As February was really short and we are now approaching the end of the Happy Project; with Enrica we decided to do the follow-up of our first Q & A (refer to December 2016 article) for this last two months. This interview was made a few weeks prior to today…
Q.1. What would you like to do before leaving Thailand?
Maïlys: So actually we're leaving Thailand in three weeks (or two weeks… four…? Enrica: three weeks), so it's pretty soon, and there's a lot that I would like to do, but as the time is limited, I managed… I tried to cramp all the main places I would like to visit. So first stop would be obviously to go to the beach, then I would like to visit Sukhothai, the... ruins in French? (Enrica confirms the words) as we already visited Ayutthaya- and then Chiang Rai and go back to Chiang Mai because I really liked that city and finish of course by visiting Bangkok. If I had more time and more money, I would add some islands and probably other stuff. Right now I prefer not to think about it. I tried lots of food and keep on going trying new food and meet new people. Oh, that's remind me! We met the new volunteers tonight, who're coming after us, they're all fresh and so cute! And… that's it! You…
Enrica: In my case, before leaving, for me it would be enough just to have a couchsurfer available in every place I'm gonna visit, as I'll be travelling really on budget. And another thing that I want to do is experience a relaxing thai massage as so far the only thai massage I've had so far was a very painfull one on my ankle just spred.
Maïlys: Oh! Something I really would like to try is a train in Thailand. As it's not expensive at all, I mean… as they don't have… TGV in french (E. High speed…) yeah, high speed train, but they have some first class, second class and third class train, and first class is like 30 euro that would never exist in Europe (E.: of course). So I won’t try the first class as I'm a little bit on budget, but the second class would be nice. I'm planning to sleep in the train and I’m sure it's gonna be a very interesting and amazing experience.
Q.2. What do you listen while you are here? a playlist?
E.: Well, actually no. I mean there's not a real playlist I've been listening so far. It's just in the last week that I’ve becoming kind of use to go to bed listening music in my ears but it's some european music, but it's western music. Even if there's a thai song which I like pretty much the music, that we discovered by chance. I don't know if it's a song for the King (M.: I think it's a song because of the King died this year so it's about how the King are in fairy tales and who he is really… ). Otherwise, let's say that Glee Club's songs (M. laugh) have been kind of soudtrack of our EVS project.
M.: Let's not forget our obsessions! Yours “Let it go", sing in 26 languages, and a special dedication to "Run, joy, run" – that you put on repeat several times… and lately, my obsession "Cant' stop this feeling". Personally I don't really have a specific playlist, I’m just listening some music on shuffle mode. It's depends of the day. It's soft music when I go to bed, or it's energetic music, sometimes in the garden or when I'm walking. Oh, and this week as we've been three days in an English camp and the teachers of this camp really love to sing karaoke songs, so the first 4 hours of our 7-8 hours of bus, were kind of endless Thai karaoke songs....yeah, it's not my favourite kind, it's was like sappy and cheesy romantic kind of music, but maybe the lyìrics where amazing...? We don't know, impossible to guess as it was not translated…
Here's the link of the King song:
English version - https://youtu.be/WzCVX1mG2sM
Thai version - https://youtu.be/Yrwk3qFgzD4
Q.3.: Any tips for Thailand trip?
M.: Enjoy your time, don’t be in a rush it’s still Sabai sabai and yeah, just smile and be relax and everything will go fine. Also, don't bring too much, because you'll find everything you need here, same price as your country or cheaper; think about mosquito repellant, really important, some basic medications, enjoy light clothes, be relax… And I'd advise you to visit Chiang Mai as it's a really beautiful city!
E.: Bring with you a good organic mosquitoes repellant and try to test as much food as you can in the local market and learn some sentences in Thai like hello, thank you, how much… (M.: yeah, the people will love that you speak a bit of thai, I tried it first hand in Chiang Mai!). I’d advise you if you have to choose, it's better to visit Koh Phayam, instead of Koh Lanta and/or Koh Mook, and it's worth doing snorkeling or even taking the scubadiving licence, as it's definitly cheaper than in Europe. Eat as much fish as you can, especially when you're close to the coast, don't bring with your your k-way or your umbrella, cause the rain coats that you can find here are definitely much better than the one you can find in your country (M.: I'm not so sure…), remember that flipflop are the best shoes ever to walk with.
Q.4. Why Thailand?
E.: Eh, for something that finally I haven't done. I mean, I applied to this project because I wanted to do in order: natural building, agriculture and teaching. Finally, I did most of the time teaching and then gardening, but basically no natural building at all, and it's something I'm really disappointed about… (M.: and you discovered that finally you didn't like gardening that much…) Yeah but it was why Thailand and I wanted to do natural building and I didn't do it at all, so…
M.: Well, actually there were three projects: one in Perù, one in Kenya and one in Thailand. I've been hesitating with Perù, because the project for me was really interesting with education and street art and stuff like that… But I'm not the best one for teaching and I knew that there would be more persons certainly more interesting and interested by this project. And Kenya, I don't have a medical background, medical knowledge or any kind of specific scientific knowledge, so when I read Thailand which was a mix of gardening and teaching and participating in the everyday life, different events and stuff like that, it seemed really perfect for me. Futhermore I really liked my previous experience in Asia, so for me it was going back and discover more, enjoy more, travel more, having new experiences in a different Asian culture and just enjoy it and being immerse in it.
Q.5. Best and worst memory?
M.: Ok, so, best and worst memory…Heu… Worst memory… The two weeks, at the beginning of the project when I was sick and couldn't contact anyone because I didn't have internet access yet… were not plaisant at all. And… Best memory has been so far, in this new home, eating what we produce from the garden and cooking many different dishes. It’s amazing! You…
E.: For me what is the worst memory is the first months when I had many health problem. So I had to go to the hospital and it was kind of a mess… But the best one is, definitively, the sunset at Ko Payan – an island – that I think is really one of the most beautiful one I have seen, in my whole life.
Q.6. What is volunteering?
M.: So… I pretty much answered this question in January’s article… Volunteering is... You have a project, you don't come like that (M. snaps her fingers) because you decided to come. Volunteering is more based on a project that has been worked ahead. And you… you must feel ready to come, chose a project not because of the country our because of the advantage but because the activities, the subject truly interest you... Cause it's not everytime easy but you must try and try your best… do your best and give from yourself and in exchange you'll gain much more than what you gave at the beginning. But please go read or reread my January's article...
E.: I said volunteering is donation of time and energies for free or sometimes even paying… hem… to be involve in a project whatever kind it is, it doesn't matter. And… what practically is… yeah of course there's the human part which is not contemplated to the definition so the creation of new connections or links with others, other people, other culture, sharing cultures and… sharing knowledge and that's it.
M.: Ok so now, free talk. First, the spiders, it is…I have some memories which are a mix of frightening,and, really it’s not funny when we live it, but it's really funny when - a long time after - we remind the events. And we even have proof of those crazy times! Enrica's mother has a vocal message where she can hear her daughter say “f***you! Vas t’en (= go away – in French) arrête! (= stop) because we have been visited by different spiders… big spiders (E.: yeah…). And… we have to kill them because we're unable to take them alive in our hands… You what would you like to say about spiders…?
E.: A funny way, the bigger one I ever saw was in the south of Italy… so (M.: bigger than the one we saw last week?) Yes with many babies on her (M.: Ah! Don't speak about babies! I hate the babies' spiders!Just think about it...bah!)
M.: What else would you like to speak about?
E.: Ok 3 things for the next volunteers… I think it's really important top get in touch with the previous volunteers who before confirm the participation in a project. 2nd it's an EVS project, so basically you're suppose to receive a pocket money, and, maybe, use part of your saving for traveling. It's not using just part of your savings, actually this EVS costed me a lot and I didn't travel that much.So be sure to have your parents or a lot of savings and the 3rd thing is that in Thailand it’s sabai-sabai, and as Maïlys was saying sometimes it’s ok but sometimes it’s too much. So in order not to waste your time, its better for you if you have something else to do, because you're not… finally you'll not work as many hours as you're suppose to. So what you can do is start a new project on your own, or something else, like learning a new language, improve your English skills, like me, apply for PhD that's what I’m doing right now.
M.: Yeah, well it depend of you… who you are, basically if you have lots of energy and need to use it, yes, you'll be deadly bored and it's really tiring to wait sometimes the whole day – cause train, too hot, project change at left minutes…- but you'll find occupation, don't worry too much, just be aware of that... And… you also need to know that… The communication is not easy everyday in thailand so you need to… to write mails and not hesitate to repeat the stuff if you don't understand them our they understand you. And you can also contact you're sending association. And especially if you don't have the skills to adapt easily you… you need to… (E.: choose another country) yeah, choose another country or learn it really fast.
Finally, we made a video about our EVS projet! :D
And… that's it folks! This was our last article cause the project comes to the end. It is hard for me to believe that already six months passed...Right now, we still have a few days before flying back...
Enrica is travelling with her sister and I'm travelling alone, but made new friends along the way (youth hostel are amazing for that!).
Hope you enjoyed our articles and it'll help you wether it is for an EVS project or simply visit Thailand… Wish you the best!