First email from Batammm 2.0

Today marks my third week of teaching at Kallista in Batam and I’m loving it! The school is amazing. I actually planned to write every Sunday but it just seems impossible due to the amount of time I have to spend for teaching and preparing the curriculum materials. Oh I wish I had more hours on a day! I’ll be teaching 37 hours of Science and an hour of German (or two, still unclear), means I’ve got about 38 hours a week in total, and so far it’s been industriously fun!


Hey guys! I’m back! Holiday was amazing. I got to see old familiar faces again which is lovely. Then I got challenged to play pool with my brother and his friend too. Didn’t know he could play as well. Turns out they were actually pretty good! But still no one beats one Deny Setiyadi for shooting pool. Aww yeah!

My last days in Batam were interesting. The leader of the school invited me for a lunch. And drum roll please we went to STARBUCKS! It was hilarious. For those who don’t know, I have never been to Starbucks before. First, I can’t drink any of its products because GERD. So I spent 30 minutes fake-drinking it because I was too lazy to explain what GERD is. LOL. Secondly, it is darn EXPENSIVE. I mean 9 EUR for a cup of coffee, seriously? That’s about how much I spent in Cambodia for a week. Or if you live in the Europe, 9 EUR can get you a one-way Ryanair flight ticket (Irish low cost carrier well-known for its dirt-cheap flights and draconian services haha sort of like AirAsia) or even better, a Tin Whistle! I won’t recommend the first alternative, though.

Pantene Chrysalis

This video of a shampoo commercial is pretty worth checking out like seriously, it really got me thinking. People always told me I had a really low self-esteem and they were sort of true because I always felt like I wasn’t good enough and this week has taught me a lot about strengths. I realised strength is not about being better or more capable than anyone else. It is actually about how to turn your weaknesses into your greatest weapon and you’re comfortable with it. Tons of love.

Thailand (Lamplaimat), Week Two

This week has been pretty emotional because I had to say goodbye to everyone here. Can’t believe it has been 2 weeks already and time has passed by so quickly. But of course I’m glad I got the opportunity to be involved in developing our first centre in Thailand.

Tuesday I went to a local market, which is like 15 minutes away from our school and had a lot of Thai treats that we got from food stalls on the street. It’s not just that. I found Tesco here! It’s not as fancy as the Irish ones you find in Dublin but seriously, finding Tesco in this tiny little town no one have ever heard of is like finding a needle in a haystack. No joking, I have been starving for days and I lost about 2 kg in a week. The food we have at school is great but we have to share to 40 people so most of the times I didn’t eat much.

Thailand (Lamplaimat), Week One

I’m back to basic living. I landed at Don Muang Airport, Bangkok Tuesday morning. Then I still had to take a bus for 6 hours northeast. I’m in the middle of nowhere with the closest town being 90 km away. But I like it here! We’re surrounded by so many beautiful trees and flowers. Funny is, even though we’re physically in Thailand, there are no Thai people at our centre at all! It’s because our first centre in Thailand is pretty newly built so we are not able to start classes here at the moment. So, the teachers go to public schools nearby and teach there. Instead, There are about 28 Cambodians here, who were once our students in Cambodia and now they have become teachers so I feel like I’m in Cambodia, speaking Khmer, even I can smell prohok every day.

Batam week four, baby!

I got a new job as a volunteer teacher at a tuition centre, located about 25 minutes away by public bus. The children there are amazing but they’re pretty shy. It’s a bit tiring as well because I had to sweep and mop the floor of the two-story building at 7.00 in the morning and go back to the house at 19.00. At least I have something to do on Mondays instead of procrastinating and then regret.

Tuesday, I got to teach P6 Solidarity. They broke my watch. Nuff said. Moving on. Wednesday, I went to P6 Purity. I got to deal with two students fighting each other again, a girl and a boy. Just in case you guys were wondering, the girl won #postmoderngirls

Batam week three, baby!

It has rained all week so apparently everyone seems to get sick but I didn’t want it to stop me from being productive!

Tuesday I took P6 Solidarity to the science lab to do a little research about yeasts and fungi and THANKFULLY no students karate chopped each other. Wednesday I got to play the piano and sing at a nearby coffee shop. I did Piano Man as always!

First week in Batam

Hey guys! I hope things are going well. I finally made it to Batam and this week has been incredible.

I landed safely in Batam just yesterday. It’s pretty neat here and also VERY DIFFERENT. I don’t know if it’s just me but everything is so fancy (and obviously much more expensive Frowning face)! I’ve got my own private room with air-con and a super nice bathroom, not to mention a proper work/study space. Well, I used to stay in a room full of rats and bugs in Cambodia for such a long time, sometimes with no water and electricity so I’m sort of having a ‘culture shock’. I’m not gonna lie but this was so unexpected! So, Elder Monson, I don’t mean to make you jealous again but just in case if I did, sorry, man 😉

Numpanc ning sach kow

That’s Khmer for ‘bread and beef’. and yep, we had Khmer sandwich for dinner this week.

Starting Monday, I didn’t teach at part-time centre anymore because the country director wants me to focus more on developing and improving all the 5 websites and get those websites done by the end of this month. I know it sounds ridiculously impossible because never in my life have I ever done a project involving the development of a single website for less than two months, let alone five of them so this is going to be super challenging!