Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Life Update

The last month was a rather busy and extremely informative one. It was spent primarily on the CELTA course. (For those of you that don't know, teaching English abroad is what pays my bills and lets me travel to strange and far-off lands). I took a full-time, 120 hour teaching English as a foreign language course and probably spent about 200 hours on it. The course gives you a LOT of information, fast. Not only does it give you all this new information, you're also expected to assimilate and use it pretty much as quick as you're getting it. It's not an impossible amount of work, but for someone used to working half-days and leaving work at work it was a bit of a shock to the system. The course was incredibly informative and I hope it will prove itself to be as helpful as I expect it to be. It was a bit cringe-worthy, getting told what not to do in the classroom and realising that I was teaching like that not so long ago. Mainly it was the seemingly simple things that I've found to be the most ground breaking for me. The biggest was that every class should have a task-cycle in it: Setup-Task-Feedback (STF). It's super-simple, you basically talk about what you're going to do, do it, then talk about what you did. Mind blowing. So I managed to pass the course with a Pass Grade B, one up from a Pass, one down from a Pass Grade A. I kinda think that on paper the my grade looks the worst as its the only one out of the three that indicates that a better grade is possible! Still, I'm pleased with the result and looking forward to putting it all into practice.
After the course, Courtney came out to join me in sunny Thailand. The course meant that I didn't have any time to explore Phuket properly. A hike through a rainforest and watching the Vegetarian Festival has been about it for experiencing what Phuket has to offer. With that in mind, Courtney and I have decided to spend some time exploring Thailand before settling down to work. Today we've relocated to Kata beach, on the west coast of Phuket island. As a beach town it's much more touristy than Phuket town is, plus it's a little pricier. One night in Patra Mansion, where I was staying in Phuket Town, is 500 baht. Chanisara Guesthouse is costing us 800 baht a night. However it is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the beach. Which is lovely. Soft white sand and warm blue water. You do have to put up with people trying to sell you sarongs, watches and jet-ski rides every 10 minutes, but they're polite and not too pushy. Just smile and say no and they tend to move on. While I'm on the subject of hawkers, we had a fantastically ambitious moped-taxi driver approach us this morning offering us a lift. Nothing unusual about that, three people ride around on mopeds all the time. Three people, two wheelie suitcases, two large backpacks and a laptop bag however don't tend to ride around on mopeds all the time. Kudos for trying.
The food in Thailand is great. Phad Thai is delicious and inexpensive. It's easy to eat to about a £1. It does mean that everything else seems expensive to me as I break down the price of most things to how many meals I could buy for that. Compared to Korean food its a little greasier, but really it depends on what you order. Thailand does seem to have a better range of dishes within each restaurant than Korea does. And while Thai iced coffee is great I do miss Korean coffee.

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