Greenheart & Xplore Asia

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I wish I bought this

I came across Greenheart after I joined a bunch of Facebook groups.

In January 2019, I was finishing up my practicum hours through the YMCA in a nearby town. I loved going and helping the students.

I ended up talking to this dude through Facebook who said he was sick of life in America and was going to teach in Thailand. I was on the same boat too, so I looked into Thailand.

7s everywhereeeee

Looking back on it now, signing up for Greenheart was a good decision. Would I do it again? Definitely not.

It was expensive but worth it because I was lucky to meet some great people. I ended up paying over $1400 to Greenheart, plus the flight which was ~$800, amongst other things. They give you a full breakdown on their website. I could’ve done all of the things myself, like I did with Korea (I ended up finding my job in Korea from a recruiter). Buttttt, going abroad for the first time by yourself can be nerve-racking so I do recommend going with some type of program for your first time. Unless you are going with a friend or something.

And again….

With Greenheart/Xplore Asia, they figured everything out for you…. job placement, visa, and they included an orientation week so that was convenient. I still had to do everything on my own AKA get my visa, get a background check, and a notarized degree. I do have to say it was less stressful going through a program though.

Christina and I got off at the Asiatique Pier and got some sushi. Yummm

Once I was ready to go to Asia, Greenheart handed me off to Xplore Asia.

Some guy picked me up at the airport and brought me to a hotel in Bangkok. That’s where I met Christina. We were the first two to get to Thailand. We were roomies.

I look back at my ride from the airport to the hotel and it’s funny cause my first time in Asia I was freaking out because I had no cell service from the airport to the hotel. But I was able to look at my Google maps to see where I was going.

If I were to take a taxi in the US alone for that amount of time with no service, I probably would’ve been in trouble.

The second time (AKA now) I was like “Yeah I won’t have a phone for a bit so here’s my email for my Apple ID. I’m taking a taxi from the airport to my apartment which is about an hour. I’ll let you know when I’m at my apartment” #noworries… I just got a phone plan two days ago.

I love cats

Once I got to the hotel, since we were the first ones there, Christina and I walked around Bangkok. We were right near the center. We went to a few temples, Chatuchak, and the Grand Palace so that was fun.

Our AC didn’t work…. That was rough. We talked to the front desk and once we returned it was fixed. We got some pad see ew. It was my first time having it and that was the moment I fell in love.

Thennnnn, once everyone from Xplore Asia was there, we were off to our second location: Hua Hin. That’s where we had our orientation.

Night Market with the Xplore Asia peeps

So, from Bangkok, we took a van to Hua Hin. It was about three hours.

We stayed at Glory Place Hotel and we were right near a Hua Hin Night Market which was cool. They had live music in English, food, and beer. Yay.

The first night we were all in Hua Hin, we went to a nearby 7 and got alcohol and drank near the pool. The pool had a slide which. Cool!!!! I split a bottle of Jameson with another girl in the program. It was a good time.

A song taew would pick us up and bring us to wherever we needed to be that day. Our orientation was a two second walk and in the same building as Wagging Tales Cafe. That place donated the money that was made to Xplore Asia’s partner company called Rescue Paws. So obviously I had to support every day of orientation.

During our orientation week, we went to a Muay Thai class, went to Rescue Paws, and went to our daily orientation classes. Plus we learned some Thai. The animals at Rescue Paws were adorbs. On our last day, we also took a cooking class where we learned to make my favorite: SOM TAM πŸ’œ It was aaaarrrrooiiiiiii.

Song tawes

We stayed at a hotel for the week. I roomed with the girl that was teaching in China. I think I snored too loudly cause she switched rooms.

Orientation week was fun cause we all got to hangout and go to a night market that was near our hotel. We listened to some Thai and English music, got food, and skedaddled.

We had ourselves a little fun night. We stayed at hotel and decided to walk to a nearby mall…..on the side of a highway. We walked on the side of a highway.. There were guardrails. But yeah it was uhhh weird? People beeped. But hey we were just some farangs.

last day of orientation

Our last night we went to a beach and had ourselves bonfire. The next day we were off to our towns. That’s when Amy, Dina, myself, and others went off to Bangkok to Media Kids. After Media Kids is when the three of us and the other Xplore Asia peeps split up.

Although the program was pricey, I am happy I went through with it because it was such a great experience. I made life long friendships. I also would have never went to Mahachai if I had never met Christina. Things happen for a reason.

Chaiyaphum, Thailand

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My first walk around the city

Chaiyaphum is about a 5ish hour bus ride to Bangkok. It was much more rural than Mahachai. I could cross the street without the fear of being hit.

The walk to school was about fifteen minutes and there was a 7 (of course) right down the street from me.

There were two bus stations near me (that I know of). The one that went to Bangkok was about a twenty minute walk from my apartment. The other one that we took to Chiang Mai was only thirty-ish minutes away from me.

I named this dude Bob

Xplore Asia placed Amy, Dina, and I in Chaiyaphum for the 6-week program so I was there from June-late July, 2019. Xplore Asia handed us off to Media Kids after orientation. Amy and Dina were placed at the same school but I was at a different one.

I spent the first two weeks in an apartment 5 minutes away from Amy and Dina. I made a few friends with some geckos and some worms that found their way into my apartment.

Tat Ton Waterfall

The last few weeks I moved into the same building that they were in and felt much more comfortable.

There were so many dogs in my area. Sometimes I’d bring a banana on my walk to school to feed the little guys. I felt so helpless. I wanted to take every single dog in and cuddle them.

One weekend I walked to this bar called Corner Bar with a few of the other teachers. It took like an hour to get there. That was a little fun adventure. They had live music and the girl sang some songs in English once she saw that we were there. It was a good time.

One or two of the weekends, Dina and Amy had English camp so I was by my lonesome. I doused myself in sunblock and brought my big water bottle and I was off. I walked for quite a long time. I think at least 2 cars stopped and asked if I needed a ride. I lolled. They thought I was insane.

I take horrible selfies

This sweet lady that owned a restaurant that we’d go to sometimes took me, Dina, and Amy to Tat Ton National Park. We just gave her some gas money and hopped in her van. It only took about a half hour-ish to get there. We only went to the waterfall. I wish we could’ve explored more. It was refreshing and awesome.

Black butterfly…cool

July 4th we had this party at a bar that we’d go to. It’s One Bar. I’d usually drink Jameson on the rocks. The owner (I think) was from the US. Or one of his good friends was, I forget. So they had a cookout. We listened to Party in the USA and other festive songs.

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July 4th cookout πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

That weekend me and some of the other Xplore Asia peeps went to Chiang Mai for the weekend.

The next weekend was a long weekend so a few of us went to the amazing Phi Phi Islands!

This dish was amazing…pasta and cheese… need I say more??
Karaoke time. Jbiebs, of course

There was a restaurant called Ghet within five minutes from my apartment. We’d have to walk by this house with these vicious dogs that would always bark at us. The dogs behind the gate would bark and then the strays would run over and it was just this whole scene.

We’d go to Ghet every so often because it was arrrrooi. It was owned by this chill dude. The menu was western and Thai food so it was a nice mix up. He was also the cook. He had a library upstairs for kids to read books. It was an adorable set up.

There was another room upstairs that was used to teach English/Thai lessons. The owner made a deal with the foreign teachers that if we went there once a week and hung out with the students who wanted to learn English, he’d teach us Thai for free. That guy was so sweet, as you can tell. I was only able to do it once. We played board games and card games for a few hours. It was enjoyable.

My last night in Chaiyaphum
Rachel, Dave, Anna & me

My last night in Chaiyaphum, we went to this random bar that was right near my apartment. This guy from the UK owned it somehow. We had a party for mine and Amy’s departures. I also broke my tooth there. I turned around and bashed my tooth into a beer bottle. That was painful but also I’m clumsy like that so I wasn’t even shocked. I got it fixed once I got to Mahachai.

This was a fun night

Although I spent such a short amount of time in Chaiyaphum, it was yet another great experience.

The Tremendous Thailand

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It’s funny because I didn’t even plan on going to Thailand until three months prior to leaving, but yet it was the best (almost) year of my life. I also never thought I’d ever want to teach, yet here I am. Choosing Thailand was like most of the other decisions that I’ve made in my life: spontaneous. I love taking risks and facing new challenges and I had never been to Asia before so I thought, hey why not? I’m always up to do whatever and sometimes I like being impulsive.

Wat Pho, Bangkok

I was planning on going to Peru or somewhere in South America but they weren’t hiring year-round so I had to look into other options. I talked to different people in different Facebook groups and ended up talking to someone that was going to Thailand. I looked into different programs and came across Greenheart. I signed up, had an interview, submitted my payment, and I was off. Greenheart then handed me off to Xplore Asia. From Xplore Asia I went to Media Kids.

I left at the beginning of June for my 6 week program. Those 6 weeks turned into 10 months.

JJ Mall

When I landed in Bangkok on the 7th, my roommate, Christina and I ended up walking around Bangkok since we were the first ones there. Most of the others landed the day after us. We ventured off into the heat and got to see some cool temples: Wat Pho, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.

Pad Thai Gung (shrimp)

I took my first tuk-tuk ride, which was amusing, pushed our way through the Chatuchak Weekend Market (also called JJ Market) and ate delectable Thai food. I just gotta say I was so happy to see a mall because it had AC and man it was hot. Also, tuk-tuks are wicked cool. I loved riding on those things, they are really exhilarating.

Muay Thai class

For orientation week we got to learn some Thai, went to a Muay Thai class and met some cute doggies there. I also met some cools peeps. I ended up going to teach with Christina in Mahachai (more on that later) and now I’m in South Korea with Jules (haven’t seen her yet, but once Covid has simmered down that will change).

Big Buddha Khao Tao

During one of the days of orientation, we took a hike up to see the a huge Buddha. It took about 15 minutes. In the heat it seemed like it was double the distance and double the time to get there. It was worth it though. The view was beautiful and the Buddha was huge! On the way up, we walked through a cave and pushed our way up the stairs.

TOO MUCH PLASTIC

Totally unrelated to this post but I remember seeing all of these plastic bottles on the way up to the Buddha. I cringed. And the thing is, this doesn’t just everywhere in Thailand, but it also happens back home. I sent this picture to a lot of people back home because I wanted to show them how all of the plastic that we use adds up. It’s hard to see the build up of these things back home because we throw them out (hopefully most people recycle) and then don’t even think about it. We don’t think about these types of things because it doesn’t impact us. The side note here is to RECYCLE. Or just cut down on the amount of plastic that you use 😊

One of the dogs from Rescue Paws

This cutie dog is from Xplore Asia’s partner company called Rescue Paws and we got to spend a few hours there. We took a few dogs to the beach and got to cuddle with some cats. That was hands down my favorite part of orientation, duh.

After orientation week, Xplore Asia shipped us off to our provinces. I was nervous, excited and confused all at the same time. And that was only the start of my life in Thailand. Thailand will be chill and calm but also make you question everything.

It’s hilarious because I look back on my first few weeks in Thailand and now I’m just like well that’s Thailand for ya. It just makes sense. My friends and I always joke because nothing in Thailand makes sense but it does at the same time. And that is just one of my many favorite things about The Tremendous Thailand.