Greg Raymond grew up in Gardiner under the looming rock face of the Gunks and, as he puts it, “I never yearned for a life beyond the beauty of my own home in Gardiner surrounded by woods and steeped with mountains.”
He graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2010 with a degree in history and anthropology, knowing that he would become a teacher. To that end, Greg went to Costa Rica to teach English and to get his degree in teaching English as a second language. He returned home to finish getting his state teacher’s license.
While Greg was still an undergraduate, a young Thai, known as Ann to her friends, spent a few months doing hotel work in Ohio. She wanted to come back to the States, and on her return home in 2010, applied to Au Pair in America. Au Pair found her and another young lady from Bangkok jobs caring for three young boys in Stone Ridge. Greg spotted Ann across the dance floor at a local watering hole and together, they went to her home town, Kalasin, in remote northeastern Thailand. “I was fortunate to experience the real countryside of Thailand, outside the tourist traps or in the cities,” Greg commented.
Soon Ann and Greg were engaged, and with her help, he got a job teaching English in Kalasin. They were married there in traditional Buddhist fashion —a morning ceremony and an evening reception. The festivities included payment of the “bride price,” which, however, was returned to the groom and his family the same day. Greg confessed, “My Thai was pretty weak at that point so I really had no idea what was going on, though the ceremony itself is quite beautiful and magical.”
In Bangkok, Greg and Ann also started a tutorial school for young children interested in English. Demand increased so they rented a townhouse for the school. As an outgrowth, Greg became known as “Teacher Greg,” co-host of a weekly show, “Good Morning,” on Thai PBS television. Its aim is to teach young children the fundamentals of English spelling and pronunciation in a low key, cheerful, spelling bee atmosphere. For each correctly spelled word, the program makes a contribution to a charity that helps children without a home or a school of their own. The show had been on the air for about a year when the previous co-host went back to the States. Greg was on the spot, had already been teaching young children English, auditioned by filming a couple of takes and was on the air the following week.
“Aside from my TV show and a few stints in other shows, my wife and I enjoy traveling around the country giving English workshops or enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of Thailand.” When not on the road, Greg and his wife live mainly in Bangkok, or relax at home in Kalasin. Videos of some of Greg’s activities may be seen at www.facebook.com/krugreg
Greg summed up his time in Thailand; “Every moment has been a learning experience in the culture and language of Thailand. It’s a wonderful country and I invite everyone back home to come see it with their own eyes and feel it with their own heart.”
Editor’s Note: Greg is the nephew of Town Clerk Michelle Mosher and still has other family in Gardiner and the immediate area. How long he and his wife stay in Thailand is an open question.