I can't believe how quickly these past years have flown by. Have we really lived in Surat Thani for
two years now?

Two years ago, I was a terrified and skeptical new teacher with no plans to make teaching into a
career or be the assistant director at Super English. And now, I guess I'm not terrified anymore, and
I'm more in love with this city and my life here than ever before. So that means it's time to write
about why I like being here so much. So here goes.

I love living in Surat Thani! I love it so much. We recently moved to a more remote part of town
where the nights are quiet except for the sound of crickets and sun during the day is blocked out only
by palm trees and bamboo. It's made me feel even more home to have a refuge from the concrete and
traffic. But let's be honest: The concrete has its advantages! New coffee shops and other kind of
stores open here every month so I never get tired of exploring. I'm finally making some progress in
my Thai language skills so I can read some menus and shop signs. It makes every day a constant
adventure! I love exploring all of these new things. And Surat offers tons of amazing, really cheap
Thai food. How could I live without all of this?

I love the amount of free time I have here. Since I've been in Thailand, I've started running, doing
yoga, studying Thai, reading more, seeing my husband more, spending more time with friends and
traveling. It's like working that 50-hour/week job with two weeks per year in America just becomes
more ludicrous in hindsight as the years go by.

I also really, really like my classes this semester more than any other time before. I have a sweet
group of about 14 kids at Super English who I see every day. They brighten my day because I can see
them improving at English as the year progresses and they're always, always happy. I also got to
teach P3 this semester which was really fun. And I'm still teaching a class of M3 (the equivelant of
high school sophomores) girls which rocks my world. They're so bright and clever, they make me
happy. They laugh at my jokes and notice every single time I wear something new (I mention that
because it's kind of freaky.)

So I want to be honest here also and say this has been a pretty hard semester work-wise for me.
That's all I'm going to say about that because I find that the good things outweigh the bad things —
otherwise I wouldn't still be here.

During those hard times, though, SE owner Peter has been supportive and communicative,
encouraging me to take on more responsibility and improve my skills as a teacher and as the team
leader at Super English. He's always there to answer questions that I have or to give advice on an
especially difficult class. He's encouraged me to grow professionally and personally in ways I had
never anticipated. A standing ovation for you! Thank you.

I can't say enough good stuff about the Thai staff at Super English (headed by Super Wen). Nui and
Tda are always friendly and helpful. Wen borrowed a truck and her brother-in-law to help us out at
11 p.m. on a Friday night when we had to move out of our house last minute this semester. I will
remember that kindness forever, I think. Her selflessness was so out-of-the-blue and timely that she
saved me in one of my most frazzled moments in Thailand so far. Thanks, Wen!

I also want to give a shout out to Victoria in this little letter because she's the best of the best and
still helps me out whenever I have difficult questions or need advice. Even though she's been gone for
over a year, she's still very missed. She's also the one who taught me how to teach, how to drink Thai
beer, how to help new teachers feel comfortable and love living in Surat and some other important
stuff too. Word. Thanks.

So here's the best thing about my job: The people! Yeah, I freaking love my fellow teachers. We have
great times together, and I love getting to know such an interesting and diverse group of people
from all walks of life. We've got a really great group of good-humored teachers who support each
other and enjoy each other right now, and I love that! For my birthday a few months ago, everyone
humored my silly idea and dressed up in moustache-related costumes and pitched in to make amazing
mojitos (not a drink you can usually find in Surat). Whether it's adventuring in Koh Phanang or
camping on the beach in Khanom or having all day lesson planning “parties,” Super English teachers
are by far the best out there.

And that's a very brief rundown of the reasons I love working at Super English. If you want to hear
more, e-mail me at janet.mclaren@gmail.com. Can't wait to tell you more!
Two Year Testimonial
By Janet Phelps