Expat Update: 6 Months in Thailand

By Alexis

Alexis holds up Thai and American flags

Well, it’s been a while since our last update, and I can barely believe we’ve been in Thailand for 6 months now. We calculated it, and we’ve only been in America for less than a month in all of 2014, which blows my mind.

Where did this year go??

The weather in Thailand’s getting colder now (I wore a sweater the other day!), so it’s really starting to feel like the year is winding down. I’ve realized that we rarely blog about our everyday lives here, (sorry ’bout that) so here’s one long catchup post for you!

Highs and Lows of TEFL

Things at school still have their ups and downs for me.

I know I’ve said it before, but some days I’ll feel like a great teacher who sees meaningful progress in the kids. And the next day, I’ll have zero control over them and just feel like crying.

I have been trying to watch a bunch of videos about classroom management (specifically, this one and this one) and I think they’re helping, but it is a larger issue. Students here just seem to have very little respect for foreign teachers. I have observed first-hand where the kids are being insane for western teachers and then go immediately silent when a Thai teacher walks into the room, and the other teachers and I are always swapping sob stories about our difficult classes.

So it can be pretty frustrating.

And on top of classroom management issues, there are so many chaotic parts about working Thailand in general… Plans change constantly (like that time my school canceled a full week of our holiday break and, oh yeah, forgot to tell us until a few days before), and it’s fairly common to have no idea what your day’s schedule is going to look like.

But then, of course, there are awesome things that I get to be apart of that would never happen in the States – like celebrating Sports Day (think: American field day x100) and joining parades and ceremonies for the King’s birthday/Father’s Day.

And this may sound cheesy, but the kids really do make it all worth it in the end. Teaching here has definitely helped me solidify that I never want to teach adults. For me, those cute little faces and the sweet personalities I’ve gotten to know are the main redeeming things about teaching English abroad.

Thai student and teacher dressed up for Sports Day

My pretty princess first grader, all dressed up for the Sports Day parade

Thai students stand in front of a tree and golden Buddhist temple

And the fairytale school campus doesn’t hurt either…

Foreign Service Update

Well, we both took the FSOT back in October, and I unfortunately did not pass but David did!!! So he moved onto the next step and submitted 6 personal narratives for review. If he passes this step, he’d be making a trip to Washington, DC (our old stomping grounds) for the oral examination round.

It would be amazing if he passes, but we’re still trying not to get our hopes up since the competition is so fierce.

Thanksgiving in Thailand

There were a couple restaurants in Chiang Mai that were offering American-style Thanksgiving dinners, and we ended up having an awesome meal at The Cat House for 390 baht pp (about $12 USD),which was the cheapest one I could find.

We had the works…roast turkey, gravy on everything, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and even pumpkin pie for dessert. Sadly, stuffing and dinner rolls were nowhere to be found and of course we missed our families, but it was still a fun experience.

Cat House Thanksgiving

Thailand did Thanksgiving right.

Shhh! A Surprise Trip

This spring, we are planning a super secret surprise trip, and I cannot wait to tell everyone! Hopefully we can finalize all the details and spill the beans here around January.

I am terrible at keeping surprises secret, but luckily David is great at it. When he proposed during our trip to Europe in 2013 for example, he’d been carrying the engagement ring around in his bag for two full weeks waiting for the right moment! Not to mention the fact that he’d designed the whole ring himself without a peep to me.

How he has that kind of willpower I will never know…

Going Back to Bali!

We’re going back to Bali in May! I know, I know…we just went to Bali. But after we got back from that trip, we learned that David’s little brother had an opportunity to go to Bali with his surf sponsor (14 years old and already a sponsored surfer. Sheesh, way to make the rest of us look bad 😉 ). The original sponsored trip fell through, but David’s mom decided to make the trip happen anyways, and they just bought tickets to spend two weeks with us in Bali in May.

It’ll be two weeks of nothing but sunshine and surfing (well, surfing for them. I’ll just tan on the beach, thanks).

I’m actually really excited to go back and get the chance to see a couple of the things we missed out on last time — namely, Pura Lempuyang temple, the city of Ubud, and releasing sea turtles into the ocean since we ran out of time to do it on our last trip.

Where To After Asia?

After Bali we don’t have any concrete plans, but our main goal is just to avoid going back to the States anytime soon. We’ve talked about everywhere from French Polynesia to Japan, and we’ve even tossed around the idea of trying to live in 12 countries in 12 months.

In the last week or so, we’ve officially set our sites on one country in particular: Germany.

Mountains near Berchtesgaden, Germany

Who wouldn’t want to live near beautiful Bavarian landscapes like this??

Nothing is set in stone yet, but I really really want to make Germany happen.

During my sophomore year of college, I studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria and loved it. That part of the world is just so picture-perfect, and it would be so fun to go back and share it with David. And it would be so fun it we practiced our Deutsch skills together!

I’ve been reading all about the difficulties of getting visas and jobs there as an American, but apparently it’s not impossible. Our current plan (which, let’s be honest, could change at any moment) is to go to Germany in June and if I don’t have an English teaching job already lined up, we’ll live off David’s freelance writing salary while I look for jobs on the ground.

If I can’t find work in a couple months, then we’ll grudgingly head back to America and chalk it all up to an extended vacation.

Married for Half a Year

If we’ve been in Thailand for 6 months that means we’ve been married for 6 months!!! Crazy how fast time flies when you’re with your best friend!

We’ve been talking lately about how our first year of marriage would be so different if we had taken the “normal” route…Our choice of living abroad comes with lots of amazing opportunities, but also a lot of challenges. We miss being with our families and having friends, and we’re always worried about our budget here. We consciously prioritize travel over other things most newlyweds spend money on. We don’t have a car; we aren’t settling into careers; we’re not decorating our first home as newlyweds.

Sending holiday cards from the new “Mr. and Mrs. Rose” would be a traditional activity for this time of year, but for us, it’s hard to justify spending money on those kinds of things when we know that money could easily buy a few nights in Nepal or the Philippines or the million other places we want to visit while we live in Asia.

It’s just a different experience that we’re choosing to have.

We talk about the pros and cons of the two lives (the nomad newlyweds life vs. the settled newlywed life), but right now we’re trying to combine the two. If there was anyone I’d want to try living this crazy life with, it’d be David ❤

Kpix Photography - Bride and groom kiss at wedding

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3 thoughts on “Expat Update: 6 Months in Thailand

  1. Pingback: Not a Great Day in Thailand | Roses on the Road

  2. Pingback: And Our Surprise Destination Is… | Roses on the Road

  3. Pingback: Where Are We Headed in 2015? | Roses on the Road

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