering a lot for people on sundays. Jeff works both Sat and Sun teaching the advanced class. It's nice, we teach from 9-12 and get 1000 baht a day (30 us) Some days it seems like a lot but we want to keep busy so the time flys and the extra money is nice. we are trying to save as much as possible for when we get home.

Our young kids are great! We just took our English Program kids on a field trip last friday. It was a blast! but super tiering... lots of kids with lots of energy! We went to Rachabury which is about 2 hours from us in Hua Hin. We went to a wax museum that showed important Thai people from Thailands history. it also showed past houses from all over Thailand. The kids (and us) got to climb all around the houses and explore.
Next we went to a floating market where the kids got to learn how to make fish out of coconut palm leaves. They had a blast there!
The next (yes one more) place we went was King Rama the II memorial park (they are now on King Rama the 9th). It was a very pretty park, but the kids were EXHAUSTED by then (they are 6 and 7 years old).
The day was really nice but they FLEW through everything, we were running at times to keep up! it was kind of ridiculous, they should have done one thing or may just two and given the kids more time to explore and see everything. We walked past so many interesting things without stopping which was a shame.
All in all everything is good. We miss home, but really are having a great time over here!

Some pictures from the field trip:

At the wax museum:

Pea with an old (wax) man (it was all in Thai i have no idea who/what everything was!)

I think they were chinese...Pea again

In a cave with some story of Buddah (I think) Pea was scared of the wax old man!

In an old Northeast style Thai house (thats Ice and Jeng in the background.)

a very interesting old (wax) man

The Director of the English Program Anu with my grade ones

Phupa showing me some love :)

now Toppy's turn!

In a line (going back) Euro, Top, and Ice

Group photo :)

At the Floating Market:

Learning to make some palm leave fish

Mine and Ice finished

"Fishing" off the ledge

"look! i have a fish!"

so excited!

Phupa dancing with his fish :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Rejoicing in having a new working keyboard, I'm going to blog.

This might be a little dramatic and over descriptive, but that's cause I want you to have a picture in your head (there's actual pictures too) and I hadn't been climbing in seven months okay!! I lugged all my crap to Thailand and I was starting to get discouraged thinking I was never going to use it... I was a little excited.

Two weekends ago, as a final vacation before the new school year officially started, we went to Krabi with a couple of friends from another school. Krabi is a provence about 9 hours south of Hua Hin, our destination was the Ao Phra Nang Peninsula; this is where the famous Railay (East and West) and Tonsai Beaches are, home to some of the worlds best rock climbing (so they say). From the town of Ao Nang, the only way to get out to the peninsula is by long boat, ours took us to Railay West, and we wanted to stay on Tonsai... had we known what was next we probably would have asked our boatman to take us straight to Tonsai. Turns out that Tonsai and Railay West are actually connected during low tide, but during high tide you have to take "just a 20 minute walk" through the forest. Actually it was more like an hour, through the freaking jungle, around a mountain, on a path where every log you had to step over (they were at groin level) had a swarming colony of little red ants on it... mmm. There was also scrambling involved, we were carrying all our bags with climbing/camping equipment and clothes for five days, AND we were wearing flip-flops.... yaaaaay. I don't know what it is about the jungle, but by the time we came out the other side my whole body was kind of burning and itching. But it really wasn't that bad, I jumped in the ocean at Tonsai [the beach by the way was indescribably beautiful], cooled off, and took a shower in our beach-side bungalow, and sat down on the beach for a late breakfast/early lunch.
*Side note: Thanks to our overnight bus, we were on Tonsai by 9 am, which was great.

A little bit about Tonsai: it's considered the "backpacker" beach of the Ao Phra Nang, and the Railays are the more developed (more expensive) beaches where there are more shops and things. But I don't know if it was because of low-season or because of it's remoteness, but Tonsai was absolutely deserted, I mean nobody there. At one point from our bungalow's restaurant, you could look out towards the ocean [towards all the small, beautiful, limestone islands guarding the entrance to the small bay that was our beach and Railay West, only adding to the scene] and aside from a cluster of long boats to the right of the beach, there was nothing and nobody there, nobody swimming, maybe two or three people would walk by in an hour up and down the beach; but this place was awesome. And it was cheap! To your right a massive limestone cliff begging to be scaled. To the left and to my back, along the beach and facing the water, were a couple more huge limestone faces. All the climbing on Tonsai was intermediate to expert/very difficult climbing, so due to our group of new climbers (and me being 7 months out of shape) we stuck to the easy routes on Railay East. That didn't stop me from ogling the rock on Tonsai though.

Okay so the first day pretty much got relegated to eating/relaxing/recovering on the beach; oh and Peter and Emily almost getting lost in an ocean kayak, but they were fine, just really tired by the time they got back. We called it an early night and got up early to get going and get on the rock.

Turns out we didn't need to do the jungle hike after all! Wow... there was a shorter path to Railay West right next to the flooded beach path, still involved a bit scrambling, but it only took about 20 minutes instead of an hour! From Railay West it's a quick walk to east where all the routes we wanted were.

Our second day consisted of making sure everybody had the right shoes and harness, and finding a suitable line to start with (and at the same time avoid the sh*t ton of people with guides taking lessons). First route went smoothly, Chessie's first time lead belaying and everybody else's first time climbing. We moved on to a second route which went even better than the first, not everybody made it to the top but we had fun and by the end of the day everybody was hooked to climbing and was juiced to try more the next day (I mean who wouldn't be). The bay that we were climbing over in Railay East was beautiful, a wide muddy mangrove beach when the tide was out, and a shallow bay when the tide was in, again surrounded by beautiful limestone cliffs and jungle. Awesome when on top of the wall.

The next day we got started even earlier and this time headed to Diamond Cave Wall to avoid the crowds at the easy routes on Railay East. The plan worked, Diamond Wall was beautiful rock; lots of layers of nice shelves, flakes and cracks. First route went smoothly, everybody made it to the top. The second route on Diamond was cooler, 22 meters, the highest of our trip, had an awesome view. Diamond Wall was set in a little jungle valley in the middle of the peninsula between Railay East and West; so the view was from quite aways up above the tree tops and you could see the mountains on either side. Finally made it back over to Railay East for one last route; this Pete decided he was ready to try leading something easy, he did well but got a little terrified at the top. As the sun went down we walked back across Railay West and over to Tonsai, an amazing end to a amazing day, the setting behind the islands off Railay and Tonsai. Our last day we just relaxed for a few hours before departing back Krabi city to catch our overnight bus back to Hua Hin. It was the perfect vacation right before we had to go back to work.

I ended up buying a Thailand climbing guide book, cause we saw that there was a wall nearby us in Hua Hin. Turns out only a 45 minute motorbike ride away is a small, but sweet little crag right on the beach near a national park.... New weekend spot maybe?

Tonsai Beach

Railay West

Railay East

Look at Chessie go!

There were little kittens everywhere.
And crazy white-eyed monkeys.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Ok so those of you who know me know that food is important to me. I love to eat. A lot. However Thai food is not and never was one of my favorite foods, in fact it was one of my least favorite foods. This shocks most people (Americans) over here.  It's to sweet and too spicy all at the same time. I need salt and lots of it and they really dont use it. I am really missing the natural flavors of food as well. Everything here has a Thai spice to it. All I want is my chicken to taste like chicken, my veggies to have salt and pepper on them and to not be wilted or stewed. Is that to much to ask for? What I would give for a salad, one with a great vinaigrette dressing. Even at the western restaurants thats hard to find.
Well now that I am here, living in Thailand, I have come to like the food a lot more. HOWEVER, I am still going NUTS! I really like variety in my food. Its very had to find good Western food over here, and when you do its really expensive and half the time not quite right.
This I'm finding to be my hardest thing to over come here. I am missing food. It really gets me down and makes me think of coming home when im hungry and can not find anything thats satisfying. We are trying to save money and the cheap thing to do would be to eat Thai food. However I find that with Thai food im hungry again in an hour and then have to spend more money on more food. We do not have a kitchen so I can not cook my own food, and even if I wanted to cook buying food is just as expensive as going out to eat. ugh.
It really is amazing the little things that make you miss home the most. Dont get me wrong I miss my friends and family tons, but I can talk to you guys and that makes me miss you all less. I can not talk to a cheeseburger. Looking at pictures only makes it worse. Its just one of those things that makes me miss home and want to come home. I get over it, and remember that this is a great experience and all that, but I sure do miss food...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


ok, so it has been a while since i have posted anything and a lot has changed. im sure most of you know already some of it but ill try and tell it all!
so we have moved to a new town in Thailand and have gotten new jobs teaching elementary school kids. we have moved to Hua Hin which is a small beach town on the skinny part of the Thai peninsula. it a smaller tourist town, that has only recently become a holiday destination so it still has a lot of real Thailand.
well when we left shit hit the fan with our old school. they were not happy. thats putting it mildly. we gave three months notice (our contract called for just one) and they freaked out a bit. they kept saying "you cant do this", "what are we supposed to do? how do we get someone to take over?" " you are causing problems"and a whole shit load more... now we felt horrible about breaking contract but in the end we needed to to what is best for us. i dont know about Jeff but i was feeling real home sick in Chachoengsao, it was a larger city with all of the big town problems but none of the benefits of living in one. the town shut down about 8pm, we would go to work come home sit on the computer for a few hours go get some food, sit on the computer again some, go to bed and repeat this over and over and over again. we really had no life, we were just existing and that was making me home sick. now that we have moved i honestly feel about 100 times better! i realized i wasn't as much home sick as i was missing having a life and friends. before we even moved here we had a good group of friends in Hua Hin and it just keep expanding and getting better! plus living on the beach doesn't hurt!
well we left Chachoengsao on the first of the month and signed our contract with the new school the next day. we didnt have a place to live when we got here but our friends put us up while we went looking, what they call apts here is very different than back home! apts are more like a single dorm with with a private bath, no kitchen living room or anything like that. kinda discouraging... but we managed to find a cheap little place to tide us over until we could find something better. which it looks like we have! there is this great little apt building we will be moving in to next month that is still a studio, but it has a small kitchen a nice western style bathroom and a HUGE main room. it also has a great balcony that over looks the mountains surrounding Hua Hin and we can watch the sun set over them its really pretty. so things are slowly coming together.
we recently made a visa run to Laos to get a new non-b visa so our school can get us a new work permit. our old school was a bunch of bastards and screwed us on the whole transfer of visa and work permit thing, for about a week we weren't sure if we were in the country legally or not! (we were) the trip up to Laos was super quick and tiering but Laos was really pleasant. its funny it kinda reminded me of going to Vancouver BC, i mean you know when your there your in a different country but there are a lot of similarities but its cleaner and the people are nicer and your money goes farther! thats what Laos felt like, Thailand's Canada. well we got our visa made it home and our new school is in the process of getting us new work permits.
lets see last week and this week i was teaching a summer camp for pre-schoolers and kindergarden age kids. oh my god was that difficult! i mean that age is hard no matter what but its even harder when you dont know why the kid is crying and they tell you but they tell you in THAI! it was a very interesting experience... but im glad its over!! next week our school has a summer camp for the month of April for the elementary kids who are becoming middle/high school students. kind of a "hey look your not babies anymore" camp. it should be interesting, im kind of excited to actually start doing something with our new school.
we are gonna be taking a week off on the 4th of April to head down to Ko Phi Phi and island off the west coast of Thailand. its supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. if anyone has seen The Beach, with Leo thats where that movie was filmed. so im a bit excited for that! my friends from the States are going to be coming to visit then so we thought we take them somewhere awesome!

The sky was amazing that day! 

Our Beach

Sunset from our bathroom/balcony over the mountains that surround Hua Hin. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A time for change. Maybe?

So we have been a bit unhappy with parts of our situation here in Thailand (read past blog post if you have no idea what im talking about) but in no way do we want to give up and go home. So what options does that leave us? Well, we could suck it up and just deal, or we can try and find our selves a better situation.

We have decided to do the latter, to improve and be happy, not just deal with it. About a month ago me, Jeff and Smash took a trip to this little beach town about three hours south of Bangkok called Hua Hin. It was AWESOME. This town was what we were hoping all along out time in Thailand would be like. A sleepy little Thai town right on the beach surrounded by jungle. This are beautiful sandy beaches, good food, about a 30 min ride from the jungles, and lots of other farangs to talk to in the city. As soon as we got back Smash found her self a job there and has since moved there. We have decided to follow suite. We emailed our resumes out to as many schools as we could find. Until last weekend we hadn't heard anything. I was getting a little worried that this wasn't going to happen, that we were just going to have to deal.

Last weekend Jeff, me, and our new friend Resa took a trip down to visit Smash. The trip was so much fun! Smash knew of a near by farang bar with a bunch of other farang teachers who we ended up staying out all night with (till 6am). We also learned of this awesome little Mexican food restaurant owned by REAL MEXICANS! So excited. Jeff and I have really been missing the food from back home. The next night we went to the restaurant and the food was AMAZING. Hand made corn tortillas with shrimp rancheros. So good. After dinner we went next door to the farang bar from the night before. While there, more and more farang teachers showed up, it was a blast to meet new people and have good conversations. While there a friend of Smash's asks her "do you know of anyone looking for a teaching job? We have three positions open." When she told me this I started to hope again. To hope that we really would get to move and start to really enjoy our time here.

Sunday night when we got back to the Chach we emailed Smash our resumes and the next day she dropped them off for us. Wednesday morning we got a call from a teacher at the school asking when we could come in for an interview!

Now I know we could still not get the jobs, but I have allowed my self to really hope that this is going to happen. We leave tonight to go back down to Hua Hin for an interview tomorrow. Send good thoughts our way!

    Hua Hin beach

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Ever been walking around and a smell gets to you? Makes you remember something from you past? This winter that has been happening to me a lot. For some reason the air in the mornings here have been reminding me of southern California and my grandpa. The air has had that feel of "its gonna be a hot one" while its still a bit on the cooler side. All the palm trees are help set the mood that im in SoCal. The air has has that fresh morning smell, the one SoCal gets in the morning when its still cool out before the smog takes over. There is a pool at our school and the smell from the pool with the air really reminds me of my grandpas house, he had a pool too. Thats probably why I still love going down to SoCal, it reminds me of my grandpa.
This smell in the mornings has been putting me in a good mood, makes horrible students much easier to deal with. At the same time however it really makes me miss my grandpa and our family trips down to California to see him.
Kind of rambly I know,  but I'm not sure how else to describe it.

No copy teacher?

It has been almost three weeks since our students have taken their mid-terms, but the process here makes it seem like they were only a few days ago. Like we have said before students can NOT fail, no matter what they do or how hard they try to. Because of this the students who did fail the mid-term have to be giving a chance to take the mid-term again, or do a make-up assignment. This process to get all students to pass has been the most time consuming and frustrating process. Trying to communicate to the students that they did not pass and must take the test again is almost impossible. They do not understand what I am trying to say to them, a perfect example of why they failed the test in the first place! I have to bring over a Thai teacher to translate to them what they have to do to make up the points. I have also reached the point where as long as they do something I am going to give them the points to pass. Its horrible and I feel like im giving up but I dont know what else to do. The whole system makes you want to give up, trying to make a difference and do things the right way, in accordance with my values,  is impossible.
I tell my students "no copy" all the time, but they do not really understand because it is a completely acceptable thing over here. I had three boys "go to the bathroom" and when they got back they handed in a photo copy of the night's home work! It was on different colored paper than what I had handed out and even had their friends name up in the top corner covered with whiteout with their name written over it! Now that is even a form of coping the Thai teachers would have had a problem with. These kids feel that because I am white and dont speak Thai that I must be stupid! yes, kids I can tell the difference between a photocopy and your own work, I'm not dumb.
We have asked our teachers over and over again about it and they say, "but they did a good job, yes?" they dont care as long as the students turn in something, even if they copy from the internet. Its can be kind of funny when the kids do this because they are reading the words but have no idea what they are saying. Really, an eclectic art deco decor? hmmm can you tell me what that means? All I get back is  "alleway?" That means "huh?" Its pretty frustrating, but what can you do? When in every other class its ok.
I guess the best we can do is keep making them do it over and over again by themselves even if we have to make them come to the office and do it on their own time and watch them do it themselves. But there are just to many students to do this unfortunately I'm getting tired of fighting with them and I'm leaning towards not caring. Its sad but at the same time its not health to bang your head against a wall that is never going to move.