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Home & Happy

It’s Thursday (I think) which means I have been home for three sleeps now. I still feel a little high.

I must admit, as much as I love my home (being the introverted little hobbit that I am) this time being home feels particularly good and I’m struggling to grasp why. Usually coming home has a little bit of sadness attached to it. A bit of oh-here-we-go-again let’s-get-back-to-reality kind of thing. I don’t know. The sad part is missing this time.

A week before we left for Thailand my pastor from Molteno (the man who has been at the head of my spiritual wellbeing for most of my life) came up to PE for a visit and he spent almost a whole day with me. I must admit: I spent most of that visit with tears pouring out of my face. Again, I can barely express why. I suppose this has been an exceptionally overwhelming year in almost every way. From considering massive changes like moving countries, to (still) trying to get to a point where stepmom and stepkids can happily co-exist in the same space, to heavy financial burdens made heavier by losing previously reliable clients, clients who just don’t pay, and an unfortunate drop in financial help as far as two of our children are concerned – this year has been a challenge.

Then, of course, Thailand started experiencing its crazy strict military coup and all sorts of things started to go as pear shaped as possible.

During week three of my vacation (aka: week two of hell-on-earth TEFL course) I sent my pastor a message which said something like this:

I don’t know if it counts as a miracle, but I hate teaching English so much that the degree thing is no longer a problem. I will never ever consider doing this as a career.

I also admitted that even though feeling this way is technically a disaster in the face of our plans, I am feeling quite content about it and not panicking at all.

He replied that peace in the midst of the unknown comes from God.

I have to wonder if that is what it is then: just peace.

I have absolutely no idea what we are going to do from here. We’ve talked about it a few times and the conversations have all branched off into quite extreme directions. I’m not even sure which ones were serious ideas…

But for now? For now I’m just going to enjoy this peace.

Later I might tell you all about why I think that TEFL (in Thailand at least) is a farce.

But for now? Peace.

I’m not even going to think about all the credit card payments I need to be making on a non-existent salary. That is future Nadine’s problem. Present Nadine is unpacking and playing with her kids.

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Why I need to learn to speak Thai ASAP…

NO-I-DON-T-WANT-A-F--K-N-SUIT,-TUK-TUK-OR-MASSAGE-TopsIt occurs to me today that there is an increasing number of stuff that I need to be able to express while I am out and about in this country, and my inability to do so is creating a bit of a wobble for me.

One of the main reasons that I decided that English teaching is not for me is this: English is my thing. I love English. I love communication. Communication, in fact, is my superpower. And when you put me in a classroom full of people with whom I cannot communicate, I kind of feel as though I have been stripped of my superpower. This leads to unhappiness. And the whole point of anything really is to not be unhappy…

So…here I am in this country where my snark and sarcasm mean nothing. My ability to express myself means nothing. I cannot even so much as order more than one thing off of any menu without being almost 100% sure that the wrong thing is going to arrive at my table. I will then not be able to communicate the mistake because in Thai culture it is considered the height of bad manners to embarrass someone by pointing out their error… *sigh* (more…)

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Perspective… (Alternative title: Let’s not freak out just yet.)

Photo on 2014-10-08 at 9.10 AM

I’m sitting in the breakfast nook of the Holiday Park Hotel in Lamai Beach, Koh Samui at the moment, drinking coffee and talking to you, while there are 21 braver-than-I-am souls currently on their way to a school, whose name I can’t pronounce, in order to teach a (large) group of children to speak English. At the moment I can’t really remember ever being happier.

Pure relief is highly addictive…

Some of you may know that Ty and I are currently in Thailand. We’re into the third week of four and we are doing a TEFL course and trying to establish if we really really would like to move here for a while. Correction: Ty is doing a TEFL course. On Monday evening I tended my resignation for this course which I paid way too much money for because honestly – I just could not deal! (As a quick side note: Ty seems to be enjoying it and has said he can see himself doing this one day if we decide to still move here so at least there’s that! He’s on his own though!)

For the last ten months I have been so lost in preparing for this trip that not once did a very pertinent question did not occur to me: What if I hate it?

And I do. I hate it so much that not doing it right now has been the most insane source of happiness. I almost feel bad for the others because they are all having a miserable time of it as well (something which the course administrators seem to find baffling…ok then….) but my guilt is most definitely being overshadowed by relief. (more…)

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Underwater Selfies

I just kind of felt the need to share my absolute love for my new camera with everyone. My God it’s been a long time since I’ve had so much fun. And I’m so glad I married my husband. Spending time with his is the best. Our trip so far has been awesome! I can’t wait to use this camera while snorkelling! I’m SO glad we were lucky enough to find it!!

P9220105 P9220107 P9220152 P9220154

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Suddenly….the Husband….

Hello to the three folks who read my blog from time to time!

This message is coming to you from my hotel room where I should be taking a mid-morning nap in an attempt to be well rested for our over-night bus ride to Koh Samui later. The husband has gone off in search of a giant swing that has Hindu origins (it’s close by) but I stayed behind because I need a break from touristing and because yesterday I had a yogurt that has somehow made me feel a bit off for the last 12 (18?) hours or so. Blegh. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t yogurt so much as it was a yogurt-like substance. I may have to stay away from dairy products for a while….

So, anyway. After admitting that I am taking a break from the bustling information overload that is Facebookland, I discovered that my husband has been sharing our daily photo downloads from my computer on (you guessed it) my very own Facebook wall. Boundaries… Apparently in marriage there are none. Anyway – I hope you all enjoyed those ten thousuand selfies that are of no consequence to anyone but the two people in them. I shall make an effort to squash my OCD need to make sure I haven’t “ignored” anyone’s comments in that regard.

Ag…buggerit… Let me pop in to say hi :)

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Bangkok by Tuktuk

P9210036Have you ever slept for 15 hours without being sick? Gosh! On Saturday night I passed out at 6pm (Thai time) and woke up the next morning at nine. We nearly missed our free breakfast!

Of course that wasn’t supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to be quite so exhausted on Saturday night. We were supposed to arrive at our hotel on Saturday at lunch time, and then rest a little. You know? I possess about as much spontaneity as a tree, so when we hopped onto a tuk tuk offering us a ride to a couple of temples instead of just grabbing something to eat and then heading back to our hotel room to rest after a sleep-less flight I must admit I was quite surprised with myself.

It didn’t take long to realise that when there are only two people in your travelling party, mastering the “selfie” becomes quite important. Luckily Tyrone sucks at it way less than I do so we managed to get a few pics with both of us.

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An Almost Facebookless Holiday

20140924_123209I’m sitting on a sun chair right now, being moaned at by my husband for posing for the photograph he is trying to take of me with my pineapple shake in hand. I think he likes the weird glass…. After three days of go-go-go, we’re relaxing by the pool with our books and some drinks. Being a tourist is hard work – especially if you’re like me and tend to spend most of your life on your well-cushioned bum in front of the computer. I should really take up something more active as a profession… Like tour guiding. Those folks are active! And super fit!

You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit scarce on the social media scene.  That’s not because my poor exhibitionist ass can’t figure out how to use the wi-fi. No, folks, I’m taking a well-deserved break from Facebookland. Why?

Well, because:

a.) Doctor Who spoilers

b.) Humans

I am quite enjoying living in this strange little world where I have absolutely no idea what is going on around me. Nothing anyone says makes sense – even if what is being said is said in English. I really like it. I don’t have to listen to/read a thousand opinions on the Oscar trial (yawn) or absorb all the new Nkandla hate. I can miss out on a couple of celebrity scandals for a while. And let go of the Koh Tao murders that were absorbing my psyche for a while. When I suggested a sabbatical from FB to my husband he was very keen, but he has caved the way a tourist should, I suppose, and hasn’t been able to resist pic sharing and the like. I kind of miss writing a little (and realize now how much effing around on FB “feels” like writing and therefore often takes the place of actual functional writing – gah!) so I may post on here from time to time. That way I get to kind of keep in touch but run way less of a risk of getting lost in an ever-consuming Facebook hole.

So yeah…. Don’t bother commenting on the FB link to this post which will automatically pop up on my wall in a little while. If you do, I will either not read it, or if I do manage to find it after a month-long holiday, I will know that you didn’t read the post at all.

I hope all of you are well. From sunny Bangkok I wish you all health and happiness!

I think I’ll have a watermelon shake next….

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Sad News for the White Temple

391726_10152856051925094_439141800_nI’m feeling a bit sad tonight after discovering that the White Temple has fallen into disrepair because of an earthquake. A year ago I was blown away by this particular work of art and I had hoped to take my children to see it one day. Sadly  I have no pictures of the inside of the temple, as cameras were not allowed. The outside is magical of course, but I found the mural on the inside to be quite profound and indescribable. The idea that it has been irreparably damaged is devastating. I can’t imagine how disheartened the artist, Ajarn Chalermchai, must be. How hopeless! I gues I should just count myself lucky to have experienced it in its full glory…

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Snakes in Bottles

IMG_4344I’m getting seriously excited about our upcoming trip to Thailand and I keep thinking about the trip I had almost a year ago which leads me to wishing that I had written about some of it at the time.  I suppose dragging a laptop around with me on holiday might have felt too much like work, but still, I should have done a bit of documenting. I plan to do a much better job of documenting my travels on our trip to Thailand in September, but it won’t be a rehash of the trip I had last May so it will be missing a few things.

One of those “things” will be a trip to Laos, which is one of the stranger places I’ve been to in my life, and I’m kind of sad that I won’t get to take my husband there because I think he might find it fascinating. I guess maybe we’ll get around to visiting the place at some point, but it definitely won’t be this year. (more…)

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I Just Pressed Enter

IMG_4837The three people who pay half an iota of attention to my incessant ramblings on Facebook may have picked up that I have plans to move to Thailand. Weird how these things work. You say the idea out loud and it’s fun to talk about and make plans but it usually feels like you’re having a conversation about what you plan to do with your fictitious lottery winnings. Well, after almost a year’s worth of “what I’d like to do” conversations followed by a few more serious conversations over this last month I have finally taken the first REAL  step into making this all a reality: I paid for something. In fact I paid a lot of money for something!

I decided in February (while I quietly sat in the back seat of my dad’s Volvo on the way home from a wedding in Cape Town) that the scariness of our plan was that we planned to just go to Thailand, do our practical TEFL course and then kind of “wing it” as far as finding accommodation etc was concerned – with three kids in tow! The thought was kind of horrifying. So, what I decided to do was somehow save up for a separate no-kids-in-tow trip to Thailand for just the two of us. That way Ty can be sure that he is definitely happy to live in Thailand for a little while and we can do our course and figure a few things out without the pressure of over-excited kids to entertain.

Of course this is easier said than done. My three most consistent clients have politely dropped me with a “we’ll be in touch” promise that has yet to be fulfilled. Bye bye finances! Of course no one is taking my calls. So “saving” is proving to be a little tougher than I had originally hoped. Luckily Ty’s Herbalife business is ticking over steadily so that helps a lot.

The point is: I paid my first payment on our TEFL course. The payment has gone off of my credit card. We have to be in Thailand (Phuket) on the 13th of October.  I am elated and terrified at the same time. But mostly elated because I just absolutely cannot wait. My kids are so excited. I am so excited. My husband is excited. There is happiness in my house.

Finances are just going to have to keep up otherwise I might have to exchange pics of my boobs for Kickstarter donations.

Actually….

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Maybe homesickness isn’t always about home…

969776_10152855981080094_805311745_nI’m missing Thailand. Have you ever felt like you were homesick, even though you were already home? I get that feeling sometimes. A little bit displaced. Frustrated. Like I’m supposed to be somewhere else, but there is no where else to be. I’m not missing a person…all my people are here. It’s a strange feeling.  (more…)

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Hard to be Home

IMG_4837I’m struggling to be home. Perhaps this is a ridiculous observation, but it has already been five days since I got back from Thailand and I am still trying to escape or downplay the suffocating mantra playing in my head: I’m sick of here.

I think I’m a pretty patriotic person. I get annoyed often when people piss off overseas to “escape” South Africa. You shouldn’t go somewhere to get away from somewhere else. If you want to go somewhere it should be because “there” is where you want to be, and not because “here” is where you don’t want to be. Does that make sense?

Except that I’m struggling with “here” now. I haven’t really before. Ok, I lie. I have once before. When I was 18. I am now 31. I should be a bit less crisis-sy. And yet all I want to do is pack away my life and piss off because I am so mind-numbingly over the proverbial rat race that I could scream. The holiday I took was supposed to fix that, but instead it seems to have simply accentuated it.

I think I’m tired of living in this Westernized world where everything seems to be about pressure. Pressure to have the right kind of job and make the right kind of money and drive a decent car and buy a house and have fancy gadgets and blah blah blah blah blah.

I met the coolest guy just over a week ago. Do you know what he does for a living? He hops on a boat and takes people to Phi Phi Island every day. Do you know what happens there? Nothing. You eat. You drink. You swim. You catch a tan. You snorkel. You do nothing. It’s fucking awesome. This man has the best job in the world. Every single day he gets to experience happiness. Because all that nothing comes with a fuckton of happiness that none of all this other shit we aspire to brings. He makes people happy. He gives people the experience of a lifetime. Every. Single. Day.

And what do we aspire to? Go to school. Go to college. Get a good job. Make lots of money.

Fuck that ideal. It’s stupid.

 

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Bucket List Check – Thailand

I wrote a Bucket List a little while ago. I know Bucket Lists are supposed to be a “before you die” thing but I think that’s dumb. I nearly said “no” to this trip. In fact I did at first. It seemed too overwhelming. Too expensive. Too “unplanned”. My brother and my folks qualified for a Herbalife holiday to Phuket and my brother asked me to be his “plus one”. Dreamy! I just need spending money and money for a ticket. Even so little seemed impossible. But somehow I did it. Which brings me back to the “before you die” part. Lately I have been asking myself why we continuously put the things we want off. Not everyone does that. I do. And then ten years later I wake up and go “But I wanted to do that! Why didn’t I?”

When I get home I am going to cross Thailand off of my Bucket  List. And then I am going to add many many more items to the list. And I am going to start doing them…

For now though I have 15 days of amazing ahead of me. Thailand has been my Number One country to visit for as long as I can remember.

And you know what? Making it happen wasn’t that big a deal! Even when strange unforeseen circumstances hit and I fell apart, it STILL turned out ok.

Say what you want about God, or religion, or faith. I  believe that there is a force out there that wants good things for all of us. And I believe that as soon as you take a step towards the things that you want (instead of merely staying in once place and wishing) an entire Universe starts to conspire in your favour to give you those things.

A part of me is sad to leave my husband and my baby sister and my baby behind. But leaving the opportunity behind would have been even more sad!

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One Week

Tropical beach, traditional long tail boats, famous Maya Bay, ThailandBy this time next week I will be on a plane. Well… I think I’ll be on a plane… I should really check the flight times… But yes… Sometime next Monday I will be on a plane to Thailand and at this point it could seriously not come soon enough. All I want to do right now is dig into my cupboard and start packing. No idea what to take really. I’m thinking an empty suitcase with plenty of space for souvenirs. Also my sanity. I should pack my sanity and try to glue it back together again with a bit of wine once I’m settled on the plane. Yes. Let’s do that…