We’re currently in Bangkok nervously awaiting the start of our CELTA course, we start next Monday! Since the last update we’ve finished our placement helping out at a kindergarten in Johor Bahru – exhausting but fun, had a few days in Penang to get our Thailand visas (much nicer than we found it last time) and had some time in Bangkok to chill out before having to do some hard for work 4 weeks.
Working at the kindergarten was a bit of a baptism of fire with regard to teaching children, on our second day we were asked to teach an evening class for youngsters at a community centre, they had workbooks to work from but we had to come up with some activities and games to keep them engaged, luckily we had access to the internet at the school so got some good resources from there.
We arrived during half term so the first week was mostly tutoring the children having extra lessons, once term started we got to teach the younger children at the school, they were aged between 3 and 6 years old and were working at different levels which made it a bit tricky in some of the classes, especially the 3 year olds who were really good fun but full of energy and not really inclined to sit down and work from a book!
Accommodation wise we stayed at the school which was a little bit strange to start with, we had a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom but it was a little weird eating our dinner in a classroom! Food was provided by a neighbour every weekday and Apple (the owner) brought over fresh produce for us to prepare on weekends, we got to try some nice local foods as well as some things we’d probably not want to try again (mostly tofu based!)
There were a few places to eat nearby too including a nice curry place so we got our fix of naan and chicken and an artisan type coffee place which seemed a bit out of place, a lot of Singapore traffic comes through the area so I guess it’s to appeal to them.
While at Johor Bahru we had our CELTA interviews via Skype, luckily we were both accepted and had some firm plans for the first time in a while. We needed a tourist visa for the course so after reading some recent horror stories people had been having at the embassy in KL decided to try the consulate in Penang, we’d been there before 3 years ago and didn’t enjoy it too much to be honest but this time ’round we had a much better time.
Somehow on our last visit to Penang we managed to miss a lot of the things we really liked this time, lots of independent coffee shops, interesting street art and some tasty food, perhaps the place has changed a lot in three years or, more likely, we rushed through last time and bypassed it all.
We stayed at a really nice place called Thirty Three Stewart Houze (why the z?!) where we had a cozy little room just off the charmingly named Love Lane, where there were coffee shops and plenty of restaurants plus a cat cafe!
We spent a day following he ton’s street art map which shows the locations of graffiti art and iron sculptures dotted around, we enjoyed a lovely vegetarian lunch at Woodlands Restaurant too.
With Thailand visas acquired we left Penang for Bangkok, we’ve given ourselves a week and a half before the course starts to get settled in
and finish off the pre course work, we had a couple of nights in the Khao San area for old time’s sake but now we’re staying at Isanook Residence near Silom, we have a nice little apartment with access to a gym and pool, we’re here until August 2nd, it’s nice to be able to stay put somewhere for a little while.
The course is an intensive 4 weeks so it will probably be after it’s ended that we post again, ta ta till then.