This is big brother
Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
107Trip End Ongoing
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As we got into the second week the whole GVI Thailand experience was starting to feel a lot like Big Brother. It’s an interesting social experiment when you take totally different people from different countries and different backgrounds, place them here in such close quarters and see how they get along. We live in pretty tight environment so things could get very ugly if people don’t get along. Some people are also dealing with heat exhaustion and diet adjustment which can breed a bit of crankiness in the group. At first I thought there were quite a few people I though I wouldn’t be able to get along with but we are actually very lucky with our group. We are pretty much all nice, interesting, easy going, pulling our weight and getting along. There is only one person out of the whole group on base (like 20) who I just can’t see myself ever getting along with… I could easily go on complaining here or making a big deal of it but I’d rather talk about the good stuff! Everyone else I have lots of time for and they for me. Some of my stereotypes for people… and particularly the British are changing. Take my TEFL partner for example. Sonia appears your typical cockney London girl with a bit of an in your face attitude. I thought we would be like chalk and cheese but actually she is an awesome partner
My second 90 minute class on Thursday was very well planned and I went into it feeling pretty confident. The new nervousness I had was that one of our two students wouldn’t show up and there would be a really strange one on one dynamic. Luckily they both showed up. I started with family which is actually a pretty complicated topic to teach. How can one person be a son, husband, parent, brother, uncle and how can you show all these relationships all at once (remember they can’t be explained anything in language). I continued drilling colours and face parts… after drilling about 30 words I was exhausted. To make it a bit fun I tried introducing a guess who game. Try modeling and explaining that to people who can’t understand the simplest verbal instruction. It was a really difficult class but I think we got somewhere in the end. My observers said it was a great class but I couldn’t help feeling drained and deflated by the end. Our themed party for Thursday night was a full moon party. This involved painting ourselves with ridiculous luminous colours and playing rave and dance music for the night. I wasn’t so into it to begin with but in going with the flow was having a great time in no time
Friday morning we had another village project. This time we went to a school in Ao Naam, a nearby village by the beach. We were paired up to teach about 7-9 year olds 4 different topics in 4 20 minute rotations. Blake and I were doing numbers 1-30. We drilled the numbers for half the class and then played the slap game for the second half. The slap game is where you write numbers on the board and then the kids have to run up and slap numbers as they are called out… they just love it. By the fourth rotation it was pretty painful doing the same thing over and over, the enthusiasm was fading. I had jumped on the number topic thinking 'oh I like numbers’. Actually it’s a really boring topic to teach to kids. After the class rotations Apple gave them an environmental lesson basically just telling them what to do with different rubbish and to keep the countryside looking beautiful. Then we played soccer with them which was just chaos; about 40 kids and 8 farrangs chasing around the field after a ball. It was a lot of fun, and the kids enjoyed it which is the main thing really
At this stage I know everyone pretty well, let me tell you about them briefly
Apple – 23, Thai. She works on the base on the practical stuff, Thai teacher and also at a liaison with the community. She is a lovely girl, nervous about her teaching, very popular with the community. You just want to hug her when you see her
Blake – 19, English/Portuguese. A great guy who is mature beyond his years but maintains his boyish ways. He is a lot of fun, probably one of my favorite people on base. Like to come out with the most embarrassing personal stories after a few beers
Candi – 20, Australian with Chinese origin. A nice girl who worked in the GVI office and got to come on the project for free in return. She had her blonde moments and gets really messy after just one beer. She came for teaching children volunteering
Chloe – 23, New Zealander also has Chinese origin
Dan – 32, English. He has already completed 3 months teaching. He is a really clever and cool guy. Full of funny stories which when delivered in his husky voice sound all the funnier. Another of my favorite people on base.
Emma – 23, American. She is the base manager which means she sits in the office sorting out the administration. She works really hard and has a good friendly way of laying down the law. She keeps something of a professional distance which I guess she has to really.
Leila – 40ish, English. The second TEFL trainer, used to be a primary school teacher. She is a really cool lady and something of a biker. She is full of enthusiasm so she gives a great input class and great English class. Seems really genuine.
Neil – 35, English. An IT guy who was unhappy with life and needed a change
Nong – 25ish, Thai. A really cool guy who does just about everything on base. There is nothing he cannot fix. He is always inviting us for fishing trips or jungle treks and I wish we could go. Loves to sing Country Road in the bar when he is drunk
Rachel – 20, Irish. She is a dote, always giving everyone hugs. Full of energy and enthusiasm. Well able to party but can sometimes be a bit loud and in your face. She has previous experience in Ao Luk so she knows many of the locals and speaks some Thai.
Rob – 35, Dutch. He is fairly quite and reserved. He still works for his IT Company and that means he spends a lot of time on the laptop. Took a while to bond into the group but when he did open up we found a great guy. Great fun after a few beers.
Simone – 36, German. She was unhappy with her hectic western life and so cut loose to do something a bit different
Sonia – 35, English/Spanish. Seems like your typical cockney girl on the surface but there’s much more underneath. At first thought she and I would be chalk and cheese. Actually we work really well together and just get on better and better everyday. Another party lover!
Steve – 40ish, American. Really clever and witty guy. His classes are never dull. He keeps something of a distance from the group which is a shame as he seems like a really fun guy. Bit of a ladies man with a few Thai girlfriends on the go.
Tim – 24, English/Burmese. Really nice timid guy, seems to be squeaky clean. Radiates positivity about everything. Studies media and is a basket all coach at home. You wouldn’t see his Burmese side