5 February 2011

Preparation

The Royal Thai Consulate, Hull

By Thursday night, I shall be in Thailand. From first agreeing to take up the work opportunity, time seems to have flown by. What was once just an idea is now very much a reality. A few days ago, I drove over to the Royal Thai Consulate on the western edge of Hull to acquire my work visa and I have had my typhoid and hepatitis B jabs. At "Matalan", I bought three short sleeved shirts and two pairs of trousers suitable for schoolteaching. My Emirates flight from Birmingham is booked. I shall be leaving on a jet plane on Wednesday evening. With a luggage allowance of just 37kg, I shall be struggling to pack enough stuff to get by.

It's all pretty exciting but other feelings are also swirling in my mind. Life with Shirley in Sheffield has been good these last few months. I will miss her and my peaceful, unflustered existence. I will miss the local pub and my quiz mates - Mick and Mike and I will miss watching Hull City who seem to have re-invented themselves and could be pushing for the Championship play-offs again this season. I shall miss my vegetable patch and the gradual emergence of plants one can eat.

But one thing I know for sure is that if I had declined the opportunity, I'd be forever kicking myself. Sometimes, when you meet a challenge, you just have to to take it. Besides, by all accounts, teaching in Thailand has many pleasures - no OFSTED inspectorate, no league tables, high levels of trust in and respect for teachers, children who want to learn because they know that education will be their key to a better future. Towards the end of my teaching career proper, I was utterly fed up with pompous hangers-on who were handsomely rewarded for passing judgements upon schools without even meeting the children that their judgements revolved around. And I was sick of children without bags or pens to write with, children who seemed to resent any interruption of their social tittle-tattle. In these senses, I am sure that teaching in Thailand will be really refreshing.

Long-term readers of this blog will recall that I have no religious beliefs whatsoever but nonetheless religion fascinates me. In Thailand, I will certainly learn more about Buddhism and what it means to live a Buddhist life. Where ever I go I shall be looking, looking at the birdlife, the sea, the urban chaos of Bangkok, lizards on rocks, the falling of rain through a jungle. It will be an adventure and I am almost ready to go.
At the Buddhist Temple of Animals, Thailand

21 comments:

  1. Since I do have religious beliefs, I want to wish you "God Speed," YP. I hope your time in Thailand is all you anticipate, and more.

    I do hope your adventures in that exotic country will not prevent you from posting to your blog.

    Bon voyage!

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  2. Ah YP you are going to have a great time. the Thai people are lovely and will welcome you with open arms I'm sure and you're right about a different attitude to learning. How refreshing that will be.
    Don't worry too much about clothes. You'll probably find more suitable clothes for the climate on sale there at a quarter of the price. Have you thought of prevention of malaria ?
    Good luck. Have fun. And don't forget to write !!!
    Cheers
    Helen

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  3. Hopefully, your teaching experience over there will do much to undo all the negative experiences of latter years, as it did for me when I did my year at the little school in Cheshire that was closing. I wish you all the best and a safe journey and look forward to lots of posts about your new experiences! :)

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  4. Time does indeed fly...I wish you well, and a safe journey and a stay in Thailand that is all you want it to be and more. I also wish Shirley all the best for her solo journey.
    Well done for picking up the challenge and running with it.

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  5. All the best to you YP!
    Drink only bottled water there guv'ner.
    Bon voyage & enjoy the adventure!

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  6. Classic ill-informed nonsense there Helsie, Sorry.

    1. Thai people are overly lovely to tourists, especially ones who pay over the price for things and are easily manipulated. Same in any poor country. There are good and bad in Thailand, same as anywhere else. On the whole Thai people are indifferent to foreigners- you have to 'go to them'. Just like anywhere else where you are the newbie.

    2. You will not find many clothes to fit you here- certainly not of good quality in markets or cheap malls. You can buy crappy knock-off stuff made in sweat shops in Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia that will deteriorate rapidly. You can also buy sweat-shop produced British and American real designer and High Street stuff in your size for twice the price, which also, rather ironically, will be made here (in SEA) shipped to Europe/America and back again!!

    3. Malaria is unheard of in Bangkok and prevention is expensive and ineffective anyhow.

    Come with an open mind, as I'm sure you will and you'll not be disappointed.

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  7. Eeee good luck YP. That's quite a commitment you've taken on but you're right, you would be kicking yourself for not grasping the opportunity. Shirley, the veg patch, the pub and the quiz team will all still be there when you return. Unless of course the Coalition policies put your local out of business.

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  8. as long as you continue your blog when there....

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  9. PAT ARK If the wi-fi waves function and my cheap new notebook computer does its job,there will be no interruption in my blogging. Thank you for your good wishes.
    HELEN Yes, I have thought about malaria. As a practice nurse, Shirley gives out travel vaccines on a daily basis. I found it rather suspicious when I saw a Thai government map showing absolutely no malarial problem in Thailand apart from at the borders with Burma, Laos and Cambodia. I hope they have told the mosquitoes!
    JENNY Thanks for your good wishes. I feel tht in some ways I have been "healing" myself since I took early retirement and hope that the Thai teaching experience will be part of that healing process.
    LIBBY Thank you for thinking about Shirley's trip. I have always been the family tour guide and she isn't as comfortable as I am about airports and solo travel.
    JEAN Au revoir cherie! I will follow your advice about bottled water.
    BOOTHERS Bounder! You were a little curt with my lovely Australian lady friend! But I'm sure that living in a "foreign" country for any length of time will provide anyone with keener insights that a short term tourist might gain.
    STEVE (OCCUPIED COUNTRY) Thank heavens you are still living and breathing sir! Regarding the coalition, I hope to undergo jungle training in Cambodia before returning to overthrow Cleggzilla and De Cameron.

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  10. Forgive me for a personal reference, but Mrs. RWP and I changed not only churches but denominations last summer, and we are now attending a Methodist church with a woman senior pastor and I am the pianist/organist. Several times I have heard our new minister say to the congregation, "Thank you for letting me live out my calling among you."

    My prayer is that you will have such a positive experience on your trip that when you leave to come back home to Yorkshire you will say the same thing to your Thai pupils and hosts.

    Oh, and bon voyage, mon ami!

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  11. Not only living and breathing YP....but blogging again with no restrictions on access.

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  12. Curt? Coming from you and an Australian- that's like a pot calling a kettle black!

    No offence intended. But you can't post inaccurate information on a public forum and not expect to be put right.

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  13. Good luck with the Thailand teaching venture. I certainly hope you will be able to continue your blog and if you are ever stuck for local knowledge BB seems to be the one who has the answers.
    Ms Soup

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  14. I echo others' hope that you continue with your blog. Bon voyage! Watch out for a mischievous stowaway that looks suspiciously like a gorilla. Brad has been very quiet around Seattle as of late, and I suspect he is up to something.

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  15. JOHN GRAY It would be impossible to forget you!
    STEVE OCCUPIED COUNTRY - Anyone reading this blog - if you have a moment pay this blog a call! Even though it is written by a Lancastrian, it's very good with some increasingly wonderful photographs....erm that'll be 15 guineas Steve!
    MS SOUP Yes. I'm lucky that BB is already there and will help me to get settled in.
    FARIDA (SAINT) Thanks for the warning. I will be wary when in jungle areas of Thailand in case Brad comes bounding through the trees.

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  16. Hi again YP,
    Sorry I offended your knowledgeable "pal" BB.
    As I've never been to Thailand I don't know about the people there but all the Thai people I know here are lovely friendly people (perhaps they are just great actors !) and if I was going there I would investigate Malaria as it is a nasty disease. As for the clothing you might be rash enough to buy there - God forbid you should pay a high price or find that it is not good quality !!!
    Cheers

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  17. Well Helsie, you're wrong.

    Take it like a good Australian and accept that you're defeated on this one. :-)

    Your good "pal"

    BB

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  18. What a wonderful opportunity! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment on my very first post 3 years ago ;-) I hope I'll be blogging as long as you have.

    Just think of all the wonderful new birds you'll see when you go to Thailand, hope you get lots of beautiful pictures.

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  19. Oooh I'm late to this party after a ridiculously busy week. And now you'll be on your way so I'm too late to wish you a good journey - -but I hope you've had one, and a happy arrival, and that you'll have a great time.

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