Poetry

Lately almost everything is making me want to write poetry. It is almost as if everything I do is inspiring me to be more spiritual, more poetic, less 1 dimensional, more awake. I’m not sure exactly why this is but I assume its because of the traveling and seeing life in a new way. I guess at this point since I’ve been here for about 6 months I can’t really call this traveling anymore however it is living a completely different life. 

 

Moving to Thailand I had a number of expectations for myself most of which I’m still waiting to fulfill. 

It’s funny because before I moved to Thailand I read every blog, article, and rumor that I could about this country so that I would have some idea of what it would be like to live here. I have to say that the blogs etc just don’t give you the right idea. I had this crazy idea that everyone wore really conservative long clothes all the time and that the people were very innocent and kind. People are generally kind here and I guess that land of smiles is a semi appropriate nick name but there is side of Thailand that I feel like isn’t highly represented in these TEFL teachers blogs. Thai people LOVE money. I guess most people everywhere do but I’ve realized here everything is about money. It’s not love that keeps a relationship together, its money. It’s not whether you did something right or wrong that determines if you go to jail, its how much money you have. Its not about who is the nicer person to date, its about who has more money. It’s not your blonde hair and blue eyes that they want, its the chance that if they marry you they can go to country to earn more money. Money, money, money, money. The most romantically hopeless people in the world suddenly seem to become Fabio when they get to Thailand because they are human ATM machines. I won’t keep this rant going that long but I just feel a little sad and discouraged when I see this all the time because it almost seems like true love doesn’t exist here. And if does, you can almost 100% guarantee that it’s not monogamous true love by any means. OHHH the ways of Eastern world cease to amaze me….

I myself am a cynical romantic. I had this grand vision of some romantic life that will eventually happen to me but I am so cynical and convinced that it will forever remain just that: a vision. Being in a place like Thailand is making me slightly more cynical when it comes to this. As I said before, its not about love its all about money. For me personally I don’t really have very much money so I’m finding that when people like me it’s more about looking different. I can be called beautiful 5 times day (thank you thank you’re far too kind) but no one will go beyond that. It’s more like being a novelty than being an actual potential of a partner. Honestly one of my Thai friends actually said this exact phrase, “I’ve never had a nigger before.” As horrifying as this statement may sound I’ve finally gotten over that this actually came out of his mouth. Again this is just an shining example of the way that people think over here. Most of the Thai people i’ve met see “Farangs” and look at us like an ATM or a trophy. I just imagine them thinking “HEY EVERYBODY LOOK WHAT I GOT” I wish life wasn’t so much about showing off what we have. I know that not everyone is like that but sometimes its so hard to find the good people. As Jack Johnson said where’d all the good people? 

This pessimistic cynical attitude does not apply to everthing though just to be clear. As usual most other things in life are exceptional and wonderfully surprising. Koh Samui produces over 1 million coconuts per month and has been lovingly given the nickname Coconut Island obviously for good reason. It is not unusual to see multiple trucks filled with coconuts driving around each time you leave the house. Lately though I have been seeing this really big truck with a monkey riding on top of it. There aren’t very many monkeys on the island because they don’t live in the jungles naturally (I believe, do not quote me) so seeing a monkey is usually a pleasant surprise. This particular monkey though looked like an employee of the coconut truck which I thought was a little odd and probably impossible so I asked a friends of mine about it. He explained to me very casually that yes, the monkey works as a I guess you would call him a coconut farmer? He is “emplyed” by this group of people to go up into trees and pick the coconuts. He has special monkey senses that even allow him to know exactly which coconuts are ready to be picked and which are not. No this not a joke or an exaggeration, this monkey works hard for his bananas (and coconuts I presume). 

Now this story shouldn’t really be hilarious because in all honestly I doubt this monkey went out looking for a job so he’s obviously a slave of some sort. Beyond the whole monkey slavery thing though I found this to be one of the funniest things i’d ever heard. A monkey that works as a coconut picker….OK never thought i’d hear that one. 

Onto a change of subject…I hope that there are some “farangs” who live or have lived in Thailand that are reading this and can answer a question for me. Why is it that when people move here to South East Asia they develop a kind of “my shit don’t stink” “im so awesome” “boundaries/laws do not apply to me” type of attitude. Or they always have some sort of pissing contest regarding who has lived in Asia longer. Please please tell me why this happens. I get the whole adjusting to a different culture changes you thing because it has changed me a bit, but this “im the best” type of attitude does not seem to come from the South East Asian people. Any philosophical insight on this would be great….

Thanks for reading.

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Routines

As I sort of expected I have neglected my blog again this time for more than a month. It is a shame because so many memories could have been written here if I only I had the concentration but I will just hope that my mind is strong enough to hold onto them. As time goes on it becomes harder to write this blog because things I would have written about before now seem like normal everyday activities that I wouldn’t really think are important to write about. Although, as usual a lot of spontaneous, new, amazing and fun things have happened as well as the daily routines.

Most importantly to me I’ve been working along quite nicely at my job as a wedding planner. I can’t really say enough how lucky I feel that I got his job and I am so happy that i’m able to do it. It has already opened my eyes to so many new things on the island and has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of great people. :))))
I’ve never been the type to want to get married but since working here I’ve actually planned my own wedding which is hilarious. It’s not that I want to be married I just want to have a wedding because i’ve planned out the best wedding ever. If anyone needs my services just let me know.

Since my last post we had our first American visitors when the Mike’s (as I like to call them) came to Samui! It was so nice to see people that we know and to have friends here to share our new life with. We had so much with the Mike’s mainly just because they are awesome but also because we did things nonstop. The best and only thing I wish to mention about the trip was Songkran which is the Thai new year. It is celebrated by throwing water at people. The great about getting wet in Thailand is that chances are you’re going to dry off in about 10 minutes anyway because it’s so damn hot here. Anyway, Songkran is not one of those things that just happens in certain areas, or that only a few people do, it is country wide, everywhere, everyone and its amazing! If you are in Thailand during Songkran and you don’t want to be wet for between 24 and 96 hours straight then do not leave your house. People stand outside soaking each other all day and night and its a big happy celebration. Its unlike any new year celebration I have seen and it has definitely become my favorite Holiday (Halloween, you have been replaced). We spent the day outside of our friend’s shop which is on a very busy with bumper to bumper traffic all day. Basically on Songkran you drink, dance, eat, and throw water at people. So we did that for a few hours then headed to see other friends on the beach and did more of the same. Around 9pm we needed more money so we went back home and realized that we’d had a few too many drinks so wanted to just lay down for 30 mins to get some energy back. Fast forward to 2am we finally wake up and realize we just missed what were probably the prime crazy hours of Songkran. It was highly disappointing that we slept that long BUT the day was so fun that it really doesn’t even matter. I cannot wait until Songkran next year!! I think i’m going to try and go visit a friend’s home province next year as i’ve heard the Songkran festivities last for 5 days straight there.

Songkran was great because it was another way that I could learn about Thai culture and try to immerse myself in it which is really important when living in a foreign country. Another thing i’ve realized is extremely important is being able to speak more than one language. It is crazy to think that everyone isn’t bilingual and its one of the things I want for myself most in life. I’m trying really hard to learn how to speak Thai because obviously I should being in Thailand but i’d also like to learn other languages. I meet so many people in Thailand that speak English and a lot of them have never even left the country. I’ve been all over the world and I only speak English….FAIL. I think in America we don’t realize how important it is to be able to communicate with people who are not the same as us, or if we do realize it we don’t care because we think America is the whole world. Personally I never want to live in America again which i’ve known for a while but it’s pretty official to me now. So time to start learning some other languages!

I’ve come across so many situations where speaking Thai would have been extremely helpful but the main one I think is worth sharing happened a few weeks ago. I was with a friend of mine and we decided to go to house to hang out. We got the house and went inside and were listening to some music then about 5 minutes after we got there he went outside for something and then I heard a woman starting shouting really loud in Thai. After a few minutes of my friend talking to her and her shouting at him I decided to look outside to see what was going on. I went outside and she started shouting at me in Thai so obviously I just stood there confused as I really only understand about 1 word she said. Then she switched to English asking me if I was his girlfriend. Like I said before, this person is just my friend so I denied being his girlfriend. The conversation went something like this:

Her: “Are you his girlfriend”
Me: “No, we are friends”
Her: “I don’t believe you. I see everything and you are the first girl that his come here I think he loves you too much”
Me: “Well I’m sorry that you think that but we are just friends neither of us love each other”
Her: (with an insane look in her eye) “You can sleep here if you want, I own this house”
Me: “umm no thanks I’m going to go home later”
Her: (staring at me not saying anything for a while)
Me: (awkwardly standing there)
Her: (shouting in Thai at my friend)
Me: “Are you angry right now?”
Her: “YES! I LOVE HIM TOO MUCH”
Me: “Ok that is nice you can have him like I said I don’t love him”

She continued to yell and asked her to leave and came back inside. My friend and I went inside a little shocked and he told me that she is his landlady and has some mental issues and has become obsessed with him but he doesn’t want to move because he likes the house. He told me not to worry she had calmed down. So we continued relaxing listening to music until about 5 minutes later when this woman kicks the door in and starts screaming for me to get the F out of her house. We were both scared at this point and I told her I was going and my friend took her outside to calm her down again. They were outisde talking about a bit but I stayed inside for my own safety hahaha. My friend came back and we both just sat there shocked but he told me not to worry he took her home and that she wouldnt’ come back. So we kept relaxing and listening to some music. About 20 minutes later we hear a glass shatter against the house and then the window suddenly breaks. Clearly the woman wanted me to leave!! I ran into the bathroom because I was terrified and my friend went outside to see what was going on. I heard her yelling in Thai again and I got a little courage and peeked out the door to see what she was up to. To my surprise she is standing there with a broken bottle in her hand and blood all over her arms and she literally looked like she was ready to murder at any second.
Obviously this was my cue to actually leave this time. I tried telling her I wasn’t going to leave until she got out of the front yard with that glass bottle but because of the language barrier she didn’t understand what I was saying. Luckily my friend got her to move and I ran out of there as fast as I could.

SOOOO a few lessons were learned that night. 1) I need to learn out to speak Thai to diffuse psycho murderous women. 2) Thai women are nuts! 3) The first time someone looks like they want to kill you and tells you to leave, you should probably leave.

This was just another hilarious evening in my life that I’m not too surprised happened because the most insane things seem to happen to me quite often. It didn’t upset me at all it actually made me laugh once I knew I was safe and in a way it made me a little bit happy probably because I escaped being murdered. Koh Samui has found another way to make me happy.

Sometimes when i’m driving around here I have to stop and look around and really take it all again that I actually live here this place is so beautiful and amazing in so many ways I have to make sure I do not take that for granted. I hope that anyone reading this also feels the same way about wherever it is that you live! With that this post is finished. I can’t make any promises but I hope to write again soon.

New Job, dead pets, chicken chases and more

Ferry ride from Samui

Ferry ride from Samui

So much has happened since my last blog post, I didn’t realize it had been over a month since the last time I wrote. Every time I think to write my blog there is always something new and exciting to distract me. I feel like it is rare that I get a moment these days where I can just take the time to focus on writing.
A lot has changed and up to this point it has all been change for the best. The fortune teller was correct when he said that March was my lucky month because it surely has been. To begin with, I GOT A JOB!!! I got a job as one of the two wedding planners for an amazing wedding company here in Koh Samui. I am a wedding planner on a beautiful island in southern Thailand….I’ve had to repeat that to myself a few times but I don’t think it has actually registered in my brain yet. I never really thought that was even a possibility when I came here.

The things that happen in life are just so unexpected and those things that we don’t expect can often be the most wonderful parts.
I can’t express how lucky I was to get this job. I won’t go into too much detail about the process of getting this job but what I will say is that everything that happened leading up to me getting this job was clearly meant to happen. I was extremely discouraged at one point because I could not find work as a teacher and I was fairly certain I would have to move to the mainland of Thailand to find work. Something though in the back of my mind told me to stick it out and I just had this feeling that something good was about to happen for me. I had no idea how good it would actually be! To be fair, I enjoyed teaching and it felt rewarding and teaching English is technically why I moved here, BUT I love the event industry. Anyone reading this who knows me knows that I studied events in school and I have a lot of experience in the industry. So for me to get a job as a wedding planner was really fitting. I’ve now signed my contract with my new employer and it is 2 year contract which is renewable at the end of the 2 years. I’ve never actually committed to a job like that so really it was a big step for me and I feel great about it. If nothing else I will at least get to continue for my love affair with Samui for 2 more years.

Everyday my love for Samui and for Thai culture grows. I see new things that amaze me and I meet people every day who are just exceptional. One thing that I’ve grown to love about Thailand is that I will be driving and within a 100 meter stretch I will smell literally the worst and best smells I ever have before. Thailand is just hilarious like that, you get a little bit of everything here. I never thought I could love a place more than I loved London but Samui has already surpassed that!

I have already made a few friends who I hope that I will never lose touch with. Everyday has been a new adventure for me and it’s been very exciting. Within the past month I’ve traveled across Thailand to Phuket where I also visited Coral Island, I’ve gone to Malaysia on a visa run, gone to Koh Phangan for the infamous full moon party, and so much more. I’ve been given an expensive and rare necklace as a blessing and good luck charm, had my heart broken, gone to a traditional Thai concert, got a pet and killed it the same day, etc etc. The list of adventures and hilariousness goes on and on. Just so anyone reading this doesn’t think I’m a psychotic animal murderer I will explain the death of my “pet.”
I was at the beach swimming one day when I found a live clam in the water. For some reason I was extremely fascinated by it and decided that it was going to be my new pet. My intent was to take it home and put it an aquarium of sorts. Shortly after finding my new pet I ran into some of my friends on the beach and we got to talking. At this point my pet was safely in some water enjoying its life. The thing about running into your friends in Thailand though is that hours upon hours can pass without you really realizing it because it is just such a relaxed lifestyle here. So needless to say I was with my friends having some drinks for about 6 hours and at some point during the evening I just put my new pet my in back pack (with no water). To be honest 2 days passed with my backpack sitting on the floor of my bedroom untouched. I was laying in my bed trying to sleep but there was some horrendous smell and I could not sleep until I found it. I searched my room everywhere for about 30 minutes and couldn’t find the source. Then I saw my backpack on the ground and it hit me, I had neglected my pet and let him die in my backpack and now he was stinking up my room to take vengeance on me. My bag was full of “clam juice” and my boy lay in there with his shell completely wide open and he was dead as a doornail. SOOOO yeah that happened. Luckily the smell has now left my room and I’ve decided I won’t be getting another pet clam for a while. We’ve got about 7 cats/kittens that roam in and out of our house whenever they feel like it so for now they can me my no strings attached pets.

For the first month in Samui Latrisha and I were living in a room on what I’ve now found out is ghost road of Samui (where the most ghost sightings are). We were sharing a room and a bed and needless to say we needed our own space. We spent days driving all around the island looking for a new place to live. Thai people tend to live with multiple people in 1 room and this is something that is just normal here. So trying to find a two bedroom place seemed like a futile attempt. On our search we came across a string of town houses and wanted to check and see if there were any open units. There was a man who lived in one and who spoke a bit of English so he was being kind and helping us to speak with the landlord who did not speak English. It turned out there were no available units so this man that we met decided that he would stop whatever he was doing and show us around to other places that might be available. He interrupted his day just out of the kindness of is heart and showed us around. He spent about an hour trying to help us and did not expect anything in return. Once again Thai people amaze me. Throughout our search two other friends helped us and only for our benefit, not for theirs. In the end we found a great two bedroom house in a great location and now are happily living in our new place. The house search was pretty brutal but undeniably hilarious and fun as we got chased by a group of about 60 chickens while looking at a house. There were also a couple of dog chases and other fun happenings but getting chased by the chickens was actually one of the funniest things that has happened yet.

As I’ve already mentioned I love Samui very much and I am really excited to see what the next two years here will be like for me. There is still so much on this island that I have not seen and that still need to explore. I have though found great places to eat, drink, see great sights, people watch, and I’ve also discovered by favorite thai food and drinks. Just about every day I eat at the same restaurant. On a dirt and rock road there is a string of about 4 restaurants that are essentially just huts and they have the best food! The food is so cheap and so good and by now Latrisha and I have gone there so many times that we are friends with all the staff and play with their adorable kids when we are there. The best part about these restaurants is obviously the food but the second best part is this person who we’ve started calling the king of the jungle. The king of the jungle is a man who walks around the restaurants every day in nothing but a towel. I see this man every day and every single time I have seen him he is wearing just a light blue towel and a pair of flip flops. I should mention as well that I go to restaurant at different time each day and I always he see him in his towel at different times. He is probably about 60 years old and looks very serious and he walks around sort of inspecting things. I’m assuming he owns one of the restaurants and just likes to see what is going on but never really says anything. I started taking pictures of him every day so I can just have a laugh at how great it is that he only wears a towel. I don’t know if this is funny to anyone else but to me it is hilarious.

As I mentioned before I took a trip to Phuket which is Thailand’s largest island and is on the opposite side of the country in the Andaman Sea. The Phuket trip really is a story for another time but the reason I mention it again is because on my way home from Phuket something magical happened. Well I suppose it was actually more scientific than magical BUT to me it was a good omen and made me very happy. Because I live on an island I have to take a boat to get back here if I ever leave (flying is too expensive). On the boat ride back to Samui I was staring out the window thinking about what the heck I was going to do if I couldn’t find a job on the island. As I was staring out the window at the water I noticed a little rainbow. Then I noticed another, and another, and another and on and on and on. The boat was causing waves of water to shoot up into the air and the way that the light hit the water made small rainbows over and over. I sat and watched these rainbows shooting through the air for about 5 minutes until they finally stopped. At that moment I just felt like those rainbows were my good omen telling me that heading back to Samui and sticking it out until I found a job was the right decision. I know that sounds corny but that’s the way I felt and for some reason those little rainbows made me feel happy and filled me with a lot of hope. I had just finished reading The Alchemist so that probably had something to do with looking for omens but nonetheless I was right the rainbows were good. I hope you all find your good omens! Chok Dee!

I shall update again soon, hopefully sooner than a month.

Kap khun kha
Sa wa dee kha

Death by Coconut

The 3rd post has commenced! I’m really starting to feel comfortable and at home here in Samui. I’m so hopeful that I will get a job within the next 2 weeks so that I can actually stay. Its been a wonderful time being here on Samui with no job but its putting a real dent in my bank account. The money is only coming out and not going in. Its fine with me for now but sooner or later I will end up homeless. I suppose though I could just live on the beach which doesn’t sound that bad. Anyway though, I do have a few job opportunities that seems pretty promising so I am keeping my fingers crossed for those. I have been to just about every school that I’ve been able to find on the island and many of of them aren’t hiring until May when the new term starts. In retrospect this was actually not the best time to come to Thailand as a teacher because they term is just about to end for 2 months. Many of the schools I’ve been to also have said that they simply just do not have the budget for a foreign teacher. I’m really just praying that get one of them. There is one job that I have to do a 1 hour free class for to show my skills and if that goes well have a good chance at that one. So anyone read this please send your positive vibes my way. A fortune teller told me that the month of March is a lucky month for me so i’m hoping that luck comes in the form of a job!

In the mean time I will keep searching and keep having the time of my life here. The island is so beautiful I’ve ended up at the beach just about everyday and my skin is so dark now. It is wonderful. It is hard to have a bad day here and if I am starting to have a bad day, I just go swimming. There is something about being in the water that really clears the mind. I’m assuming its because you are weightless and nothing seems to matter when you’re in the water. I highly recommend swimming as a form of therapy!
So there is my million dollar idea although i’m sure its already being done.

My biggest anxiety and fear these days is that I will randomly be killed by a coconut. There are just so many coconuts around here and the ones in the yard where I live are always falling. The trees are 50ft+ tall so you can imagine what a coconut to the head would do. I never would have thought that death by coconut would be an actual legitimate worry of my life. I’m tempted to wear my helmet that I use when riding my motorbike and just wear it at all times. That would not be ideal considering what it does my hair. I constantly either have helmet hair or my hair style really depends on the wind. Its a wonderful thing when your hair style depends on the wind that day, when your skin turns the same color as the locals, when your body starts to crave Thai food more than anything else, when you meet people and you make a real connection that will last. That’s one thing I love about traveling and the number one thing that keeps me motivated to travel is that I know I am going to meet some of the best and most interesting people that I ever have in my life. The people you meet when you travel are those people that you can’t seem to forget easily.

Most days I’ve been going to the beach or looking for jobs and sometimes both in one day. Usually I will look for a job then go to the beach all day, go home when its dark and eat take a nap and then head back to the beach for the night. The first person we met here in Samui has a bar on the beach and they have fire shows every night at the beach so we have made that our regular hangout. I’ve found that its quite easy to fall in love at the beach. Either with a person, or a place, or a feeling or whatever. I can’t pin point exactly why it is this way but all I know is I’ve fallen in love with several things while being at the beach. I also have had some major sun burns which is something I do not love but its all for the greater good of having beautiful brown skin. The Thai people (women mostly) will do anything and everything to make their skin lighter it is so bizarre. Most of them use dye on their skin to make them white and essentially all of the lotions, makeups and skin products here have whitening agents in them. A lot of them will also avoid sun at all costs. They wear long clothes and big hats and cover up pretty much every part of their bodies to avoid the suns exposure. I’ve heard that the reason for this is that lighter skinned Thai people may appear that they have Chinese heritage which I guess is a good thing and more high class. I’m just blown away by this though because I think that the Thai people who I’ve seen out in the sun and on the beach everyday have the prettiest skin color ever. People are just crazy no matter where in the world you go, people are crazy!

Not everyone is crazy though obviously. We’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people who have been very helpful ad friendly. There is a woman here who owns a massage parlor and she has become our friend. Every night she plays volleyball at the local court where a lot of different recreational activities happen. This has been a good way to meet people and something fun and healthy to do. The first day we went to the courts Latrisha played volleyball but I just warmed up with some people and then didn’t play. I decided not to play because I have what I’ve diagnosed as “Team Sports Anxiety” and its where I get extreme anxiety when I have to play a team sport, pretty self explanatory right. So instead I go for a run by the lake, do a dance class, or a yoga class. There is nothing so peaceful and amazing as doing yoga next to the water at sunset in Thailand let me tell you! I’m hoping that running and yoga and going to the beach will bring me to some sort of peace of mind where i’m able to conquer my team sports anxiety disorder hahahaha. Only time will tell!

Not the most entertaining post but as usual my mind is not focused. All I can think about is how I need to get back to the beach. Until next time folks.

Thailand

It has been a few weeks since I’ve been able to write my blog which is a good and bad thing. Good because it means I’ve been too busy and having too much fun, and bad because it means that I have so so much to write in here. I want to get it all down so that I can look back one day for the memories. Oh well though! I’ll start with what I remember now.
Since my last post I moved to Thailand yayyyy! Finally I am here and I am absolutely loving it. Crossing the border is a story for the books! 9 of us piled into a van that we were told was nice and big and it turned out it was pretty much the opposite of that. We left Cambodia and drove the 4 hours to the border. We were told that once we crossed the border into Thailand there would be another (nice) van waiting to pick us up. The driver was supposed to be standing just across the border with a sign with our program name on it. NONE of that happened. We got to the border with all of our belongings in tow and waited in the what seemed like 100 degree weather for our driver to show up. Taking into account “Thai Time” we were patient knowing that the driver could be a little late. After an hour we got a little suspicious and started to go look. We found an old (near 70 years old) man smoking a joint behind a van and asked him if he was our driver. He vehemently denied it at first but it turns out that he was! He didn’t bother looking for us for the past hour, just hung out behind his van smoking. Thinking back on this now it really is hilarious but at the time it was horrible. He was not nice and did not want to drive us, but he did and he took us the 5 additional hours to our destination. I’m so glad we made it safely!

Currently I am living on Koh Samui which is one of the many beautiful islands of southern Thailand. I started off though in Pattaya which is a city about 12 hours drive north of here and that I where I completed my TESOL certification. I worked and went to school in Pattaya, I worked as a teacher at a private high school teaching students from ages 16-20 and I loved it! I really did not know what to expect from teaching and I’ve found that I really enjoy it. I am happy that I chose to do this and I do not regret my decision at all. On Friday last week I graduated and received my certification. We spent 144 hours in class learning how to teach English, learning Thai and Khmer culture, teaching English to students, and learning Thai. I’m so happy to have finished and I’m really proud of myself woo!! Now its time to pound the pavement and look for a job here in Koh Samui. It’s been a little difficult to get the job search rolling since there is so much to distract me here on this island but i’m sure i’ll get it done. Latrisha and I went out yesterday looking for jobs and had our first motorbike crash. It was inevitable with the way people drive here and all the sand and roads and such. The worst part about the crash is that the bike was rented and I have to go return it in an hour. So we shall see it I owe hundreds of dollars haha! I did get some bruises and scrapes and one big chunk of skin missing, but nothing too terrifying, I will live.

The Island of Koh Samui is really amazing its so beautiful and full of life. Anyone reading this should google search Koh Samui and check out all the beauty. We’ve been lucky enough to meet some really cool people here so far who have given us a lot of great advice on cheap places to live, cheap places to eat, good places to look for jobs, and good people to talk to. I’m excited to spend more time here and I’m hoping that i’ll find a job so fingers crossed everybody! Living in Pattaya I don’t think really gave me the greatest impression on Thailand because it was pretty dirty, busy, and full of “naughty” people. Pattaya is essentially the red light district of Thailand and for the most part we tried to stay away from that lifestyle but we did venture onto Walking Street. Walking street is their infamous street full clubs and bars that provide a certain sort of entertainment. It sounds a little scary and shady but we went we found that it was actually full of tourists jam packed in and was not scary at all. However I do not want to go back there and I’ve had my fill of Pattaya. The great thing about Pattaya and about everywhere I’ve been in Thailand is the people. This really is the land of smiles, everyone is so friendly. People will help you when you need it and are always will to give you advice. Also not sure this even needs to be said but I will say it anyway, the food is SO good. Yum yum yum yum. I loved Thai food before I came here and now I love it even more. Not only is it good but it is also dirt cheap if you can find the right places. We eat a lot of street food here which is the way to go for delicious and cheap. Most of the street food meals will be right around 40 or 50 baht which is less than two dollars. I’ve also been eating a lot of Indian food which is obviously my favorite and that is also way cheaper here. It’s fantastic!

We actually ate Indian food today for Latrishas birthday and we are heading out to the reggae club tonight. Today was such a great day we got 1 hour Thai oil massages on the beach for less than $6, floated around in the water on rafts all day, held the cutest monkey in the world, and got super tan. I think Latrisha had a great birthday so far. The best part about the whole day though was when we were floating in the water just being amazed at how great our lives are when we suddenly realized that we can live like this all the time for the foreseeable future. We actually can get massages on the beach and swim in the most beautiful water we’ve ever seen every single day if we want to. MIND BLOWING :). How often can you just think about your life and be completely content with what you’re doing? I always seemed to be wanting something more and waiting for the next best thing and I still am that way but I think I am slowly changing. I am trying more to be content with what is gong on in the moment. One of my main goals for coming to Thailand was to study Buddhism and also to adapt the Eastern lifestyle. Everyone is relaxed and friendly and not rushed. People are kind and considerate and share. I am hoping that if I spend enough time here I can have that Eastern mentality. I’m not saying that Western people are not that way but its just a completely different lifestyle. And to be honest it is hard to really describe this lifestyle, its something you have to experience.

This post is becoming long like I knew it would so i’ll finish it up with another mind blowing story (my mind was blown at least). Last weekend Latrisha and I were in a town on the main land in Soutern Thailand called Don Sak. We mistakenly thought that it was a beach town across from Koh Samui and so we booked a hotel for a few nights and planned to job search in the area. The town was indeed directly across from Koh Samui but there were no beaches. Only rocks and trash that washed over from the Islands. This town was pretty desolate and there was almost nothing to do there. We were disappointed at first but decided we needed to make the most of it because we are in Thailand and we paid for the room. We ended up walking along the water and decided to stop at the ferry port just to sit and relax. Suddenly we saw something moving in the water and it turned out to be dolphins. YES DOLPHINS! There were about 6-8 Dophins swimming and catching fish right in front of us. I’m not even kidding when I say I almost cried. I have never seen a dolphin before and just by chance I got to watch dolphins in their natural habitat for over a hour. After the dolphins were scared away by boats we decided to head into “town”. We stopped at a shop to buy a bottle of water and I was tired so I sat down at the table just in front of the shop to rest and drink my water. The woman from the shop came out and sat at the table and was slicing some Mango and had a bowl of some dip. She offered it to us and then slowly more people from inside the shop joined and more and more food showed up. Next thing I know a few hours have passed and Latrisha and I have made friends with a family of about 10 Thai people. They fed us the entire time we sat there. We ate Mango dipped in Cupit, grilled bananas, pineapple, and some other random foods. The family then invited us to get dinner with them (more food, yes) and of course we agreed. First though they drove us to the local temple which had breath taking views and we spent some time there looking around. It was so amazing because I know they brought us there just so that we could have that experience even though they had clearly been there countless times. We then went and had a picknick next to the water and tried some of the best food I’ve had yet. We had probably about 15-20 dishes split between all of us. Everyone shared everything, and we had the best time. Just another great example of the Thai kindness and hospitality.
It turned out that staying in Don Sak was actually one of the best experience I’ve had yet in Thailand and I am so happy that we decided to make the most of it.

PEACE

Cambodia

To begin with I want to provide a short synopsis on what is going on and how it came to be. I am currently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and this weekend I will make my way first to a beach town called Sihanoukville and then to Pattaya, Thailand. Thailand has been a long awaited destination and the source of most of my dreams and aspirations for the better part of 2013. So how it came to be it seems easier if  put this in a list format.

  • Ever since my study abroad trip in 2011 I’ve been addicted to travel
  • Fast forward to April 2012, I graduate college and move to London, England a week later. Visa situation does not work out so after about 7 months I move home 😦
  • I then got a job at a mortgage lender and realized the American dream and the corporate world were not for me
  • I decided that I want to be a tour guide extraordinaire and started applying for a position that would launch to me to such heights. I found out that most good tour guide positions require an extensive amount of schooling and or teaching experience along with massive amounts of knowledge in the place or thing you are guiding. Most tour guides I came across were ex teachers or had PhDs (neither of which describe me).
  • My next logical conclusion was to become a teacher! What better and more fun way to become a teacher and fulfill my love for traveling than by teaching English abroad (in Thailand)!?!
  • I asked my dear friend Latrisha to join me and 8 months later here we are

Being in South East Asia has been dazzling so far. I’ve only been here for a week and a half and all of my 5 senses have experienced a plethora of new sensations. Everything looks different: foggy, colorful, dark, smiley, cute, hilarious, naked, dangerous, shocking. Everything smells different: fishy, delicious, cheap, rancid, raw, fresh, comforting. Everything sounds different: loud, foreign, peaceful, exciting, bouncy, over-worked, fast. Everything feels silky, slimy, hot & sticky, bumpy, rough, worked over. Everything tastes greasy, fishy, fresh, succulent, sour, unknown. Now obviously all of these adjectives do not describe one thing but hopefully anyone reading this understands the point I am trying to make. Phnom Penh is an interesting city. It is so busy and crowded and full of life. We are staying in a hotel here in a part of town that isn’t particularly nice but that is ok because we get a ride to and from school everyday. I am staying on the top floor of our hotel and my view out of the window is a nice big sewer. Sometimes I see children walking through it and picking trash out, and once unfortunately there was a kid washing some piece of clothing in it. Its amazing how different life can be just 7 floors up. 70% of the people in Cambodia live on less than $1 a day which sounds pretty amazing in my opinion. There is a large amount of poverty here but from what I can see the people are happy. For the most part people are smiling and friendly and they share everything with each other. Everyone looks out for one another from what I can see and I feel like there is a direct correlation there between the amount of money and resources available to people.

So since being here we have been in school to become English teachers. Before I came here everyone kept asking me ” how are you going to teach English to people when you don’t speak the language they speak?” I did not know how to answer that question 2 weeks ago, but I am proud to say that I do now! I am not going to go into detail here in this blog because there is a lot involved. What I will say though is shout out to all teachers! I had NO idea how much work goes into being a teacher and I respect them a lot more than I ever did before. We start our student teaching in Thailand on Tuesday and I am so excited! I can’t wait to start teaching. I am aiming towards teaching English to high school kids and above. We have had to observe classes with elementary aged kids and it took me all of 10 minutes to decide I absolutely do not want to teach that age. I’ll update after I get some experience next week. After we finish our student teaching in 2 weeks we move to which ever city we’d like to settle in and then our language school helps us find jobs. Latrisha and I are aiming towards living on one of the islands near Phuket. Thailand has so many islands though so we have not made a real decision yet.

I mentioned previously that we get tuk-tuk rides to and from school each day. A tuk-tuk is a carriage and attached to a moped. It can comfortably fit about 5 people in it. Almost everyone in this city gets around by a moto (moped). There are thousands and thousands of mopeds crowding the streets at all times. In America we would probably put about 2 people on a moped max to go a short distance right? In Cambodia people put as many people and as much stuff as they can on their motos. Things I’ve seen on motos: entire 5 person families, two men and two gutted full grown pigs, naked babies with no helmets, boxes stacked 10 ft in the air, a few people and about 10 dead chickens, a moto carrying a 15 ft trailer with people and tools riding in it. The list goes on and on. It really is quite a site to see.

There is a street here called street 51 which is a place where a lot of tourists hang out. It is full of bars and restaurants, and a lot of white faces. Last night Latrisha and I wanted to get some happy hour specials after class so we decided to head down street 51. We sat down in this mall sort of area with many different bars. As we sat there and had a few beers and some food we noticed that this particular area was full of prostitutes and old western men. If you know anything about SE Asia, you know that sex is a big industry here. So with that being said, seeing these prostitutes with the old western men was not really surprising. It is just not something we are used to seeing so openly. As we sat there we noticed a couple across from us with an older British man and a younger Korean woman. They were looking at us very strange and we’d noticed it a few times but did not think much of it. A little bit later the man walked up to us with his wife and asked if she could sit with us and talk. He said ” this is my wife Jay, is it alright if she sits and talks with you for a little bit, she doesn’t have any friends. She was sitting with a group of girls over there before but maybe she can sit with you girls now.” I knew that something was off about this situation but I did not know what exactly. We let Jay sit with us and we spoke to her for about 5 minutes. She looked very scared and nervous and kept saying how stressed she was about her new job. We were so confused but after a few minutes we kind of concluded that she was working as a prostitute. Her husband was clearly facilitating this and he thought that we might show her the “business.” As one can probably imagine, I was not happy about any part of this situation. I decided to ask her husband exactly what was going on. He said to me “Well this is my wife’s first night on her new job and she just needs some help. We are looking for safe places to go.” I asked him what business exactly does he think we are going to help her with and he looked at me and said “she is in the ‘hospitality’ business,” and then winked. We made it clear that he had made a huge mistake thinking that we knew anything about this and politely made our exit.
I walked away just feeling scared horrible. I felt awful for Jay knowing that her husband was doing that, and I just couldn’t shake the feeling of disgust. I have been thinking about this situation and this woman all day and it really upset me but I’ve finally come to terms with it. People around the world live different lifestyles and I cannot be the person to judge someone for doing things that I would not. I feel bad for Jay and I at the time I felt hatred towards her husband but I realize now that it is the way of the world. All I can do is hope for the best for people.

There is OH so much to say about this journey so far but my attention span is only so long right now. However, I do not want to end this post with a story about prostitution so i’ll share my experiences from this past weekend. Our class took a trip (8 hour bus ride, but that is a whole other story) to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We went to visit Angkor Wat which is the biggest temple in Cambodia. I am so happy and so fortunate to gone to this temple. I can safely say that up to this point in my life it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. It was built in the early 12th century and still stands today despite war and ruin. The walls are covered with intricate carvings that tell a story of the Cambodia and SE Asia’s history. I cannot fathom how humans constructed this temple at that time in history. I urge anyone who is not familiar with Angkor Wat to at least look up a photo of it to see the beauty. The photo below is me standing in front of Angkor Wat and its not a very good photo but it gives you just a bit of an idea.

And with that, this post is over. I have to get some sleep so I can get up bright and early to learn how to teach. Goodnight everyone!

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