They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I soon came to realise that when I worked in Bangkok. First of all, I’d like to make it clear that I really enjoyed my job. It was so rewarding when a student would apply a new grammar rule in conversation. It was heart warming to see a learner’s confidence grow when it came to speaking English. It was always interesting to watch them interact with each other, it taught me a lot about Thai culture. I also loved it when they asked me about my home country.
But I soon came to realise that teaching really took a lot of energy, so I made it a point to let my hair down and relax sometimes. Since it’s so cheap to travel in Thailand, it was wonderful to visit different places within the country.
Kanchanaburi was by far one of my favourite places I visited in Thailand. We stayed in a rustic lodge along the peaceful and serene River Khwai, surrounded by majestic mountains and a lush jungle. It was a much needed change from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, and I felt very calm and content. The following day, we visited the Erawan Waterfalls, one of the best waterfalls I’ve even seen in Thailand.
I also visited the coast a few times, but my most favourite coastal experience was when we visited Koh Larn. The thing that made it super special was the fact that I went there with two of my closest friends whom I met in Thailand. Words can’t even describe just how special it was.
One time I embarked on a solo trip to Chiang Rai. I took the overnight train which cost a quarter of the price of a plane ticket. The train was loud and rickety, but I had great company. I met a young lady from South America and we just hit it off. We talked as if we’d known each other for years. However when we reached our destination, we parted ways without sharing our contact details, which was rather sad. Any rate, the solo trip to Phu Chi Fa in Chiang Rai was one of the most awe inspiring moments of my life. Standing on the lookout point and seeing the mountains stretch for what seemed like an eternity filled me with so much awe. In that moment, I felt a great sense of humility and gratitude to be alive.
Another memory that stands out was when I went to an open mic poetry session at Wolffs in Sukumvit. Two of my fellow teachers read the most beautiful poems and I met some wonderful people.
Another awesome night was when the South African Embassy in Bangkok organised a ball. It was great to meet fellow South Africans, eat South African food, drink South African wine and dance to South African music. It was a night filled with music, joy and laughter. It was a pity that I had to go to work the following day.
Of course, I couldn’t always afford to go to great holiday destination of fancy events, but that didn’t stop me from having fun. It was always great just to go to the markets, cafes and parks with friends.
So I definitely feel that I worked hard and played harder. I truly had the time of my life working as an English teacher in Thailand.