Having been in Hua Hin for a week, the real work is starting to begin and routines are forming. The first week was a lot of fun and games, but now a majority of the day is spent in a 40 degree classroom.
The mornings start with the twenty-two of us getting into our song-tao, which is a version of a taxi/bus here. Most of them are just pick-up trucks with two benches in the back (song means two, tao means bench), but some of them are decked out with lights and pictures. I honestly have no idea how the system actually works, because the song-taos run on a designated route but you can also call them like a taxi service.
Our TESOL course starts at 9:00AM at the Tesseban school. This is a local government school which, from my understanding, is the lowest type of funded school in the country. I won’t sugar coat it: the classrooms that we are in are not air conditioned; the desks are riddled with graffiti; the electricity cuts out often; it’s loud; the squat toilets are dirty and smelly, but….those kids, man. The kids are definitely the best part! Our lunch break starts at noon, which means at 12:01PM there are dozens of kids vying for our attention. Last week we were each greeted by students rushing to give us high fives and hugs. They’re always calling us “teacher! teacher!”, which feels pretty odd considering my lack of training in education. So while the school looks as though it’s falling apart in some respects, it’s all those adorable smiles that really make it enjoyable.
For lunch I like to head to a street vendor, rather than grabbing something from a convenience store. Yesterday I had som tam, which is a fragrant and spicy papaya salad. Today I had green curry with chicken. All the food is so good! But, a word from the wise: always bring a full water bottle to lunch because your mouth is going to be on fire.
A typical day in Hua Hin consists of going to 7-11 at least twice, often more. If you’ve been to Thailand before, you know that it is crawling with 7-11’s. These places are my saviour! They provide iced coffee, snacks, breakfast, school supplies and booze (hallelujah!). Albeit, they offer some strange snack options, but who wouldn’t expect that in Asia?
The evenings are free, so I’ve been doing a range of things. Sometimes swimming in the pool, sometimes going to a night market, going to a restaurant with a group. Tonight I’m headed to a night market with some of my new mates. All of this is after homework is completed, of course (don’t worry, mom).