First Super English Party of the Year!

After a superb yet busy start back to school, what better way to relax and get to know everyone a little more than over a feast of great western cuisine, great refreshments and great company. Sweet Kitchen never disappoints that’s for sure! Peter treated the Super English teachers across Thida, Noonoy and STIS to a banquet complete with roasted chicken, macaroni cheese, salad, vegetables, bread, Ice-cream and more. Naturally complemented by a tasteful variety of drinks, too! Of course after at least a month away from home now, people really enjoyed a taste of home. Red wine and macaroni cheese were personal winners for me!

Still so early on in the year, having the time to relax and enjoy getting to know more about each other outside the working environment of school is a much needed and really nice gesture. With not much time to spare during the school day and week, events like this are always something to look forward to.

After generous portions finishing several plates full of food, as a returning teacher I knew what was coming and tactically began to fill my plate before everyone caught on and proceeded to do the same! It was pretty funny to watch everyone battle it out becoming a table full of scavengers prizing food whilst simultaneously being served scoops of delicious choc-chip, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream! Leftovers for the next day went down a treat with everyone!

Sweet Kitchen is a personal favourite of mine and I’m sure a new favourite of some of the newer teachers. It made for a superb evening and I’m already counting down the days until the next Super English event! Thanks Super!

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Thanksgiving Party!

Even though we come from all different places, cultures, and norms, I think there’s one thing we can all agree on–it’s awesome to have a proper Thanksgiving spread to eat! Peter recently treated the Super English team to a lavish meal at Sweet Kitchen complete with chicken, salad, bread, potatoes, pie, etc….all the fixings from home! I probably let out some of the food, but my mouth is beginning to salivate thinking about it! Of course, plenty of drinks were had, too! After the seemingly never ending lunch cuisine of gangsom/salted fish, you can bet how everybody enjoyed the food!

It was a really nice touch to be able to get together with everybody and chat with some other fellow teachers who we don’t get to spend as much time with. We get pretty busy during the school day, so it was great to get to know one another a little bit more outside the school setting.

Perhaps the funniest moment came after the meal when the white styrofoam go to boxes came out…and the vultures starting circling the leftovers! Just kidding! It was nice to have some familiar food to squash any cravings the next week.

I hear this is one of the teachers’ favorite Super English events and it was not difficult to understand why. Only 11 more months until the next one, right?

 

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Rabiangsai Appreciation Party

Back towards the end of October, Peter threw a big party for all of us at Rabiangsai Resort in Khanom, a nearby beach town about an hour from Surat. It was the end of the first semester for those of us that teach at Thida and it was also an appreciation party for a few of us that have been with SE for a few years.

We all arrived Saturday morning and spent the day relaxing on the beach. In the evening, we had the party and Peter provided everyone with nice rooms (A/C!!), an awesome Thai dinner, and lots of drinks. The appreciation part of the party was especially memorable for me. All of the other teachers performed skits about us, ran trivia games, and talked about memories we’ve made working and travelling together. Some teachers that worked for SE last year even sent in raps and letters to read which made for a really special night.

Peter and all the other teachers really took the time to make the appreciation party special for us and I definitely had a lot of fun. It is definitely one that I will remember for a long time!

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Ice Cream Party

Last week, Peter treated us all to a little ice cream party. After school, everyone headed over to Swensen’s, a chain ice cream shop that serves up massive western style ice cream treats. Shortly after arriving, our tables were soon overflowing with waffle cones stuffed with ice cream and syrups, delicious shakes, and I think I even spotted one brave soul testing out the durian ice cream. Most of us don’t go to Swensen’s very often since it is a bit more expensive, so it was definitely a nice treat. It’s always fun to get everyone that works for SE together in one spot to catch up and it was nice to enjoy some tasty ice cream after school.image

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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First Party of the School Year

Last Saturday we had our first Super English funded monthly event of the school year at Sweet Kitchen, where we all met to enjoy some western food. For as much as everyone enjoys Thai food, it’s always a nice treat to get some western food, and Sweet Kitchen is one of the only places in Surat Thani that offers good western options.

 

We all enjoyed some alfredo pasta, mixed vegetables, salad, and garlic bread. Oh, and some whiskey as well. It was a good time and we’re looking forward to next month’s party already.

 

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Tonsai – SE End of the School Year Trip

At the end of every semester Peter usually throws all the teachers a party of some sorts to say “thank you” to everyone for their hard work throughout the semester. SE has provided some pretty awesome parties and weekend trips during my time here and they are always a good time. This time, we decided to take a weekend trip to Tonsai beach in Railay, a beautiful peninsula on the west coast of southern Thailand. After school last Friday, we all met up and hopped in the private minivan that Jade had set up for us, complete with 6 different types of mood lighting. Traveling in Thailand usually equals stopping every 10 minutes to pick up other passengers, for the driver to have a smoke break, etc, so it was really nice to have our own private van. We made it from point A to B with NO stops, which is pretty much unheard of here.

The bus dropped us off in Ao Nang, a beach town near Tonsai/Railay. We all hopped on a boat to Tonsai, as there are no roads connecting Tonsai to the rest of the island. Arriving at Tonsai at night was pretty awesome and kind of gave it a magical feeling. The moonlight revealed huge karst formations shooting up along the coast and straight out of the ocean.

When we arrived, we hiked up the hill to find our bungalows and get settled. A cool thing about Tonsai is that there are no paved roads, just dirt paths connecting all of the bungalows and shops. Our rustic bungalows were in a sweet location, nestled along the side of a hill. Thanks to Peter, we didn’t have to pay a dime for our accommodation all weekend.

The whole weekend was a lot of fun. Most people spent the days lounging around on the beach, soaking up the sun, taking naps in the shade, and enjoying the drinks that Peter bought for us. Railay is known for rock climbing, so a few people joined in on a climbing trip. A few others hiked over to the other beaches of Railay. Saturday evening, we all met up for dinner at a beach side restaurant that was offering 150 baht ($5) pizzas. Everyone had a great time hanging out and we then migrated next door and spent the night jammin’ away to this awesome Reggae Flamenco band. They were seriously awesome. Typical of many SE events, we hung out late in to the night and a good time was had by all. Did I mention Catherine hooped with fire?  That definitely happened and it was awesome.

To me, Railay is one of the most beautiful places I have visited in Thailand. I always enjoy a visit to Railay and going with all my friends/co-workers made for a very memorable weekend. It was nice to feel so appreciated by SE after a semester of hard work and barely having to pay anything out of my own pocket was the cherry on top.

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Another Awesome SE Event – “Unseen Surat”

We’ve had a ton of great SE parties and events throughout my time here so far. Peter has treated us to pool parties, staying at Rabaingsai resort, nice dinners, taking a trip to the floating bungalows in Khao Sak, yummy Thanksgiving dinner, and a Thai culture party, just to name a few. This month, Peter had the great idea to have an “Unseen Surat” event, the idea being to show us some cool places around Surat that most of us teachers haven’t seen before. Peter decided to keep the planned events for the day a surprise, which was a lot of fun. All we knew is that we would be starting with lunch and going to some places in Surat from there.

We kicked the day off with a tasty lunch, provided by Peter, at a local Thai place near Super English. Lunch was served to us family style and everyone loaded their plates with yummy curries and tasty Thai dessert. Next, walked across the street to the river, where we found a long-tail boat waiting for us that the Thai staff and Peter had arranged. Everyone was really excited, because nobody had been on the river in Surat before. It is something a lot of people talk about wanting to do, but nobody had. We loaded everyone up in the boat, along with some totally awesome hats provided by the boat driver to give us a bit of shade. First we drove to an island in the middle of the river and took a quick tour of this nice vegetable garden. Then we hopped back on the boat and enjoyed a leisurely ride through some of the canals in the jungle, on the non-city side of the river. I particularly enjoyed this part, because our house is in this area, near the canals. At least 7  other teachers live in the part of town too, near the canals, and we actually passed the bungalows where 4 SE teachers live! The ride was really relaxing and the jungle was so beautiful. We even saw a few monitor lizards moving about.

Our last stop on the boat trip was this really awesome homestay that the boat driver runs. It is probably only 5 minutes from our house, but I never knew it was there, as it is hidden on a canal deep in the jungle. Supposedly there is some road or path to access the homestay by land, so maybe I’ll have to look for that sometime soon. Our boat driver also turned out to be an expert in all kinds of Thai handiwork. He spent the afternoon teaching us how to use various leaves from the jungle to make Thai desserts, thatched roofs, and baskets. We also got to try some tasty Thai drinks. Towards the end of the afternoon, he hacked open some young coconuts for us to enjoy, before we hopped on the boat and headed back to the city.

This event is definitely towards the top of the list of the my favorite SE events. Everyone had a lot of fun and really enjoyed getting to see some hidden places in Surat that we wouldn’t have seen if Peter and the Thai staff hadn’t planned this event for us. Thanks to Peter for providing another memorable experience for us, and thanks to the Thai staff for planning the boat tour for us. Enjoy the pictures!

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Our SE Thanksgiving Dinner

At the end of November we had what is definitely one of my favorite events hosted by Peter and SE – a huge, scrumptious Thanksgiving feast!

Surat sure is known for its amazing Thai food, but good Western food is hard to come by here. Needless to say, we were all really looking forward to this feast.  Leading up to the event, nobody could seem to stop thinking about sweet potatoes, stuffing, and MAC & CHEESE. Yes, folks, mac & cheese.

The location of choice was Sweet Kitchen, a restaurant near the pier that serves up delicious Western and Thai-Western fusion dishes. We met with the owner a few weeks prior to the event, who helped us work up quite the legit menu. All the delicious food was paid for by Peter, who even went out of his way to provide the perfect finishing touches of wine and cake! Our very own SE brewmasters (Eric, Jade, & Dave) also brought their delicious homemade Pumpkin Ale beer to share with everyone, and we all came ready for a feast.

The food definitely didn’t disappoint and I’m pretty sure we all left completely stuffed with yummy American Thanksgiving goodness. Everyone had a great time, and celebrating with our SE “family” it made it easier to be so far from home for the holiday. Thanks to Peter for throwing us such an awesome Thanksgiving party! Enjoy the pictures.

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Semesterly Meetings

At the beginning of each semester we have a meeting, which essentially is the only meeting we have the entire term. It tends to be a few hours long but it’s significantly better than the monthly meetings we had while I taught in Korea.

There’s usually as much tomfoolery as there is talk of business. At the start of this semester we played an interesting game of “the best of the best,” which is a bracket of things which are considered to be the best within a certain category. Sound confusing? Think of it like this: Beach vs Jungle. Thai food vs Mexican food. Communism vs Sharia Law!? What? So, eventually you have some pretty comical match-ups such as Communism vs the Beach. We all filled out brackets like an NCAA tournament to see how we thought it would play out. The final match up was Scuba Diving vs Massaman Roti (a favorite Thai food of most teachers). Scuba diving won and Teacher Devin had the most successful bracket so she earned herself a lovely bottle of whiskey.   DSCF9773 DSCF9770