Monday, October 02, 2017

12th Week: Teaching (With A Few Twists)

Sawadii ka, everyone!

My 12th and therefore last week was a bit chaotic. The planned program was teaching but since all the schools were closed in October, it obviously couldn't take place. This week's program was a mixture between teaching at an English camp and helping people in need, whose houses have just been destroyed after the floods during rain season. We only were two people in this project and had two coordinators with us.


On Monday, the first thing we did was going to a wholesaler to buy 40 twelve-bottle-packages of water. It took quite a long time to find that many packs and to get all of them in shopping carts but after a few minutes, we were ready to go.

Our next stop was a small coffee shop, where a former Greenway coordinator was the manager now. There, we got coffee (obviously) and I got an iced chocolate.

We then drove about an hour to a relief camp, where we handed out the packs of water to the people there. They all were extremely thankful and wanted to show us their camp right away.

It was devastating to see how many homes were flooded and they told us, the water level was going to rise even more for the next month or so, before finally going down again. One man even offered me some papaya salad and after him assuring me that it was "mei pet" (not spicy) I tried some. What can I say? It was tasty but super spicy! After 12 weeks in Thailand, I should've known that there is no "mei pet" in Thailand.

After chatting with the people in the camp for a bit, we drove back to Singburi and made our way to one of the orphanages, I worked at in my second and fifth week. At one point, the road was flooded and we then had to go there by boat. It was incredibly sad for me to see this area completely destroyed.

The water was around three metres high and the monsoon season wouldn't stop until the end of November. On some poles, we could see how far up the water was in 2016 and our coordinator told us, it was going to be even higher this year.

The first picture of the place for the children's clothes, I took in my fifth week. In the first week, it was completely dry and usable. The second picture was the same place in my 12th week. Only the tip of the roof was visible then.

For lunch, we went to the same restaurant at the side of the road, we went to when helping at the orphanage. Plan for the afternoon was to visit the English camp for the first time but another coordinator had a car breakdown at the mall, so we had to go there and help them first. When the problem was solved, it, unfortunately, was already too late for the English camp so we decided to just drive back home.

Back in Twinhouse, I talked with the new arrivals and explained the project-point-system to them. After Dinner, the school kids visited and did the weekly dance ritual with the new volunteers. Before going to sleep, we all talked a bit longer and played cards the rest of the evening.


After breakfast on Tuesday, we drove to another relief camp, where we handed out care packages, that were produced in the name of the king. We also talked to a few people there and some of them gave us salted sugar snap peas for free! 

We then went to the second orphanage (not the one on monday) and did a "boats tour" there as well, to see how it looked like at this moment. It also was flooded and there was nobody to be seen, except for two dogs that were sitting on the roof, having nowhere to go.

After that, we went to a restaurant near Twinhouse, where I had a coughing fit because of all the coriander they used there. My request for "Mei Pet" was, once again, ignored (I think they just don't know what white people consider as spicy/hot) but the fried rice was good nevertheless.

When we finished lunch, we drove to Lemonhouse, where we met the kids from the English camp. After introducing myself and getting to know the kids, I started to teach. I decided to make "Fruits" our topic that day.

First, we talked about the topic itself and what fruits they know in English and then, each kid had to draw a fruit onto the white board and the other ones had to guess, which one it's supposed to be. In the end, they also did a crossword on that topic, that we compared after them being finished.

Back in Twinhouse, I didn't do much except for watching Netflix and YouTube and simply talking with other people until dinner, when the people from introduction week came back from their trip to Ayutthaya.


On Wednesday, we went to the English camp straight after breakfast and taught there only until 12pm. There were only three kids there that day, since all the other ones went to Bangkok with their families to be at the previous king's funeral. We did Jobs, Animals and Colours as topics that day and arranged the lesson just like the on the day before. Talking, drawing and work sheets. 

After lunch, I went to my room to chill a bit and began to pack a few of my things already, so I wouldn't be stressed on Friday.

In the afternoon, we went to the swimming pool, since it was Wednesday and Wednesday was always swimming pool day in Singburi. There we played water ball, ate ice cream and tanned. Just simple things, that everyone does at the swimming pool.

In the evening we had Thai BBQ, since Wednesday wasn't only swimming pool day, but also Thai BBQ day. After dinner, we all went to the bar again and had a really nice time together.








Today was the funeral of the previous king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away in October 2016. That meant, that there was not going to be an English camp that day. Instead, we went to the Tesco Mall, where everyone stocked up on snacks, since the mall had a huge selection and the food there was really cheap. I didn't buy anything, since I only had three days left in Thailand and still had a few snacks at Twinhouse.

We had lunch in Twinhouse and then drove to the Royal Temple for the farewell of the king. It was really interesting to see everyone completely dressed in black (long, black clothes while it was 35°C and there was no shade). They were queuing up for four hours just to look at a huge picture of the king, put a flower underneath it and basically say goodbye.

Before going to the temple, to see the laying Buddha statue, there was an old woman who was kind of obsessed with me and wouldn't stop holding my arm. She then told me how beautiful I was and, after me saying "Kop khun ka" (thanks) she got very excited, hit my back and screamed something in Thai. Very weird but at least I made her happy.

In the temple, the people from the introduction week, got to see the whole temple, including the laying Buddha statue, for the first time and also got to do the elephant gambling. I did it too this time and wished for a safe trip home (writing this, I can confirm, that my wish actually came true).

Back at Twinhouse, it was already time for dinner and afterwards, I almost finished packing, wrote in my diary and spent time with the people there.








Friday was already my last day in Singburi. After breakfast, we went to yet another orphanage/school, where we've never been before. There they had monkeys (for the hundredths time: I hate those monkeys!) who even attacked the daughter of the coordinator and just were weird and gross.

At the orphanage, the boys all got their hair cut, or buzzed off, that day and Eet, a coordinator, talked me into trying to cut ones hair. I was really scared to do so, since I obviously didn't want to mess up anyone's hair but I think I did a pretty good job in the end.

Two boys then walked up a hill with us to some sort of cave, where they didn't manage to open the door at first but after a few minutes, they did. In that cave, there was just another Buddha statue (I was used to that already) and a few gifts for it.

After getting our car out of the locked garage (locked, so that the monkeys couldn't get to it) we went to the coughing-fit-restaurant again to eat lunch. After that, we still had some time to kill, so Eet took us to a small ice-cream place, where we all got some coconut ice-cream with toppings.


Back at Twinhouse, I finally finished packing everything, checked out and said goodbye, before Eet drove me to the bus station. There I had to wait 45 minutes for the bus but that was okay. 

At Mo Chit, the main bus station in Bangkok, there was almost no-one there waiting for a taxi, so I got one right away. At first, my taxi driver didn't know where I wanted to go, at all, even though I showed him the adress and the location of my hostel on Google maps, but after a few moments, he finally got it and brought me there safely. I also only payed around 10€ for the 50-minute drive and he was really trying to start a conversation with me. He also thought, I was 32, which was extremely weird for me, considering, I was 17 at the time, but it makes a funny story, right?

At my hostel for the night "Eat-Ting", I checked in and planned everything for the next day. I told them when I'd need my airport shuttle and what kind of breakfast I'd like to have. They only had two options, which were tuna sandwich and chicken porridge. I wouldn't necessarily eat either of them for breakfast at home but decided to go with the tuna sandwich.

Before showering, and getting ready for bed in general, I had some cheesy mashed potatoes, garlic bread and lime ice tea for dinner, which was seriously delicious and finally not rice related.




Saturday was my final travel day. I woke up way too early, since the other guests in the hostel were extremely loud and at 7:30am I went to the reception to eat my breakfast. To my surprise, the tuna sandwich wasn't all too bad and the orange juice, it came with, actually tasted like orange. At 8:30am I checked out and the airport shuttle drove me to the airport (where else would it bring me??).

There I had to wait for about an hour and a half for my check-in to open and when it did, luckily, everything went perfect. Since my gate wasn't going to open for another hour either, I bought a neck pillow and a veggie sandwich with the rest of my Baht. 

At my gate, I had to wait yet another hour for boarding but finally got on the plane after that. Nobody was sitting next to me there and, therefore, I had so much more space! The flight back home was way better that the flight to Thailand and I could even sleep a fair amount of time.

At the airport in Vienna, it took quite a lot of time for my backpack to arrive and when it did, I couldn't wait to get out to meet my friends who all came to pick me up and went to a restaurant with me to finally eat Käsespätzle again. Thanks to you guys! ♡

October 23rd - October 28th 2017

Who What When Why

Hello everyone! (Or should I say Sawadii ka?)   My name is Emily, I'm 17 years old and I live near Vienna, in Austria. I'm cur...