“We’re pretty laid back here at GVI Th
Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
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Monday also started with another input session, followed by another day relaxing around the base. The holiday was over in some senses as we were briefed on how the base would be operating for the coming weeks. The group was divided into three chore groups and we would be rotating through a chore rota every day. One group cooks breakfast and lunch, another looks after toilets and bins while the third cleans the resource room and the palapa area. This is a bit of a pain, especially when you are cooking for 20 people. I would be taking level one with a teaching partner, Sonia. Initially it seems that this level is the easiest to teach since the vocab is so basic. However the inverse is the case. It's so difficult as you really are starting from rock bottom, the class can't even get the most basic instruction. Our first classes we on Monday evening but we would not be teaching but rather observing a class given by Steve It was good to see and class and watch him implementing some of the things he was teaching at the input sessions. We were all giving our first classes on Tuesday, just a half session each (45 mins). There was a bit of a nervous buzz around base as we were all frantically lesson planning. They are big into their lesson planning and we plan in great detail. It’s good I guess when you are a novice to have already thought of everything. For the first class Sonia was taking the first 45 minutes and I the second. We only had 4 students, so it was a different teaching environment that I am used too but still enough of a number to get a class going. Sonia had never gotten up before a class before so she was very nervous and struggled to fill 30 minutes with her plan. She beat herself up pretty bad about it even though it wasn’t so bad
I’m not going to bore you with too many daily details; Wednesday was another pretty routine day. This time in class I would be doing the first 45 minutes. Only two people showed up at first, one who was the weakest and another new young guy who was absolutely petrified. This time my lesson fell flat on its face. I also wasn’t prepared for the completely different dynamic when teaching just two students. I found it really difficult to be animated and enthusiastic. Knowing my class wasn’t going so well I started thinking only about that and then making stupid mistakes. Luckily two more showed up late and the class got better and better. Sonia was much less nervous and she gave a great session, so I was very happy for here. In contrast to the previous night I was totally deflated and beating myself up quite a bit.
Thursday I wouldn’t be teaching, instead Sonia would be taking her first full 90 minute session and I would be observing. Observing is a bit boring but it is also quite helpful to see another trainee. It makes you notice mistakes being made and reflect upon yourself. There was rain heavier than I had ever seen before all evening so we were not expecting a very good turnout. Only two people showed up, the same two that I started the class with on the previous day. Sonia had a great lesson, handling the small class much better than I did. Thursday evening we had our first base theme party
We were all a bit fragile Friday morning, especially since we had to have breakfast at 7.30, a big base clean at 8 and an emergency response course (first aid) at 9. The base clean was especially painful in our hungover and sleep deprived states. The first aid course was pretty boring too, I have done a couple of these so seen it all before but it was still good to get a refresher and be a certified first aider for another two years. In the afternoon we headed to a resort in the town where we can pay 30 baht to use the pool area. The resort was gorgeous and the pool had two huge carsts with a cave carved out in one of them. We spent a couple of hours there; chilling chatting sunbathing and swimming, lovely way to cure a hangover. Friday evening three of us had a Thai cooking workshop. We learned to make green curry, papaya salad and tom yam. There was a plan to head out for drinks but I don’t think anyone had anything left in the tank to get through another night out. It was James’ birthday on Saturday so Apple made him a cake, we sang him happy birthday and promptly went to bed
Saturday there was a children’s sports day on one of the nearby islands. Participation was optional but we all wanted to come along. It was great to get off base and see some of the surrounding area. When you are on base, and busy with lessons and planning, it’s easy to forget you are in Thailand. Driving around the country you are pleasant reminded by the wonderfully unique landscape and the nice people smiling and waving. We headed to Krabi in the Song Tao where we jumped on long tail boats to take us to the island. We were expecting a really rural and underdeveloped island but it was quite the contrary. There were tsunami evacuation signs indicating the direction to run which was a bit scary. Children’s day was a lot of fun. We played tug of war, musical chairs, some game where you all tie balloons to your foot and run around bursting other people’s balloons and finally some crazy game involving getting coins out of a water filled bowl with your mouth, blowing flour off a plate, eating a dry cake and downing a glass of water and finishing by blowing up a balloon until it pops. It was very random but a lot of fun. After getting back a few of us headed back to the national park for another dip. Paradise…. I’m starting to love Thailand! In the night all the gang headed out for dinner for James birthday in one of the nearby bamboo restaurants before heading onto Pooh bar for the rest of the night
A kayaking side trip was planned for Sunday morning. We had to set our early in order to catch water in some of the caves before the tide went out. We were again all a bit fragile after the night before but the kayaking was a great remedy for a hungover head. I was up for some hardcore exercise but the group was a slow moving one. We were kayaking in pairs, so I wouldn’t be able to mess around doing rolls and hard turns and stuff. The scenery was beautiful and I grew to appreciate the relaxed pace pretty quickly. We paddled through a narrow channel leading through one cave into a pool surrounded by carsts. The second detour from the main channel was into another huge cave which had loads of cool stalactites and mites. At a third cave we moored the boats and jumped off to explore. There were ancient paintings on the roof and walls of the cave. The primitive drawings are somewhere between 3 and 5 thousand years old. The cave itself was impressive and there was also a lookout over the surrounding jungle and carsts. Afterwards we jumped back in out kayaks and slowly paddled back to the starting point. We had a most gorgeous lunch on a little floating restaurant before heading back to base. The rest of Sunday was quite a lazy day, as Sunday should be. We relaxed around base falling in and out of sleep. In the evening we watched a movie (The Other Ones) using the base projector and a white sheet draped up on the wall before hitting the sack for an early night.