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Welcome to my travel blog! Here is where you can read all about my experiences while traveling in Thailand and teaching english to children who don't speak a lick of it! I have links to my video blog and many pictures to share! I have no idea what I am doing and how I will do it and what I will do and who I will meet and why I am perfectly satisfied with all the What's,Who's,and Where's. Please comment if you have any tips or just show me some love!

Diary Entries

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Well, here I am back in NY, back in the city, back home. I am feeling weird and different. When I first arrived at JFK airport, I freaked and had a total culture shock. I was JUST getting used to the spiders, 4 people to a scooter, saying,"sawadee kah", and having the sunshine warm my face. I do not know if I am glad to be back. I am glad to see my loved ones and my dog of course, but something is wrong. I need the sand in between my toes, I need the sea breeze, and the warmth.

I decided to go back to Chicago for a lil while to figure things out. I know its far from warmth, but it will be my home very soon. I will always look back on my time in Thailand and smile so big. I was meant to go there and see all the things I saw. I will return again. But for now I need to answer this question, "Where is home?"

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Location: Thailand

The bus ride took 6 hours, I felt like I was in hell. The buses drive like maniacs here and they have no mercy. The kareoke was so loud, i still dont know why they blast music all day at school, malls, buses, markets, and even some beaches! Enough with the sad soap opera Thai music, its so dramatic. Its all about love triangles, she loves him but he loves her sister then she gets hit by a car and he feels bad and one kills herself. No wonder all the girls are obsessed with their looks here! INSANE. Wheres the happy love music?! Oh, and heres some advice for anyone traveling on a bus through Thailand: NEVER EVER USE THE BATHROOM ON THE BUS. I'll just leave it at that, you dont want to know what I saw and smelled in there, I actually dont even know what I saw and smelled.

Finally get to Pattaya, Khuna and Larry pick me up and all I see it traffic! Apparentley everybody from Bangkok goes to Pattaya to club and go to the beaches all weekend,I felt like I was on 42 street and 7th avenue in NYC. The energy was awesome! Everyone was ready to let loose and have a good time. We headed home and I took a REAL shower and passed out on my bed.

Next day I woke up refreshed and happy! I couldnt wait to eat food and relax. We go for breakfast and I get yummy green curry with of course some "Arroy Mak!",(means very delicious in Thai) Thai ice tea! my favorite. We talk about going to the tiger zoo to feed baby tigers, but I was feeling alil ill and didnt want to walk around at a zoo all day in the hot sun, plus it was saturday so it would be crowded.They decided I couldnt leave without seeing something called, "The Sanctuary of Truth." This place is a huge building all carved from wood. All different religious sculptures are carved inside, outside, on,under,and everywhere. There is not a spot without a religous face. I was stunned how big it was, 300 feet wide,long,and tall. There is not a single nail, all the wood is connected to eachother almost like a puzzle. They have been building it since the 1908s and it will take another 15 years to finish. It symbolizes that all religions are the same and all should result in love and not war, it was beautiful.

As we walked back to the car to leave, I saw a bunch of elephants. You can feed them for 30 baht. I took some bananas and started to feed a huge elephant, i swear it was a dinosuar. I was so freaked out, i never came that close to an elephant before. I looked in his eyes and he was so sad, they say elephants never forget, I hope he never forgets me. I was petting his head and massaging his tusk, I looked down on his ankle and a huge chain was tightly wrapped around him, so sad.

We then head home and get ready to go out dancing on walking street. Walking street was crazy that night. Its all good fun when you dont pay attention to whats really going on. So many people in my face with menus of sexual pictures and things i could chose from to go see in some nasty apartment down an alley. Everything from under age girls to having sex with midgets, i tried my best to ignore all of it. We had a great time other wise, this place called Lucifer was so much fun, I danced on stage for hours. We ended up at this place call Mixxxx and I found myself again...dacning my ass off on stage. Every bar we went to(about 100) I ran past everyone and jumped on stage and danced,thats what i like to do. I got lost for about an hour inside at one point, had no clue where the exit was or where the hell i was.Mind you, this club had 4 different floors. I went up stairs and went down clue, so i danced some more alone.It was pretty amazing, the clubs here are wonderful. I finally find everyone and we stumble home.

This morning, everyone was dead from drinking too much. I just went to the pool all day and took in the view and air on my last day here. I thought about all the experiences i had here and wondered when i would be back or if i would be back, i hope so. I cant explain in words everything i went through and what it really meant to me. All i can tell you is that I will never forget this and I couldnt be happier and more proud for myself. I had so much fun, met people I was meant to meet,and met a whole new world.

I leave for the airport soon(leaves at 5:45 AM) and I am actually excited to get home. I need to get started on many many things and I couldnt be more ready. Thank you Thailand.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Location: Thailand

It is so HOT out today, I cant stand it! But I should'nt complain, most of you are dealing with cold noses and huge coats. I am sad to say that I am leaving Thailand on Monday (14th), my travel through Thailand and teaching english has to end sooner than expected. I am sad but I also am so happy I had the chance to experience what I did. I have met so many people and learned so much about them and myself. My journey is not yet done, but with,"Pakdeechumpom Wittaya School," I am done. I hope to come back and teach here again, I fell in love with all of these children, the road here was short but very hard. I struggled with things that felt impossible and frustrating but, so worth it. I wouldnt change my experience for the world, cant imagine not having this memory to think about from time to time.

I will leave school in about an hour to go home, take a shower, nap, and pack, then my goodbye party. Most of the teachers and including the director will be coming, it should be a lot of fun and I intend to get very drunk. I want to celebrate and give myself a night to dance, drink, laugh, and forget what lays ahead for me...reality.

I know I am not ready to go home just yet, I am an explorer, I am a loner, I like to see, I like to learn, I like to be uncomfortable. But, It must end and I must face what I have been runing away from, planning my future, working towards something that will challenge me and I have passion for, I need to pursue my art and career.

I guess I dont have to leave home to have an adventure, I dont need to go acroos the world to Asia to be uncomfortable,to learn,to see,to explore. I can do that at home, I have been avoiding that for so long,too long. I kow I like to run away from things when they get tough or dont turn out the way I thought they would, I know thats my problem and I know I want to change it. Coming to Thailand was in my mind an adventure, and was, but also I thought it would cure my problems and my thoughts, it didnt. Thainland made me realize that I am far from my problems but they are bigger than ever, the more I avoid them, the harder they are to face. I have to face my fears back home, and I am not scared. These challenges I will never forget in Thailand made me stronger and more determined to get what I want out of life and to TRY. If i dont try then I will never get them and If I dont then I will get something better that I never thought I could have, thats life and it couldnt be better.

I am getting on a bus tomorrow in Chiayaphum that will take me 6 hours(sucks) away to Pattaya. I will stay with Larry and Khuna again and say goodbye to the ocean one last time and FINALLY take a real hot shower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 09 February 2011

Location: Thailand

I wish I had more money. I am so not done with exploring Asia, but im like broke and its time to go home and get my life together. I do miss NY, I miss brooklyn a lot, thats my home. I wish the weather and beaches could be in Brooklyn, that would be amazing. Ah! there is the biggest wasp circling my desk, GET AWAY FROM ME! Well i wont miss wasps, thats for suuure.

Im typing on Tiffanys computer and its french so forgive me if I have a bunch of typos, i do already with an american keyboard so whatever. Today is an OK day, its very hot,im very tired,and i feel kind of just blah. The lack of sleep is getting to me. I cant sleep well due to five reasons:

1) There is a real live dragon(pretty big) lizzard in my room that laughs and makes weird sounds.

2) Id like to say theres about over 50 spiders in my room alone. They just hang out and stare at me and i wake in the middle of the night thinking they are either in my ears, legs, or any hole i have thats good for a spider to lay eggs.

3) I have the worst allergies here and my face is bigger then my body,my lips look fake,my eyes are smaller than a rice grain and full of water, annnnd i cant stop itching. I think i look pretty hott these days.

4) My time difference is jacked.

5) the screach of a rooster combined with a dogs bark and cats in heat are not soothing to any ear.

But on a much better note, im falling more and more in love with my students everyday. The light up my life. I had a breakthrough with a student of mine who is the worst, hes so bad and never sits still. I finally sat down with him and taught him the lesson one on one and gave him all the time in the world without judgement to let him figure the lesson out. I treated him as a friend, not a bad student, but a friend that that I am trying to teach something to. All he wanted was attention and help. Thats what every child needs, they just want your time and patience,most teachers forget that.

After my class I went to play soccer with the boys and show them how its done! I used to play a lot and I have 4 florida state championship trophies to prove it! So, i was pumped and ready, I am a goaly, so i get in the goal, i took the ball to punt it and of course my shoe flys farther than the ball and hits a student in the arm, everybody died laughing. I am not as good as i used to be i guess. Its so hott out so i only play for a few, but i realized how much i really miss soccer and tennis. I need to get back into that ASAP!

Ok this wasp is out of control haha. I later had some lunch with the teachers and I wasnt interested in anything anyone was saying, i just wanted to play with kids, adults suck. I heard music from a distance and ran from the table to this huge room with mirrors and instruments everywhere. There were children playing guitar,bass,bongos,and a weird asain flute thingy. I got my camera out and started dancing, they loved it, they all looked so happy, made me happy. Then i got in on the bongos, they taught me how to play and now im a pro at the bongos, just like matthew mcconaughey(once arrested for smoking weed and playing the bongos too loud naked in his house,amazing).

Im so over everyones bullshit, not just here but in general. I mean, im in thailand teaching children and having the time of my life and people still manage to piss me off. I will never understand why people are so miserable and talk about other people for no reason. All the teachers here are just getting to annoy me, in a way that i feel like they are all my daughters and i need to send them all to their rooms. I am in the countryside of Thailand, i never expected to come into a materialistic, racist, highschool world. Can i give you an example? I grabbed a tissue from a tissue box and one of the teachers freaked out and said i needed to ask then 2 minutes later a thai woman grabs a tissue and nothing was said then i was laughed at and they began to gossip about it. WTF? Umm... you guys are all around the age of 30, you might want to atleast consider getting a life to focus on. Theres many more things, but I wont go into detail here because this blog is to explain my expeirence and I just dont think it deserves to be remembered.

Well, its time to go to my last class and get some yummy pineapple!

All my love to you all.

Monday, 07 February 2011

Wow! a semi hot shower! finally had one this weekend at a very nice hotel called, "Pima Hotel" in Kohn Kean, hotel only cost 1000 baht per night(30USD). Tiffany,Jermie,and I all needed a break from the country side for a night. Kohn Kean is about 3 hours away from where we stay. Benz had to take Dave and Jo lynne to their next homestay and two older people and an annoying dog that wouldnt shut up to ...i dont know,some other town. So all 9 of us squeezed in her tiny pick up truck, of course I sat in the back of the truck with Jermie, the older couple, and the dog that would not stop staring at me. I feel really bad for the dogs here, they are all so mangled and skinny:( Poor babies. Anywho we left around 7 AM and I had no sleep the night before, I tried to sleep in the back of the truck but the mountains and air were far too beautiful to sleep through.

We arrive in Chiayphum to drop off Dave and Jo lynne and catch another bus to Khon Kean. We say our goodbyes, and grab a snack. I will tell you now, I have never had a better donut in my life. There is a place called Mr. Donut here and I am obsessed! Theres this donut thats shaped like a flower with pockets of delicious sugary dough inside, I had like 4. The bus ride sucked, kareoke screaming in my ear...screaming! We get to the hotel and I just wanted to take a shower and go to bed forever. Nope! MALL TIME. The mall they have here is gigantic. We shop, get our hair diiid(blonder now) and meet up with tiffany's friends, Yoki,Pek and his girlfriend. We ate at a pizza restaurant and it was weird, gotta love them shrimp,squid,seaweed pizzas! We finally leave and go back to the hotel to nap and watch dramatic thai soap operas, either that or men who look like woman singing in a band or thai girls with no clothes on singing so strange about candy and god knows what. Very entertaining.

Time to go clubbing! We meet everybody at this place called,"U-bar." This club was a typical nightclub, you've seen one ,you've seen them all. We had a bottle of whisky and I bought everyone shots to start some conversation(awkward silence will kill me). The music was not too bad, cheesy hip hop remixed with horns and lyrics like, "shake dat ass, shake dat booty gurrl, get the shots out, take yo clothes off", you know normal club music. What was cool to see were the bands that played live, i think about 4 came on stage and each one rocked it! All singing in Thai, but it was catchy and fun! I tried to get up on this table to dance and failed miserably. I was in my dancing zone and i guess i like to climb things when i get excited? Reminded me when I used to go clubbing in Miami with Amanda,Mikeala,Katie,Carolina, Tara and other girls in highschool. We were so young and dancing on tables, drinking, wearing short dresses, and being in situations I will never let my daughter get into at that age. Weird how Im so young now but I already did the club scene, we were in South beach at the age of 16, partying...HARD. Now, im an old hag who falls off tables and drinks red wine.

We leave the club and I am beyond tired at this point, but of course where theres a club, theres a drama. Yoki's friend was talking to her ex who cheated on her after 7 years and blah blah blah....DRAMA. Conversations were mostly in Thai but drama is universal. Finally we all get back to the hotel and I pass out!

Next day, eat breakfast, get ripped off by the hotel and everyone else because were white. We get in Yokis car and leave. The drive back I felt my stomach starting to hurt and got depressed, the first sign of me being in a depressed mood will always start with my stomach hurting. I just thought of everything that I feared in life and unanswered questions and my mind was just all other the map. I tried to control it but it would not listen, so I just let it be. The more I try to put up my best fight, the bigger the war, so now I just let it be(or try to). We got home and Tiffany and I listened to music,talked,and watched Indian music videos, which are AMAZING. Time for bed. I crawl into my mosquito net bed and think of all the things I am grateful for and all the things I miss and all the things I hope for and all the things I want and all the things I cant have and all the things that dont matter and all the things that do matter, so many things I wonder about. I wonder why I wonder, I wonder why I cant just be fully in the present moment, I wonder if my mind will ever shut up, I wonder and wonder and wonder and wonder and wonder off to sleep.

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Recent Messages

From Kelly
Wow! Alex those pictures are incredible!
From Kelly
You are such a great writer and story teller...i belive THAT is your calling. What a great experience. Stay safe. we are all so thankful you have put this into words so we could experience it with you
love you alot
From cuzzzzzo sarah
I am so glad you got this experience...Life is full of them(as we all know) and even the ones that we cant stand are there for a reason, the easiest way to make it thourhg them is to find some kind of meaning from are wise beyond your years and believe that you will find happiness at home once you dedicatie yourself to finding it.
Maybe you should be an art teacher!! Pat told me he is going to be a teacher....
scary spiders in your room!eeeks, what a coooool experience that not many people have...see you soon miss you and love your writing
From mom
i love everything you are writing:)keep up the great work!love you.Mom
From K-Dizzle
HEY! wow alex, i just finished ready your novel of a post from Sunday. i never knew you were so deep. im SO jealous of you its I N C R E D I B L E!! im so happy for you i cant believe it. i want to skype with you...and i know the time different is 12 hours, so i figure 10am/pm is a good time for both of us? yes? no? let me know!
Response: hey! i dont have a camera for skype! im trying to firgure it out, and i only have the computer at school! im having an amazing experience, so weird over here. How are u!?
From Auntie Kim
Where are you?????
Response: Ah! i am at the school teaching english! holy crap this is amzaing kim! they call me Suay Kroo means beautiful teacher!
From mom
u are sooooo cute:)have fun!!!u only live once!kye is fine:)and i got a 2 bedroom place!
love you,mom
From kIM
Glad your having such an experience!!! Wish I could be so lucky. Words from the wise, be careful, have fun, STAY FOCUSED, meet lots of interesting people, LISTEN, and get as much info as you can! Also ... try not to have memoryless nights too often!!!

love you tons, kim, jay and winnie
From Kim
Keep it coming! You Are such agood writer. This is lime reading great new book I can't put down... Thanks to my surgery I now have something to look forward to every day!!!!!! I love you, tell larry and his family they are saints and alWays welcomed in our home! Oh and I know you have an angel and Larry is one So LISTEN to him don't be a hard ass all the time:) xoxoxoxoxkim jay and winie
Response: :)
From grammi
kim forwarded your, what a flight! glad you met someone so nice as the chinese lady! sure you've heard about kim, thank goodness she's home now, i'll be going there tomorrow to take care of her for a few, then j will take over..she's much better today(sunday)...let me know where you are and what's up....miss you but so glad you're doing this remarkable thing for children/it will turn out to be for u if you know what I mean..!!! i hated that will smith movie!
talked to your mom several times this weekend she was very concerned about kim, which was nice to hear.
i'm at work so i'll try to write more later...people are coming by to "drop off" their artwork for the next exhibit. maybe someday you'll come by and bring some of yours! much love and miss you, grammi
Response: ah! hi grammie this place is amazing. I met some many wonderful people from across the world! I am at school now at my desk preparing for my class! just had lunch but it was way too spicy! Love you so much!
From mom
so happy you are there and you are safe:)please email me to let me know u are okay!we miss you very much but happy u are doing this!Kye says hi:)take care little bunny:) miss you,love you,
Response: i miss my kye!!!!!
From Kim dixson
You are such a good writer! I love reading your blog keep writing makes me feel like I'm right with you! I'd much rather be where you are than where I am right now! I love you it looks beautiful!