Small Town England Meets Small Town Thailand


Hey everyone!

This post is 100% inspired by my good friend Liz’s post, which you can read here, and it’s all about the time she spent in the small Thai town of Kamphaengsaen. Reading her post just filled me with so much nostalgia, and longing to go back and experience those things all over again!

For those who don’t know, I come from a small English town in the South West of England. I’m lucky that I’ve had a lot of experience travelling, and that growing up, my parents were always talking to us about diversity, culture, languages, and so many exciting things you experience when you travel. I remember a trip to Germany nearly 10 years ago, and at the end of the trip my mum asked us “so what German words did you learn on our trip?” We were always encouraged to embrace the world around us.

I think that’s why, as soon as I left university, I wanted to travel. University in itself was a challenge for me, especially at the start, but by the time I got to the end of my third year, I was ready for the next challenge. I packed my bags and flew across the Atlantic to spend my first of two summers at a summer camp. Of course, this threw all sorts of different challenges at me; it was the first time I travelled solo, it was the first time I worked abroad, and I was responsible for the safety of many young campers for the whole summer.

At Central Park, NYC.

However, I was working in an English speaking country, with people who looked like me and had similar backgrounds to me, and were generally quite like-minded. Although this was a challenge, it was more like a stepping stone in the next direction. After spending two summers at the same camp, I was ready to embrace a new challenge, which would push me further out of my comfort zone than I could ever imagine.

In October 2019, I moved to Thailand to work as an English teacher in a primary school for five months. It was an absolute whirlwind of an adventure and it certainly had its many ups and downs. However, like always, I look back on it now and think of the good times. I lived in a town called Kamphaengsaen, and it was just the place I needed to be. It was close enough to Bangkok to be able to have a weekend getaway, but without the masses of tourists. It was big enough to not get bored on the weekends you decided to stay put, but also not as hectic as the bigger cities.

Lumphini Park, Bangkok

The school itself was bigger than I’d expected, but that was fine by me. The only downside of my time there was that I felt I didn’t get to know the Thai teachers as well as I could have, but maybe that’s because I only spent one term there. If I’d stayed longer, maybe that would be different. However, I don’t want to think about what could have been; I want to think about some of my favourite memories from my time in Thailand, and some of the things that could only ever happen there!

The first was meeting people. Obvious, I know. But you meet so many different people from all walks of life. This is the best part about travelling, for sure! A lot of the English teachers were from England; but there was my friend Liz, from America, Tony from Kenya, and Theresa from the Philippines, as well as the Thai teachers too! On our “Christmas break” we went to the island of Koh Phangan, and I met a massive variety of people; I spent the day with a group of Brazilians and we had a barbecue on the beach; I met another English guy who’d been travelling with his Swiss friend (they’d met while travelling) and we went out for some drinks on the beach; and of course, many nights were spent watching the Fire Throwers.

Although I went to some amazing places that were filled with tourists, it was always so nice to come back to the unknown town of Kamphaengsaen. Some of my favourite memories weren’t at the places filled with tourists, but in this very town. There was the time me and Liz tried fitting both of us on my bike, and cycling back to our apartment. Although it wasn’t a long ride, I nearly fell off from laughing too much. There were the Friday nights we went out to the local club XOXO, or the evenings we went to Cafe 23. The first time I went on the back of a motorbike taxi was an absolute thrill, and trying to navigate my way home in the dark with my broken Thai, and the driver’s broken English. I miss spending weekends sitting in Cafe Amazon or Savory Cafe and always getting an iced tea instead of a hot tea… You don’t get to experience things like that in just another English speaking country.

I remember coming back after my week on the island, feeling relieved, and like I had come back home. It was nice to be somewhere quiet, and with no other tourists. It was nice to have to think about what Thai words I needed to say to the bus driver, or the motorbike taxi man. It was nice not having people trying to rip me off, because I was a tourist. It felt like I was back at somewhere I belonged.

As someone from a small town in the South West of England, this was just the break from “reality” I needed. It still feels like a dream, and that I haven’t done all these amazing things… but I have. I know one day I want to go back to Thailand, and visit this small Thai town once again. I don’t know when that will be, but I want to make it happen.

-Janet

Do I Regret Leaving Thailand?


Hey everyone!

I’ve been back home in England for just over two months exactly now, and the longer I’ve been at home amid this pandemic, the more I think about my time in Thailand. I often find myself thinking what if I’d stayed? Of course, there’s no real way of answering this question. I’ve played multiple different possible scenarios in my head of how things could have been if I was still there… but there’s no way of knowing for sure.

As far as I know, the school I worked at hasn’t re-opened its doors for the students yet. Of course this is understandable given the times we are in. So if I had stayed, there’s no guarantee that I’d have any work, or any means of getting paid. However, I know that the school needs English teachers so I would still *technically* have a job, and some kind of security.

I had already decided that I wanted to just do one term long before I left Thailand, and as I’ve said before, I felt that I was very out of control in making decisions about flying home early, or continuing my life in Thailand until the date that I was supposed to leave. It was incredibly stressful, but I think at the back of my mind, I felt it was right for me to go home when I did. I didn’t want to be stuck anywhere with no means of getting out, or getting stuck somewhere with no money. I’m very lucky that I was able to afford the flight home, and in many ways, everything worked out in the end.

I am now safe, I am at home with my family, and yes, I am happy. I’m glad I’ve been able to spend lots of quality time with my family; I’ve Facetimed and Zoomed and Skyped so many people; more than I ever have before in this time period! Even more than when I was in Thailand for 5 months! It’s been amazing catching up with people this way, and for the most part, life in English lockdown hasn’t been all that bad for me. But as time goes on, I find myself thinking more and more about whether I should have stayed in Thailand. I really do miss it.

I think it’s safe to say that, had I stayed, I would have the exact same thoughts but in reverse. I would be wondering about life at home; I’d be thinking about my family and friends the whole time; I’d wonder if I had made the right choice in staying. But, like I said, there’s no way of knowing what my life would be like right now, if I had stayed in Thailand. I still have friends who are there, and they seem to be doing okay. I wonder if I would have been able to spend time with them, since the restrictions in Thailand are quite different to the UK. I wonder if I would feel safer from the virus, as it doesn’t appear to be as bad in Thailand as it is in the UK. I have so many questions, and not enough answers!

It’s safe to say that, looking back on it now, I really did enjoy my time in Thailand. It’s possibly one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, emotionally, but I would definitely do it all over again. I think this is why I really want to go back; Thailand will always have a place in my heart, as I learnt so much while I was there, in more ways that one. I became more independent; I learnt to love spending time by myself; I went and accomplished things I never thought I could. I know it’s one of those places that can be incredibly touristy, and sometimes it’s frustrating being surrounded by tourists. But I am so glad I spent time away from these crowds for the most part, because I think I got to know what Thailand is really like, and the beauty it really has to offer.

So, to answer the question: do I regret leaving Thailand? I don’t know, in all honesty. I feel like I’m sitting on a fence. Part of me regrets leaving, because I felt like there was so much more to explore. Part of me is glad I left, because I know for a fact that the 40 degree heat was not something I enjoyed, and I’m glad that I’ve left that behind! But, regardless of how I feel about having left Thailand when I did, I do know that I want to go back one day. Whether it’s to work, or just travel, I’m not sure yet. But I do want to see it again.

-Janet

The Last Week | Teaching in Thailand


Hey everyone!

Usually, when you think of the last week of school, chilled out lessons, watching movies, playing games or chilling outside in the sun might come to mind. This week… hasn’t exactly been like that for me.

As I have mentioned previously, we finished our tests with our students last week. This week, however, they have been doing all of their Thai tests, which has meant there has been nothing for us to do, apart from mark tests, write them down in official folders, and do lots of maths to work out averages, put the tests into these other folders… and that was about it.

The students finished their tests on Wednesday afternoon, the same time I finished doing all my admin work. But some of them did still have to come in yesterday (I’m not entirely sure why), and even fewer came in today. If I’m being completely honest, this whole week has been a little bit pointless. I haven’t been teaching my classes, which is lowkey fine by me, but since I finished doing all of my admin work… there’s literally been nothing for me to do.

What’s frustrating is that, even though school finishes today, (if you’ve read my previous post you’ll know that it’s closing early due to Covid19) we still have to come into school for the next two weeks to get our full month’s wage. I get it- there are probably lots of things we need to sort out for next term, and I don’t mind helping out. I also want to get paid in full. But, from the sounds of things, the school don’t have any native English speaking teachers coming next term, and we have to lesson plan. Even though we won’t be here next term? I think it’s very bizarre that that’s what we have to come in to do, but I guess I can’t complain.

But, on a brighter note, I brought in my Kindle to school and finished reading About a Boy by Nick Hornby today, so I will probably write a review on it for next week… I know this book has been out for years, and I have seen the film many times (although the last time I watched it was a long time ago) but I just never got around to reading it! So, I think the next two weeks will probably be spent in the same fashion, with me getting lots of reading done when there’s very little *actual* work to be done.

This definitely wasn’t the way I saw my last week panning out, nor was this the post I thought I’d be writing about my last week as a teacher in Thailand! But, here we are. Life likes to throw things at us, and it’s really throwing this virus at us at the moment, so I guess we’d better sit back and prepare for the ride? Who knows.

Anyway, hope you have a good weekend! And thank you for reading.

-Janet

One *Official* Week Left | Teaching in Thailand


Hi everyone!

If you read my post on Monday, you’ll know that I don’t in fact have three more weeks left at school here in Thailand as a TEFL teacher… I have one. And so much has happened this week, so I thought I’d let you know what’s been going on!

As these changes have been to do with the COVID-19 virus, it really feels like the pressure was on this week. I personally wasn’t that worried, and I still am not that worried about the virus. But a lot of the Thai teachers I spoke to, and apparently the students’ parents, are worried about it. Luckily, I can work under pressure, but I struggled a bit this week, simply due to the fact that lack of communication was definitely a thing.

When we were informed on Monday, that school would be finishing next week on Friday 13th March, I assumed I’d have this week to prepare my final exams, and next week for my students to sit them. Although school will be closed after the 13th, I will still have to come into school on most days and help set up for next term. And, if I want my full month’s wage, I’ll have to come in whenever I’m needed. So, there I was thinking I’d have the weeks after the 13th to mark these tests, but apparently that was not the case.

We were told that we had to give in our tests on Wednesday to the head of the Mini English Programme (MEP) so I wasn’t in a massive hurry. But it was only on Wednesday morning that I was told all of our final exams had to be completed by the students, by the end of this week… as in today. When this post is going up. It was frustrating because I’d already made a whole plan for next week, only to have it turned on it’s head. And what’s worse, is that I didn’t have enough time in those three days for my grade 6’s to complete their exams.

Luckily, and long story short, we made it through. I have now completed and marked all of the tests, and now I have next week to put the results into their official folders etc, and that side of things is all fine and dandy.

But let’s rewind back to Wednesday for a second. Not only was I stressed to the point of crying about these tests, but I also got an email from one of the airlines that one of my flights in April has been cancelled, due to COVID-19. That was almost breaking point for me. I’ve never, as far as I can remember, had to deal with a cancelled flight, let alone on my own. So this was incredibly stressful. I’m lucky that my dad is a very experienced traveller, so I went straight onto messenger and asked him for advice.

Again, to cut a long story short, I’ve decided to cut out this part of my trip. As I’m not going there, I’ll let you know now that my plan was to go to Japan. Not straight away from Thailand, but I was going to get there eventually. Now I’m in the process of calling Expedia (RIP phone bill) and trying to cancel that whole leg of the trip, which includes my flight home from Tokyo. Basically, after chatting to my dad a lot about it, I feel that going to Japan at this time might just cause more harm than good- I mean that in terms of money, more possible future cancellations, and me not experiencing the Japan I’ve always dreamt of.

And what’s worse, is that I was so excited to meet up with my brother who has been working there. He’s planning on staying there for a while, so I’m going to have to visit another time for sure! But it’s so frustrating that this whole coronavirus thing had to happen now. I mean, it’s frustrating that it had to happen at all. But there have been several times this week when I’ve thought… what’s the point in even travelling if it’s only going to get in the way? But, as I said, Japan wasn’t the only stop on my trip, and my first (and currently, only) stop on my trip post-Thailand still seems to be going ahead, so I know I have something to look forward to, at least!

So that’s that! That has been my week in a nutshell. Definitely not the easiest week of my life, but I’ve made it out the other side, and in theory, things can only get easier from here.

Let’s hope I haven’t jinxed it.

-Janet

17 Weeks At School | Teaching in Thailand


Hey everyone!

It’s mad to think how quickly my time in Thailand is coming to and end. I’m trying to be as optimistic about it as possible because I know it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye to the school kids here. So, a small way of being positive about the inevitable end is by continuing to name these posts “how many weeks I’ve been at school” rather than “how many weeks I’ve got left”. I feel like somehow, that’ll make the end feel less intimidating?

In saying that, I’ve got just under 5 weeks left. It’s a bit awkward, because we finish school on a Tuesday, so now the countdown is starting on a Tuesday? If that makes sense? But I’ve been writing these weekly updates on Fridays, as that was the first day I started at school. So, when this post goes up, it’ll be more like four and a half weeks… but I think I’m getting into it a bit too much here!

As much as I’m sad to leave, I’m excited too. I’m excited to travel, I’m excited to share with you where I’m travelling to, and I’m excited to go home and see my family and friends. I’m excited to be able to cook my own meals rather than having to buy meals all the time. I’m excited to go back to Parkrun on Saturday mornings, and I’m excited to see my dogs (and my cats of course!) Living in Thailand has made me appreciate what I have at home, and I do wonder how overwhelming it’ll be going back to a life of luxury. I’ve been living on a fairly minimal amount while I’ve been here, and that’s been fine for me. So going home will possibly be hard to adapt to.

I’ve said in previous posts how nice it’s been to really get to know my students, and I think that’s why it’s going to be so hard to leave. In the past, when I first started getting teaching work in the UK, it was mostly cover work for a week or two, and the kids I taught were in the UK on a residential course for a short amount of time, so although I did bond with them and had a good relationship, it was very short lived, and I wish I’d had more time with them. I really am grateful for the classes I’ve got here in Thailand, and I’m happy that I’ve been able to get to really know each of the students. Some of them continue to surprise me, even now as the end is getting ever closer.

But I can’t see myself staying here. Not really. Not for the long-term, anyway. And I know in my heart that there’s more I want to see and do, and I want to continue working as a TEFL teacher for a while longer, and this has been a really good starting point for me. I have got some work lined up for the summer, one starting in July, and one starting in August- the latter being very exciting and here’s hoping it all goes through! Don’t worry, I will be keeping you in the loop with everything nearer the time- so make sure you stick around to see what adventures I get up to next!

I don’t think I’ll ever really forget the kids I’ve taught here, because they’ve had such a positive impact on my experience here. If it weren’t for them, I probably would have broken down in tears more times than I’d care to admit. My class is wonderful, and as I said, I’m so grateful to have been lucky enough to teach them. They’re always smiling and laughing and they’re always full of energy- they make me smile even on my lowest days. Even writing this makes me feel a bit emotional to think about the last day of school! But I’ve still got just over a month left, so I don’t need to be worrying about that right now.

Anyway. 17 weeks of school are done and dusted. Some of the other English teachers are leaving school early, as they’d already arranged travel plans before the final term date was confirmed, so next week will be their last week at school. It’ll be weird not having them around, and it’ll be a lot quieter in the office! I don’t know how it’ll change the dynamics, but we are soon to find out.

-Janet

Four Months in Thailand | Teaching in Thailand


Hey everyone!

On Tuesday this week, I had a very big realisation. I’ve been living and working in Thailand for four months. And what’s even crazier is that I’ve got six weeks left of teaching. WHAT?

I knew from the start that time was just going to fly by, but I think no matter how well prepared you think you’ll be for the feeling of time flashing past you, it still feels weird when you reach, and pass, the halfway point. From then on-wards, time just starts picking up the speed even more.

It’s weird to think back to my first six weeks here- I can barely remember it! I find it so strange because at the time, although I knew time would go by quickly, at the same time, I felt like March 31st felt like a lifetime away. This whole experience has been so big and different, and I had no idea what to expect when I first arrived.

I’ve said before, but I absolutely do not regret this decision. I’ve had some hard times which I have dealt with and successfully came out the other side. I’ve had some really amazing times too, and I’ve explored as much of Thailand as I possibly can on my short weekends, or time off over holidays such as the New Year. I really wish I had more time to see more of Thailand, such as Chiang Mai in the north. But, at the same time, I do also want to save money for when I go travelling in April, so it just means that I’ll have to come back to Thailand in the future!

There are still things I want to do and see before I leave. It’s also weird how much I’ve been able to tick off. One of the biggest things I’ve done was the Thai Sikh Run I did last weekend, and now I’ve passed that milestone, part of me is thinking… well what do I do now? I haven’t really got any major plans for my weekends, but I do have places I still want to see. For example, I’d love to go and see the old city of Ayutthaya and see the old temples.

If I can, maybe I’ll go and visit another island, but unless I have a long weekend (which I doubt we will get) to see the island, then it might not happen because it takes a long time to get there from where I am. The travel to Bangkok, then the price of the bus to get to the ferry, then the ferry to the island… it all adds up. And a lot of these islands are quite far south, so it would take some planning to be able to do this! But it’s something I would be up for doing, if I am able.

Of course, there are probably numerous other things that I could do and see in Thailand which I haven’t thought of yet. But I think that’s all the more reason for me to come back one day! It’s interesting, because I always said since I arrived here that I’ll probably come back and visit for a holiday, but I think at the start of this journey I didn’t really mean it. Now, I do. I really want to come back and just give myself like a month or a few weeks to do everything I wasn’t able to do this time around. Even within Bangkok itself, there’s so much I haven’t done or seen. Thailand is such an incredible country, and if you’re thinking about your first visit to South East Asia, Thailand is a very good place to start!

-Janet

14 Weeks At School | Teaching in Thailand


Hey everyone!

I’ve done a quick count of how many weeks I’ve been at school, and for some reason 14 weeks doesn’t feel right? Like, that’s not a bad thing at all but it feels like I’m in a weird patch right now, where the end feels like it’s looming somewhere in the background, but I’m also not ready to leave yet.

In all honesty, I feel like I don’t remember much from this week. It might be because I started getting ill on Wednesday, and now I’m battling a cold. On Monday and Tuesday I just felt so tired and it really has felt like this week has been dragging its feet. But in saying that, I feel like I don’t know what day it is and I’m surprised it’s Friday.

To say I’m ready for the weekend is an understatement. I’m going to Bangkok for the weekend, and we also have Monday off as a holiday, so I’ll be spending a good few days chilling in the city. It’s so frustrating that I’ve become ill now, because I’m meeting a friend of mine (who I met online through WordPress many moons ago) and we’ve never actually met in person, so I am very excited for this. But it sucks that I’m ill, because I don’t want this cold to ruin my weekend!

I also want this cold to go away as soon as possible, because next Sunday I’m running my first 10km race! It’s also in Bangkok, so as long as I’m recovered enough for then, I don’t mind! I do have to say though, that considering I’ve been in Thailand for nearly four months, and I’m only just getting ill now, is pretty good going! Of course, if I could make it the whole way through my journey here without getting ill, that would be even better, but there’s not much I can do about that!

And before anyone comes at me with CORONAVIRUS!?!?! listen… I’m not going to worry about that, okay? The media has blown it waaaaay out of proportion. Where I live, is super out the way and tourists would only drive through here in a van on their way to Kanchanaburi. I highly doubt I’ve got this virus! Of course, I’m going to do my best to look after myself, and I’ll go and see the doctor if need be, but for now, I don’t want to cause myself any unnecessary stress by worrying about something I might not even have.

I don’t want to sound insensitive. It is sad that so many people have suffered in many ways, because of this virus. But in my head, if I do worry about it, then what’s that going to do for me? Worrying about it won’t make it go away if I do get it, so what’s the point?

Wow okay that got a bit pessimistic! But yeah, apart from this cold, I’m doing good. I’m now back with my grade 6 class, and I was surprised to find that I did actually miss teaching them! They’re a lot to handle, but they could definitely be a lot worse. As for my grade 3 class… they’re the same crazy bunch of nine year olds as they usually are!

-Janet

A Weekend in Hua Hin


Hey everyone!

Last weekend, we visited Hua Hin, which is a beach town situated a couple of hours or so away from Bangkok. I didn’t really know much about it before I arrived, but it was a nice chilled out weekend, and it was nice to visit somewhere different! As I’ve just got two months left in Thailand, it’s been a good opportunity to see more of the country in the time I’ve got left!

We arrived on the Friday night, and after being charged way too much for a mini bus to our hostel (the joys of being a foreigner in a popular tourist destination), we just went into our rooms and pretty much went straight to sleep. I went on a quick trip to 7/11 for something to eat, as it was already quite late and I didn’t feel like wondering around too far in the dark on my own, and potentially getting lost! We stayed at Victor Hostel, and it was okay. It was fine for a couple of nights, but it was by no means a top quality hostel! It had a nice pool, which was greatly appreciated as the days were very very warm!

On the Saturday, we went for lunch, and then strolled down our street towards the beach. We chilled out there for an hour or so, just chatting, and then we decided to make our way back along the street to our hostel. As I said, it is a popular tourist destination, but from what I gathered while I was there, is that it’s more popular with the older generation. That’s by no means a bad thing at all, but just to give you some perspective! There were a lot of bars around, and a lot of western restaurants, as well as some Thai places to eat as well. It’s a good place to visit if you’re not ready to completely delve into local Thai food and lifestyle!

Later that evening, we went to this other Hotel, and got some drinks on their beachfront bar. The drinks were reasonably priced, and of course I went for a cocktail… or two! We had planned to go for sunset, but the ocean was to the east of us… which meant we couldn’t see the sunset over the see at all! But it was still a really lovely evening.

This was followed by wondering around the street market for a while (which I really recommend doing!) and then finding some food. We went to the Hilton restaurant, and again the food was reasonably priced. I just got a pizza and some water. The staff were very accommodating, and even gave me some bug bite spray, and they put an anti mosquito incense… thing under our table!

After this we went up to the top of the Hilton to their rooftop bar just for one last cocktail, and we had some seats that looked out over the ocean and the town of Hua Hin. It definitely would have been a great place to see the sunset, but generally in Thailand, the sun is down by 6:30pm, and the rooftop bar only opened at 6pm, at which point the sun would have already started to set. But anyway, it was still worth it!

The next day, we went to this beautiful cafe, the name of which I can’t remember for the life of me! Although it was on the more expensive end, the food was amazing, and I was left feeling full for the rest of the day. I got a mushroom omelette, and a chocolate muffin, as well as a pot of English breakfast tea. I know, I know, it might seem like I’m not embracing the Thai lifestyle, but hear me out. I’ve been living here for three and a half months, so when I can get myself a good cup of tea… I’m going to take it!

Then we wondered around the streets some more, before trying to find somewhere to do a foot massage. Some of the others that I was with were convinced there was a massage place on the beach front, so after taking a tuk-tuk to the bus station to secure our tickets, we walked all the way down the beach back to where we started, and there were no massage places on the beach front. There were loads of others elsewhere, but we realised that we wouldn’t have had enough time to get one in the end. Slightly disappointing, but you live and you learn!

And then we took the bus home. The bus on the journey back was definitely a lot longer than the one we took there, as the first bus was a proper coach, and went directly to Hua Hin. The one we took on the way home was one of the local mini vans, that made regular stops to pick up and drop off people on route. We also had to get off at Nakhon Pathom, and get a second mini van to get to our town, which we managed to get just in time!

-Janet

2 Months Left | Teaching in Thailand


Hey everyone!

I’ve actually started writing this a week before I’m going to post it, because I have a lot of thoughts right now, and I don’t want to forget anything!

Wow, it’s really starting to sink in how little time I’ve got left, and just how fast the time has gone. There’s still a lot that’s going to happen before I land back home in England; in the next two months, I’ll be meeting a friend of mine who I’ve known through the wonderful world of WordPress for many years now, but we’ve never actually met in person, and I am so so excited for this weekend.

I’ll also be running my first 10km race, in Bangkok on the weekend of Valentine’s Day! I think I’m feeling calm about it because I’m purposely trying not to think about it too much. And then, there will be a lot of tests and final exams to prepare for at school, as well as my travels once this term ends. Although, those will technically be after these two months have finished!

I mentioned in a previous post how difficult I think it’s going to be to say goodbye to this life I’ve made for myself while I’ve been here. It’s been difficult at times, but I’ve moved past those issues, and I’m feeling a lot more at peace with everything. But in some ways, now I feel more at peace, I think it’ll make it even worse on the last day of school, because I don’t know how I’ll be feeling then.

Of course, I’m excited to see my family and friends. I’m so excited to go travelling for about two weeks, and to see more of the world, too. There’s so much which I’m lucky to be able to do. I think with each week and month that passes, it just feels even more real and a bit more daunting that I’m going to be a proper solo traveller. I may not be travelling on my own for long, and I will be staying with some people I know, but as of right now, I still need to talk to lots of people about this sort of thing.

I know I haven’t said where I’m travelling to yet, and I will do in time! But you’re just going to have to wait a little bit longer! All I’m saying is that I’m excited to see these places, and they’re both places I’ve wanted to see for a very long time, so it’s awesome that in two months I’ll be seeing them with my own eyes! And of course, I’ll be writing about these trips on my blog!

But going back to the point, I think I’m really going to miss the kids the most. Especially my grade 3 class! They’re incredible little people and always put a smile on my face! I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to teach them, and part of me wishes I was staying, so I could just teach them until they go to high school! But I know that I want to move onto the next challenge, whatever that may be. And I think now is the right time to do that.

I think Thailand will always have a piece of my heart. I’ve really had to push myself while I’ve been here, and I think I will come back one day to visit- but I don’t think it’s where I want to stay to teach. One of the main issues I’ve faced is the lack of communication with a lot of the teachers. Unfortunately, the head of the English programme here hasn’t been as approachable as she apparently was this time last year, and there have been many occasions where we find things out last minute- whether it’s classes being cancelled for a school event, or that the class are actually on a school trip that no one told you about, or that we’ve been writing our lesson plans all wrong… That’s what I’ve found the most frustrating. We are rarely told things in advance, and it’s like we’re just expected to know these things.

But, even with these issues, I’ve realised that when I have a question I will just go and ask now, rather than assuming, or hoping, that the head of the English programme will come and tell us (which, I still think she should do but here we are!) However, as annoying as this can be, she has always been quite pleasant to me, so it’s a bit of a weird vibe that I know I’m not going to miss an awful lot when I do leave!

So… yeah! It’s crazy how the time has just flown by, but these next few weeks I really want to try and make the most out of and I want to enjoy the time I have left here. I don’t think I said that my bike had a puncture which has now been fixed, so that gives me a lot more freedom to do more with my evenings and weekends (if I haven’t already planned some kind of weekend getaway!) so again that’ll be something to look forward to.

-Janet

Deciding What To Do Next


Hey everyone!

Today, you are blessed with another rambly post where Janet doesn’t have a set plan on what she wants to say, but she knows she wants to say something, so you might want to grab a cup of *insert hot beverage of choice here* and a snack of your choice, because this could be a long one!

I feel like the title of this post is somewhat vague, but I’m not really sure how to say what I’m feeling. Yesterday, I got some really exciting news about a job that I’ll be starting in August (if all goes well!) and you’ll be hearing more about that nearer the time. As excited as I am to begin my next adventure in the TEFL world, there is still a part of me that is wondering if I’m making the right choices.

We all know that I miss my university days with all my heart, and I would give anything to go back and do it all over again- that includes the good, the bad, and all the ugly parts of being a student. But no one really prepares you enough for life after graduation. You’re kind of expected to just… do something. It’s nice knowing that the choice is all yours, but if you’re as indecisive as me, then that choice can be incredibly daunting.

I’m so happy that I decided to take a TEFL course, because it’s really opened my doors, and I’ve been able to travel all over the place, which is honestly a lifelong dream of mine. University was the first step in taking me out of my comfort zone, and building up my confidence. Back then, I wasn’t really ready to study abroad, but it definitely built up the foundations that I would need to be able to do that in the future. Fast-forward to Janet of 2020, and she’s been teaching in Thailand for three and a half months!

However, I often find myself wondering about the age old question… But what will I do next? I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again; I’m always thinking ahead. I’m always living for the next thing, and as much as I am able to enjoy the moment and appreciate the things I have, I put it down to the fact that I don’t like not knowing where I’m going or what I’m doing with my time. I don’t know if I’m going to teach forever, but for the time being I know it’s something I enjoy, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to it just yet.

The thing is… I think back to 16 year old me, sitting in the careers section of my library, a few months into starting my A-Levels, and the moment I saw the job “Speech Therapist”. It was in that moment, as corny as that sounds, that I knew which path I wanted to go down. But, I’d chosen the wrong subjects to be able to study it as an undergraduate, so I kind of pushed that idea aside… But it’s always been sitting at the back of my mind as something I really want to pursue.

There is a strong possibility that one day, in a couple of years time, I will go and study a masters in Speech Therapy, but before I do that I’ll need to actually get work experience with a speech therapist, and go to open days, and ask all the questions. I know there is no rush for me to do all these things, but… part of me wonders if it’s still something I really want to do? Or is it just me trying to make 16 year old me happy? What if I find I don’t like it at all, and the thing that I thought was my dream job… isn’t? How can you prepare someone for something like that?

I know that if that was the case, I’d be able to find something else. I know I love TEFL, so I could continue with that. But I’m the type of person who doesn’t always get over things super quickly, and I can’t help but worry that I’d be forever disappointed, after setting my expectations so high, and almost having “tunnel vision” for a career choice, that might end up being something I don’t enjoy. What do you do in that case? Why has no one ever told me about these things, and how to deal with it?

I told you this would be a bit of a ramble…

Yeah. So those are my thoughts about this whole thing. I’m sure I’ll find in time that things will just sort themselves out, as they usually do. I think part of the issue is that there is so much pressure on young people straight out of university to know exactly what they’re going to do, and you have to be successful by the time you’re thirty, and you have to keep everything together and under control and yadayadayada… It’s not a mood!

If anyone has any advice, then do let me know in the comments. Or if you want to have your own rant, let it out in the comments! I’m sure I’ll be able to figure out what I’m going to do next eventually but it would just be nice to know now…

-Janet