As the bells struck midnight on 31st of December we said goodbye to the old year and entered into the year 2555! The Thai Calender works 543 years ahead of the Western calendar. The reason for this is that the year in which the Buddha died is believed to be 543 B.C. Its something that’s taken a bit of getting used to as in my classrooms there is the date written in Thai and then in English, my work permit is valid until 31st of March 2555 and suddenly my birth year is 2530!
This is not the only thing that I have learned in the last year. As papers have been saying 2011 will go down in history as one of the most memorable ever due to global disasters, dictators being killed and some very famous deaths. 2011 will most defiantly be my most memorable year for many reasons the biggest and most obvious being moving away from my home country to take up residence in Thailand.
This time last year my countdown was nearing an end as I prepared to leave behind everything I knew and move across the globe to learn a bit about myself, a different culture and help spread the English language to little Thai children!
There has been major highlights for me…
* Visiting some of the most amazing beaches I have ever been to in the islands of Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao and Koh NangYuang
*Walking a MASSIVE tiger and even getting to kiss a tiger cub
*Riding and elephant (several times) and even being allowed to swim and bathe them in a river
*Visiting some of the most beautiful and unreal temples I have ever seen
*Being part of a small community communicating in very broken Thai and English
* Learning to drive my scooter!
*Being able to travel all over the north of Thailand right down to the very bottom provinces
*Having my best friend come over and see me for three weeks of fun, relaxation and giggles
*Loving my job so much I decide not to move near beaches to carry on working in the North of Thailand
*Meeting friends that I know will be friends for life.
Along with the highlights there have been some low moments…
*Missing my friends and family especially over the Christmas season
*Missing special moments like my big cousins wedding, my brother moving to Spain and the Hoff coming to Campus!
*Saying goodbye to my best friend after a very brief 3 weeks together
*Being so hot I had to shower 3 times a day (Thankfully that was just the first few weeks of teaching!!)
And most importantly I have learnt so much during my time away from home…
*That your family are always there for you regardless of how many thousands of miles are between you
*Thai people are brutally honest.
*The difference between a good friend and a great friend
*The ridiculous amount of money I spent on materialistic things such as clothes and make up back home
*Many of my dislikes are all in my head and now I will eat things like chilly, fish, tomato.
*Somethings will just never change…. for instance my fear of spiders!!
*Not to swerve to avoid a dog going round a corner on a motorbike which will result in crashing into a wall!
So with 9 months of Thailand now under my belt I am looking forward to a New Year, my last few months in Thailand and the prospect of a new adventure.
I hope everyone had a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2012…. or 2555!