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Thirty Questions

A found this idea on my friend’s blog. Check out Clare’s Cosmos

Here are just a few facts about me 🙂

What did you want to be when you were a kid? A vet and a soldier in no particular order. I couldn’t be a vet because I hate needles. God knows where the solider idea came from, but glad I didn’t pursue that career option

Which Friends character do you relate to most? Why? Phoebe; she’s creative, impulsive, curious, and open minded

Do you like your name? Why? Yes, because it’s the one I was given. But my mum told me years ago, she wished she’d called me Alex, after my granddad. I would have liked that. She was going to call me Sharon, but her family said “you can’t call her Sharon” (?), so I got Gillian

Are you messy or neat? Both, I’m messy when I work, but I generally like things to be in their place, although it doesn’t bother me if they aren’t

How tall are you? 5 foot 6 ½ inches

How tall were you when you were ten? I can’t remember

What is your guilty pleasure? Wine, but I never feel guilty when I’m drinking it

What are you saving money for now? To pay my credit card off, which is a never ending task (I must stop spending on it!) Then I will be saving to go travelling at the end of 2018

How many Pringles can you eat at once? I always stuff about 4-6 into my mouth

Tea or coffee? Black coffee, one teaspoon of sugar, once a day

Are you an introvert or extrovert? I’m both, it depends on the situation. When I was younger I loved being in the thick of things, but nowadays I like keeping myself to myself. I still have my moments though

What will be your Halloween costume this year? It won’t be anything, I hate fancy dress

Sweet or salty? Generally salty, but I have chocolate once in a blue moon, when I fancy it

Favorite social media? WordPress and Twitter

Who is the last person you kissed? That would be telling!

What is your favorite breakfast? At the moment, corn flakes and banana, but I love a good old English breakfast

When is your birthday? April 28

When did you start your blog? August 2013 and March 2015 (I have two blogs). I started my first blog because I wanted a place to document all the things I have done while travelling. The second is my photography blog, because I love taking photos and want to share them with everyone

What is your opinion on the Kardashians? I’m not interested in them

How would you describe your style? I would say I’m fairly stylish, but I don’t really follow fashion trends, if I do it’s a year or two after it’s been in fashion. I used to be a jeans and top kind of girl, but now I have extended my look to wear other clothes, like skirts and dresses. Overall, I’d say my style is simple, I know what I look good in and what I don’t

What color is your hair? Black

What color socks are you wearing? I hardly ever wear socks, it’s too hot where I live, but I love wearing furry socks when I go home to the UK in December, they’re so cosy

What is your dream job? Writer

Dogs or cats? Cats, they’re more independent

What makes you weird? I am weird

Celebrity crush? Robbie Williams, always have, always will. Idris Elba, Sean Connery

Opinion on cigarettes? I smoke, but know I shouldn’t for health reasons

Do you want/have any children? No and No

Three favorite boy’s names. Alexander, Leon, Aiden

Three favorite girl’s names. Alex, India, Grace

It’s your turn… copy and paste the questions and post in the comments section. Would love to get to know you a little more 🙂

Indian Ocean

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/indianocean
Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka

Indian Ocean, blue and bright
Beautiful, but hidden might

Spanning the globe from the west
It touches the shores of Asia
And further east

The crashing waves
The calm of the tide
It has many guises
You need to keep it on your side

Indian Ocean you are so majestic
Hiding life, sustaining life
You keep some delights from sight

Mesmerizing

Awe-inspiring

Magnificent

Our Indian Ocean

Author
Gill Morris

Educating Yourself

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/educatingyourself
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Knowledge-is-Power-Wikimedia.png

It’s only now, later on in my life, that I love to learn about things. When I was at school I, like many others, didn’t want to learn. It was a chore to be there and all I wanted to do was to leave and get out into the big wide world.

If I had been privy to the joys of learning back then, I would have paid more attention and I certainly would have gone to university. I stayed on for a year in the sixth form, where I buckled down a bit more and, in the end, I left with 3 O levels and a couple of CSEs.

I started work when I was 18, and I had a few jobs where I had to do loads of training courses to learn how to do certain tasks, but, still, it wasn’t because I wanted to do them. I had no choice.

In 1994, I started an Open University degree. It was an Open degree, so I could choose any courses I wanted to make up the 300 or 360 points I needed in order to obtain the full degree. I chose to do science and biology, brain, and behaviour, because that’s the sort of thing I was interested in. I passed, but only just. After that, my life got in the way, so to speak. I met someone new and started a new job. There was no time to study. I guess this is one of my regrets in life, that I didn’t continue.

However, after moving to Thailand, I decided to pick up where I left off. So, in 2010, I started a psychology course which I passed with distinction. I was so thrilled with this result, it spurred me on and I continued with my studies and did courses in philosophy, grammar, and myth in the Greek and Roman worlds. 3 years later, I finally achieved a Bachelor of Science, with honours no less. I was as proud as punch when I went to the degree ceremony, with my mum, to receive my award.

I realised that studying later on in life, for me, was a good thing. I achieved much better results than I ever did all those years ago. I even did two courses at the same time and I could easily sit down all day and study. It was hard work and, sometimes, I would be tearing my hair out because I didn’t understand something, but I loved every minute of every course. As a mature student, I found that studying was such a pleasure.

When I had finished with my degree, I was so lost without it. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So, I continued to learn. I taught myself to speak and write Thai and I learned a little Hindi. I have to say I am nowhere near fluent, but I am still learning today, albeit sporadically. I’ve got a long way to go yet though. I read books and if there is a word or concept I am unsure of I will research it. I learn about places or people I don’t know about and I’ve completed a few English language courses to give me more ideas and understanding to help me in my job.

There are many things that you can learn about, and I find I don’t have enough time to learn everything, but it’s something I will continue to do and make it my goal to learn something new every day.

Do you enjoy learning?

Stupid in Lust

Always wanting to try new things, Alex was chatting to her friend one day about on-line dating.

“So, how did you and John meet again?” she asked.

Her friend, Tanya, replied, “I registered on a dating site. I started chatting to this guy, and we arranged to meet. It was that easy.”

“But weren’t you nervous about meeting someone you didn’t know?” Alex asked quizzically.

“Yes, of course I was, but it was exciting at the same time,” Tanya chuckled, “And look at us, we are still together.”

So Alex, being Alex, thought she would give it a go. She had been single for a while and she needed some excitement in her life. So, she set up an account with the on-line dating website and waited.

Now, Alex was normally a smart girl and not at all up front about such things, but she thought it would be even more exciting to specify that she wanted an intimate encounter.

She started chatting to this guy, who lived in London. They chatted for a few weeks and one day he told Alex that he was going to be in her vicinity for a meeting. They arranged to meet at his hotel, a five-star place on the outskirts of town.

Nervous, and excited at the same time, Alex arrived at the luxurious five-star hotel, called him and told him she was downstairs waiting. He told her what he was wearing, brown jeans and sweater, and that he would be down in a few minutes. A few minutes later he was in reception, in brown jeans and sweater, they said hello and went up to his hotel room. He told Alex that he had to finish some work, but it would only take about thirty minutes for him to finish, after which they could go out.

Great! she thought, it’s the first time I have met him and he has to finish work, not exactly romantic! But then she reminded herself that they were both there for an intimate encounter, not exactly wine and roses in itself. Anyway, he offered her a beer and she sat watching TV while he carried on working.

After about an hour he said, “OK, I am done, let’s go eat.”

“Great,” she replied, “Where shall we go?”

They left the room and went downstairs and walked towards the exit.

“I don’t really know this area” he said.

“I do, but all the restaurants will be closed” she replied.

“OK, no problem, let’s go to one of the hotel’s restaurants” he suggested.

So they made their way back inside the hotel. However, by this time it was close to midnight and all the restaurants in the hotel were closed. Even five star hotels have their closing times.

“Never mind,” he said, “we can get room service.”

“Er, OK,” was her tentative reply. Alex wasn’t feeling quite as excited as before. In fact she was rather wishing that she hadn’t put that she was up for an intimate encounter.

But not one to give up, she followed him up to his room and sat down. He offered her another beer and they looked at the menu. They settled on a tuna sandwich each. Not exactly the meal she had had in mind.

They sat there chatting and Alex thought to herself that, after all the weeks they had been chatting, it was very nice to meet him in person. And he seemed like the perfect gentleman, so she started to relax a bit, although she did get a little bored when he kept referring to how much money he made, how much the hotel room cost, how many this he had, how many that he had. Those things held no interest for Alex whatsoever. But who was she to complain? They were both after an intimate encounter, this should not be forgotten.

After a while he blurted out “Do you want a bath?”

Alex nearly choked on her tuna sandwich “A bath?” “Er, no!”

“Oh, it can be quite nice” he replied.

“Oh,” she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, “I don’t really like baths.”

With that he got up and said “OK, am gonna take a shower.” And off he went.

When he had gone, Alex’s courage started to wane. She started to think what on earth she was doing in this random guy’s hotel room. One who she had never met before, and one she certainly didn’t know. So she started having a conversation with herself practising what she was going to say. But then… on the promise of an intimate encounter…What if he didn’t let her go? What if…? What if…?

Alex could feel panic rising.

When he appeared from the bathroom towel in hand saying,  “There are towels on the bed.” She very quickly and calmly said “You know what, I’m gonna go.”

He asked “Oh, why?”

“This thing is just not me.”

“You put on your profile that you wanted an intimate encounter” he stated.

“I know.”

She told him about her friends and how it had worked for them. “But this is just not me” she repeated, and continued with the “It’s not you, it’s me,” line.

She needn’t have worried about anything, because he accepted what she said and, being the gentleman he was, he walked her to the lift, gave her a peck on the cheek, and said, “Am sorry that you have to leave.”

“I’m sorry too” she lied.

And with that, she left the hotel feeling like the hotel staff knew exactly what she had been up to, after all they had seen her arriving, and now departing in less than two hours.

On the way home, Alex realised that what she had done was such a stupid thing to do. To go to someone’s hotel, someone she had never met before.

“Really Alex?” she said aloud.

But, she was one of those people who likes to put her trust in people and, thankfully, this guy turned out to be a gentleman. The night ended happily, sheepishly, but happily. However, it could have gone a different, less than pleasant, way, and she didn’t relish that thought.

Once home, Alex called Tanya and told her about the whole episode. Tanya burst out laughing.

“I’m sorry,“ she giggled, “ I know I shouldn’t laugh, but you ate tuna sandwiches, and he gave you towels?” Not much of an intimate encounter!”

Alex saw the funny side, and even though she could laugh about it, she knew then that it would be something that this smart girl would never repeat.

Author
Gill Morris

Going it Alone

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/alone

Recently, I mentioned to a male friend of mine that I was going to see a movie and he asked, “Is it a date?”

I replied “Yes, a date with myself.”

His reply, “Oh, man. You’re going alone?”

His reply made me chuckle to myself. I don’t know whether he found it hard to understand that I would even contemplate going out by myself or that he felt sorry for me.

I started doing things alone when I first went travelling 12 years ago. If you choose to travel solo you don’t have much choice. Yes, I met people and it was fantastic, I have some wonderful memories of those people and times. But, equally when you are alone you don’t have anyone to worry about. You can go where you want, when you want and do whatever you please.

The very first time I dined alone was in Kuala Lumpur in one of the hotel’s restaurants. I recall feeling a little self conscious and was thinking that everyone was looking at me because I was alone. They weren’t. I was made even more self-conscious when a group of musicians came over and sang to me. Maybe they felt sorry for me too. But I ended up not caring and left with a huge smile on my face.

Then, when I was travelling around Thailand, I met a woman called Sophia in Bangkok. She was travelling alone and I started chatting to her because my family and friends had just left me and I was feeling a little out of sorts. She really cheered me up and I will always remember what she told me. She said that doing things alone is very empowering.

Now, my home is in Bangkok and I go out everywhere alone. I have friends here but my working schedule means that it is not always possible to meet them. I take to the streets and wander around taking photographs, go to the movies, have lunch or dinner in my favourite bars, go to art galleries, or I just stay home and write, paint or cook, whatever takes my fancy. I have learned to love my own company. What Sophia told me was true; being alone and actually loving it is a surefire way to boost your confidence.

Start small. Next time you agree to meet your mate at a bar. Don’t wait outside. Instead, go and ensconce yourself at the bar and order yourself a large drink. It’s a great feeling!

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/alone
Pegasus Reef Hotel, Sri Lanka

Bus Baby

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/busbaby

I have lived in Thailand for a few years now and there have been a few things that have caused me to raise my eyebrows; motorbikes on pavements, family picnics in Tesco’s car park, five people on one motorbike. You know, things that you don’t normally see in your own country. I think the most recent crazy thing I saw tops all of those things.

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/busbaby

One evening, on my way home from work, I couldn’t believe my eyes and I had to look twice but as I got on the bus I could have sworn the driver was holding a baby! There was, dear God, a one year old baby, laughing merrily in the arms of the driver.

I thought to myself, surely he isn’t going to drive with the baby in his arms. How could he? He needs two hands for driving and the baby, being a baby, was doing the opposite of sitting still.

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/busbaby

Thankfully, before he drove off, he placed the baby next to him on the gear box cover. Not in a pram, oh no, on the gear box cover. Thankfully? Not! Not even strapped to anything, the poor mite could have gone flying if the driver had braked suddenly.

I got off at my stop, shaking my head in disbelief. There is not a lot of health and safety regulations, here in Thailand, and now it seems not a lot of common sense either. I am pretty sure that if this happened in the UK someone would say something but no-one says anything here. In fact, this 100% would not happen in the UK. However, it would have been useless for me to say something as the language barrier gets in the way and I would be deemed a crazy foreigner but even the Thais don’t, it’s not in their nature to confront even though they may feel the same as us.

Regardlessly, the baby seemed to be enjoying the ride and I’m sure he lived to gurgle the tale but COME ON!!

The World’s Gone Mad

The world’s gone mad with technology. Everywhere you go people are glued to their devices like their life depended on it. Nobody is making conversation, everyone is on their phones; checking in, checking out, checking feeds, checking tweets; just in case we’re going to miss something.

The World's Gone Mad, talkingthailand.co.uk

Like we are going to miss anything. Statuses like “just had the most amazing dinner” or “just got back from the gym.” Yes, the second one was me!

The World's Gone Mad, talkingthailand.co.uk

Where we have been; where we are going; where we have checked into; photos; comments; likes- it’s all crazy. It’s like we live our lives through social media.

Everyone has internet on their devices. And, until recently, I didn’t. I was happy to log onto the WiFi connection which most places have these days. I never wanted to be online 24/7.  I have a friend who thought I was crazy. He still does, but he was always telling me to get internet on my phone. “Get with the 21st century” he told me. “No, I don’t think I will!” I used to say. I liked being out of touch for a while. But now, even I have succumbed to it. I have gotten with the 21st century. Do I like it? Mmm, shall we say I am getting used to it.

I must say one thing in its defence, it is handy for finding your way somewhere using Google maps. Although, I still like to have a printed copy of the map in my hand so I can find my way to somewhere new. I don’t know why, I’m just old school. Or maybe just old?

However did we manage when we didn’t have mobile phones? When we had to use the house phone to speak to our friends or meet them at a place previously arranged. There was a time when we had to go and knock on friend’s doors to speak to them. I am far too young to remember doing that, ahem!

When we go out with friends they are half listening to what you’re saying because they are distracted by that device that appears to be attached to them. And God forbid that device beeps or vibrates, you become second best. The conversation is halted and you have to wait until they are finished, and then the conversation is forgotten. I find it very off-putting sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of using my phone in company before now but it’s time to leave it alone for five minutes. Five minutes, that is all. Engage in the conversation around you. Don’t forget your human friends.

 

The World's Gone Mad, talkingthailand.co.uk

What do you think? 😉

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Getting Over Jet Lag

Going on holiday? Taking a long haul flight? There is no getting away from the dreaded jet lag. The disruption of the body’s normal circadian rhythm, as a result of flying, can make it seem like you haven’t slept in weeks. You feel spaced out, almost delirious in your actions and speech, and it can last anything from one day to several days, depending on whether you travel from east to west or west to east. Here is my (tongue in cheek) guide to getting over it.

Getting Over Jet Lag

1. Don’t fly with a hangover or have little sleep the day before a flight. Instead, do the boring, ahem, I mean sensible thing and invest in a blindfold, a neck cushion, ear plugs or a blow up pillow or all of those things. 😉

2. Night flights can be better because you would naturally be sleeping during the night. Once they have fed and watered you, the window shades are down so it is fairly dark, so you should be able to get some sleep. Unless, that is, your neighbour has decided to read the whole way and has the light on above you. 😉

3. If you are struggling to drift off lay your head on your fellow passenger’s shoulder. I am sure they won’t mind. 😉

4. If you can’t sleep, and said neighbour does mind, take advantage of the free booze. That always helps! 😉

5. Make sure you drink plenty of water before landing, that free booze will make you very dehydrated. 😉

6. Get up several times during the flight to walk around. This helps to reduce the effects of jet lag although will increase your neighbour’s annoyance, even if they don’t show it. 😉

7. Set your clock to your destination’s local time. The confusion, when you are working out how long it is until you land, will make you sleepy. 😉

8. Once at your destination try to stay awake until your normal bedtime. Even if that means showing your parents, friends or relatives 500 + photographs of your trip, to the point of them falling asleep. 😉

9. The day after landing, sleep until you can sleep no more. 😉

10. If all fails, just continuing drinking until you collapse into oblivion. At least you will have had a few hours kip before arriving. Just don’t blame me for the horrendous hangover you will have. Believe me, I have been there!  😉 😉

Getting Over Jet Lag

 

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Happy Happy Joy Joy

Happy Happy Joy Joy; I can remember crying with happiness three times in the past few years. It’s a very strange feeling crying tears of joy because sometimes they really do come out of nowhere, and at the strangest times.

I have already written about my time in Vietnam, but, when I stayed on Cat Ba Island, I went rock climbing for the first time.

The instructor, Onslo, and I still remember his name to this day. I was in awe of him; he could climb up rocks, without a rope, very nimbly. I took a shine to him instantly. Onslo explained how the equipment worked, and then I was ready to go.

Rock Climbing on Cat Ba Island
Slightly scared but ready to go

I started climbing up the rock. It was fairly easy to start with, although it’s quite a struggle trying to haul your whole body up vertically. As I got higher, I started to panic a little, froze, and could not move a muscle. I was stuck halfway up the rock. I started hyperventilating and was shaking all over; I thought I was going to fall to my death. The, very patient, Onslo told me to let go of the rock and hang in mid-air. I thought he was crazy, and whimpered that I couldn’t possibly do that. I, eventually let go, and once I realised I wasn’t going anywhere, because I was harnessed, I managed to climb the rest of the way.

Rock Climbing on Cat Ba Island
Halfway up

When I made it back down to the beach, my legs gave way under me and I literally collapsed onto the sand, and I started crying like a baby; tears of joy at having climbed the (not so very tall) mountain. It was such a sense of achievement; I’d tried something new and had been able to do it, eventually.

The second bout of joyful tears came when I passed my degree in 2013. I had started the degree, with the Open University, in 1993, and completed two courses with them, but then my life got in the way, and I didn’t continue it.

When I moved to Thailand, I restarted it. In 2011, I moved back to the UK to finish it, because it was cheaper for me to do so. I completed four courses in the space of three years. It was such hard work; at one point I was doing two courses at the same time, as well as having a full time job.

Each time I received an email to say my exam results were available, I didn’t want to look. I was afraid I hadn’t passed. But, I plucked up the courage and found I had passed every course. I cried tears of joy at the satisfaction of knowing that all the hard work I had put in had paid off.

Then when the time came for the degree ceremony, I wasn’t even going to go but my friend, Dipesh, said that I should go, and that I would be glad that I went.  On the day of the ceremony, my Mum and I arrived at the venue. I was really nervous about going up on stage to collect my degree certificate.

Degree Ceremony, Manchester
All Robed Up

I sat and listened to the director of the university telling us that we had made it, and that we should all feel proud after months and years of studying to achieve the degree. When my name was called, I went onstage to receive my award.

Degree Ceremony, Manchester
Receiving my Certificate

Afterwards, I was so glad that I had gone to acknowledge my achievement, I cried tears of joy once again because I felt so proud of myself.

When have you cried tears of joy?