It’s My Way or The Thai Way

I’m sorry for the terrible blog post title, but the pun made me chuckle enough to publish 😂.

Thailand is an interesting, beautiful, disorganised and at times very frustrating country to work and live in. And yet, after three months of being here, I’ve noticed myself adapting and changing in ways I was not expecting to.

For instance:

  1. I no longer think about speed limits. I just drive the speed I’m comfortable with. In fact, the speedometer on my motorbike doesn’t even work.
  2. I expect people to cut me off and no longer get angry when it happens. Back in Canada someone cutting me off could ruin a good mood or make a bad one significantly worse.
  3. I forget to put my seat belt on in cars. NOBODY wears a seat belt, even small children. Unless… the car infuriatingly beeps until  you put it on. Sometimes I snap myself back into safety mode and buckle up, but not as often as I used to.
  4. Driving on the left hand side of the road is a no-brainer.
  5. Sitting on the back of a motorcycle with two other people barely makes me nervous any more. But it still really burns my thighs. My legs are long and have to dangle without my feet touching the ground! I can compare it to feeling like you’ve been downhill skiing and your legs are ready to give-out half way down a steep hill.
  6. Ice cream at 10 in the morning isn’t that weird. Kids even eat it for breakfast on a regular basis. Rotten teeth are also the norm (not for me! I brush!).
  7. Frequent last minute class cancellations used to bother me. The longer I’m here, the better I am at shrugging it off. 🙂
  8. I no longer get annoyed with people staring at me.  I just ignore or smile back and it works every time.
  9. Cooked vegetables in any kind of sauce make me incredibly happy. They’re hard to find.
  10. I shower every day and wash my hair every day. Call me gross but I didn’t find this to be entirely necessary on a daily basis back in Canada.
  11. My spicy food tolerance is much better!  I prefer spicy food now, actually.
  12. I think more often in Baht than Dollars when making every-day purchases.
  13. I don’t walk anywhere I don’t have to (It’s so damn hot). I use my motorcycle to go just down the street because I can.
  14. I’m curious about foreigners I don’t recognise!!!! I get it now! That’s what people think of me!!
  15. I’m a pro at carrying hand sanitizer and tissue paper almost wherever I go. There’s never any toilet paper or soap in bathrooms. Ever.
  16. I now shiver in 20 degrees Celsius
  17. 3 in 1 crap coffee is my go-to and I used to think it was disgusting (because it is, what’s happening to me?)
  18. I expect appointments and anything involving standing in a line other than in a grocery store to take hours.Because it does.

There you have it, some things that I’ve noticed myself doing almost automatically now. I think it’s pretty interesting, funny, and I’m curious to see what effect this will have when I eventually go home or some other place. 😉

What was I thinking?

How often do you ask yourself this question?

Ever since I moved to Thailand, I ask myself this question quite often. For better or for worse,  I ask myself this particularly often when lesson planning. It usually happens once a day when  my ‘plan’s execution is a complete and utter disaster.

Like today for instance. I thought it would be a fine and dandy idea to form a circle with my kindergarten class and practise the alphabet and flashcards for 15 minutes.

What was I thinking?

15 minutes is way too long. That class, from what I have learned, can practise things no longer that 5 minutes at a time unless it’s made into a game. They ran around the room and lost all focus, and I lost all classroom management from being flustered. Games are challenging to play when you have limited resources and language to use for explanations.

I had the same class in the afternoon and tried to play a game that ended up taking half the class to set up.

What was I thinking?

In other words, today was hard.  I thought I was being an efficient planner when I wasn’t.

On days like today, when I barely have the energy to do anything else but sleep after work, and nearly every class has been a flop, I ask my self what I was thinking in deciding to teach  ESL kindergarten.

I’ve worked with people from all walks of life. Most of my experience has been spent in the non-profit industry. I have worked with organisations to alleviate poverty in communities, for organisations that support individuals with disabilities,with charities that pair adult mentors to children, and I have worked in challenging work environments such as homeless shelters.

But I have never, in my life, worked directly with children. And for some reason I thought it would be a good idea. Or that I would be good at it.

What was I thinking?

With all that being said, I’m not giving up, and I don’t mean to complain. I’m thankful for the opportunity to improve my skills.

At the end of the day, my goal is to teach adults ESL. If I can get the hang of kindergarten, I can do anything. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

After all, I’m truly a beginner and have no prior experience. I work in very unstructured environment with 6 different classes of 35 five year old children who know very little of the language I use to teach them.

Maybe I should give myself credit for simply showing up.

On another positive side, it’s the end of the semester at my school (which means I get a month off to go exploring the country soon, yay!). This morning, my classes were all dressed up in their graduation gowns getting ready to take photos. They were adorable and very excited.


10 Things I like About Living in Northern Thailand

1. I enjoy the simplicity of my mornings. I get up at 6:00 am. I slowly wake up and make my coffee to the birds chirping and the roosters..roosting? I watch the sun rise over the mountains as I get ready for my work day, or any other day.


2. I love zippin’ around town on my motorbike. Despite the safety risks, I find it to be a very efficient and fast way to travel around my city and it’s cheap on gas. For longer trips, there’s always the bus.

3. The bus system! I can book a ticket whenever I want to go wherever I want in Thailand for a pretty reasonable price. The bus seats are comfortable, makes stops every few hours, and they give you snacks. Oh, and everyone is really quiet as well, which I appreciate.

4. In the specific area that I’m living in, Phetchabun, yes, it gets very hot, but the mornings are quite cool. I know that it’s probably tough on my immune system to constantly adjust to temperatures, but I enjoy waking up to cool air and easing my way into a scorching heat by the afternoon. By nightfall it’s cool again.

5. The cheap beer. Thai beer is also unregulated so sometimes you get a little more tipsy than anticipated.

6. The quietness of my location. There isn’t much hustle or bustle here aside from the odd long weekend traffic or festival and I’m very much okay with that.

7. That 99% of the time, Thai people are quite friendly and very helpful.

8. The opportunity to always be immersed in a new culture and language that I have to adapt to. I love the learning process.

9. Mountains, waterfalls and National Parks are everywhere and not too touristy.

10. There are very few foreigners here, as the city I live in is quite low-key.