As Sinead and I prepared to embark on our journey into the unknown, we discussed what we were letting ourselves in for. A beautiful crystal blue ocean, sparkling under the glimmer of the scorching sun above. Gorgeous clear beaches. Amazing weather. Paradise. Well, that’s what you imagine of a place that is being described as heaven. And we were on the road to TEFL Heaven…
However, we were soon to discover that TEFL Heaven was not quite the experience we imagined we had signed up for. Imagination and reality can prove quite different. Sinead was rapidly changing colours from white to green as we dragged ourselves, along with our giant suitcase onto the boat to Koh Lipe. To say we were feeling pretty rough was an understatement…the noodles in Bangkok had really not been kind to us and it was a miracle we’d made it onto the boat at all.
Anyway, we were all squished into a tiny space, holding on desperately to whatever we could as the waves flung us around as though we were in a tin can! Plastic bags covered our heads in a desperate attempt to escape the torrential rain. Sarah’s biscuits turned soggy. Suitcases bounced around at the front of the boat getting absolutely soaked and becoming dangerously close to bouncing overboard. And just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse…John threw up in a plastic bag, swung it around his head a few times, before finally depositing it in the sea. Heaven…TEFL Heaven…
Things were not looking much brighter as we hit the island. Being such a small place, there was no transport so we were required to drag our luggage all the way to our accommodation. Not a problem. Except I was feeling rough, and Sinead was practically already dead, so I had the sole responsibility of dragging a suitcase over twice my size across wet sand. Not an easy task!
Miraculously we made it. It was at this point we were finally acknowledged by the people who were supposed to be training us for a month: A scary looking Zimbabwean man, an awkward looking Indian guy, and two giggling Thai girls. Not quite what I was expecting. The fact that they had ignored us up to this point gave us the impression that they were not the friendliest bunch of people. And Dalton (the scary looking Zimbabwean) confirmed this as he assured us:
“You complain…and I will chuck you off this course, you don’t come to class…I will chuck you off this course, you get drunk…I will chuck you off this course.”
Thousands of miles away from home, and now trapped, yes TRAPPED on a island with a man who looks like he might murder puppies for fun. This was exactly my idea of heaven.