SE Pool Party

Last weekend Peter treated all of us teachers to a pool party at Naraya Resort. I’ve been to a lot of pools in town and this one definitely makes the top of the list. The whole place feels like a nice resort that you would find on Koh Samui and to top it off it overlooks a river and lush jungle. The view is really nice and relaxing.

We all had a great time swimming and enjoying the food and drinks provided by SE. In the afternoon we played a trivia game together that was a lot of fun, especially since my team won and got a nice bottle of Finlandia as our prize.

The monthly SE events are always a lot of fun and are consistently one of my favorite things about working for SE. Thanks to Peter for another great party!

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Exercise

I think this goes for just about any job or position in life you may have, which doesn’t require you to do physical exercise, but regular exercise is so important to your mental stability when living this sort of life.

About 2 months ago I dislocated my knee playing touch rugby with some of the other local English teachers. Because of that, my regular exercise has been anything but regular. I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that mentally I’ve started to become a bit down in the dumps, negative, or low on motivation. I’ve felt pretty physically sluggish as well.

Yesterday, with the motivation of another teacher, I got a gym membership. After a good workout I felt much better but not back to the usual standard I’ve managed to keep here in Surat. Hopefully after a regular routine I’ll be feeling back to my old self and my knee will improve.

The main thing I’ve taken from this is: having a regular routine for yourself is really important, especially when living abroad. It’s easy to get down and negative or find yourself really getting burnt out with the unusual life you’re leading. A regular routine of exercise has been one of the best ways I’ve found to keep positive when things aren’t going exactly how you want them to be as well as to avoid any culture-shock that may take you by surprise.

Spelling Bee Time

Next week at Thida we’ll be having the 2nd annual MEP spelling bee. The students have been studying hard in class and at home to prepare for the bee. Last week, we had our classroom spelling bees to determine the top 5 spellers from each class that will go on to the MEP spelling bee. My class was really into the spelling bee and you would think that my 5 winners had just been given 10 bags of candy. They were quite excited to be going on the MEP bee. I’m expecting the program-wide spelling bee to be a lot of fun and it’s always neat to have an event like this with all the students in MEP, from Kindergarten all the way to 6th grade. The students are split into 3 different group depending on age, and the winner of each group gets to take home a coveted gift card for Swensen’s ice cream.

Let’s just hope that this doesn’t happen to any of our little spellers:

Sports Day

Sports day has once again returned. As I write this, the gentle toot of a whistle can be heard in the distance as a Thai teacher marches baton-wielding students around the outside of the MEP building. 

 

Last year, sports day kind of annoyed me with its class disruption. This year, I’m welcoming it a bit more. On Tuesday we played tug-of-war against the students, yesterday teachers ran relay races, and today we played chair-ball (an interesting Thai version of basketball). 

 

Everyone seems to be looking forward to our upcoming showdown with the Thai teachers on July 3rd, when we take them on in volleyball, relay racing, and tug-of-war. The 3day weekend it includes also helps. 

Tell Me Abaht It!

I’ve been tight on money lately, but with some thrifty skills, I’ve been able to stretch the baht.

Jok – Order your favorite breakfast porridge “mai moo” at Donnok 1/1 and receive a 15 baht discount! It might not be as “arroy,” but dropping from 35 baht to 20 baht makes a big difference at the end of the week, especially if you are an avid breakfaster.

Veg Breakie (or lunch) – At the vegan restaurant across the street from the fire station on Namueang, order “mai kaow” and receive a 5 to 10 baht discount, depending on how many servings of veg and various fake meats you ask for. I still find the portions very filling without the rice.

Donnok Whiskey – Want a drink, but don’t have enough for a beer? Go to the Donnok Market. It’s past the light for Chon Kasem, straight on about half a kilometre and on the right. You’ll notice a large, covered, but open market. I believe it’s at about Donnok 27. There’s a Family Mart to the right of the market, and directly to the left of the Family Mart there’s an herbal whiskey stand. You should see little bar stools around the stand. Take a seat and order a “Yaa Dong.” They might lift a bottle, as if to ask, “Do you want to buy the bottle?” Just use your pointer and thumb to show the size of a shot glass. They’ll give you a small tray complete with green mango slices, chili sugar, and a cup of cold tea. Take the shot, dip mango in the sugar, eat it, and then drink the tea. It’s 10 baht per shot! While you might be thinking you’re just relieving stress, you could also be curing some ailment you didn’t even know you had! (Herbal Whiskey is considered medicine to some.)

Night Market Pad Thai – If you enter the Night Market from Namueang, across the street from Pizza Company, look for a small truck turned into a Pad Thai Machine! It’s the second stand in on your right. You can get take away for 25 baht (recently up from 20) but I recommend sitting down. If you sit down, they give you a giant tray of vegetables. If the Pad Thai isn’t filling, eat cucumbers, green beans, cabbage and sprouts til you burst.

Cigarettes – The local shops usually sell “loosies.” If you don’t have enough money for a pack, you can buy a little baggie with as little as 3 cigarettes for 10 baht. Look for the tupperwares full of the loosie packs near where you would pay.

Thrift Stores – Need some new digs? Sweat stains on your work clothes? Go buy something dark in color at one of the many thrift stores around Surat. There’s a good one directly to the right of the Sahathai Department Store on Namueang. There’s also a good one on Rajutid, near the intersection with Chon Kasem. If you are travelling on Rajutid towards Chon Kasem, it will be on your right. I wish I knew the Soi, but my favorite one is on Wat Pho past the Karun Rat intersection. It’s on the right. Look for many mannequins dressed in your mom’s favorite dresses from college.

How Many Clouds Are Clouds?

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I’ve been taking photos of my student’s notebooks that have made funny little mistakes. I was thinking it would be a good idea to collect these gems and at the end of the year, show it/them to the students and try to explain why some of the mistakes aren’t necessarily wrong, but rather funny. I’m thinking that learning something humorous in a second language can really enhance one’s understanding of or intrigue with the language.

I’ve also started to modify some of my students nicknames into puns. For example, I have a Nae, said “nay.” I call him “TermiNAEtor.” I have a Sandy. I call him “Sandy Claus.” I have an Ice. I call her “Ice Cream.” While I might not be able to make a pun-name for every student, I think the rest class can still have a chuckle at the funny twist on their friend’s names.

Taking Your Bike to Koh Samui

I recently drove my motorbike to Donsak to catch a ferry to Koh Samui. The drive took about an hour and a half, and it’s super easy. Take 401 (in town called Talad Mai) east towards Thida, towards Khanom. After about 45 minutes you will reach HIghway 4142. Take a left on to Highway 4142. There is a nice off ramp on to it, and you should notice a tree lined median on 4142 after you make the left. Continue on Highway 4142 for about 35 minutes. Keep your eyes peeled for a low lying billboard on your right, with white Thai letters stuck in the ground with little posts in front of the billboard. Make a right, where the sign will then be on your left. This road is a residential road, so don’t be worried, you are off the highway. Take that road straight until you reach a large highway. Make a right. You should see a sign almost immediately that says “Seatran Ferry Port 2 Km.” Surely enough, in about two kilometres on your left, you will see a tall Seatran Ferry sign. Make a left and follow the road until you see a toll gate on your left. Go through and go park in front of the building that is on the left. The Seatran desk is on the left inside. The ticket for one person with a motorbike is 200 baht. Get back on your bike and drive to another toll gate towards the right of the building. It will lead right to the ferry’s ramp. Park wherever they tell you to and head upstairs. Seatran ferries have massage rooms, A/C, and a little stand with food and beer. Enjoy.

The boats leave on the hour, every hour from 6 AM to 7 PM, and it takes an hour and a half.

http://www.seatranferry.com/en/services/timetable.php