Q1. Where did you move to and when?
It was hard to leave Bangkok, but when I finally decided enough was enough I travelled back overland to England. Now I’m settled in Seville, Spain.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
Even though I was only in Thailand for about 8 months, a mere fraction of time compared to my eight years in Spain, my time there will always be special.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
There were a few reasons I left. The main one was because I’d been away from England for nearly two years. Before teaching in Bangkok I’d taught in Ecuador, Brazil and Australia and so I felt it was time to go home and see family and mates, especially after the Tsunami.
I’d also grown tired of the noise, pollution, and hectic lifestyle in Bangkok. I felt suffocated and needed a change. The school where I worked was run poorly and the strict catholic nuns kept us on our toes. I’d also become disappointed with the whole farang versus Thai teacher relationship. I tried to get on with Thai teachers but there was always a ‘them and us’ feeling in the air.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
The advantages of working in Spain are that I have full rights as a resident and annoying visa runs are a distant memory. I’m married to a Spanish lady without me worrying that she’s after my money (several of the guys I met in Thailand told me this after they’d been married a few months) and I can buy property in my name. The main pro is that I’m close to home and can pop back whenever I feel like it.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
I miss loads of stuff. Being able to live like a king on a teachers’ wage, the Thai food, the smell of the spices, weekend trips to Koh Samet and Koh Chang, the buzz of Khao San Road, crazy nights out on the beers with other teachers and expats, and the buzz of the unknown and adventure.
Mostly I miss the class I taught. They were a group of 11 and 12 year olds and they will always be the nicest and most polite class I’ve ever taught. I got to know them well over the 8 months and they were a joy to teach.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
I guess it depends if you want to settle down or not. I think it’s hard to settle and have kids in Thailand, I might be wrong, but I got that impression when I was there, you’ll always be a farang and will never be treated equally.
Spain is a great place to live, but it has its problems, especially at the moment. I’d definitely recommend Thailand though as a great place to have an adventure, see some amazing places and meet some honest fun people.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Not at the moment. My wife wouldn’t eat Thai food and we’ve got a baby on the way so I’m guessing we’ll be staying put for a while. I’d like to go back in the future though, just to eat pad thai again.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
If you’re thinking of going to Thailand then just do it. I had a great experience and it really opened my mind, even if it did make me realised that I wanted to settle somewhere closer to my family. I’ll always miss Thailand, but life goes on.