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4 posts categorized "Cassie Cadime"

First Birthday Away From Home

Thanksgiving

I never would have thought that spending a holiday away from home would have been THIS hard. Thanksgiving was not the same this year. There was no turkey, no mashed potatoes, no green beans, or even pumpkin pie. Instead, I ate rice (what else is new?) and broccoli. It didn't feel right. But I made the most of the situation. I decided to at least teach about the wonderful holiday. Many of my P1 and P2 students had never heard of the holiday. I showed them pictures of the different types of foods that we eat and explained how it's a day to share all the things you are thankful for. What I didn't expect was how difficult it would be to explain the word thankful. None of the kids got it. So instead, I told them it's a day to share all the things you love. Immediately, they started shouting out all of the things they loved. We quickly brainstormed on the board about the things my students were thankful for. They then colored their own turkeys and wrote down a list of things they were thankful for. This year, I am thankful for my students and this incredible experience that is teaching me so much about life. I may have missed out on the turkey and pumpkin pie, but my students made up for it.  TempImageForSave
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School Duty

Every other Thursday, I have school duty. This means I have to get to school at 6:30 am and roam around the basketball court and watch the students who play and run around, making sure that no one gets hurt. The morning shift lasts until about 8:00am, when assembly starts. School duty picks back up around 3:30, when school ends. Some students go home, but many stay. They start to head home around 5:30 and most are gone by 6/6:15, when I finally get to go home. At first, I wasn't too happy about this added responsibility. But as I thought about the positivity in school duty, I realized that it was more time that I got to spend with these wonderful kids. It's more time that I get to learn about them as individuals. I cherish these moments with my students. It allows me to get to know them on a deeper level. I even get to meet kids who I don't have in my classroom. Last week, my students joined me and made me beautiful pictures. I was able to give them some words to spell to practice their English - they absolutely love learning about this language and the American culture. 

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School Fair

My students just finished their school fair performance. It was my job to pick a song and choreograph and dance to teach my P1/1 students. So of course, what did I pick? Let It Go, from Frozen!! To my surprise, some of the students had heard of the song, but didn't know the lyrics. Then there were others who had absolutely no idea what they were listening to. We spent the first few classes learning the song. Before our English lesson, students would practice singing the song. Once they mastered the lyrics, it was time to learn the dance. This was the biggest challenge. To teach students lyrics and a dance? Nearly impossible. BUT we did it! After weeks and weeks of practice, it was show time! One student gave an introduction, and another a closing statement. I was so proud of my students. Not only was I proud of them, but they were proud of themselves! Some pictures from rehearsal and the day of the performance!

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Weekend Travels

Koh Samet by Day

Koh Samet is a beautiful island off of Rayong, about 3 hours south of Samut Prakan. It was worth every minute. Mandy and I met up with our friends Ariana and Kathryn in Bangkok and took a 12 person van down to Rayong. From Rayong, we took a songthaew to the ferry! Before hopping on the ferry, we stopped at the cutest coffee shop for iced lattes and nutella toast! We then made our way to the ferry and enjoyed the beautiful 30 minute ride to Koh Samet. From the dock, we took another songthaew to our hostel, Sabai Sabai. What attracted me to this hostel? The name. Sabai means happy, a time when everything is relaxed and meant to be enjoyed. The definition of the Thai culture. We immediately dropped off our bags in the room and changed for the beach. Because Koh Samet is a national park. we had to pay a 200Baht fee to enter the beach. Man, this place was BEAUTIFUL and by far my favorite place so far. Everything was so tranquil and slow moving. We adventured through two difference beaches via songthaews. Dinner was on the beach. I enjoyed some som tam and pad thai, while listening to the ocean waves crashing along the shore. 

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 Koh Samet by Night

After dinner, we made our way back to Sabai Sabai to freshen up. We started the night by going to a fire show on the beach. Hundreds and hundreds of people gathered around and watched two men spin fire torches around in circles. The result was beautiful and so incredibly magical. The show lasted about 15 minutes. After the show, we were making our way to meet up with a few more friends. On our way, we made a slight detour and ended up singing karaoke in front of about 50/60 Thai people. They were cheering us on, some even joining us up on the stage. Safe to say, we were a hit!!  We ended the night with a neon party at a local bar! Oh yes, and my shoe broke. What fun! 

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Koh Samet by Morning

After only a few hours of sleep, I made my way to the beach to see the sunrise. I spent this quiet time to myself, truly learning to appreciate everything life has to offer. The good, the bad, the bright and the dark. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning." Man, God is SO good. Look at this beautiful sunrise in Koh Samet! 

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Birthday Weekend

I spent Friday morning sulking around school. This was my first birthday away from home. Away from my friends. Away from my family. And I was feeling the distance. I was so sad. But to my surprise, my co-teacher showered me with love. She pulled some of my students aside to sing me happy birthday while dancing around with balloons, bought me an ice cream cake, and even a small gift. This instantly turned my mood around. The love in Thailand is so strong. My birthday weekend was off to a great start! 

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Lopburi

Immediately after school, Mandy, Shane, Adriana and I made our way to the Bangkok Bus Terminal, where we then made our way to Lopburi, about 2.5 hours north of Bangkok. Once we got to Lopburi, this truck offered to drive us to our hostel. So we did it! Oops, sorry mom! We dropped our stuff off at the hostel and walked around to find food, but everything was closed. So what do you do when there's nothing to eat? You go to 7/11 and get toasties!! Basically a grilled cheese with ham - so yummy! We woke up the next morning and met up with more friends, Ariana, Emily, and Kathryn. Crazy, crazy us decided that rather than taking taxis around Lopburi, we should drive ourselves... VIA MOTOR BIKES! Again, sorry mom! BUT I did wear a helmet. We rented the bikes, and drove about 40 minutes to the sunflower fields! Man, these flowers were huge and so so beautiful! We snacked on some sticky rice and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day surrounded by sunflowers. Night time, I was showered in more love! My friends got me some cake and champagne! We ate a yummy dinner and finished the night off in a night market! The next morning, we visited some monkey friends! Thankfully, none attacked me! Lopburi, you were a huge success and made my birthday weekend one to remember! Here's to 24 and an amazing year to come! 

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Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment!

One Month Down

Well, it's official. I've been in Thailand for one whole month. There are days where this seems crazy to me and I can't believe it's already been a month. But then there are the days where I can't stop thinking about home and counting down the weeks until my return. It's crazy to me to think of all the things I have already completed in the few short weeks in my new home. 

I am currently living in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan (about 40 minutes southeast of Bangkok). Satit Bangna School, my new school, where I am fortunate enough to teach 1st and 2nd graders. I have three 1st grade classes and three 2nd grade classes. And a total of about 180 students. I meet with each class four out of the five school days due to the schedule rotation.

On my first day of school, we were asked to dress in formal Thai wear to celebrate the holiday of Loi Krathong. Loi Krathong is celebrated during the full moon on the 12th month of the Thai year. It is a Thai holiday that celebrates the Goddess of the Water. Thais show their gratitude by placing bread baskets or flower baskets down any body of water and express their thankfulness for using her water. By sending their floats down, they are also apologizing and asking for forgiveness for their pollution to such a beautiful thing. I was able to experience Loi Krathong during the school day with my new students, and also at night with some new friends. Such a beautiful holiday.

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Inside Satit Bangna

Learning to adapt to the Thai school system has been one of the most challenging experiences since moving to Thailand. Everything is SO different. Having to communicate with other teachers who don't speak your language is complicated in more ways than one. I've learned that being an English teacher in Thailand requires you to be part teacher, part actress... and it's actually quite fun. That is, until no one knows what you're saying, kids start rolling around on the ground, and no one answers your questions. I have become so reliant on my co-teacher, Dulce. She has been teaching at Satit Bangna for 9 years and knows the students very well. One thing I love about Dulce is that she does not tolerate ANY bad behavior. When she sees that I'm struggling, she's quick to jump in. However... she could handle the kiddos a little better than she does. She resorts to spanking and pinching. And when the kids are REALLY bad, she sends them into the hall and makes them do 200 jumping jacks. It's kinda funny, kinda not. BUT they do learn their lesson.

I have also learned that Thai kids are so incredibly loving. From hearing, "TEACHA CASSIE, TEACHA CASSIE" to "Teacha so beautiful" when I'm sweating my face off, to the many desk visits of smiling faces, these children make it all worth it. It has been such a joy to get to know my students. One thing I love about them is their unique names. Some of my favorites?  I-pad, Atom, New, G-Force, Toon, Bogie, August, Mykie, Teeja, Gun, Bam, Hi-Q, Champoo, and Model. 

Topics covered so far? The Zoo and Adjectives of Hair in grade 1. Weather and Clothing in grade 2. 

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Something else about school... school lunch. Holy cow, I have never eaten so much rice and noodles. It's all they eat here. Here are some pictures of lunch from school! 

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Noodles with kale and shredded chicken. 


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Chicken soup with noodles, soggy croutons, and chicken blood. 

 

Weekend Getaways 

Our first weekend in our new home, Mandy and I decided to stay in, clean the house, set up our rooms, and get some shopping done. Weekend two, we headed to Pattaya - about 2 hours southeast of Samut Prakan. After school on Friday, Mandy and I rode a van and checked into our hostel. The next morning, we took a ferry over to Koh Larn, the island off of Pattaya! We spent the day on the beach, making friends with the cutest puppy! We walked around a bit and explored the island before heading back to Pattaya. After getting back, we showered and got ready for a night on the town. We made friends with a Thai native, who was super helpful in getting us around Pattaya. We made our way down The Walking Street. Man was this place dirty. Not physically, but filled with GoGo Dancers at every corner. Not my style. So we walked past and made our way to a bar for a drink. After a few hours out, Mandy, our new friend Jwan, and I went to a local market for a midnight snack. So fun! 

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Weekend two was spent in Bangkok with our friends from orientation. We met up with them early Saturday morning before heading to Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the old capital of Thailand and is now home to many beautiful ruins. We spent the day traveling from one ruin to another via tuk tuk. 5 girls, one tuk tuk. Sunday morning was spent exploring Bangkok and finding some BAGELS! Oh man how thankful I have become for REAL food!! Also super thankful for meeting such great people already! 

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 Next up: Koh Samet! Stay tuned! 

Orientation: Check!

It all started off with four girls and twelve suitcases being crammed into one cab. Well, one suitcase actually made its way to the top of the cab... but that's besides the point! After making it to our hotel at 4am, Mandy and I rested for a bit before hitting breakfast. Noodles and rice, noodles and rice. It's all that is around, and literally all we ate. 

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Orientation started the next morning. I was excited and eager to not only meet new people, but also learn about teaching in Thailand. But doing the same thing each and every day became very tedious. My group sat in class from 9am to 6pm, learning about Thai culture, Thai language, and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Some Thai I learned this week? Hello - Sawadeeka! Thank you - Kobkunka! Ha! Yeah, that's it! I figured hello and thank you would get me pretty far.... or maybe not! 

Aside from eating rice and noodles for every meal, learning an impossible language, and learning to never talk bad about the King, there were some pretty fun things we did, too! 

First Thai Massage 

IMG_0483 Yes, you read that right. I took a risk and went into a place called "Good Massage". Along with two friends, I may have received the best hour long massage. For 300 BHT, or $10, I couldn't beat it. 

 

The Grand Palace

During orientation, groups D, E, and F toured the Grand Palace for our morning culture session. The Grand Palace housed the first 5 kings of Thailand, but is now only used for royal ceremonies and services. It is also the location of where the last king, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was cremated. He died last October, but was just recently cremated last week. The Grand Palace also holds the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is believed that by being in the presence of the Emerald Buddha, prosperity will flourish in your life. It was so beautiful to see people praying to and honoring the Emerald Buddha.

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 Bai Sri Soo Khwan

Bai Sri Soo Khwan was a beautiful welcoming ceremony that CIEE put on for the new English teachers. Thai teachers and leaders dressed in formal Thai wear as they welcomed us into their country. About 12 leaders and teachers sat in the front of the room and welcomed students individually. As they welcomed us and thanked us, they tied a white string bracelet around our wrist. They spoke Thai as they tied the bracelets, speaking protection and prosperity over us while in Thailand. It was just a beautiful way to welcome us into this beautiful country! 

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On our second to last day, all six groups took a 3 hour bus ride to Kanchanaburi. Kanachanaburi is home to many beautiful waterfalls, Chinese temples... weird, I know, and the Bridge Over the River Kwai. Although the tracks on the bridge are still active, this bridge is a popular tourist spot - surrounding many mountains and valleys in the area. 

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Bangkok Night Markets

Wow! You have never truly seen a night market until you've seen the ones in Thailand. There were literally hundreds of people shopping around late at night. Thais will set up their tents all night and sell anything from food to jewelry, clothes to shoes, and accessories. You can get your nails done, clothes tailored, or phones repaired. This market was truly one of a kind. On the bucket list... eat a bug! Check! I went down one row and saw a variety! They were staring me down, literally... I had to do it! What'd I pick? A grasshopper. Would I eat one again? Never!! But, I did it! 

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What Am I Doing?

For months, the idea of teaching abroad in another country was just a crazy idea that ran through my mind. I spent weeks procrastinating the job hunting process and instead, spent my time looking through different teaching abroad programs and researching different countries. I never thought that I would ACTUALLY do it.

Well, just three days from my departure date, I decided that I am officially insane. To hop on a plane for 22 hours, to a country that I’ve never been to, and communicate in a language that I know nothing about? Yeah, I’m crazy!

3 suitcases filled with what I think will be enough for 6 months; 6 months worth of teaching clothes, traveling clothes, swimsuits, towels and toiletries!

Welcome to my blog! I’m not really sure what the heck I’m doing, but I’m willing to give this thing a shot! Thanks for joining me! Let the adventures begin!

 

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