A week in the life – Living and teaching in Thailand

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Before coming out to Thailand, I had often wondered what life would be like living there and how different it would be from an Expat perspective instead of the tourist perspective I’d had once before. After 5 months of living here, my conclusion is that it is totally different! Most of the things we get to do and see on a daily basis, we never would have experienced being a tourist for a few days. So I thought it’d be cool to write about my life here day by day!

Monday – Hear my alarm at 5:30am and hit snooze. Then hear the first plane of the day fly over from Chiang Mai International airport and know that’s our cue to get up. Make myself a mango smoothie and get ready, leave the flat at 7am. Jump on the back of the motorbike and off we go along the super highway all the way to school. Takes around 20 minutes to get there, arrive, park up and say bye to my boyfriend who works in the secondary building (I’m in primary). A student from my class comes over to me during the morning flag ceremony and gives me a gift from his recent trip to Phuket, an island in the south of Thailand. Apparently it’s a very traditional gift, a woman dancing in the form of a puppet, made from cow’s skin!

I teach all of my classes for the day, head home and go for dinner at a huge burger place to treat ourselves. Visit the local fruit market to get my week’s supply ready for my morning smoothies and take a long walk around Chiang Mai’s old town. Stop off at the flower festival and take some photo’s,  catch a lift home and relax ready to do it all again tomorrow.

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Tuesday – Arrive at school for 7:30, all dressed in blue for those much anticipated staff photos that everyone has to have.

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Teach my lessons for the day, complete with break duty in the sweltering 35 degree heat. Stop off at Tesco Lotus on the way home for some new work clothes, never thought I would be shopping for clothes in a supermarket but they have some good deals I must say! Go for dinner in our usual Thai restaurant, order morning glory (stir fried Chinese kale in oyster sauce) which is incredible here and steamed rice. Drive back and call home to England for a Skype catch up with my mum and brother and then relax after a very long and tiring day.

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Wednesday – Today is Mother’s day in Thailand and the Queen’s birthday, so school is closed for the national holiday. A day off mid-week is great! Started off with a lie in and then drove to the airport to book flights home for Christmas (4 months in advance but it’s better to be organised!). Overheard a girl who was trying to check in for a flight that was due to live in 5 minutes time, which again reassured us that being organised can never be a bad thing!

Decided to try a new Thai restaurant today, found somewhere that does a green curry with chicken for the equivalent of £1.60, bargain! Left the restaurant and found we were in the middle of a huge thunderstorm (it hasn’t rained in Chiang Mai for a good few days so we knew it was coming!) Felt like we were driving through a lake not on a road! Finally made it home, sit down and spot a tiny lizard crawl into the flat.  Then spent the next half an hour trying to chase it out! IMG_7689

Thursday – Back to school today so up at 6am. Made my morning apple smoothie, got ready and made our way to school. Very busy day today as I had so much marking to do, on top of teaching all day, lesson planning for next week and two playground duties which meant I hadn’t stopped from 7:30am – 12:45pm! Funny conversation with two kids from my class during lunch duty, one wasn’t allowed to be a Stegosaurus in their game and was being made to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex which he wasn’t happy about! Resolved their disagreement and went for a good old subway for lunch. Had to stay an extra hour at school as my boyfriend had homework club, so caught up on my day’s marking. Drove straight to our usual Thai restaurant, ordered a new dish of stir fried chicken and basil leaves although it wasn’t quite what I expected, still tasted good though! Finished off by some complementary fresh watermelon and drove home for the evening, to plan our next weekend adventure.

Friday – It’s finally the weekend! Considering we had a day off school this week, it has been a really long week! Spent all day teaching and marking books, so in fairness today has gone quite quick. The intelligence of some of the children in my class is shocking at times. I have some children (between 6 and 7 years old) who can have basic conversations in 3 different languages, Thai, English and Chinese, it’s incredible! One of my students asked me why I wanted to become a Teacher today and why I’m not living in England anymore, hard question to answer and explain to a six year old, I have to admit!

Decided to drive into the old town again for dinner although the traffic is crazy! It’s really congested, stinks of songtaews (Thai taxi’s) and tuk-tuks and driver’s create about 7 lanes of traffic in one! Stopped off at the local fruit market again to top up and drove back home to start the weekend in the best way possible, watching a movie lying on our new Thai lounging chair!

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Saturday – It’s the weekend so after having a lie in till 7:45am (anything past 6am is a lie in for us these days!). Got ready to make the most of the sunshine on our day off, made a mango and passion fruit smoothie to go and headed for Mae Ngat Dam. When we arrived we were amazed by the stunning scenery staring back at us! The reservoir was huge and there were several boats carrying passengers to nearby floating restaurants.

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Prices were expensive so we stayed on land for lunch and ate a delicious fresh fish caught from the reservoir just a few hours earlier! Headed back past the numerous padi fields and incredible countryside, spotting cows lazing by the side of the road, a sight I never thought I would see in Thailand! Always seems to amaze me this country!

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Hungry for a taste of home, we had take away fish and chips tonight, (2 pieces of fish in one day, my mum would be proud of my healthy eating, although the second was deep fried so maybe not!).  There’s a guy who drives around Chiang Mai’s old town every night and cooks from his motorbike stall, great food for a great price too! Took our take away to the park to relax by the lake and watch the sun go down, a lovely way to end our evening!

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Sunday – Started off the day with a lie in and my usual morning smoothie. Cleaned the flat and spent the rest of the morning looking out at the mountain views from our balcony. Headed out for lunch, still in the mind set of home, we ordered a full English breakfast from Archer’s! The atmosphere there is great, feels exactly like you’re in an English pub. Drove to Chiang Mai’s biggest market (Warorot Market) to buy some new toy prizes for the children in my class. They have everything you could want, including loads of fruit and veg stalls and half a huge watermelon for 8bt (16p)! The amount of different types of fruit in Thailand is incredible, fruits I’ve never even seen or heard of before!

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Finished off the evening with dinner and a glass of Sangsom and diet coke, Thailand’s own 40% proof rum at 150bt (£3) a bottle! Few glasses of that and it’s safe to say you’ll have a heavy hangover in the morning (not a good idea if you have school the next day, so I’ll stick to the one tonight I think!).

So there it is, a week in the life of TEFL teaching and living in Thailand. To check out my other blog posts, click on the categories section at the bottom of this page. Hope you enjoyed reading!

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2 thoughts on “A week in the life – Living and teaching in Thailand

  1. I left Chiang Mai about a week ago. Your post is a nice reminder of my visit, as well as what it’s like teaching in the heat and culture of a foreign country (for me China and Singapore). But, what an experience. As a reminder of alternatives, I arrived in London yesterday. It was just 15 degrees, with a cold drizzle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Stuart, Chiang Mai was my home for 1.5 years and it’s nice to be reminded of the memories made there. Wow, Luckily, I’m living in Vietnam where the temperature is rarely below 15 degrees. Wrap up warm!

      Like

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