Moving to Thailand

I was laid off my job a few months back. I would have liked to continue working a couple more years to fund my 401k a while longer, but that's not going to happen. Unemployment checks have been rolling in but I suppose I'd prefer to be working.  Hiring is scarce for what I do anymore, I seem to be a dinosaur. So! On to something else.

I've thought about teaching English for a long time. It would be a drastic departure from what I've done for decades, and I think it will be generally a welcome change. I've always liked learning about the origins of words, I enjoy helping people learn, and it was pointed out to me the other day by a friend that I am too nice to be a business entrepreneur. I think it would be good for me to be on my feet more. I can see myself getting excited, jumping around and talking all day, trying to make learning fun. Do I sound like Principal Skinner? I did a little research and decided to go to Bangkok to attend a TEFL course. It was a surprisingly easy decision to move away from my home country for the first time. Is this better or worse than the CELTA or the others? I don't know, I didn't research it that much. There's a huge amount written about such things on a number of blogs, forums and websites, but frankly, I just picked this one because it's near the center of things and is the only one that does not take things at a breakneck pace. I hate to be stressed. This one seems to do an adequate amount of work getting you prepared, and it takes 6 weeks to do it rather than the 3 or 4 weeks every other places require. The price didn't seem out of line. There were enough good reviews about the course (and few enough bad ones), it's been in business long enough, so it seemed about as good as any. It may seem a rather lackadaisical approach to choosing a course, but there's a ton of them out there and after a while I simply got tired of shopping. The school seems to know what Thai employers want, they helped me to get a visa, so it's away we go. Bought a one-way airfare (!) and got an international drivers license, trying to get my ducks in a row. I'll probably stay at a furnished apartment called the Poonchock Mansion, or PMansion. It's not expensive, is close to the TEFL course, and does not require a long lease. No pool, but supposed to have a self-contained kitchen which I will probably make use of. 

I've looked at a lot of possible places to teach English. There are openings worldwide thanks to English being the language of commerce and diplomacy, so I expect the only hindrance might be my age. I'm definitely too old for some places. According to most accounts, Thailand is at the bottom of the pay scale, but is the most pleasant place to live. I have been there twice, so it's not totally new. It all added up to probably being the best option for me to get my footing living and working on a new continent. I'm a bit apprehensive about the whole thing and I'm looking for a smooth, easy transition into a new lifestyle that won't be too difficult. I'll take the course there, look for a job on the outskirts of Bangkok, and give it a year or so. The course will finish up towards the end of October, perhaps  that's about the time the second term for most schools will begin, and I'll be able to walk into some sort of position fairly easily. I really have no idea about what age group I'd like to teach. I tend to think I would not be so good around children, but I really don't know. I hope I get a chance to student-teach several age groups during the course, and I've thought about just showing up to observe courses in schools to see what it's like. I don't even have a clear idea if I will like doing this work. I will try to approach it seriously and with the intention of being the best I can at the job, and try to find satisfaction and fulfillment in the experience. 

It's just waiting now. Not too bad, hanging out here at my place in Vancouver, Washington, biding my time. Actually it's less than a month away now. I've paid my last month's rent on this place, and am quite far along in the process of liquidating most everything I own. I really want to have the minimum amount of things to take with me, no sense in taking much. Things are cheap to buy again over there as I need them. I've decided to take two musical instruments with me, I hope I won't regret that. Otherwise, just my laptop bag and a couple of suitcases. I've had about 100 ads up on craigslist for 4 or 5 months now, trying to sell everything from my old pickup truck to miscellaneous small items for $1, $2, $5 or so. I hate yard sales, I truly do. This hasn't been too annoying, just have to keep renewing the ads, make appointments when people are interested in individual items and meet them at the door to sell it. It's what I imagine having a store is like. Now I don't have any living room furniture, sold my dinette, got rid of my bed, miscellaneous small appliances, etc. Really just a mattress on the floor, a folding chair and a pile of things that I don't care about anymore. People still call about this and that, but I have only 2 big-ticket items left, my pickup and a 2 year old front-loading washing machine. The rest of the stuff can go to the Goodwill as far as I care. I've almost tired of playing shop keeper. It's sometimes an odd feeling selling everything I own. I never had really very expensive things, but many are things I've had for decades. Less than a month, time to begin drastically reducing prices!

This is what I got it down to. The boxes were about $25 apiece at FedEx, and they were great.
I think this amount of excess luggage was $175 or thereabouts.