This narrative starts one lazy morning on the balcony of my room on Buddha Hill in Pattaya, I had recently learned that, due to an oversight in planning I had neglected to take into account the rainy season in northern Australia. This meant that some outback roads would be impassable and it would be necessary to delay my arrival there by 6 weeks.
While pondering this latest glitch to my plans, I was perusing a tourist guide of the area, when I spotted the perfect solution to fill the time with a productive learning experience. To adequately set the scene, I must digress and go back a year to my time in Antigua Guatemala where I was studying Spanish.
While on my previous years 6 month trip to Cuba and Central America I had taken advantage of opportunities to study Spanish for 5 weeks at 2 different schools in Antigua (both good it was just the circumstances of my return that caused me to change) plus 3 weeks of private lessons in Havana. Upon graduation from my course at the Guate-Linda Language Center, I was offered a position teaching English at the school when I returned to Antigua, as planned following my RTW. I tentivally agreed as it would give me something to occupy a few hours a week plus I could trade for advanced Spanish lessons. Also the fact that Guatemala has no requirements for teachers in private language schools was a bonus.
Also to be considered is the fact that the Greenland, European and Chinese portions of my trip have gone considerably over budget plus I made a couple loans that haven’t, as yet, been repaid, which had me wondering what could be done to keep from drawing on savings that I really didn’t want to touch.
Thus when I spotted the add by Text-And-Talk for their TEFL course, my eyes lit up and I wasted no time getting on their website to learn more. What I found was with the course I would be guaranteed a job (might not be the best job going but a job), the TEFL Certificate is recognized by the Thai MOE plus over 30 countries worldwide. Also as I had only done a limited amount of teaching some 35 plus years ago, it couldn’t hurt. This would alleviate my financial concerns and have the added bonus that I would not be limited to teaching in Guatemala. The result was that before the day was over I had signed up for the next course which was to start in Ko Samui March 1st and had made arrangements to head south to Kuala Lumpur to get a 90 day visa for Thailand as you only get a 15 day visa on arrival when entering the country by land.
Consequently I had a 10 day trip through southern Thailand and into Malaysia, even got to ride the Jungle Train up east coast and cross back into Thailand at the Sungai Kolok border which the Canadian government has placed on the No Travel list solely in a CYA paranoid gesture. Fortunately before leaving the hotel the morning I was to buy my train ticket for Ko Samui I received an email saying the course there was cancelled but I had the choice of starting one in either Bangkok or Pattaya the following Monday. Chose Bangkok and bought a ticket there.
Just to add to another twist to the story I shall take you back to last summer when doing some last minute shopping for my RTW I purchased a long sleeve semi-dress shirt as I was going to be cool in Greenland the first part of September. Now this shirt came with a matching tie (hadn’t worn a tie in over 10 years but packed it anyway. So when informed that a tie was required for practise teaching classes I had one.
Consider the facts, I was offered a teaching position in Guatemala, the only portion of my RTW where a significant error was made left me with 6 weeks to kill in SE Asia, I read the one brochure with Text-And-Talk’s add in it when I was planning what to do, I had packed a tie that I had no intention of ever wearing and now for the kicker, my mother (former teacher) whom always urged me to be a teacher celebrated her 90th birthday on the day I received my TEFL Certificate!
I will leave it up to you to decide if this was a case of Karma or Coincidence!
Photo by johmuk