When I told my housemates I was thinking of starting a blog to document my forthcoming summer in Thailand, I was met with hesitation.
Standing gawkily in our dingy student kitchen, Yasmin bursts out ‘Char, I fully support you, BUT you just can’t be like how you are on twitter’ (by that she means not an arrogant, insufferable bitch who refers to herself in the third person*) with Ellen adding ‘please don’t be pretentious and use the word “wanderlust” all the time’. Bearing their advice/warning in mind, I ‘umm-ed’, ‘ahh-ed’ and deliberated about the blogosphere, and then chose a WordPress theme fittingly named ‘Skeptical’.
In less than a week I’ll be flying to Bangkok, and then travelling to the Thai province of Saraburi where I’ll be placed at Watnongtakea school to teach English. After nine weeks of teaching, I’ll have a few weeks for classic gap yah escapades in South East Asia, with Kim and Ben joining me for the last ten days or so (they’re going to ‘come chill in Asia for a few days’ because that’s what IBM interns do, apparently).
I whimsically applied for the British Council TET scheme following an e-mail from the English department, amidst that second year what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do-this-summer-to-make-myself-more-employable panic. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since my A Level subjects were predominately mathematical sciences, and the only thing that’s changed are my Norton Anthologies and ‘Complete Works of John Donne’ in place of my Further Maths textbook and calculator on my desk. At risk of sounding cliche, I’m so privileged and lucky to have been chosen for the British Council programme. The experience will undoubtedly prove invaluable to my future career and have Paulo Coelho a la The Alchemist effects on my sense of self and purpose, whilst also being an outrageously cheap way to teach English abroad and to travel.
Unlike most TEFL programmes, the course that will prepare me for the classroom is completely free, as is my accommodation for the whole of the nine weeks, including three nights at The Ambassador hotel in Bangkok at the beginning and end of the programme. I won’t lie and pretend that the seemingly free summer of teaching experience in Thailand isn’t primarily why I applied. I’m notoriously always in my overdraft, often lamenting to my housemates that in £8 time I’ll have maxed my limit. Rather naively, little did I know how expensive visa’s, injections, insurance and Piz Buin would turn out to be. Often, I would sit in the doctor’s waiting room envisaging how many tubs of caramalised onion houmous or passion fruit vodka’s I could buy in Lola’s instead of forking out for the frankly extortionate fee of a Rabies jab (needing three doses of this individually priced injection on top of the fee’s for the other jabs and anti-malerial prescription fee’s added extra insult to the needle injuries accumulating on my arm). But alas, I healed the physical and emotional wounds of parting with so much money by buying a completely new (and necessary) wardrobe for the trip. I’m going to be teaching the Thai in head-to-toe Zara, whilst marking homework with Paperchase stickers, trying to figure out how I’ll pay my rent for my student house for next year over the summer.
I’ll endeavor to update this blog as often as possible once I get to Thailand, and hopefully offer a wittily insightful account of a girl renowned for outrageously pedantic first world problems living in South East Asia.
* the blog title is a final nod to my third person self