Well, I`ve been back here in Bangkapi, Bangkok for just over a week now and all is going well. Quite a few tropical rain storms at the moment but I`m sure these will eventually pass. Pattarasri, my partner, is busy making a comfortable family home for us here and I`m getting on very well with Sutichote, her grown up son. I`m also back into the habit of visiting the Happy Condo swimming pool most mornings and often share the pool with my friend, a Belgium ex pat who lives with his Thai wife across the Soi from us.
Here are some recent facebook posts of mine since I returned...
24 June: The verdict on last nights InterNations Bangkok event at The Mexican... If I were to vote out of 10, I`d give it a 5. And here`s why... The term 'finger buffet' is an interesting way to describe what were in fact a few 'nibbles' being taken around the venue - if you were fortunate enough to find someone with said nibbles. For 900 Baht (£18) for the two of us, I would have expected more than one free drink, then discounted drinks and a few 'nibbles'. We are in Thailand, not the US or Europe. There are some spectacular buffets served in Bangkok which cost far less. And we weren`t the only ones disappointed either. Admittedly, it was also a networking event and, on the plus side, we did meet a few very nice and interesting people. However, the event was very slow to take off. The advertised 6.30pm start should perhaps have read 6.30 for 8pm start. In the end, at about 8.30pm, with our anticipation of said Mexican Finger buffet well and truly melted when we discovered what it actually entailed, we left to make our way back to Bangkapi where we knew we could find a great meal at a great price. I think InterNations provides a great networking opportunity for ex pats but in future we will be very selective as to the events we choose to attend. :-) Having said all of the above, Pattarasri and I had a really superb night. Met interesting ex pats at the Mexican and then dined at Urban Street on Lat Phrao 101 with free cocktails thrown in for around half the price :-)
Counting down the Days... Sunday and just 9 more days to go before I fly back to Bangkapi, Bangkok and Pattarasri. I`ve been busy here sorting out last minute things, organising my new long stay Education Visa and updating both my websites and the online freelance work sites I belong to. I start my BA Tesol Degree course in Bangkok in a few weeks and I have a couple of other projects that I`ve been invited to work on too, Of course I`m also looking forward to finally settling in to my new home with Pattarasri in Bangkapi too. I`m not naive enough to think that Thailand is perfect but it certainly offers a much more easy pace of life than here in the UK, especially if you are older. Other than a few weeks visiting the UK, I`ve spent the last 18 months traveling around SE Asia, made many friends, and love the way of life over there, particularly in Thailand. I certainly don`t think it would suit everyone but if you have the right mindset, Thailand can be a wonderful place to live. Two years ago I felt as if I was stuck in a rut with very few prospects, which is why I began to travel. And I didn`t know where my travels would lead me. Of course lifes journey still continues and I don`t know what the future holds. What I do know however is that if you have a dream and you are in fairly good health, it is never too late to follow it. Thinking back, its all pretty unbelievable really. Who would have though I would end up living in South East Asia? I certainly didn`t.
Keeping this blog up up date necessitates me to post a few of my recent facebook posts since I`ve been back in England... I`ve been in the UK for about a week now to sort out last minute things before my permanent move to Thailand. I return to Bang Kapi, Bangkok on 22 June.
So here are a few of my posts from facebook while I`ve been here which are relevant to this blog...
3 June: From today`s correspondence with my contact via the InterNations ex pat networking website, it would seem there may be an opportunity for me to be involved in working on the tourism app project I mentioned yesterday when I get back to Bangkok. Voice Over and video / online tv production work. This will go nicely with the study for my English Teaching Degree and the subsequent English teaching plans I have :-) The future is certainly now looking bright in Bangkok for Pattarasri and I.
3 June: Phew... what a day I`m having. Time for a break and a coffee... Since around 5am this morning I`ve been sorting out my worldly possessions. And I`m still only half way through it all. How the heck have I managed to accumulate all this stuff? There are numerous boxes and bags full of stuff I`m just going to throw away, destined for the rubbish tip. Then there are half a dozen boxes full of numerous decent (ish) items which will hopefully go to someone for a car boot sale or ebay sale. Then there are those things I`m taking over to Bangkok with me - if I can get them all in my suitcase that is. And then there are another couple of boxes of stuff I intend to leave behind in storage. And some stuff for charity too. I`ll get some more of it done this afternoon after I`ve had a coffee break. Hopefully I`ll get it all bagged and boxed by Sunday afternoon because then, early next week, I`ve got some tax and financial affairs to sort out. Then I`ve got to arrange my trip to the Thai Consulate in Hull to get my new long term Visa. Three weeks isn`t a long time when you`re moving to the other side of the world :-) Guess I`d better get a move on :/
3 June: So... 5.30pm here ...11.30pm in Bangkok. I `ve just exchanged good nights with Pattarasri in Bangkok on here, about half an hour ago, but no doubt she will be in her room at home either watching a movie or playing a Thai version of Candy Crush Saga or whatever computer game it is she plays. The theme tune is now well and truly embedded in my head. 555 / lol. She never actually goes to sleep until after 2 in the morning. By the time she wakes up in the middle of the morning in Bangkok it`ll be around 4 or 5am here and I`ll be fast asleep. Unless of course I have another early night and wake up in the early hours of the morning again :/ And I probably will because I`m exhausted having spent all day sorting through my possessions and filling boxes and bags. Hopefully I`ll get it all finished tomorrow.
5 June: Happy Sunday... More good news... This morning I received my official documents from Siam Tech in Bangkok to confirm I have been accepted on the BA Degree course Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) and have forwarded them to the Royal Thai Embassy in Hull, UK as requested. I will travel to the consulate to collect my Education Visa on around the 15 June. I have also now booked my one way flight back to Bangkok on 21 June. :-) I will now message Pattarasri to tell her my return date :-)
6 June: Just before I flew back to the UK from Bangkok the other day, one of the best things I did was to sign up to a website called InterNations. It puts you in touch with other ex pats in the city where you now live. I have been corresponding, through Inter Nations, with a Thai guy who is developing a Bangkok tourism app and am very happy to have been asked to become involved with the project on my return to Bangkok. The tourism sector is one I`m passionate about and, of course, I`m passionate about Bangkok and Thailand too. The app is being developed for both IOS and Android and will be a map integrated tour guide of Bangkok`s major tourist attractions with English speaking narration. Needless to say, I`m very excited about the prospect of all this :-) Together with my English teaching studies and my new life with Pattarasri in Bang Kapi, I could not wish for a happier start to my future in Thailand :-)
7 June: To be honest, other than the visa exemption entitlement for a 30 day stay for free (which can be extended by the way) the whole Visa thing for a very long stay in Thailand is very complicated. There are various visas to choose from. (Retirement, Study, Education, Business, Marriage, Tourist, Visa with Work permit, etc). And they all cost money of course. And the Thai authorities often change the rules. I guess, on the whole, apart from the rule changes, this is a good thing because you have to be dedicated to work it all out to secure your long stay visa. As for me, I think, because I have enrolled on an English Teaching Degree course and therefore opted for an Ed Visa (Education), it has provided me a further opportunity to further expand my knowledge and skills. I probably wouldn`t have done that if I hadn`t decided to make Thailand my home. On top of all that is the proud feeling I have to be able to at least try to make a difference in the lives of the young people of Thailand. The English language is, after all, the international language. Other than those in the tourism sector, there are many international companies in Thailand, particularly in Bangkok who need English speakers but unfortunately the standard of English throughout Thailand, compared with the other countries surrounding it, is low. Some of it is to do with a proud Thai culture which tends to resist influences from elsewhere. Nothing wrong with that. But, according to my own research and findings, other than ill equipped schools, particularly in the provinces, the main problem seems to have been under qualified English teachers (and just because one happens to be white and can speak some kind of English doesn`t necessarily make you a good English teacher) and Thai English Teachers who, because of our cultural differences, may not fully understand or get across the meanings of some of the words and phrases used in the English language. Thankfully, it seems that things are beginning to change and the authorities in Thailand are beginning to take English Teaching much more seriously.
And finally for now... a little self promotion.
I ve updated this blog site with a couple of new pages which promote some of the online digital work that I do... Please see my new pages... English Voice Over Services and Customised Greetings & Announcement Cards.
That`s all for now. :-)
I think this will be my final post on this blog for now until I visit the Royal Thai Consulate in Hull, UK in mid June. I fly back to the UK this evening (Wednesday 1 June) and will return to Thailand around 22 June with an Ed Visa to start my new life. Watch this space.
Sat Afternoon: Occasionally, my girlfriend Pattarasri and I have a misunderstanding. It is of course bound to happen when I speak very little Thai and she speaks very little English and we have to rely on Google translate which more often than not gets the whole thing wrong. Take today for instance... I thought we are leaving for a family party at 2pm so I shower and put clean shirt and trousers on. Hahaha ...We ended up at Tesco Lotus shopping for a new air conditioner for my room. We leave for the family party at 7pm :/ Good old Google translate ...Not!
Sun Morning: Fabulous evening with Pattarasri`s family last night. ...After get together at a Karaoke bar we ended up at a big music venue/disco and watched a great live band perform. I wish I`d remembered to take my camera. Great people and great fun to be with. I also wish my Thai language skills were better so I could listen, understand and talk more to the family. Nevertheless, we had a very enjoyable night
Hello Thailand... Happy to report the documents from my Bangkok education establishment in support of my Thai Education Visa application are now just about ready. I`ll be attending the Royal Thai Consulate in Hull, on my visit to the UK next month