Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Settling Down in Bangkok

After leaving the bank in Headland and saying my goodbyes, I was off to explore the Far East.   I blogged about that experience here.  Towards the end of my travels, I decided to settle in Bangkok, Thailand and teach English (ESL).  A couple of substantial reasons:  I was in love with Kade, plus Bangkok was a great hub for continuing my travels (in Asia and beyond) whenever I wasn't working.  

AUA Rajdamri, the English language school where I worked full-time in Bangkok
from 2000 to 2003.

These colleagues just happened to be in the teacher's lounge my last day.  Hope you can spot me!  We probably had 80 teachers overall.  The basic qualifications to teach at the school were a university degree and native English-speaking skills.  And we came from all over.  Of the teachers in this photo, Canada, the United States, South Africa, Australia and Great Britain are represented.  Of the six from the US, Alabama, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania and New York are our home states.   I can't say this enough, so I am going to reiterate it here:  The time I was in Bangkok, even if you narrowed it down to simply being around my colleagues at work and outside of work, was a time of tremendous learning for me.  Whether eating dinner numerous times with Emma (from England) as soon as work ended at 9 PM or taking a long weekend trip to Hong Kong with Steve (from Australia) or talking politics with Ross (from St. Louis, MO) in the lobby of a 5 star hotel many nights after work, it was a time of great growth for me - intellectually, and just as a human being.

One of my colleagues (not pictured) was from Indiana.  He ended up spending 22 years working in Thailand, six months in both Cambodia and Taiwan, and has already taught one year of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  Just recently, after pretty staying in touch with me over the past ten years, this friend came to Asheville, North Carolina to visit me and to ponder his Southern heritage. 

At AUA, I taught six terms a year, with approximately 100 students per term.  That's about 600 students per year for a total of 1800 students!  Below are pictures of a few of my classes.





in the back row

For almost a half year, at the same time I was at AUA, I taught Business English at Sasin Graduate School of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. 

Below is a picture of one of my classes at Sasin. 
After every term at AUA and Sasin, there were always students who wanted to treat me to dinner or throw me a farewell party.  To this day, I am still friends with a number of my old students.  On my return visits to Bangkok, I always arrange to see some of them.

Now that I have to wait in line to buy gas, I think back fondly to my days in Bangkok when getting to work meant jumping on the BTS (Skytrain) and simply walking to and from stations. I certainly was in better shape, and I didn't have to worry about filling up the car. Besides the Sky Train, the City of Angels has a brand-spanking new subway system.

my school (AUA) was near the BTS station.....see the line?

this school was much larger than my high school

Lovely buildings I could see every day from AUA's hallways

the BTS

After some unrest in Thailand a few years ago, a former student and current friend did volunteer work in the city.  Here she is near the front entrance of AUA Rajdamri.

This image I took in 2011.  
It's the hotel where I would often go after work to read the newspaper and chat.

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