Five for Friday: Why I Love Living In Thailand

One of the mums at my school is making a series of videos* asking people What makes you smile about Thailand?  Earlier this week she coerced a group of us to have a go in front of the camera… and I did completely rubbish!  There I was, a true lover of Thailand, I’ve written countless blogs about why I live here and how amazing it is (alright, I have also written a fair few that say the opposite…) and all I managed to string together was a few feeble sentences about the animal life here.  FAIL.  In my defense, it was the end of a particularly long day of meetings and running around.  But I do feel the need to redeem myself and show some love to Thailand.  So here it is – my top five reasons why I love living in Thailand.

Videos that you will NEVER be having a glimpse of following my poor performance.


1.  You can break the rules. I’m not making any claims of being a major rebel without a cause, but there’s something exciting and freeing about knowing that the rules here are made to be broken.  If there are rules at all.  Need to move the contents of your entire house balanced on your moped?  Go for it.  Three four five whole family on one bike?  Why not!  Health and Safety – what’s that?  It probably makes for a very dangerous existence, but I much prefer it to the red tape of the UK.

Far too many people in this truck, but handy to know I can get away with this should I ever need to transport a football team.

2.  The food.  ALL of the food.  My belly may not love me for it, but I just can’t say no!  Before I left the UK I was a crippingly picky eater – while I may not be embracing the pig’s entrails or the chicken’s feet, I am most certainly loving the food out here.  Thai food is spicy and fragrant and sour and spicy and sweet and did I say spicy?  And don’t get me started on the amount of fresh fruit available – I have recently developed an addiction to dragonfruit – one a day for about three weeks.  Still waiting for a polka dot poop though.

PicMonkey Collage

Admittedly, this is Indian food… but still in Thailand, cheap and waaay better than anything I have ever had at home.  Not to self – photograph more Thai food before inhaling it…

dragonfruit

My new obsession…

3.  The weather.  OK, I didn’t want to be a cliche and here I am saying I love the food and the weather… but it is true!  Admittedly, I have a particular issue with rainy season that i have (probably incorrectly) attributed to Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder… but when it is dry and sunny it is just THE BEST.  Especially since I made the move to Phuket.  Beaches on my doorstep.  Yes, it can get TOO TOO HOT in April, but as long as you choose to lay in the sun in easy reach of some sea/swimming pool/[insert any body of relatively clean water here] you’ll be alright.  I mean, we can have BBQs for about 8 months of the year.  Beat that England!

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I took this picture last month in rainy season.  RAINY season.  The sun even manages to be better than your average summer day in the UK during the rainy season.

4.  My animals.  One of the great things about living in Thailand is being able to rent a lovely house on an amazing bit of land and having the freedom to have my own animals.  Back in the UK I lived above a shop of rented a house where I was admittedly allowed pets but they weren’t allowed to be furry and had to live in a tank AKA no fun.    I love being able to have my cats and my Patchy dog and now I have added a flock of chickens to the mix because, why not?  The best bit is that most of my animals have a pretty cool story attached to them, being rescues or found abandoned or simply adopting us out of the blue.  I love that Thailand had made me love animals!

PicMonkey Collage (1)

Many, many animals…

5.  Mai Pen Rai!  I wholeheartedly appreciate the mai pen rai attitude to life here.  Mai pen rai = no worries, forget about it, it’s aaaallll good in the hood.  Thai people are smiley and friendly and more often than not, willing to let things go when you pull a cultural boo boo.  Living in a land where it is very easy to slip up and potentially offend (and I have a post coming very soon just about that so watch this space) that is a very welcome approach to life!

Tomorrow is another day… mai pen rai to the troubles of today.

Just as I was about to post this, I noticed that my friend and fellow Hat Yai Mad Hatter posted exactly the same thing on her blog last night!  That is some spooky, next level, parallel universe kind of stuff going on there.  Head on over to check out Teacher Cola’s blog – she’s braver than me and even makes YouTube videos too!


Why not join in and leave a comment below on what makes you love where you live….

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Ban Koh Lone School – my Snapchat Story

Earlier this week I visited Ban Koh Lone School on the small island of Koh Lone, just off the coast of Phuket.  The island was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.  I went along with 2 colleagues to carry out some preliminary checks before we go back in a few weeks en masse to redecorate the library and the 2 classrooms still in use.

It’s been over 10 years since the tsunami hit and I would hate to see what is left of this place left to rot and ruin.  I’m really looking forward to helping out this small community – a little bit of help can make a big difference here.

Here’s my Snapchat Story from the day to give you a feel of the condition of the school and this island.  Apologies for the poor camera quality, I will be taking proper kit with me when we go back to do the volunteer work in a few weeks.

Hibernation Complete.

Every time it happens.  And every time I fail to see what is happening to me until it gets too late.

Rainy season.

Every rainy season, without fail.  The rain comes, the sun goes into hibernation.  My summer sun-kissed-ness (new word) fades.

Every.  Thing.  Is.  Damp.

And somehow I let myself become the weather personified.

I am the cloud.  I am the rain.  I am the doom and gloom and I forget why I ever came to Thailand.  A brief internet search has me self diagnosing myself with Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder.  Which I probably don’t have considering I have survived many a grey Autumn/Winter back home in the UK.

My facebook news feed fills up with friends enjoying ice cool ciders on a Cornish beach.  With festivals and BBQs and all that is wonderful and right about a British summer.  Deck chairs.  Pimms.  Sipping Pimms in a deckchair.  I even find myself thinking about the bloody seagulls.  Yes, I miss those flying vermin that snatch tasty treats right out of your hand.

I can’t believe I would ever find myself hankering after a BRITISH summer.  They aren’t exactly renowned for being that great.

The blog all but dies, and Facebook has a wonderful time reminding me of posts I had made when I first came here and rainy season was just a bit of exciting weather and everything was new and exciting and inspiring.  Now I have nothing new or exciting or inspiring to post about.  I am sorry dear readers, but I am beyond the point of writing just for the sake of it.  And I am sure that you are glad of that.

But times are a’changing my dear.

Today is November 1st – the first official day of high season here in Phuket.  And, same as every year, it’s like someone has flicked the sunshine switch back to ‘ON’ and it is glorious and beautiful and all things that make the weather in Thailand wonderful.

Today I am feeling thankful.  Thankful that the sun has finally made an appearance that will hopefully continue for the coming months.  Thankful that I can once again wear my summer dresses and my flip flops and have beach trips on the weekends and BBQs in the evenings.  We may not be able to have a glass of Pimms but I can make a bloody good attempt at making some sort of Sangsom based summer cocktail.

I realise that as you read this in your Autumnal homeland with Winter drawing in and the prospect of not only rain, but sleet and snow and de-icing car windscreens and frozen pipes and… here I am complaining about a few months of rain.   But it’s all relative baby – and I should count my lucky stars that it is hot once again and that I have survived another rainy season.

#firstworldproblems?  I got me #Thailandproblems.  And I would rather make it through a thousand more rainy seasons than ever have to de-ice my car or wear thermal underpants ever again.

Time to once again start loving my Thailand life.  Expect more blog posts soon.  I am out of hibernation once again.

❤ Kylie

The Thailand Diaries: Mr. Parasite and the case of the missing toilet

After three years living in Thailand I decided it was time I wrote my memoirs… this one may be a little too much information for some but if you can’t tell your diary, who can you tell?


My tummy had been doing somersaults since I had woken up but I had put it down to whatever undoubtedly spicy-fried-stuff-with-rice that I had eaten for dinner the night before.  It’s not unusual to feel every single digestive movement within you when you are embracing the local food in Thailand.

Little did I know that there was a particularly pesky parasite harbouring within my body waiting to burst forth – quite literally – and make an appearance.  Only time would reveal this, and my what timing Mr. Parasite had.  I would soon find myself wishing I had listened to my gut’s grumbles with more attention but we all know that hindsight, and a rather memorable toilet (or lack thereof) experience, is a gift we cannot savour until it is already too late.

Perhaps someone reading this will learn something, and my experience will enable another to avoid what was unavoidably my fate.  Read on and take note, dear reader.

As I have already said, I was embracing the local cuisine of Thailand’s deep south, and so I found myself heading over to a little khao geang (literally rice curry) place at breakfast time.  It was owned by a lovely couple who would rise early to prepare an array of dishes to be laid out buffet-style for the customers to peruse and take their pick of.  As is usual in these set ups, the shop was in the front of their house, backing on to the living room which they shared with the patrons.  Unusual by Western standards but very much the norm here in Thailand.  Another rather un-Western thing – customer toilets are few and far between in these types of establishments; this fact would become all too apparent all too quickly.

Grumble.  Groan.  Squelch.  I looked at my breakfast of spicy-fried-stuff-with-rice and was unable to conjure up the slightest inkling of an appetite.  Strangely enough, being able to feel your internal organs in action tends to be quite the appetite killer.

Grumble.  Groan.  GRUMBLE.  GROAN.  Suddenly the urgency with which my insides operated reached a peak with only one message.  TOILET.  NOW.

Mee hongnam mai ka?  Possibly the single most important phrase to learn upon travelling to any foreign land – do you have a toilet?

The husband-wife curry shop duo looked at one another and then at me, in my white school shirt and pencil skirt.  They started to explain that it’s their toilet, it’s no good for customers, especially not farang customers in tight skirts… but I was already up and heading to the back of the house where their gazes lead me.  Tee nee ka?  Here?

I was  in there before they had time to answer but sure enough I found myself in what must be the family bathroom.  A damp concrete square of a room with a concrete floor and only sky where a ceiling would normally take residence.  Good for ventilation I suppose.

GRUMBLE.  GROAN.

I desperately cast my eyes around, looking for the bog, the loo, the porcelain throne… nothing.  There was a small container of water, adorned with wrung out flannels, an old bar of soap and a couple of toothbrushes.  Next to that, a larger bin also full of water with a Winnie the Pooh children’s cereal bowl floating in it.  A quick peek beyond and I found a hole in the ground.  A hole, albeit encircled with a porcelain frame, as if to confirm that yes, this is in fact the toilet.

Full disclosure: I should probably apologise for the misleading title of this post – there was a toilet, just not the type that I am used to.

My pencil skirt was too tight to be hoicked up and so I whipped it off and flung it over my shoulder.  I’ll save you the details of what happened next but let me tell you that Mr. Parasite put me through my paces.  Epic toilet times – a rite of passage when adjusting to a life abroad but something best enjoyed (wrong word) in the privacy of one’s own home.

Something you learn quickly when you are traveling through or living in an Asian country is that there is a distinct lack of toilet tissue, especially in those countires that favour a bidet hose, or bum gun as I like to call it.  In fact, you quickly learn that we have developed a whole load of unnecessary Westernised expectations when it comes to the toilet.  We don’t need toilet seats, automatic flushes or jet powered hand dryers, but at some point we decided that we do.   Had I had the time to think things through before my rush to the toilet I would have grabbed some paper towels from the table.  Again, hindsight.

Unfortunately for me it was a double whammy.  Not only was there no toilet but no bum gun either.

Panic started to set in.  Do I shout for someone to bring me some tissue?  There isn’t even a bin.  Not an option.  There I was, squatting askew a hole in the ground, half dressed with my skirt slung over my shoulder desperately looking for a post-toilet clean up solution.

There’s only so long one can stay in such a position without taking action.  I was time to go truly native, armed with gallons of water, a Winnie the Pooh children’s cereal bowl and…

… my hand.  Oh yes, native indeed.

Thank goodness there was an old bar of soap.

At the time I have to say that wasn’t one of my most pleasant mornings, but at least now I can look back and laugh, and I can face any toilet situation safe in the knowledge that it will never be that traumatic ever again.


I may look back and find this funny, but many people don’t even have a hole in the ground let alone clean water to wash with or even drink.  Check out the gifts you can buy over at Water Aid  to enable people to have access to clean water and village water systems. 

This isn’t a sponsored post, I just want to make up for laughing at what is a daily occurrence for so many people around the globe.

TEFL 101: Skype Interview Success

So you’ve done your research, searched high and low and had some positive responses from your application emails – yay you!

As with any job, you will be expected to go through some sort of interview process before landing yourself a TEFL job.  This interview process will vary greatly from place to place, from vigorous multiple interviews and teaching demonstrations to a more laid back ‘just doing this for a formality’ face to face chat.

Due to the nature of TEFL work taking place across the globe, and that most undertaking a job search are doing so from a different country than their destination of choice, more and more often the go to method for TEFL job interviews is via Skype.

Interviewing via Skype carries its own positive and negative points.  For some, a layer of nervousness is removed by the virtual setting.  For others, the thought of adding the extra potential complications of technology – laptop, webcam, internet – in fact adds another layer of things to worry about.

Time zones

If you are looking at TEFL positions, it is likely that you may be interviewing for a job that is in a different country and therefore different time zone.  Most potential employers will take this into consideration, however it is likely that the interview will need to take place during their office hours, and so you may have to make some compromise.  You may find yourself with an interview in the middle of the night or extremely early in the morning – be prepared for this!  Another point on the topic of time zones – triple check the time difference and confirm the time of your interview in both your local times – you don’t want to end up sat in front of the computer at 9 am your time when the interviewer meant 9 am their time, which isn’t for another seven hours…

What to wear

Just because you are interviewing virtually, it doesn’t mean that you should be any less prepared or should take your interview any less seriously than if it were face to face.  It may seem odd getting dressed up without leaving your front door, but you really should dress just as formally as you would for a regular interview.  Yes, technically you could wear your pajama bottoms and fluffy slipper with a shirt and tie on top, but what if you need to get up to get something, or if the camera slips and your outfit choice is revealed?  Not only will it be ever so slightly embarrassing having your dodgy bedroom attire revealed, but it will also reveal that you don’t consider this interview to be as serious – not the best impression to give to a potential employer.

Location, location, location

You may be more comfortable perched on the end of your bed, but it doesn’t really set the right tone for an interview and you are risking having your potential employer spotting all sorts of things (I’m not even going to go there…) – choose an area of your home that is free from distraction, preferably well lit (near a window for natural light if you can) and that doesn’t suffer from bad internet signal.  If you have pets, shut yourself away from them (a visit from the cat may be cute and funny but could completely throw you if you are feeling a little nervous) and the same goes for people.  I think that most people would prefer to interview alone but if you have an overly inquisitive housemate, politely tell them to get lost and leave you alone!  A sign on the door to warn others away in a busy household will also help you to avoid having anyone burst in unexpectedly.

Double check EVERYTHING

Get yourself set up at least 30 minutes before the pre-arranged interview time.  Make sure that your internet connection is running smoothly and that your computer is ready – Skype installed and updated (the last thing you want is for Skype to start updating when you are expecting an important call in 5 minutes), no task bar full of internet windows and unsaved word documents (this will only slow your computer down and may cause unwanted pop ups or other distractions).  Carry out a few test calls on Skype to make sure that your audio levels are OK, and open up your webcam to check the camera angle and lighting.

Your secret weapon

The beauty of having your interview on Skype is that you can have a variety of things within your sight that can’t be seen by the interviewer.  Do your research on the school and the specific job you are going for  and have some notes to hand – think about the person specification and how you best fit and make yourself a list of things to try and include in your responses when being interviewed.  Try to make your notes using key words rather than full sentences; you want to remind yourself of key points to mention rather than providing yourself with an autocue.


Your computer is all set up, you are in the perfect location free from distractions, at the right time, dressed to impress and with your prepared notes within view – if you have done your research on the job you are interviewing for, all you can do now is be yourself, SELL yourself, and hope for the best.  GOOD LUCK!

Do you have any Skype interview tips that I missed out?  Feel free to leave a comment below – sharing is caring 🙂