a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures
When you step off that plane, Thailand hits you like a wet blanket, the wet heat a slap in the face. When you breathe, you breathe in the heavy air of humidity and when you breathe out, you sweat. It’s awesome. I am a natural lizard and as soon as I arrived I felt like I had found my natural habitat.
The smells, on the other hand, a street stench made all the powerful by the rising heat, did not sit well with my stomach contents and there were many a retching moment as I walked the streets of Bangkok those first few days. But besides that, the food, the colours, the language, all a very welcome assault on the senses.
I could easily imagine myself spending the rest of my days roaming around temples, taking boat trips across the river, drinking cocktails out of a bucket, eating mountains of noodles and rice, but every once in a while I had to stop to remind myself: I am not a traveller, nor an adventurer. I am unemployed and homeless.
And so the fun began. The three of us stayed in a little hole in the wall on Khao San Road (read: loud and chaotic), with a shared bathroom and a single big bed. We sweated awake each morning and made our way to the internet café downstairs to check http://www.ajarn.com for the latest job listings.
Not knowing anything about the education system or the TEFL industry of Thailand, we applied for anything and everything, and the interviews rolled in. Many days were spent on hot, local buses in itchy business suits trying to find schools whose name we could not even read, let alone pronounce. It was tough but it was an invaluable experience getting to know the area as well as the school system.
The interviews were interesting, to say the least. Many times the principal (our interviewer) could’ve benefitted from English lessons herself; other times we were coerced into attending the incomprehensible school assembly which seemed to last forever and which ended with our photos being taken on the stage with random learners. That would be a no, then.
Finally, around the time we realised we were sharing our room with an extended family of ants, we found The One. That rare blend of friendly, well-resourced, not-weird school. A school with a principal named Pink. How could we say no to that?