Sawadeekrap from all of us here at Starfish Sangkhlaburi!
Ok, bit of a weird blog post this week as I’ll be interviewing myself!
So please let me introduce you to, well, me!
Name: Ali Robertson
Where are you from? Runcorn, Cheshire, England
What is your role within the Starfish Volunteers Sangkhlaburi team?
How did you come to work for Starfish, and how long ago did you start?
I came on a Starfish Volunteer tour in August 2012, and can honestly say it was the best month of my life. I loved Thailand, especially Sangkhlaburi, and the projects they were working on here. I knew I would always come back to Sangkhlaburi one day and I came back to work for Starfish Volunteers one year ago.
What was your favourite part of the trip?
Teaching English at the school. The children there are really smart and polite, and are already pretty good at English. They repeat the things they learn…. repeat it exactly how they hear it. So to hear 30 Thai kids repeat stuff back at you in a Liverpool accent was pretty hilarious. Also looking back, meeting the people who would become my team and friends has been really cool. They are all so fun, so helpful, and it helped us settle down so quickly here because we were friends already.
What have you found to be the biggest differences between living in England and Thailand?
Oh so much! There is a phenomenon here known simply here as ‘Thai time’…. In other words, everything happens at it’s own pace. No rush. No drama. I feel like part of the community, which I never really felt like I was back in England. I’d say the food too, but people will start thinking it’s a food blog.
What is the best part about living in Sangkhlaburi?
The people. By far, it’s the people. It’s a diverse, multi-cultural town. Thai’s, Burmese, Americans, French, English, Chinese… For a small rural town that is hidden away, it’s so diverse.
Any advice you’d give to anyone coming to Thailand?
Same thing I tell every group at their orientation… go meet people! Go explore! Try new foods, not just Pad Thai. Pad Thai is one of the more blander meals in Thailand. The food here is great! And most of all: smile! A smile can get you far in Thailand.
What is your favourite Thai meal?
Where do I start? I’m currently visiting a food stand each day as it has the best grilled chicken in the WORLD. Also Som Tam Khai Khem is a firm favourite – papaya salad with salted eggs.
With all the groups of volunteers and groups that come through Sangkhlaburi, you must know some pretty funny or embarrassing stories?
Oh my, a lot I can’t repeat on here. I think one of my favourites though was that one of the members of a group was introducing herself to the children on the Community project…. But it turned out her name was also a pretty rude word in Burmese, which the kids found to be hysterical!