A Culture Shocked Wendy

After spending a couple of weeks on one of our projects, no volunteer wants to go home. I know I would rather wake up with a baby elephant in my back garden, playing with children who appreciate your love more than anything or helping those who are much less fortunate than myself, than spending 9-5 in a stuffy office worrying about staplers, invoices and work politics.

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Mr Incredible, certainly has a hard time adjusting to office life

Heading home is never easy when you have been having the time of your life for the past few weeks. In the same way that volunteers have to adjust to the customs and everyday life of Thailand, they also have to re-adjust to their lives back in their home countries. This is otherwise known as;

Reverse Culture Shock

I know that I had a really hard time when I first went back to England after being in Thailand. I found Thailand to really fit my personality and the way that I think that people should treat each other. Being back in England with a culture I am not fond of, weather that is bad to say the least and people who don’t treat each other as nicely as they do here, made me genuinely sad.

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When I visit Suvarnabhumi Airport I see a lot of people not looking forward to going home

I found it difficult to merge myself back with the routines and expectations of a Western county. For some people, they manage to slip back into their lives very easily, being only enriched with their time as a volunteer but some people however, myself included, find life lacking.

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Reverse Culture Shock can manifest itself in many forms from;

– Boredom

– Reverse homesickness

– Misunderstanding of your behaviour from others

– Feelings of alienation

– Negative feelings towards Westerners and

– Restlessness and being irritable

There isn’t anything wrong with feeling like this, but it can be very hard to adjust to going to back to your previous life after having such a life changing experience. The best ways I found to deal with Reverse Culture Shock was to just leave the country as soon as possible. I understand however that this is incredibly impractical for most people though so if you aren’t able to just up sticks and move then you can always try some of the following ideas;

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Talk About Your Experience

When you first get home, everyone you know will be desperate to hear all about your experiences and the adventures you have been getting up to. Embrace this time. Use it as a means to relive some of your most incredible, hilarious and meaningful memories. Sometimes just talking about what you miss will be enough to stop you missing it for a while; just be careful not to turn into the person that is always saying ‘When I was in Thailand…..’, ‘In Thailand…’, ‘That reminds me of when I did_____ in Thailand…..’. Your stories can become boring for people when you constantly tell them 😀

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Skype to the rescue; as always

Stay In Touch

Make sure to keep in touch with all of the people you met on your journey that mean something to you. Who knows when you might be able to meet them again. Losing connections with people that were involved in an important part of your life is terrible and something I hope never to do. Talking and keeping in touch with the people you met along the way is also a great way of reliving your experiences together so that you don’t ever feel too far away from your adventure.

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Scrapbooks or Photo Albums

I know this is definitely more of a girly thing to do but I can assure you, that if you pick up lots of small trinkets during your trip, like napkins from restaurants, cards from hotels, postcards or even something simple like leaves and keep hold of them, then you will be able to create something that you can look back on in years to come and smile at. I keep everything, so I have a lot of scrapbook type things, but if you aren’t the hoarding kind like me then photos, quotes or even written notes can have the same effect. Writing down hilarious things in the moment will ensure that you don’t forget them and when you look back on it in a year, five years or even fifteen years, you will remember that ridiculous moment.

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Stimulate Your Senses

A great way to get over Reverse Culture Shock is to eat your favourite foods from your trip. For me that would be any of the food I eat at Gois everyday, she has the best Goi Djab, Salads, Pad Thai and dishes I don’t think even have a name. If I went back to England and managed to find somewhere that could make those dishes I know that I would feel like I was back in Thailand; something that would definitely make me happy!

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Be a tortoise for a bit 🙂

Take It Slow

If you really are struggling to integrate back into your Western life then take it slowly. I know it can be terribly overwhelming to visit something as normal as a Walmart or an ASDA, when you have been used to living in the Elephant Village, or spending time with children who will never even hope to have access to such a large amount of food. I found it difficult to adjust to how much the Western world wastes in comparison to Thailand, here people make a living from recycling, where as in England people don’t really care too much about what happens to their trash. Don’t try to push yourself to adjust quicker than you feel you can and let people know that you are having some trouble so that they can help you as well.

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Plan Another Trip

This doesn’t always have to be back to the same place, for some, travelling itself it the thing that they miss. By having something to work towards that you know will make you happy will provide you with a distraction and also motivation; two things that will really help you with dealing with Reverse Culture Shock.

If you are wanting to experience our life changing volunteering projects for yourself then just take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page, there you will find everything you need!

After that you can always relive your Thailand experience or get excited about your impending one by following my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages.

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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A Weekend Wendy

Last week I posted on Thursday about how I was going to be going down to Bangkok to pick up new volunteers, well I did just that and took a few photos to show you what each volunteers first weekend will be like with Starfish Volunteers, and also what it involves for me.

For volunteers their time starts when they board the plane, for me it starts when I get my volunteer pick up emails and then my trip down to Bangkok. It was really strange to have to force myself to take pictures along the way as I am now so used to seeing the journey down to Bangkok. But I did make an effort and so this will be my picture essay about what the volunteers first weekend involves for me 😀

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Pre departure Goy Djab from Gois!!

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Beginnings of my 7 hour bus journey 😀

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Straight from the bus to a motorbike to get my first volunteers

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My most visited BTS Station; Phaya Thai

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This building always makes me think of sponge cake with jam layers 🙂

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Trying not to fall asleep on the BTS

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The ever changing skyline out of Bangkok to the airport

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My second home at Suvarnbhumi Airport

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First volunteers backpacks

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Taxi to the famous Khao San Road

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On the way to Khao San

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Went to buy train tickets but there wern’t any left!!

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Wonderfully helpful staff who helped with my train ticket fiasco

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Managed to get some bus tickets sorted!

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Waiting for another member of staff called Moon, to get some money to pick up the volunteers

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Another motorbike journey

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Hello again Phaya Thai station!

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Even in Bangkok there is still jungle 🙂

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Met this cute boy on the BTS

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Suvarnabhumi Airport; again……………………….

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Second trip down to the volunteer hotels

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So many stairs climbed this weekend!

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Finally get a chance to sit down and watch some AFL!

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Reminder notes for my volunteers

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A bit of Pokemon before bed I think

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I definitely don’t want to get out of bed this morning

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Ate SO much breakfast!!

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On the way to the Grand Palace for the Bangkok Tour

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Enjoying the beautiful silk at the Queen Siriket Musem of Textiles

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Enjoying some Pokemon whilst waiting for my volunteers

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The boat over to Wat Arun; this man is enjoying his paper

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Turns out Wat Arun is having some gardening work done 🙂

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Wat Pho is one of my favourite temples in Bangkok

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Got to drive up front with the Tuk Tuk driver; WIN

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On the way back to the hotel, and then BACK to the airport again!

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Oh hello stairs, why do I have to be on the third floor!

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Crazy busy on the BTS today!!

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IMG_0790Realised the ceiling in the airport was pretty interesting 🙂

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Driving back in the dark is always nice in Bangkok

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Finally on the bus back to Surin 🙂

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Finally back at home!!!!

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Playing even more Pokemon before bed 😀

So hopefully you guys liked this post, it is the first attempt at a picture essay; probably not a very good attempt but still…………. I tried right? 🙂 I didn’t want to take pictures of everything that volunteers see whilst on the tour as I think that that would give everything and wouldn’t leave anything for volunteers to experience on their own. Plus I also forgot to take a lot of photos that I had

If you want to know in better detail what you will be doing on the Bangkok tour or to book yourself onto a project then please take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page.

Then head on over to my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages, which I always update with everything I am up to, silly adventures and odd anecdotes about my day 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

Instagram

A Questionable Wendy

Seeing as 99% of people who read my blog don’t know me and I am terrible at writing a bio I thought I would do one of those old Facebook question note thing instead 🙂 I found this on my own Facebook from nearly five years ago and cringed at the answers I gave 55

Enjoy 😀

Pick out a scar you have and explain how you got it – When my face gets wet you can see on my left check that there is a lot of scar tissue that came from a very bad ice skating accident with me being the only girl playing British Bulldog. Needless to say, I went about 6 feet on the ice, on my face, because a boy couldn’t face being beaten by a girl 🙂

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My resulting face – beautiful right

What is on the walls in your room? – I don’t actually have anything on the walls in my room at the moment, I am going to be filling them with all of my Thai language revision though

What does your phone look like? – It is a 64GB white iPhone 5 in a green edged case with a lots of blue heart stickers that Nikki gave to me yesterday

What music do you listen to at the moment? – I have developed a huge love for Thai and Asian music in the last few months

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Bodyslam, possibly the most famous band in Thailand

What is your current phone lock and home screen? – At the moment my lock screen is Rainbow Dashs’ cutie mark from My Little Pony, and my home screen is the reflection of water on a thatched roof at my friends lake house.

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My lock screen

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Home screen

What do you want more than anything in the world right now? – To be fluent in Thai

What time were you born? – I think it was some time in the mid afternoon

What are you listening to right now?Kook Kao by Cocktail (click the name to check them out, they are really good; I promise)

Are you scared of the dark? – I am scared of the dark when I am inside but outside doesn’t bother me

What colour hair/eyes do you like on the opposite sex? – I have no real preference but everyone knows how much in love with Asian boys I am 555

Coffee or energy drinks? – Energy drinks, but I would always choose an ice smoothie over anything else

Cats or dogs? – Dogs are number 1!

What is your favourite pizza topping? – I can’t get pizza in Thailand sadly, but my favourite in England was the Chicken BBQ with bacon, sweetcorn and onion with a BBQ sauce base and stuffed crust. God I miss pizza!!

If you could eat anything right now, what would it be? – Well now I am desperate for pizza

Do you speak another language? – I am getting pretty damn good at Thai now

What was the last gift you gave? – I bought my big brother a crate of beer the other night

Are you double jointed? – In my thumbs I am yes

Who is the person you call the most? – Nangfa

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Miss her face so much!!!

What annoys you the most? – That it isn’t ok in Thailand to tell someone when they are being prat; sometimes people just need to be told that!

What is your biggest weakness? – That I am probably the most stubborn being on the planet

What is your favourite Western and Thai holiday? – Oh this is an easy one, Western holiday has to be Christmas and favourite Thai holiday is hands down is Songkran – the worlds biggest water fight

What were you doing before writing this? – Writing even more blogs 🙂

What do you get complimented on the most? – Thai people are obsessed with my skin being white and girls are always telling me how jealous they are! Western people always say I have nice eyes

What do you want for your next birthday? – I would really love a pair of high tops, sometimes I get tired of wearing flip flops and want to wear socks

Who are you named after? – I’m not so much named after anyone, it was just that my mum never knew a Wendy. My Thai name, Rung, is because I always have rainbow hair

Worst habit? – Definitely that I stay up for way to long on an evening

Where is your second home? – My big brother, Dooks house

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My big brother Dook and his beautiful niece, Per-sia

What was your favourite toy as a child? – It would have to be my stuffed lamb, very aptly named Lambsy

Most treasured memory? – I think that it would have to be when my sister and her family and my best friend, Aron, and my mum came to the airport to see me off. Everyone was in tears and I have never not wanted to stop hugging someone so much. My sister gave me a note that I read whilst waiting for the plane that made me bawl my eyes out!!

Best live music you have seen? – Speed hahaha But I think it would have to be Atreyu, they were so good, and made a huge effort to talk and interact with so many of their fans

Do you have any pets? – I did have a beautiful puppy called Skylar for a month or so but then was told I wasn’t allowed to have her anymore, definitely one of the worst moments during my time in Thailand.

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I miss my baby, Skylar, SO much!!!!

What is your favourite colour? – Always has and will be, green

What was the last book you read? – I have recently read every Game of Thrones book, which makes it very confusing for me when I periodically hear about events on the TV show and knowing that far worse things happen later on

What was the last thing you ate and drank?-Me and a volunteer called Alice went to Swensens, a beautful ice cream company, for dinner last night. The last thing I drank was water 🙂

Who was the person you spoke to on the phone? – I am always on the phone with Nangfa!!!

Do you believe in love at first sight?– I believe in love at first sight with Thai boys haha

Best present you have ever received?  – Even though they came from an idiot, the best present I ever got was my CCM Ice Skates

Do you have any siblings? – I have a beautiful older sister called Emi. A younger brother called Josh and my Dads wife is currently pregnant with a baby girl 🙂

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Sibling in progress

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Baby brother Josh

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Big sister. Emi, and her son, Reuben

What colour hair do you have? – I have every hair colour!

What was the last thing you watched? – I have been obsessed with Jeremy Kyle lately haha

Summer or winter? – I adore Winter but now live in a constant Summer state

What is your favourite movie? – Tangled is by far the best movie of all time, oh and Josie and the Pussycats, and Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves!

Have you met any life changing people in the last year? – I think my two best friends in the world Aron Jackson and Anya Gartside would be at the top of that list, closely followed by my big brothers Dook and Tee.

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Aron on his recent volunteering trip to Africa

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My homeslice Anya

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My brothers, Tee, the one on the left, and Dook on the right

Morning or night? – Always night

What is your full name? – Wendy Ann Victoria Reece

If you could be an animal for a day, which animal would it be? – It would have to be a snow leopard as they are the coolest animal on the planet!

You get granted one superpower, what do you choose? – I think teleportation would be the best thing in the world, I could go to all the places I have always wanted to go!

What is your favourtie smell? – Bacon. Bacon and bacon.

Hopefully these silly questions will give you a bit more of an insight to me and my life and will mean that you understand my madness a little better from now on 😀

If you want to volunteer with a mad woman then take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page.

You can also always check out my TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages for more of my silly antics!

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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Wendys Top Ten Thai Dishes

After the last post about the amazing food you can get everyday here in Surin I was thinking about what the top ten dishes might be, so I posted up on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about what dishes people loved and needless to say I got more than 10 different dishes!!

Everyone knows what my favourite is but I know that other people like different things like the super spicy papaya salad or any of the fish dishes. So after looking at what everyone has told me and my own knowledge of Thai food I have finally put together this list of the Top Ten Thai Dishes, hopefully your favourite dish made the list!!

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10 – Khao Soi

This dish was suggested by our own member of staff Dan, who works on our Koh Samui, Teach and Beach Project. Khao Soi is a Burmese influenced dish that has two variations to it. The first is the Lao version which is a soup with noodles, pork, lots of veg, chilies and lime, the second is the Northern Thai version which is made with coconut milk, lots of lime, egg and noodles. Both are super tasty and can be made to the spice levels of your choosing.

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Always a hit with volunteers

9 – Kai Pad Med Ma Muang – Chicken with Cashew Nuts

Lots of volunteers eat this dish on a regular basis due to it not being hot. Newcomers to Thailand find that they can’t always deal with the level of heat found in Thai food so this is a great beginners meal that can have the spice level increased as you become more accustomed. The dish itself is made from stir fried chicken that is sweet and salty as is normally accompanied with mushrooms, carrot, soy sauce and a serving of rice; my tummy is already rumbling.

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A Thai staple

8 – Pak Boong – Morning Glory

No it isn’t what you first thought; cheeky!! Morning Glory is a green vegetable that is found and enjoyed throughout Thailand. It is normally cooked with lots of garlic, birds eye chili and oyster sauce. Now I can’t take any heat, at all, and I can manage to eat this; the chili adds a flavour not heat to this side dish.

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The famous Red Thai Curry

7 – Kaeng Matsaman – Massaman Curry

Massaman is a red Thai curry dish that is Muslim in its origin, this means that it is normally served with beef, duck or chicken, you can add pork to this dish but this is not what it was originally intended for as pork is not allowed to be consumed by Muslims. This curry dish is made with coconut milk, bay leaves, cinnamon and the massaman paste, it is normally accompanied by a serving of rice. If you are on the Elephant Project then Worn will cook you a beautiful chicken version of this at some point during your stay.

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Can you handle the heat?

6 – Som Tom – Papaya Salad

A dish that is originally from the North East of Thailand, Papaya Salad is not the feint hearted. It is the Thai version of Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. This is because of the incredible heat that the mountains of chilies used in this dish generate, it is also cooked with tomatoes, garlic and a little soy sauce. Believe me when I say that even Thai sweat when they eat this, I would recommend you try it if you think you can take the heat but make sure you have a bottle or seven of water on hand to try and cool your mouth down!!

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The authentic Thai flavour

5 – Tom Yum Goong – Spicy Shrimp Soup

This is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand as is available all over the world due to its distinctive aroma and taste. It is made from lemon grass, chili, lime, mushrooms and shrimp; it is spicy so just prepare yourself for that haha It is most commonly eaten with rice but can be made with noodles as well, it is a very famous Thai dish and something you have to try at least once. The flavour is quintessentially Thai and something that will always remind you of your time in the Land of Smiles.

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One of the most famous dishes to come from Thailand

4 – Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a Vietnamese in origin and was renamed Pad Thai when the 1930’s Thai Prime Minister,  Luang Phibunsongkhram, re branded it in order to promote Thai nationalism and centralization, it was also pushed as a meal in order to reduce the heavy reliance on rice; Thailand’s number one export. Pad Thai is one of Thailand’s oldest meals and is eaten by everyone, it is stir fried noodles, traditionally served with egg, fish sauce, bean sprouts, coriander and either chicken, shrimp or pork. It is found all over Thailand from the street vendors on Khao San Road to some of the most expensive restaurants in Bangkok.

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Omelette and rice, a traditional Thai meal

3 – Kai Geo – Omelette

Thai omelette is one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten, it is so far and beyond omelette in the Western world. I don’t know whether it is the inclusion of tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander and whatever meat you want or if it is just some Thai magic, but Kai Geo has quickly become a staple of volunteers, who often eat it as a meal in itself. It is a great option for vegetarians as well as it contains lots of veg and spices but not always meat. I always get an omelette on top of rice dishes as I think it makes the dish more substantial and fills me up for the whole day.

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One my favourite Thai dishes

2 – Goi Djab

I have mentioned Goi Djab in previous posts and I always try to take each volunteer to try this amazing dish which is originally Chinese. It is a thick noodle soup dish with large flat noodles, lots of garlic, beansprouts, fish sauce, egg and normally eaten with chicken sausage and pork on the bone. It is also great if you add crushed up, dried, chicken skin; I know this sounds gross but trust me, it is really good! Goi Djab is known as the hardest noodle dish to cook, which is why not many street vendors cook it, restaurants will sometimes have it on their menu but not always, so when you find somewhere that offers it, you should definitely snap it up.

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One of the most simple but delicious Thai meals

1 – Khao Pad – Fried Rice

Now I know that fried rice isn’t the most imaginative choice for number one but after looking at what everyone on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were saying it would seem that everyones favourite meal tended to have a base of fried rice, whether it be with shrimp, pork, chicken, beef or fish. This very simple and traditional Thai dish can be made into the King of all meals depending on what you put into it, you can add fruits, vegetables, meats and a whole array of spices and chilis and it will always fill your tummy and leave you feeling happy. As everyone knows, I eat Pineapple Rice everyday, it is beautiful and has such a wonderful blend of sweet pineapple with salty chicken and sour lime, you just can’t go wrong in my opinion.

But whatever your favourite Thai dish is, just make sure that you try lots of different dishes and open yourself up to things you might not normally try, you might be very surprised indeed 🙂

To get the oppertunity to try all of these beautiful dishes and more, then you need to get yourself over to Thailand! One of the best and most life changing ways of doing this is with volunteering, so take a second to check out the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand for what you can do, take a look at the Tumblr for a little inspiration.

And as usual, check out my TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages in order to see what I am up to, eating and all the adventures I seem to get myself into 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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What Would Wendy Eat?

After my post yesterday about how much you should realistically be spending whilst volunteering with Starfish Volunteers, I got a couple of messages about good places to eat in town, so this is my list about good places to go. I was going to post the ‘bad’ list of places to go but that just seemed a bit mean to me haha So I thought I would just give you a run down of some of the most popular places to eat near your volunteer accommodation as well as in the town of Surin.

Food is one of the things that Surin is famous for and I can certainly see why from the amazing and cheap food the locals make everyday, I could eat constantly here and never be tired of the beautiful and locally sourced meals. I would like to point out that I don’t eat western food so the restaurants and places I visit are primarily Thai, some of them do offer some Western food but when in Rome do as the Romans do right?

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My daily Pineapple consumption

My hands down favourite place to eat is the ‘Pineapple Place’. This is a small restaurant that is set off the side of the road near the volunteer houses and the staff office, it is a two minute walk from both locations and will be the best two minute walk of your life as it ends at this restaurant. Everyone knows my favourite dish is their ‘Chicken Fried Rice with Garlic and Pineapple and an Omelette’, but if this doesn’t tickle your fancy then you can also try their ‘Pad Kee Mao’ which is known as ‘Drunk Noodles’ if you literally translate it.

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A yummy plate of Pad Kee Mao

No it doesn’t contain alcohol so you won’t be getting drunk off it I’m afraid. It is basically pork that is cooked with a whole load of Thai magic including fish sauce, basil and a little chili, it is then served with either noodles or most typically rice. It’s super tasty and always a crowd pleaser! You could also try their ‘Pork and Basil’ dish which is beautiful, it is known as ‘Cow Pad Krapao Moo’ by the locals and is a rice based dish with pork and lots of basil.
The best thing to do at this restaurant is play food roulette, which is basically where you just point to something on the menu that is all written in Thai and you have to eat what you given to you, the dishes are normally between 35-50฿.

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I love every meal that Goi makes but her Goi Djab is the best thing in the world!!

Another great local place is Goi’s, she is the sister of one of my best friends and makes the very best ‘Pad Thai’ and ‘Goi Djab’, everyone knows what Pad Thai is and ‘Goi Djab’ is a thick noodle soup dish with chicken and pork with lots of garlic and beansprouts. I have eaten Goi Djab every place I have travelled in Thailand and no place has even been close to the one that Goi makes, make sure you try it out, all of Goi’s meals are around 35-50฿ each.

Another very Thai thing to have for dinner is DIY BBQ, near the volunteer accommodation is an all you can eat version of this where you pay 140฿ and you basically just go and pick up the raw ingredients you want to use and use the pan/dish heated by hot coals in the middle of your table to cook it all. You can do it as simply or as complicated as you like, I love to get chicken, bacon and one or two pieces of fat to keep the pan from burning and just cook it all with the soup around the base which I add loads of sweetcorn, basil, kale and morning glory too. I also make sure to have a huge supply of pineapple on hand as well, as everyone knows I need to eat pineapple everyday!!

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BBQ is a very popular dinner event for Thais, no two pans ever look the same haha

You do share your pan with other people on your table so just be aware if they don’t like anything like seafood, beef or even meat at all. I always make sure not to sit with the people I know are going to cook seafood as I don’t want to throw up on them 🙂 it certainly is interesting to pay to cook your own food, just make sure you don’t pick up more food than you can eat as you get charged for anything you leave.

If you fancy more of a restaurant/bar to eat at then volunteers normally end up at ‘Up’ which is a nice place that serves mostly Thai food but also some Western food, their prices are normally 80-200฿, so it isn’t the cheapest place and is notoriously slow when it comes to making food. The atmosphere is great though, they have big screen projectors that show all the football matches and they have several local bands playing every night as well.

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I promise you it tastes better than it looks 🙂

A lovely restaurant called ‘Corner Garden’ is defiantly more of a restaurant type place, you eat outside in a beautifully made garden and can eat anything from ‘Snake Head Fish’ to ‘Who Make Her Pregnant’, admittedly they don’t have the best translation but they have a very large menu of traditional and modern Thai food that is similarly priced to Up. Tony Jaa, the famous Muay Thai actor and fighter, basically Thai Jackie Chan, is seen regularly at this restaurant as well! Corner Garden is about a 10-15 minute walk from the volunteer houses but is definitely worth every step.

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Don’t let the rugged look of street vendors deter you from trying out the food

Everywhere in Thailand has food carts that make several delicious meals for diners who sit on plastic chairs and eat and makeshift tables, I love to eat at places like this as they make amazing, cheap food. My favourite one in Surin is the number 4 noodle place outside of the Vocational College in town. It doesn’t have a name, it is just a stand in front of a print shop that has a number 4 in the bowl of noodles pictured on the top of the cart. The noodles and dumplings here are absolutely incredible and cheap at 35฿ as well, seats are very limited so if you want to try this place try to go at the quieter times of the day so you can sit down and enjoy their beautiful food.

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Street food is so tasty and very diverse, chicken and pork on sticks are the norm here in Surin

If you aren’t feeling Thai food for the day and you want some Western food then honestly I am not the best person to help you find it haha I don’t eat Western food as I feel it doesn’t have as much flavour as Thai food and certainly is not as healthy for you. But, if you are just desperate for a burger or some chips then you can venture to either of our 2 KFC’s, one is in Big C and the other is at Surin Plaza. You could also try Chesters Grill which is found in town, next to the Apple store, they sell spaghetti there which is actually pretty good and even comes with garlic bread!!

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Chesters Grill is a Thai company that makes Western food with Thai influence

Volunteers often like to eat at a place called Starbeam,which is run by a foreigner and they serve lots of Western food for reasonable prices, it isn’t the 30฿ of street restaurants but it can be as much as 150-300฿ for meal. There are also other Western food restaurants in Surin, one called Green Mango that we occasionally take volunteers to for their welcome meal, but like I have said before, why travel half way around the world to eat and do what you could do in your home country. Immerse yourself in the local food culture and you certainly won’t regret it.

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The nightmarket sells everything from food to DVD’s and clothes

Every village, town and city in Thailand has several different kinds of markets, wether it be shopping or food related. I would always encourage you to go and visit the local night market, near the train station, and sample all of the delights that they have there. The great thing about the night market is that a lot of the food available is small sizes so you can try and experience lots of things without getting to much of a food baby. You can try everything from local sushi to a traditional dessert made from banana leaves and sugar, chicken skin to ice cold smoothies and every kind of meat on a stick to crunchy pancakes. Volunteers love to challenge each other to eat the bugs here and I can honestly tell you that they aren’t that bad, yes they are crunchy and have a slightly odd taste to them, but in general they just taste like soy sauce and salt.

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All restaurants by their vegetables and ingredients from local night markets

But no matter what you choose to have for lunch and dinner, just remember that variety is the spice of life and if you never try anything new from a different culture, then you will be hugely missing out. Countries are so diverse because of their culture but also because of their food, in Thailand, food IS part of their culture. I always get greeted in the morning by the house cleaner Lek by her asking what I have eaten so far today. Thais eat all day and love to do so, which has resulted in the amazing evolution of their food culture, don’t let something out of the ordinary scare you into not venturing out of your comfort zone; the first day I was in Thailand I ate a cockroach and honestly it was the open door to a whole slue of other weird eating habits and experiences 😀

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Markets are a huge meeting point and are enjoyed by everyone from school girls on their way home to people who just fancy something different for dinner

Just enjoy your time and even if you do have a bad eating experience then you can always look back on it later and realise it was actually hilarious and something that will then bring a smile to your face instead of a frown.

If you want to experience all this beautiful Thai food with me then you will need to sign up to one of our incredible volunteer projects, take a look at our Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand for what you can do. Have a look at the Tumblr if you are wanting some inspiration about which project to choose.

And as always, make sure you keep up to date with me at my TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages where I have several pictures of the beautiful and delicious food I eat everyday.

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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