Say hello to your Scrabble coach, kids.

I’m pretty sure I said ‘No’ when asked if I would do this. In fact, I’m 100% certain that yesterday when I was asked with pleading eyes and a desperate tone I stood my ground and said I couldn’t help.

I’ve never even won a game of Scrabble. Me and one of my bestests Cath spent many a rainy, hungover Sunday playing Scrabble (and even UNscrabble one crazy day – where you play the game backwards after completing a regular Scrabble game – I know, we are crazy word anarchists) and not once did I reign champion.

It’s not that I can’t spell; in fact I would like to think I’m pretty skilled in the spelling department – I can still remember proudly spelling out chrysanthemum to my Mum in the kitchen when I was a little kid at primary school. And yes, I just spelt it then without having to check a dictionary – get me. That’s why I put myself forward to coach the students for the Spelling Bee, to pass on some of my geeky word formation skills to my minions. No, it’s not spelling that lets me down in Scrabble, it’s tactics. Looking for that triple word score, creating three new words with only two new letters, fully knowing and understanding the bloody rules of the game – I just don’t have it in me. And so, when asked with pleading eyes and a desperate tone, I declined. I’m already helping out with the spelling bee – I’m good at that. Let me finally use some pre-existing skills in this job rather than constantly having to re-learn the English language. conjugating verbs and classifying nouns. I smiled sweetly and quietly suggested another teacher who isn’t already tied up coaching students, who kind of looks like he might enjoy the odd game of Scrabble or ten.

And so, when I arrived to the sight of the official South Thailand regional Scrabble contest information sheet and a yellowed and worn Scrabble dictionary I was slightly confused. I wasn’t surprised – I’ve been here long enough to know that nothing ever goes quite how you would expect it. I thought I said no to doing this yesterday? I smiled sweetly once again. Yes, you did say no, came the sweet reply. But you will do this instead of spelling bee, okay na? Okay…

And so you are looking at the new Scrabble coach for my school. I will soon be given 3 Scrabble loving students to train in preparation for the regional competition in August. I am under strict instructions that we ‘should to win this’. Armed with a twenty year old copy of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and not even a Scrabble set. No Scrabble set! Again, this comes as no surprise. Of course I should coach the students for the Scrabble competition without the actual board game – keep them on their toes and all that.

Looks like Tom and I might be sharing a few Scrabble and wine nights this term!

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Street animals of Thailand

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Driving back from school today we saw a litter of puppies on the side of the road and this little chappy and one of his brothers/sisters ran after us. They are too cute. It looks like this guy is the runt of the litter as he was about half the size of the rest of them. So adorable!! Don’t worry, I have no intention of taking any of them in, it’s hectic enough having rescued a kitten already.

When I first came to Thailand I used to feel so sorry for the dogs that live on the street – there are so many of them, especially around where we live. Don’t imagine packs of rabid dogs or anything like that; most of these dogs are pretty chilled out, have a couple of houses that they hang about for scraps of food and company. They are pretty well fed compared to the strays I imagine. Occasionally one will give chase when you pass them on a bike but that’s only them being territorial. I still wouldn’t like to walk around after dark though, and you do see locals walking about with a stick in hand ready to bat off any dogs if the situation came about.

On the subject of dogs, our neighbours have moved out and appear to have left their dog behind even though they said he was going with them. He’s a street dog but he belongs to them so much so that they moved house once before and took him with them. Maybe now that he has gone a bit scabby (I think he has mange – no idea how to spell that…!) they have decided to leave him behind. Poor thing. We chuck him some food out but you could tell he really loved that family, and he just seems a bit lost now. His name is Khao (white in Thai) but he’s not very white anymore. The neighbours said they would come back for him but its been a week already and there’s no sign of them. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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Back to School

After five or so weeks off for the Summer holidays it was time for a familiar sight once again. Seeing all of the students lined up en masse was a really daunting sight the first time I saw it but this time around I’m no longer a newbie and so it was my turn to watch the new teachers realise the sheer number of students that we teach. According to our school we have 3500+ students; either they are never all present at once or that number of students doesn’t actually look that big when assembled on a massive playground, because to me or doesn’t ever look like that many kids out there.

I have been assigned the task of teaching a bit of a mixed bag; some communication, some writing and some reading, to mostly Matthayom 1 students and some Matthayom 2’s. I’m once again lucky that most of my students are on a special programme of some sorts which means I get smaller classes, air conditioning, better resources and more advanced students – well, we will have to wait and see on that last point!

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Versatile Blogger Award!

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I was super excited and very happy to discover that I have been awarded a Versatile Blogger Award by Travel Fudge!  The versatile Blogger Award is passed from blogger to blogger to celebrate the range of blogs that are out there in the blogging world.

To accept the Award, you need to complete the following steps:

  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging
  • Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award
  • Share 7 random facts about yourself
  • Thank the blogger who has nominated you
  • Add the Versatile Award picture to your post

And so it is with great pleasure that I nominate the following blogs for the Versatile Blogger Award, in no particular order;

My Versatile Blogger Award Nominations

A Girl Called Emily

How Do You Document

TEFL and Louise

Teacher Ana

Teacher Kaley

ZoZo the Adventurer

TEFL Trail

I’LL BE RIGHT HERE

My So-called K-life

Semantic Encounters

Seoul Searching in South Korea

A Peace of Lauren

All in Czech

Enid’s Adventure Book

Anika’s Adventures

Unsurprisingly this list is almost exclusively fellow TEFL teachers, but I really enjoy reading about other people’s experiences – it seems there are a lot of crazy similarities no matter where in the world you end up teaching!

7 random facts about moi

  1. My name is Kylie (OK, we already know this), and yes, I was named after Kylie Minogue BUT it was before her first single.  I was merely named after an actress in the then-new soap ‘Neighbours’ before she was very famous.  So technically I was not named after a pop star.
  2. Despite being the ripe age of 26, and coming from Cornwall, I only started eating fish about 2 months ago.  Also, my Dad is a fisherman which further compounds the stupidity of my non-consumption of fish.  Think of all that free fish I could have had when I first moved out of home and lived off beans on toast!
  3. My biggest fear in life used to be mushrooms (completely irrational and now luckily becoming a mere dislike).  At one point in my life, at the peak of my mushroom fear, I couldn’t look at them or anyone eating them.  Now I can even pick them out of my food, (Mummy, aren’t you proud?!).
  4. Now I am simply irrationally afraid of getting my face wet.  People always ask me how I shower but it’s not that interesting.
  5. I can cross one eye (i.e. move my left and right eyes independently of one another) and this is often how my friends can spot that I’ve had one gin too many as it can happen involuntarily when I’m feeling a bit merry/bo-jangled/ [insert euphemism for being drunk here].
  6. I have five tattoos.  A Sanskrit prayer on my wrist, 2 swallows on my feet, a star on my elbow that I got done for charity and a random meaningless squiggle I got when I was 18.  Not much more I can say about that one really.
  7. I like to experiment with sandwich fillings.  My most recent discovery is a grilled cheddar cheese and peanut butter.  It’s surprisingly good.

And there you have it.  15 nominations passed on.   7 random facts.  And 1 very grateful acceptance of the Versatile Blogger Award.

A Word A Week Challenge; Orange

This week’s Word a Week challenge over at A Word In Your Ear is ‘Orange’.  I’ve been quietly observing this weekly photography challenge with all intentions of taking part but never quite getting my behind in gear in time to contribute.  When it was announced that the dictionary had fallen open on ‘Orange’ I instantly knew which image I could use.

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An early morning shot of young Buddhist monks collecting alms on the streets of Chiang Mai old city. 

Each morning at the break of dawn the monks begin their alms rounds, visiting houses where Buddhists wait with offerings of food and water.  After the offering has been placed within the golden bowl that each monk carries, the monk says a short prayer to bless the person who made the offering.  This happens every morning but I am usually fast asleep; I was lucky enough to see this happen on this occasion because I had just arrived on the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.  This was a rare peaceful moment in what was to become a weekend of Songkran festival carnage.