The special occasion blues

Just one more of the joys of being an expat

Last Christmas, for example, I got to Skype-in for the entire typical set of Christmas morning festivities. With video sat right there in the middle of the living room, I opened presents with them, had the Christmas morning eggnog and even played a board game long distance!


The real heroes of the TEFL industry

I raise a glass to those teachers that simply keep on going

There is an old joke in the TEFL industry: "What's the difference between a school administrator and a brain surgeon? A brain surgeon doesn't walk around thinking he's a school administrator!"


St Patrick's Day in Bangkok

The party rages on

When it comes to needing a little taste of home every now and then, holiday or not, it's really hard to beat Bangkok.


The things I miss most

No matter how much you love living in Thailand, you can't have everything.

We are going home for a holiday in July and as the day creeps closer and closer, the excitement is building. Now I can name all the reasons why we left the UK but as most people reading this will also have the same or at least similar reasons, I thought I'd share my top five reasons I love going home for a holiday.


Notes from a small island

reflections on a trip back to the UK

England really does seem so expensive to me now. OK you expect to pay more for goods than you would in Thailand but this time I really noticed it. I paid almost twelve pounds for four standard-size single-cone ice creams in the village of Henley-in-Arden. It’s three pounds plus for a decent sandwich in Pret-A-Manger (almost five pounds if you have a bottled fruit smoothie to go with it) but for a sheer jaw-dropping, wallet emptying experience, how about five pounds for a large cappuccino and a muffin in Starbucks?


Bah humbug

spending Christmas in Thailand

I think teachers are divided into two camps at this time of year. Those who say 'bah humbug' and continue working as usual, and those who make a token effort to recreate the festive spirit in the comfort of their apartments - as difficult as that may be. Some might even be lucky enough to find the time and the money to escape to the beach for a few days. After years of treating December 25th as 'just another day' I now find myself with a house and a wife and I do everything possible to recreate some of the memories from those childhood Christmasses.


Back in civilisation

A trip to New Zealand

Although there were many things I adored about New Zealand, I was glad to get back. You miss the 'cheekiness' of Thailand. You miss the 'lawlessness' and the twinkle in its eye - however much they get you down at times.


Culture shock

Adjusting to a new life abroad

The transition to life in a new country means adjusting to a foreign culture. But what is culture? What is it that we are confronted with? Culture is a set of shared, accepted behavior patterns, values, assumptions and common experiences. It defines the social structure, the expectations and the norms of communication for a society.


The TESOL diaspora

Making the outside world a home

I feel that the TESOL community, (if indeed there is such a thing as a TESOL community), is at a crossroads. Since so few of us have ever felt really comfortable living in another man's land, our story is not only one of alienation. It is also one of fragmentation, disillusion, and dissimulation.


Letter from Thailand

A bit of good old English nostalgia

I didn't mean for this first essay to become maudlin or even nostalgic. I don't miss these things really. But I do miss the way that some of them made me feel.


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