Sports around Surat Thani

When I first moved to Surat Thani I was unsure how active I would be. I am used to playing a lot of sports and being very active. However, when I arrived I found there are many ways that you can be active in Surat. There are many gyms to choose from and there is an island dedicated to outdoor workout machines . Also, there is a stadium with a variety of fields and activities.

My own experience of being active in Surat started from joining a gym. There are a variety of gyms to choose to from, but the best one I found was Premier Fitness. They offer different deals based on how many months you pre-purchase.

I also played for a football team here in Surat. It is ran by some other expats and every couple of months we competed in tournaments against other teams all over Southern Thailand. Throughout the year we played in Krabi, Koh Phangan and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Playing for the Surat Penguins was a great way to stay active while seeing new parts of Thailand.944946_463231357220749_7033684247384494703_n.jpg

There are many other different sports that people participate in. I know people who play touch rugby, tennis, golf and Thai Boxing. These are mainly organized on Facebook through the Surat Thani Teachers. This is also a good place to ask any questions that you may have.

Football Golf on Samui!

Koh Samui has to be one of my more favorite weekend getaways.  Easily accessible for a weekend and not too far from Surat, I always have a good time there.  Of course, it’s hard to break old habits once on the island–hanging on the beach or a cold beer by the pool.

I’d previously done the Samui Go Kart race track, which was great.  I was used to simply plopping down in a kart, buckling up, and going.  The Samui course was like nothing I’d seen before–we wore professional race car(ish) getups and helmets.  The seatbelt meant business, too.  The track is nice and you can really get some speed going.  The only downfall was the fact it was quite expensive for the allotted time (I think about 1,000 baht for ten minutes or so).

Seeking to do something different on this past trip to the island, I ventured out with a few friends to try my hand at Samui Football Golf.  While it’s pretty much what it sounds, I don’t think my mind was envisioning the reality.

The course is located not too far from Chaewang.  We took a taxi as we didn’t have bikes and figured after a few course beers was a good idea!

The course itself is nicely shaded.  Luckily, the establishment had free bug spray, because there were plenty of them around!  I’m not too much of a footballer, but still had an awesome time.

The first few holes were fairly simple (well, for anybody who can play football) and progressed to more challenging ones.  There was a wraparound hole, sand dunes, and obstacles to further challenge us.  One of the coolest parts was that you can call the club house and order beers if you desire and they bring them right to the hole.  the only downside is you’re stuck carrying a large blue plastic bin from hole to hole.

As far as pricing, Football Golf runs 750 baht for adults.  A little expensive, but well worth the hour and a half or so you’ll spend on the course.

I did manage to cut my kicking foot during play, which forced me to use the side of my foot.  I’m not sure it made too much of a difference, though.  On many holes I used my allotted seven shots and moved on to the next one!

I’ll definitely be back and it felt like being out of Samui when I was only ten minutes away from the hotel.

Premier-football-golf_logo map_s course

 

 

 

20 Useful Thai Words & Sayings

This is a list of 20 Thai words that I found to be most useful over the last year. Hopefully it will be a good start for you if you are trying to learn Thai.

  1. Hello = Sa wat dee ka/kap**
  2. No = Mai Chai
  3. Yes = Chai
  4. Delicious = Aroy
  5. Beautiful = Sue why
  6. Meditation = Sa ma tee
  7. Shhh/softly = Bow bow
  8. Sorry = Khaw thot ka/kap**
  9. I am a teacher = Bpen Kru
  10. How are you = Sa baai di mai
  11. I am happy = **Chan/pom me quam sook
  12. Are you happy = **Chan/pom me quam sook mai
  13. My name is = **Chan/pom chue _______
  14. Can you help me = Chuay nawy die mai
  15. No worries = Mai bpen rai
  16. I don’t understand = Mai cow jai
  17. Turn left = Leeow saai
  18. Turn right = Leeow qwaah
  19. Straight = Tdrong
  20. Stop = Yout

 

  • **Use Ka if you are a female and Kap if you are a male.
  • ** Chan is the female word for I and Pom is the male word.

 

Last Regular Week at Thida

It took awhile for that to set in, but today marked the start of the last regular school week at Thida for the year.  Amazing how quickly how time can fly.  In my mind, still seems like it’s August or September.  Maybe we skipped a couple of months?

All the new teaching has been wrapped up for the year, minus a point here or there to master before the exam.  Next Wednesday will be the MEP students’ English exam, Thursday their math exam, and we wrap things up on Friday with their science exam.  In years past, the schedule allowed for a few extra leisure days at the end for parties, movies, and being together as a class one last time.  Our final day of school is Monday, February 29th.  That doesn’t allow for much fanfare as we’ll be busy marking our exams, tidying out the office, and dotting i’s and crossing t’s.

It’s been great to see how each teacher has grown over the course of this past year.  I think our new teachers adapted well and applied previous teaching knowledge to their classes or found their groove starting new in the profession.  That’s a testament to each teacher and the work they individually and collectively put into the classroom and the office.  We definitely couldn’t succeed without this!

For me personally, this marks the end of my second year with my P4’s.  I’ve really seen some great growth in confidence and ability from a lot of my students from their first day of P3 to now.  They’re a handful, but they are loving and good kids.  While I will lose a few kids to Thida 1 next year for P5, I hope the rest will all be back and continue our journey of learning and laughing.

I think this year has been the most rewarding for myself in the classroom.  As the kids get older and start tackling more advanced topics, I’ve been greatly surprised by the questions I field (science in particular).  It’s pretty fun seeing who has an interest in science or who is taking extra lessons to improve his or her English ability.  They keep me on my toes and sometimes when I think they’re being little chatterboxes, I realize they’re pointing out one of our jokes we’ve had in class.  They’re really developing socially, too!

For some teachers, they’ll be moving on to different adventures–new countries, grad school, etc.  I hope they’ve found their time at Thida enjoyable and memorable and can one day look back with fondness and remember all those little smiles!

Next year starts in a couple of months (but will feel only like one month’s time!).

Crashing in Thailand

When I decided to move to Thailand, learning how to drive a motorbike was my biggest worry. Luckily, it was a piece of cake and it only took me less than a week to feel 100% comfortable driving all around the crazy streets of Surat. As comfortable as I’ve felt these past 6 months driving, I always knew a crash was possible no matter how safe of a driver I was. I always thought my crash would be caused by a crazy tuk tuk zooming past me, or another bike cutting out in front of me, but turns out I would just have a windy road and some gravel to blame.

It was one long month ago that I went flying off my bike but I am finally fully healed. I had 8 painful wounds from head to toe to deal with, but fortunately not literally my head thanks to my helmet! It wasn’t an easy month, especially when teaching a bunch of curious kiddos who always want to touch you, but I survived!

Here are 3 things I learned from my crash:

1. Thai people are very helpful:
3 motorbikes and 2 cars stopped to help me when they saw me on the side of the road. I was in shock so I was trying to lift my bike and get back on it, even though I was barefoot and covered in blood. Somebody called me an ambulance but, once again still in shock, I refused to get in it and told them that I was okay. One man ended up driving me home on the back of his bike, another man drove my bike home, and then another car followed us just to make sure we made it. I don’t know what I would have done without their help!

2. Go to the hospital:
When I first got home, my friends tried to clean me up but it wasn’t very successful. Luckily we remembered that I have insurance that came with the bank card I got for my Super English salary. I’m scared of hospitals but am so happy I went because they did a really thorough job of cleaning all of my wounds and bandaging them up for me. I had to go back every day for about 2 weeks, but luckily my bank card covers up to 5,000 baht so I only went over that a little bit. I ended up saving money by going to the hospital because I didn’t have to buy my own bandages and cream. All of my wounds probably would’ve gotten infected if I hadn’t kept going back to my doctor.

3. You will get better:
crashThere were times after my crash where I felt really frustrated because I couldn’t do anything independently. I had to get rides to school and to get food and missed being able to drive myself around wherever and whenever I wanted. It was also a pain to try and shower without getting all of my bandages wet. Going to the hospital every day knowing how painful it would be to have them scrub at my cuts wasn’t very fun either. It seemed so horrible at the time, but now that I am better I will do everything I can to make sure it never happens again!

 

 

Tom Yam (Spicy soup with chicken or shrimp)

 

This is one heck of a dish! Tom Yam harvests some of the best Thai flavors. In one bowl your mouth manages to conquer serval sensations ranging from sour, sweet, salty and spicy! Rumor has it that this dish was ranked top 10 best foods across the world in 2011! Although it hasn’t surfaced on any recent lists, I can assure you its not an outdated meal!

 

Ingredients

30g shrimp or sliced chicken

½ cup Sliced onions

½ cup Sliced mushrooms

½ cup Sliced tomatos

1-3pcs. Fresh galangal

1-3pcs. Chili pepper

1 tbsp. Lemongrass

1 tbsp. Kaffier lime leaf

1 tbsp. Seasoning powder

1 tbsp. Soy sauce

2 tbsp. Lime juice

¼ cup Water

1 tbsp Thai chili paste

2 tbsp. Coriander

3-4 tbsp Milk (optional)

 

Preparation

  1. Boil water over high heat.
  2. Add lemongrass, galangal, kaffier lime leaf, seasoning powder, soy sauce, chili pepper, Thai chili paste.
  3. Add seafood/chicken and cook until well done.
  4. Add onion, mushrooms and lime juice.
  5. Let cook for roughly 5 minutes. Add tomato, spring onion and coriander.
  6. Add milk if you want a creamier taste or to reduce spice.

Pad see eew gai (stir fry noodles with chicken)

This is a classic go-to dish for most foreigners. It is a perfect combination of delicious, nutritious and it is NOT spicy- at all! I personally love to top my Pad See Eew with tons of chili flakes, but for a person whole loves Thai food, but can’t handle the heat, this is the perfect dish! At most places around Surat this dish ranges from 36-60 baht and tends to be a massive portion!

 Ingredients

30 g Sliced chicken

30g Big noodles

2 tbsp. Cooking oil

½-1 tbsp. Chopped garlic

½ cup kale

1 tbsp. Oyster sauce

1 tbs. Soy sauce

1 tsp. Sugar

1pc Egg.

 

Preparation

  1. Add cooking oil into a pan, add garlic and stir over medium heat.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until well done.
  3. Next, add the egg, noodles and a little water (if needed). Season with oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Cook for ½-1 minute.
  4. Add kale and cook for additional  two minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Pad Kaprow Kai ( Spicy chicken with Thai basil)

 

Pad Kaprow Kai is one of my all time favorite dishes here in Thailand! I love it because its cheap and easy to make. Pad Kaprow is delicious when made with both chicken or pork! This dish is the perfect balance of protein and veggies- leaving me full and happy! When I order this meal around town I tend to ask for extra spice and for it to be topped with a fried egg (kai dow)!

Ingredients

30 g Sliced chicken

2 tbsp. Cooking oil

¼ cup sliced green onions

½ tbsp. Chopped garlic

5 pcs Sliced red chili (optional)

¼ Thai basil

1-2 tbsp. Oyster sauce

1 tsp. Sugar

1 tbs. Soy sauce

Preparation

  1. Grind the chili, and garlic.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat and add grinded ingredients to the pan. After a few moments add the chicken and stir.
  3. Add a little water if needed.
  4. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked then add seasonings! Stir for ½ a minute before adding onion, peppers, and Thai basil!
  5. Serve over steamed rice! Enjoy!

Pictionary

game2This semester, I’ve been in charge of running Art Club every Monday. It’s a nice way to mix up a normal day and it gives the students a chance to let their creativity flow. Every Monday morning when I walk into class, my kids shout, “TEACHER ART CLUB TODAY!!!” because they’re so excited. So far we’ve made handprint turkeys for Thanksgiving, decorated cards for Christmas, and even created some funky looking monsters! I decided to teach my kids how to play Pictionary to switch things up this week. Each student came up with a word such as “Yoda,” “Basketball,” and “Zombie,” wrote it on a piece of paper, folded it up, and put it in my bag. I then split the class up into game4two teams and one student from each team would take turns coming up to the board and picking a word to draw. The two students drawing were the only ones who could see the word, and the rest had to try to guess what they were trying to draw. Some of the guesses they were shouting were hilarious, such as “BROCCOLI” when it was supposed to be a tree or “CAT” when it was supposed to be Darth Vader. The students had a blast trying to get their friends to guess correctly, while I had a blast listening to their strange guesses.

game1Here is Whale shouting, “CAT!” when the answer is actually “Darth Vader”

Using the ‘Let’s Go’ Flashcards

One new idea I’ve been implementing during my English periods have been different activities with the card-sized flashcards that come with the Let’s Go sets.  Each of the vocabulary words/phrases comes in a small sized flashcard and usually there are three different sets for each unit.  Typically, they come in a set of eight and two sets of six.

To wrap up our Unit 7 activities, my class played a 1-Line Bingo game.  I made an A4 copy of each of the flashcards, so eight were on one page.  Then I cut out each individual one so each pair in class would have a set.  I had the students line them up in a row on their desks, working from the outside in.  I would ask a key question, i.e. “Where’e he/she going to go?”  The students had to pick the card either on the outside left or right of their row and yell the answer back to me.  If I selected their answer, they turned that card over and the game continued.  Ultimately, the pair that turns their cards over the fastest was the winner.  Of course, watch out for cheating, as they kids were to not flip over a card if it was on the inner side of their row.  My class had a tough time avoiding that temptation.

The second game we played today was a Class Mash type of game.  Again, I gave each of the pairs a set of the new vocabulary words (a stomachache, a fever, a cough, etc.).  They then divided those cards in half.  Our key question for this activity was “What’s wrong?”  I had the kids walk around the room and rock, scissors, paper.  The loser had to ask the winner the key question.  The winner then tried to guess one of the loser’s cards with the key sentence, “I have a(n) ________.”  If the loser had that card, that student gave the winner it.  If not, they went on their way asking new students.  I let the kids play for about ten minutes and the top two students had seventeen and fourteen cards, respectfully!

I hoped in the game as well and it was a great chance to check their pronunciation, especially dealing with the troublesome ‘ache’ endings sounding like ‘ake.’  It also allowed me to keep an eye on some of the rowdier students as well!  Definitely looking forward to cooking up more activities like this next year!