I like play football

One of the perks of dating a teacher is hearing incredible stories from the classroom. Some are hilarious, some make you want to face-palm, but mostly, they’re stories of ingenuity. Children are so clever, and so resourceful, it’s no wonder they have to beat all creativity out of you. We can’t have a world full of geniuses walking around after all. 

One such story is about a class of young ‘uns. He asks each child a question in English. If the kid answers the question right, they get a name tag. Once this ritual is done with all the students, the class begins. 

Sample Conversation: 

Teacher: Hello, how are you? 

Student: I am fine thank you. 

Teacher: What is your favourite sport? 

Student (demonstrates kicking a ball): I like play football.  

A lot of students seemed to like football. Mr Teacher was pleased that unlike with other schools where he teaches English as a foreign language, these students seemed clever enough to not only understand his questions, but to also answer him appropriately. 

The next week when he was in class again, the conversation went something like this. 

Him: Hi. What is your favourite food? 

Kid 1-30 (demonstrates kicking a ball): I like play football! 

Turns out, the kids had learnt from their seniors to expect a foreign teacher to come teach them English. And if they were clever enough to learn a few choice phrases in English, they never need actually learn any English at all. Quite clever of these kids to do the absolute minimum to get by. I wish corporate life was similar. 

I vowed to take inspiration from these kids and apply it to my daily life. 

Dad: So when are you going to get married? 

Me (kicking imaginary ball with slightly too much gusto): I like play football! 

Life is so much easier now! 

 

Marking Anniversaries

Bangkok Skyline
The view of downtown Bangkok from my office window

I don’t have a track record of remembering anniversaries and important dates. These days, you don’t need to, thanks to Facebook and Time Hop. All you need to do is put up a post about it and it’ll remind you every year ‘On This Day’.

Very Convenient.

However, I have been trying to be less rubbish at it. I read somewhere that we are potentially the only species on the planet who’s aware of the passage of time and that just blew my mind. We know time flies, we know life is fleeting, and if we didn’t know any better, we’d just be stuck in a routine where one day is just like the other. I understand now, more than ever, why people get into knots about remembering anniversaries.

Today I have been in Bangkok and at this job for a whole year. If I didn’t take the time to look out the window and take stock of where I was standing right then and what journey got me there, would I be giving life the credit that it deserves? Just thinking back to when I first got here and how life has changed in the span of only 365 days makes me speechless. Even when everyday seems the same, you’re never the same person you were when you first started.

Life is never dull and constant.

Sometimes, to appreciate the true complexity and beauty of life, and your own transformation to the beat of the seconds hand, you just need to take a step back and really look.

Life is an amazing journey!

A stormy evening sky in Bangkok
A stormy evening sky in Bangkok

Happy Anniversary Bangkok. You have been challenging and eye-opening, you have been a comfort and infuriating. In not being home, and in sometimes being the exact opposite of comforting, you’ve raised me to be stronger, better, more resilient. In kicking me out of my comfort zone every single day, you’ve made my life throb with excitement! Thank you for a wonderful year!

In Congo’s Shadow: A Memoir so false it is almost funny

This.

eyewoke

So…this is me breaking out of poetic character to talk about something that I saw which made me confused, angry, and laugh out loud all at once.
When I first saw Louise Linton’s story on how her dream gap year in Zambia had turned into a nightmare I couldn’t believe what I was reading. She’d described 12-inch spiders, rebels taking over the country and the war in the Congo being between the Hutu and Tutsi people. At first some people thought it was satire (this isn’t a Zambia any of us recognise), but then I found out it was actually far worse – an excerpt to promote the actress’ new memoir.

There are enough untrue, harmful stereotypes out there about Africa in general without her latest contribution, and I’m fed up of seeing Zambia and other African countries misrepresented in the press. Apparently, a lot of other Zambians agree with…

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5-5-1 and growing>

Another edition of celebrating distances and our world minus the borders! It’s so amazing to see how different each picture is and how different life is and yet so similar!

Classical Gasbag

After an initial 2-2-1 (two people, two places, one time) and two subsequent 3-3-1 (three people, etc.) we are once again expanding. The original concept was that all of the participants would take a picture simultaneously; then write a short piece about the picture. It worked. But with the addition of more people, in more time zones, it became apparent that either some people would be taking pictures in the very early morning, or the very late night. We didn’t want that. So this time around we decided that we would all take a picture on Saturday May 28th at 10:30 a.m. local time. What follows is the result. We’re starting with The Girl Next Door in Bangalore, India.

DSC09553

This is the view that I get to see from the terrace of our apartment – houses, houses, houses and more houses is all that meets the eye, as far as…

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Koh Sichang

A lot of people warned us against going to this island as there was nothing to see or do. It is a quick day-trip for locals to spend the day at a beach without it hurting the bank and without it being a free show of the dreadful farang infestion (their words, not mine!). However, Koh Sichang blew our minds. 

Yes, it is a small fisherman’s village and in that lies all the magic. It is small, tight knit and laid back. And while there is development in terms of restaurants and roads, it still is a place stuck in a magical time bubble. It is beautiful. 

Only 100kms from Bangkok aka 2 hours by an air-conditioned bus from the Ekkamai bus station and a 40 minute ferry and you are far, far, FAR away from the madding crowd. Pure bliss. 

The ferry is at the Sri Racha pier, the name sounds familiar cause they are also a hot sauce we all love (there is a chilli factory in town that we didn’t, unfortuntaley, get to explore). You get off the bus at Robinson’s – you’ll know when half the passengers get off here. A short 50 baht tuk tuk ride away and you’re at a park that also acts as a pier. 

Depending on what time of day you come, you get to climb up or down to a boat. It’s quite adventurous navigating the tide. 

And then you reach Koh Sichang. While I can wax ad nauseum about how amazing it was, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. If I am guilty of not taking to Thailand the way most people do, I am slowly changing my ways. 

Koh Sichang (3)
First view of the island – an unused lighthouse (Unseen, billions of trade ships and barges)
Koh Sichang (2)
Shrimp boats aka the chariot that makes divine seafood grills a reality
Koh Sichang (4)
Unique ‘tuk tuks’ that are half way between a bike and an auto.
IMG_20160521_105524_HDR
A birds eye view of Koh Sichang
The Yellow Buddha, guardian of Koh Sichang
The Yellow Buddha, guardian of Koh Sichang
Koh Sichang (22)
The amazing views he gets to enjoy everyday
Koh Sichang (24)
My noble steed. Allowed us to explore the island from end to end twice over
A 1000 year old tree brought to the island from Bodghaya in India.
A 1000 year old tree brought to the island from Bodghaya in India.
View from the old chinese temple at the top of Koh Sichang
View from the old chinese temple at the top of Koh Sichang
You can see the end of the island from this point in Koh Sichang
You can see the end of the island from this point in Koh Sichang
A shrine to Queen Elizabeth?
A shrine to Queen Elizabeth?
And another to Septa Unella from Game of Thrones? #SHAME
And another to Septa Unella from Game of Thrones? #SHAME
Wishes hanging from the cave inside the old Chinese Temple
Wishes hanging from the cave inside the old Chinese Temple
Guardian of the wishes at the old Chinese Temple at Koh Sichang
Guardian of the wishes at the old Chinese Temple at Koh Sichang
LOW TIDE!
LOW TIDE!
Views of the 'only' beach in Koh Sichang.
Views of the ‘only’ beach in Koh Sichang.
Koh Sichang (29)
Some private beaches that require a bit of effort to find
Some paths begging to be explored
Some paths begging to be explored

Koh Sichang (19)

You are rewarded with spectacular views if you trek a bit
You are rewarded with spectacular views if you trek a bit through the volcanic terrain
Someone's been stacking rocks. A bit scary!
Someone’s been stacking rocks. A bit scary!
Another relic from India - Buddha's Footprint
Another relic from India – Buddha’s Footprint
Some private beaches that require a bit of effort to find
Another beach
IMG_20160521_183020_HDR
If you can capture a moment of zen in a picture, this would be it