New Passport Time!

I had myself a bit of a scare recently.  No, I didn’t lose my passport.  Midway through August, I realized I was down to a final page/page and a half.  I had planned to meet my brother and parents in Vietnam, then travel with them to Cambodia.  Of course, each of these countries requires a full page for their respective visas, so I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed to leave the country.

Thankfully I was able to get in and out of Vietnam without any trouble.  Much like passports have the 6 month expiration validity rule to enter a country, I was concerned there might be a certain number of remaining needed to enter Vietnam.

Before my trip back to Surat, I stopped off at the US Embassy.  Things went much more smoothly than expected.  I felt tense in the Embassy, because–well who doesn’t feel a bit tense in these situations?  I made an appointment a few weeks back online and found a hotel right off the BTS, which was walkable to the Embassy.  A little more than I wanted to spend, but I didn’t want to mess around with cabs and traffic.

The paperwork wasn’t too bad–a quick application form to fill in and print out, a prepaid envelope to they can send me the new document, and a passport photo (I bought what seems like my 1,000 photo there).  In total, I was probably at the Embassy an hour.  Not bad at all.

Some quick tips if anybody finds themselves needing a new passport:  First, remember your passport pic and proper application!  Will save valuable time.  Proceed directly to the US citizen check in area first, as they will explain the necessary steps and where to go.  Don’t bring many valuables, as I had to check my phone in at the front desk–travel lightly and allow plenty of extra time, as it gets boggled up quite quickly.

I should receive my new passport in about 3 weeks.  Luckily, the Embassy officials will email me when it arrives back in Thailand.  The other option is to pick it up in person, but unrealistic getting up there during normal school hours!


More Fun in Animal Club

blog2-2My students and I have had a ton of fun in Animal Club this semester. Taking a break from math or science to craft and play with my kiddos always makes Mondays a little bit easier. I always try to switch up what we do in club to keep the kids interested. The past few times, we’ve played a variety of different games and also worked on several art projects. After learning a bit about lions, my students really enjoyed making lion masks. Each student got to design and color their lion any way they wanted. After coloring the masks and cutting holes for their eyes, my classroom transformed into an African savanna! There was a bunch of little lions having a blast running around scaring each other.


Another craft we did was “Mixed Up Animals.” My students colored different animals, cut them in half, and then mixed and matched their body parts to create new animals. The Hippo-Lion was my personal favorite. As much as my students love to create, they also love to play games. “Animal Hangman” is one of their favorites. Each student thinks of an animal and the others have to guess what it is. This game is not only fun, but also helps the students with their spelling – it’s a win, win!

Final Review Games

I can’t believe we just wrapped up the first semester of the school year – it really flew by! Finals once seemed so far away, but believe me, we blinked and it was time to review. Whenever my students have tests coming up, I try to think of review games that are not only effective, but also fun! I have found that the best way for my kiddos to grasp the information being presented is if it’s done in an entertaining way. Instead of just standing in front of the classroom “bla, bla, bla”-ing to prepare them for their English, Math, and Science finals, we had some fun! We played classic games like hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe, but my students’ favorite review game was definitely Jeopardy. I found a great website online ( where you can create your own from scratch. The site allows you to come up with your own categories and insert the questions and answers yourself. Jeopardy especially helped my students review for science because we covered such a wide range of topics. I divided the material that would be on the final into 5 categories: “Food,” “Photosynthesis,” “Materials,” “Pollution,” and “Caring for our Environment.” The harder the question, the more “money” my students won. My students are quite competitive so everyone was paying attention and participating. I really think Jeopardy helped my students rock their finals and definitely recommend it to any teacher looking for a fun way to review!blog3

Vegetarian Meal of the Month

blog1October’s “Vegetarian Meal of the Month” is one of my favorites – Margherita Pizza (sorry vegans, but I love pizza). This beauty can be found at Milano’s, which is right along the pier towards the left of Sweet Kitchen. This restaurant has a variety of Italian food as well as other Western options. The people who work there are lovely, which is always a plus. The Margherita pizza is amazing and tastes just like it would back home. They don’t hold back on the tomato sauce or cheese, and also provide you with extra toppings such as oregano and pepper. I love watching them make the pizza from scratch and toss it into the oven right in front of me. I have also tried the vegetable calzone at Milano’s and it was delicious. The pizza box on motorbike is a tough one to master, so unless you have some serious skills, I suggest grabbing a seat outside and eating the pizza there! Enjoy!

K3 MEP End of Semester Party!!!

K3 have worked really hard this year and after their excellent performance in their final exams I decided to reward them with a party.  I told them ahead of time so they could bring in party food to share and we had a great time stuffing our faces with all kinds of weird and wonderful offerings. My personal favourites were the cakes cleverly disguised as sushi! Sadly they weren’t as delicious as they look though.

As well as consuming far too much food we also had a brilliant time playing pass the parcel, musical statues and sleeping lions whilst also dancing and decorating our own balloons.  A large portion of the class also had great fun attacking me with said balloons!


It has been a great first semester for K3 and I am looking forward to returning after October break to a refreshed class, with a refreshed teacher, ready for lots more fun and learning.  Happy Holidays everyone.

End of Semester / October Break

Classes are over, final exams are marked, and grade sheets are submitted.  That can only mean one thing–October holiday is here!  I know the Team at Thida and Noonoy are all very excited to have a bit of time away–it’s been an enjoyable semester, but time to go do some exploring!

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve participated in some special in-school activities.  Last Monday, we introduced our Clubs and had a mini presentation about them.  While there was no need for my kids to show off playing chairball (Sports Club), Teacher Brady’s kids sang a couple of songs for the MEP students.  Also, this week we held some end of semester parties and games.  I let my kids vote on a Monday movie, to which they selected something I was totally unfamiliar with (thanks YouTube!).  We also had a good session of musical chairs, which was fun for all to enjoy!  See the pictures below for visual evidence.  :)

This Sunday, I’ll be leaving bright and early for Hanoi, Vietnam.  I have a redeye flight to Bangkok, then an airport switch and onwards to Hanoi.  I’m hoping for no surprises during my journey (knock on wood), as I’m very low on my passport pages.  In fact, I’ll stop off in Bangkok at the US Embassy on may way back to get a new passport.  I guess we do what we have to do, though!

While in Vietnam, I’ll have a chance to visit with my parents and older brother.  My folks are flying to Hong Kong to visit my brother Tim, who is a pilot based out of Hong Kong.  They’ll be arriving the same afternoon in Hanoi, so it will be nice to have some time with them to travel and see one another.  Eventually, they’ll go on to Cambodia while I explore more of Vietnam.  Yep, I’m that low on passport pages!

Here are a few snaps of our different events over the past few weeks!


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Great End of Semester Dinner at Sizzler!

With the first semester almost in the books, the Thida (and Noonoy) teachers were treated to a great dinner at Sizzler by Peter!  For some, it was our first time there; for others, it was a nice break from market meals and the usual go to spots.

Obviously, Sizzler is known for their salad bar!  Frankly, it was refreshing to have a proper salad–both Caesar and greens.  All the toppings are there–croutons, bacon bits, cucumbers/vegetables, corn, dressing, etc.  It felt quite nice to give my body some greens!  Also, there are some excellent soups (I didn’t partake in them, but gives me something to look forward to!).

I recommend the southwest chicken/pork chop combo!  It’s filling, delicious, and well worth the money.  After that entree and a few trips to the salad bar, well there was no way to treat myself to dessert!  I can safely speak for everybody when I say we all rolled out of the restaurant!

Of course, the bigger pictures was to get everybody together and appreciate everybody’s efforts for a job well done this term!  It’s been a long term and we’re down to the final hour and each and every teacher has done an excellent job keeping the train going.  Often times, it’s easy to pack it away early, but I’m proud everybody is finishing strong!

Many times we don’t get as much of a chance to socalize and talk about outside interests.  It was great to hear everybody’s plans for the long holiday–lots of travels, visits home, chilling out.  Each one sounds great!  We had a great turn out and it was a great dinner!

Thida (and Noonoy) break for the semester next Friday, September 30th.  We’re in the process currently of giving and marking final exams.  Still a good bit to do, however.  Trips to immigration, sorting out grade sheets, having one last party with our kids.

I know I’m thankful for this break to recharge my batteries!  I love working at Thida but sometimes time away to refresh kickstarts the short second semester!

Note:  I typically forget to take pictures at these dinners and Sizzler was no different.  I was too busy stuffing my face!!