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Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I got a letter the other day. I don't know how it managed to find me as it was addressed to: Hannah, the school that Hannah's teaching at, the town that Hannah's living in, Thailand. It was from a certain little bitcher dog that's obviously missing me loads,

Dear Auntie Hannah,

Moms told me that you bogged off to Thailand to teach horrible little brats how to speak English. I just thought I'd let you know that there are plenty of people here that don't know how to speak English so you could come back and teach them instead. Paddy says he's really depressed what with Jamie going away and now you. I'm comfort eating and getting really fat and there's no one here to help me burn the calories off. Moms is still obsessed with that silly big German Shepherd bitcher and that oul Bert's not much company with his honking and screeching on the claro (he thinks I like it because I sing with him but he doesn't know I'm crying in pain 'cos he's hurting my ears).

Moms said you were having a good time there though so I don't imagine you'll want to come back. She also said that there's loads of dogs out there but that they're not as nice as me. Maybe I could come out too and teach the dogs how to woof in English. Maybe you could put in a good word for me. I'll start saving the money for my rabies jab. Think I might have to hoor myself to get that much money but it'll be worth it to see you. I love you loads Auntie Hannah, come back soon xxxx

Rosie Dog

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jesus Mary and Joseph

The phrase Thank God It's Friday was definitely invented for teachers.

Today I had my little darlings 2/16. The girls in this class are little sweeties and always asking for help. This is one of my smaller classes and their parents pay for extra tuition so they are a pleasure to teach. Still naughty but managable.

Then I had the Monster Class from Hell. Mostly boys with a few girls. Also year 2 but not as bright a much bigger class. They will not shut up so I have told the Head of Department. I took the names of the most naughty ones and smiled at them all on the way out of class as if I was going to get them in major trouble.

Then I had a class full of boys. Although they are better than some classes they take a lot of energy. As for Ajarn Nelly's advice on owning the classroom. Next week I plan to take control. I'm there to teach and if I don't discipline properly I can't teach them. I don't mean I'm going to start slapping them but I will make sure that the teachers know they are not behaving. They are more scared of the Thai teachers than they are me.

This weekend Romy is off to Bangkok to watch some gay men have sex. It's one of the English teacher's birthday (a girl from England) and this is what she wanted to do. I was going to go but decided not to. Not because of the gay sex but because I want to explore Lopburi on my own a little bit. I have been so busy I haven't had a minute to myself so it will be nice to take some photographs, chill and get some teaching material organised for next week. If I was doing Bangkok it would be squeezing too much in. And anyway, I'd quite like to make it my mission to never go to Bangkok ever.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ajarn Hannah

I knew this teaching malarkey wasn't going to be easy but I don't think I quite realised how draining it would be. It doesn't help that the Thai teachers have given absolutely no guidance whatsoever. They have not told me what level the children are at, what has already been covered, they don't sit in class to translate if the children don't understand my instructions. I have found it all quite stressful really because I want to be doing a good job but feel that I can't because no one is telling me how to. Some classes leave me feeling like I can't do the job, whereas others I feel like I am making progress. I keep reminding myself that it's only been a week and a half and everyone has found it tough to figure out where they're at.

Thailand is such an amazing place though that as sson as teaching is finished for the day you remember why it is your here. The work is hard but it's teaching me a lot about myself, about children, about this culture. Good experiences in life are not always easy. I feel this is good for my mind. After the monotamy of Nixt it is good to have the challenge.

Soon I will get some photographs of me in my work clothes. I have to wear a skirt everyday except Wednesday. Those of you who know me will know I hate wearing skirts. On Monday I wear a yellow top to honour the King of Thailand.

Today was Teacher's day which is a ceremony that happens once a year. The teachers sit outside in front off all the children and receive flowers. Each class makes a different bouquet up and presents it to the teacher. Can you imagine this happening in Britain? Unfortunately it didn't stop the brats talking in my classes. Although anything goes as far as discipline is concerned (you can hit, slap, nip or cane students) Thai teachers aren't particularly strict. You will rarely get children to shut up in your class. I couldn't bring myself to hurt any of them as it's just not a done thing but I do make them stand at the back of the class, stand on one leg and I think I might start doling out press ups as punishment. For the girls I threaten to go back to Ireland. I say "You do not want to learn English, there is no point me being here. Should I just go back to Ireland?" and they all frantically shake their heads saying no no.

Being an ajarn (teacher) here means you don't get ripped off and people are more friendly and helpful. Romy and I are often offered lifts when we wear are yellow tops and prices are always cut when we tell them we are teachers. Although as a general rule Thai people are kind-natured and will do a lot to help you. It's the police you have to watch out for here.

Here comes the rain. The first I've seen since being here. I welcome it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

True and Amazing Facts

Damn! I ran all the way to Thailand and I still got tagged. Ok, here's 8 ficts about monself:

(moms and dawds may want to shut their eyes)

1. I once dreamt that I had man bits aswell as women bits. I don't know what this means but I'm sure Freud would've had a field day.

2. I still suck my thumb. I don't know what this means but I'm sure Freud would have something to say about it.

3. I want to be a carpenter.

4. I am Queen of the duvet thieves.

5. My first crush was Michael J. Fox.

6. I can sleep for up to 12 hours at a time not a problem.

7. I am finally living my dream.

8. I am a sucker for manners. They don't cost anything you know.

Who can I tag?

Zoe will hate me
Nelly's been tagged
Ed must've done about a million of these by now

and then I run out of people.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thai Time

I survived my first week at school. Next week I have to decide if I want to sign a contract for a year. At this point I don't want to go back home in October. It is too chilled out here. The way of life is so easy and laid back. Everything happens in Thai time. It could be tomorrow or it could be next week. They have a philosophy that if things go wrong, it doesn't matter. People here are the kindest most generous people I have ever met. Here are some examples:

I ordered a chicken and rice dish that was far too spicy for me to eat. Romy asked the owner if he could put coconut oil in it for me to cool it down. He walked off and we thought he just didn't understand us but came back 10 minutes later with a brand new bowl and said it was for free. The teachers at school are always putting parcels of fruit on our tables and sharing their delicious Thai snacks with us. When Romy and I were trying to get a taxi (the only taxis here are motorbikes - brilliant fun!) after going to a club on Friday night we were offered a lift by a local guy who has seen us around and knows some of the other teachers. If you forget something or pay too much they will come running after you to give you it back. I realise that because we are teachers here we get treated better than the blow-in tourists but as a general rule people here are beautiful.

So my first weekend was spent going out Friday night to a club where we there was a live band. They were really good and loving the fact that all us white people were up at the front dancing. Two of the gay male teachers who are also out here went up on the stage for a dance with. I was invited too but declined. Last night we were at another bar with live music and the guys who were sharing our table filled are empty glasses up with whiskey. Compared to us they don't have much but they will always share whatever they do have.

Yesterday I had a Thai massage which was heavenly. I'd been warned that these women are strong and that it would be more painful than pleasurable until a couple of hours after. I think she must've gone easy on me because it didn't hurt atall. It cost me 3 pounds for an hours session. At home this would cost about 50 pounds.

So anybody looking for a holiday here I definitely recommend it. I haven't done Bangkok yet but everyone tells me I don't need to. The markets here are amazing. Bert would probably need to be here a whole year to taste everything he'd want to.

I could talk all day about how good this place is but it's Sunday and it's school tomorrow and I need to go do some swotting up as I'm the only one here who hasn't done the TEFL course and I'm also quite sleepy after the madness of my 1st week. I still haven't taken any pictures yet but I keep thinking there's plenty of time. It'll be done in Thai time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I made It!!

I've been in Lopburi, Thailand for 4 days now and today was my 3rd day of teaching. I have so much to write about but seem to have lost the ability to write. I spend most of my day speaking broken English and with a combination of the hard work and warm weather my brain doesn't seem to be operating properly. Teaching is good but really difficult. Sometimes the class will have 40 pupils and it is impossible trying to get them all to shut their mouths. But I remember what it's like being that age and so I can't get too cross with them.

This morning the teachers made me and Romy do an introductory speech in front of the whole school. There are over 2500 students and we had to stand on a stage in front of them all. So now when I walk through the school I hear 'Han-nah Han-nah, hell-0 hell-o'. The kids are sweet really and get excited to see us.

My brain really has stopped functioning. I want to write about Lopburi, the Thais, their culture, the food as it is all so interesting but it is hard finding time and when I do my brain is tired and hot. People tell me it takes at least 6 weeks to adjust to everything so I'm just waiting to settle. This weekend I'll hopefully get some photographs on flickr.

I saw my first monkeys yesterday morning on the way to the bus stop. I made sure not to get too close but they not the cutest monkeys in the world anyway. They have mean eyes. The street dogs are nearly all mongrels and spend the hot days lazing in the sun. In the evening you have to be more careful as they will approach you and start barking and howling. As soon as you get off their patch though they don't follow. Haven't seen any spiders yet but seen lots of geckos. I want one for a pet. While all the dogs look totally different and unlike any dog you've ever seen before the cats all have a similar look to them with elongated ears and scrawny bodies. I also saw an elephant being walked down the street last night at the market.

Tonight we have a quiz at one of the local bars with the other English teachers and this weekend Romy and I will explore and eat good food. We are on a mission to find Romy savoury snacks. They are obsessed with sugar in Thailand and put it in everything. Cheese bread, salted popcorn, chese crackers, they all taste more sweet than salty. When you eat out they will have a bowl of sugar rather than salt, they even put sugar on their fruit. Romy was complaining to a teacher about the cheese bread being disgusting. She said 'Why put sugar on in cheese bread?Cheese is salty' The teacher laughed and said 'That's why sugar!'

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Last Post from Ireland

I haven't time to write much. Just wanted to say a massive thankyou to all the people who contributed to the travelling to Thailand funds. You can all expect strange and unusual presents. But honestly, if it wasn't for these people (you know who you are, family and extended family) my dream would not have become a reality.

A special thanks to my big sis Zoe for all her practical assistance with research and fact-finding. Thanks to Granny for all the prayers, the girls and boys at work for their kind contribution. Thanks to Katy and Dad for organising a special weekend in Norfolk for us all. I have memories I can cherish forever. Thanks to everyone who has wished me well. I know it's cheesy but I can't assume that everyone knows how grateful I am without saying it.

Hopefully my first post from Thailand will not be too long away.