Where I live

I’ve found myself watching lots of ‘My apartment tour’ videos on YouTube from people in various countries. It’s interesting to consider how different people live when they move abroad, I suppose. I figured people might be interested in where I live, too.

And so, without further adieu, here is a description accompanied by a few pictures, of my lovely apartment in Bangkok for you to feast your eyes on.

I live about a ten minute bus ride from the nearest MRT stop (subway), and in the north of the city, near to Nonthaburi, the next province. This is undoubtedly the reason why my apartment is a little cheaper than what I’ve found nearer the BTS or MRT or on Sukhumvit road. I pay 6,500 baht a month. I have a bedroom, a living room with balcony, and a bathroom. It’s quite a new building too, quiet and clean and I really like living here!

*Messy apartment alert*… Only downside is there’s not quite enough storage…

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Apartment-2092312

I bought the sofa and fridge myself, though they weren’t expensive at all. Some apartments in the past have asked me to rent the fridge/TV for 500-1000 baht a month which I have always thought was a little crazy! I was given the microwave and TV for free courtesy of my other half (who doesn’t live with me).

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No, I don’t have a kitchen. I’ve never had a kitchen while I’ve been living in Bangkok. Food stalls are everywhere outside, and very cheap too. Nearly every supermarket and shopping mall also has a food court where the food isn’t expensive. There is also a restaurant in the apartment building itself which again, isn’t pricey, so I have quite a lot of options. I’ve recently been perfecting the art of microwave cooking too… though so far I’ve managed to explode around 4 eggs while trying to poach them. I recommend scrambled eggs as a far better option for those who would like to try it.

The view from the balcony.

The view from the balcony.

Oh, another thing that may be different in other countries, there’s a main door at the front of the building where I have a keycard to get in (and then once I go up in the lift I have keys to my door), and there’s also a reception where I pay my rent or tell them when my lightbulb’s blown etc. It’s quite convenient.

Well, I hope you liked my little tour. :)

For those who’ve slept…

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So I guess I am a morning person. Here I am enjoying a beautiful early Sunday morning.

The lovely thing about Thailand is that when the sun rises, it rises very fast, so it’s always bright and sunny at about 6-7am. I like getting up at that time, and enjoying the few precious hours to relax before I feel like I should do anything. It’s still early, there’s no rush. I’ve had a long week. I can do everything later on. 

This morning I’ve climbed around drying washing to water my orchids on the balcony, which made me think about how I should post some pictures of my new ones. The purple one (Denrobium), I’ve actually had it for at least a year now, but it’s only just flowered. And so many flowers! I’m very happy.

Now I’m eating breakfast, drinking ‘Sweet Chai Yogi Tea’, and listening to BBC  Radio 4. I enjoy listening to voices sometimes, instead of music.

Having said that… here is a wonderful song from Sia Furler, one of my, if not my favourite artist. I always think of this song on Sundays. Video. Live.

Happy Sunday :)

November

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During the past month I have:

– Started teaching at a new job where the classes are rather large,

– Bought a sofa,

– Bought 2 orchids, one with flowers that look like octopuses,

– Bought a fridge,

– Celebrated 1 year with my gorgeous girl,

– Written 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month!

(See my posts about NaNo last year here and here.)

It was my third attempt, and my second time at winning. Big thanks go out to the group of writers in Asia who I met with on Skype for word races :)

To explain: NaNoWriMo is a challenge to those people who say they could write a novel, or a book, or something but say they never have time, or keep putting it off, or whatever. Or for people who are slightly barmy and just want to see if they can do it or not (aka me). The challenge is to write 50k words of fiction (though I suppose you could write anything) in November, so that’s 1667 words a day average. If you reach the end you get a certificate, and a lot of personal satisfaction. It doesn’t have to be 50k of good writing, no, that’s not the challenge. Just words that form some sort of coherent something. Editing comes later.

For me, this works so well. If I were to write 50k of good stuff straight off the bat, it would take me f o r e v e r. I get disheartened when I have, what at Nano is called, an ‘inner editor’, constantly telling me that every word I write isn’t good enough, or doesn’t really fit, or doesn’t make sense or is just plain awful. And so I don’t write. I write a bit and then I delete it or I give up because I don’t give myself a chance to just write.

Not only that, but I fail to get excited about a plot that is just scrappy bits of information and nothing real.

Writing nearly 2000 words a day, means I don’t have time to let the bad stuff in. So what if there is a gaping plot hole, if the character isn’t really rounded, if I’ve jumped about and missed out a connecting link, if I change my mind about something half way through. My story is a living breathing real thing. I get inspired, I get excited, and I create.

There are days when I get annoyed too, of course. Days when I wish I had never taken up the challenge. But it gets remarkably easier the third time around. The first time I got about half way and gave up. Second time I finished and third time I felt like I could have written more – my story is no where near finished.

I am not a writer either. What I mean is that, Nano is the first real go at writing something fictional I’ve ever had. I believe that this turns off some people who do deem themselves writers. They see it’s just for amateurs as a way to say they can write, and as a way to dumb down the art of storytelling. I don’t see this at all. Writing takes time and patience, and being good at writing really takes learning, and more patience. But most of all, of course, writing takes writing. Nano is just a starting point. What you choose to do with your words afterwards is up to you.

And… never mind adults like me, but Nano is inspiring lots of children to write and want to write more in the future. This can only be a good thing!

This year for me, it was like a puzzle, where I was creating the shapes of the pieces and the picture on them, but I had no idea of the overall picture. I had a lot of fun trying to tie everything together. I also learnt that I find it really hard to write dialogue, decide on character names, and that even when I think I don’t have anything to write, I do.

I’m taking a break at the moment, I will be continuing to write it… I can’t have an unfinished story! Then the editing will begin later. Ahhh!

For anyone considering taking part next year, do it, I urge you. It feels really good to accomplish something, even if it’s just for yourself. :)

Food

Food I miss from England right now that I can’t get in Bangkok:

Salt and vinegar crisps
Cheese and onion crisps
Chish and fips (aka fish and chips), specifically scampi and chips and battered sausage and chips
Apple crumble made with Bramley apples, and eaten with custard
Royal icing on a good cake
Rich tea biscuits
Victoria sponge cake
Eton mess with strawberries and raspberries
Blackberries
Fresh ravioli/tortelloni you can (could?) buy 2 for £2.50
Fish finger sandwiches with mayonnaise
Kippers
My mum’s ‘Budget Beef Wellington’ and her roast chicken and stuffing pie
Swede and potato mash
Mr Kiplings Cherry Bakewells
Scotch eggs

Hmmm……….. *stomach rumble*

What food would you miss/do you miss most?

How to be… cheerful

Pretty necklaces-pola delicious cakes-pola

I’ve been feeling a little down since coming back from my Russian adventure. I think there are always times in life where I feel a little lost, but I have to remember that it’s not just me, and I’ve been through times like this before and come out fine the other side. I feel a little homesick, I suppose, I feel like I’m a bit out of touch with what’s going on in England and my family, and that saddens me. Plus, I’m without a full-time job right now, and it’s scary not knowing what will happen in the future, and feeling out of control with applications. But – let it be, right? I can’t control what I can’t control.

What better to cheer me up than cake, and new necklaces? Haha ;)

Words of encouragement appreciated! :)

A hike to the top

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I am surrounded by mountains, and every ten days we hike across the forest (Taiga) and climb up to a cross on the top of one of the mountains. I say climb, and I mean it. There are lots of big boulders and rocks.

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It’s not easy, but not too difficult either. At the top, it makes me feel very small. It’s so quiet. And there is nothing but mountains, trees and silence for a very long way.

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Of course, we are the main characters in our own lives, but just one tiny part in the grand scheme of things.

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I’ve been up 3 times, and the last 2 times, even though I kept reapplying factor 50 suncream I got quite sunburt. Mountain sun is strong…

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“I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills, I love the flowers, I love the daffodils, I love the fireside when all the lights are low… Boom-di-ada, boom-di-ada, boom-di-ada, boom-di-ada…”

Out in the Taiga…

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I’ve taken a break from Bangkok, for some scenery that’s a little different to cars, grey skies heavy with rain, and buildings. I’m in Russia. Siberia to be exact. And there’s snow!

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And mountains and trees as far as I can see in every direction!

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I’m working at a summer camp, so I’m here for a little while. I will try and post a few more pictures soon because, well, it’s beautiful.

Speak to you soon!

My new orchids

Yellow orchid Polaroid Frosty Dawn Polaroid 2

Frosty Dawn Polaroid  Yellow Orchid Polaroid 2

I bought these outside the Robinson in Trang. There were so many orchids – lots of Cattleya orchids too. I could’ve easily bought more… but stopped myself. I managed to get these ones back to Bangkok safely… it’s a 14 hour drive…

The little yellow-orange hanging one is an Ascocentrum of some sort, possibly ‘garayi’. The white/orange one is a Denrobium hybrid. I’ve got to weigh the pot down because it keeps falling over! Though, the girlfriend cleverly tied it to the railings on my balcony. Denrobiums get so tall, and any kind of wind knocks my one flat.

I love the different types of orchids here :)