Moving to Bangkok to teach English last month has been quite a rewarding career move. I am getting to learn more about culture here in Thailand, and at the same time, helping to improve the English language skills of the Thai children.
That being said, although I’m an ESL teacher now, I wasn’t an English teacher when I lived in the United States. My first career was in Veterinary Nursing, and I had been in that practice for six years before I made this career change.
As such, I am always looking for ways to help out with animals abroad, and keep-up my nursing skills as well.
Well, over the weekend, my co-worker invited me to volunteer at an animal shelter on the outskirts of Bangkok, and I happily agreed to join her on the journey. 😀
Getting there was an adventure in and of itself! This was my first experience on a motorbike, which is a legitimate mode of public transportation in Thailand. No waiver signed. No proof of insurance needed. Just hop on, and hold on for dear life! Hah. 😛
At least, he had a helmet for me to borrow. 🙂
When I arrived at the shelter, I was gradually greeted by over ninety sweet and scruffy faces, as they all seemed to slowly emerge out of the woodwork. 🙂Happy faces and wagging tails. 😀Some of these rescues are Thai street dogs; however, some are also abandoned and lost pets, like this gorgeous German Shepherd named Maria.As well, here is a lovable and happy-go-lucky Labrador named Gem, hanging with her chew toy, trying to hide from the heat.
While at the shelter, we were able to help with baths, ear cleanings and tick prevention. These animals are also overseen by a local veterinarian for health checks, sterilization and wound repair.
The streets of Bangkok are not kind to stray dogs, with disease, starvation and dog attacks as a constant threat.
If you’re in the area, the shelter owner Tharinee Wipuchanin is always looking for volunteers.She is such a kind-hearted lady, with a true passion for helping these tough mutts, that are all still in search of their forever home. 🙂
Feeling inspired by these tough mutts, who have survived the streets of Bangkok, I decided to develop some survival skills of my own. 😉
This week, I signed up for my first muay Thai boxing class. 😛
Muay Thai Mitts
I took the kickboxing class at Legend Thai Boxing, a training gym in the Silom district of Bangkok.
Muay Thai kickboxing is a mental and physical form of martial arts. It is also known as, “the art of eight limbs,” since it combines the use of fists, elbows, knees and shins, all as weapons of war.
As I waited for the kickboxing class to begin, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
These trainers looked seriously hardcore. After a warm-up of jogging, jump rope and air kicks, I was already dripping in sweat. That’s when we finally got our hands wrapped, gloved-up, and began to train.
The trainers gave us one-on-one commands, alternating kicks, punches, jabs, and blocks. In the end, I got my butt kicked, but it was a fantastic workout and highly recommended for anyone, even a first-timer. 😉
Now I may have misled to believe that surviving in Bangkok is quite challenging, when in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth.
This past week, I moved into my new pad, a modern condo in the Silom-Sathorn district of Bangkok. Lifestyles of the rich and famous. 😛The cost of living is super affordable in Bangkok. As well, since there are so many condos available, haggling your rental price is common practice. I was able to get a stellar deal at around 450USD per month.
That being said, I did have to buy a few apartment essentials.
For that, I headed to Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market, the largest flea market in Asia, with over 100,000 stores.
I was pleasantly surprised that the shops were quite chic, and everything was well-displayed, with a nice variety of clothes, home goods and food.
I worked up a decent appetite as well, so I wandered the stalls for some street eats.
Take-away containers with grilled squid, quail eggs and fried fish.
Finally, I found a winner!
Thai grilled fish, cooked in a banana leaf with fresh basil, served over white rice with chili sauce and a soft boiled egg. Delicious!
Anyway, living here is also quite easy, considering the large expat population. For example, I met oodles of foreign teachers over the weekend while attending a Halloween party at a friends condo.
I got bonus points for meeting a group of new people, rocking a fierce unibrow, as the bossy, yet lovable character, Helga Pataki, from Nickeoldeon’s Hey Arnold. 😛
I’ve also had an easy time adjusting at school as well.
The facilities at Assumption College Rama II are quite accommodating. The classrooms are all equipped with smart boards, the lunches are nutritious, and they even have a cute cafe for me to sit and grab a coffee in the afternoon, while taking in the sunshine. 😀This is my go-to lunch: a Thai hot-pot soup with pork, noodles, and vegetables. Yum-o!
The hardest part of my job so far has been remembering all the kids, with unfamiliar names like Nattapaweethida, Phatcharach and Chaiyatouch, just to name a few.
Luckily, they’ve simplified things for us foreigners, since Thai parents actually give their children English nicknames at birth. 😀
Some are straightforward abbreviations like Krit, which is short for Kritapart. Other, more comical, English nicknames include food groups and animals, such as children named Pancake, Milk, Boat, Frog, Nut, and a sister and brother pair, with one named Pizza and the other named Hut. I kid you not! I couldn’t make this up if I tried. 😛I wouldn’t be surprised if Colonel Sanders was the next one to walk into my classroom. Hah. 😛 Anyway, now I’m finally feeling settled and spent a lovely evening relaxing on my rooftop deck.From the streets of Bangkok, to the sparkling city skyline, I think I’ll do just fine in this new city. No worries here. 😉Until next time. Take care and have a nice weekend. 😉