Week one of teaching is officially in the books. How crazy? I swear I was boarding that early AM flight just a few days ago.
What a wonderful week it’s been! The kids are so fun, the Thai teachers are welcoming, and I definitely get my 10k Fitbit steps everyday running from class to class.
(Teaching day one!)
I have 32 different classes with a range of proficiencies. For the most part, it’s been smooth sailing. I’ve been having a blast making the kids laugh with my singing of Justin Bieber songs. And I love seeing their wheels in motion as I watch vocabulary and conversation click. It’s such a good feeling. Sure, I have to repeat myself a million times and it’s extremely challenging to talk over a 45 student class, but I really am loving it!
(Ellie, Lisa, and myself at Railay)
I am beyond thankful to have my friends, Lisa and Ellie, in my school. We have quite a bit of fun laughing about our confusion and the communication barrier together. It’s made the transition so much easier and more enjoyable. Having people to share my meals, enjoy a good laugh, and walk to 7/11 for snack with is more than I could have ever hoped for on this crazy adventure. It’s the little things, I tell ya.
Because we’re the only foreigners in our small town, it’s all eyes on us all the time. The students are always saying hello, waving, and waiing (a bow of respect.) While this place is so different than the US and Minnesota, it’s comforting to see smiles and hear sa wat dee’s (hellos) from almost everyone we pass. The people here are so unbelievably friendly, it’s amazing.
I spent this last weekend in Ao Nang, a cute beach town and a tourist hot spot. It was a blast. We met new people from around the world, saw beautiful sights, and got our fix of western food (I love you, pizza.) It was an all-around fantastic weekend. Lisa, Ellie, and I all agreed that it exceeded our expectations by far. But Sunday came and it was time to get home.
Home for me is 8,554 miles away. Home is a little, stucco house with round garage doors. Home for me is the family and friends that I talk to and miss everyday I’m away.
But now home is also my little hotel room at the PN Mansion (just a hotel, not an actual mansion–don’t worry) in Ao Luek, Thailand. Home is my fellow teachers turned friends. Home is Ao Luek Prachasan School.
It’s only been a little over a week since the farang (foreigners) moved to town, but I’m already feeling fairly settled. And it’s such a good feeling to have.
I still can’t understand a word people say around me, read most menus, or get used to the constant heat, but I’m establishing a routine, finding my favorite spots, and truly unpacking my (growing) piles of belongings.
(Exploring our neighboring Thanbok Khoranee National Park)
Before I left, my beautiful friends gave me 56 letters to read throughout my time here. Special days, sad days, when I need a hug but can’t get one. You name it, there’s a letter for it–seriously, everything. They even got my family in on it. I’ve been slow to opening these letters because I’m trying to hold out for when I really need them most.
Sunday, however, seemed like a good time for one. “Open When You Move to Your New ‘Home.'”
The card reads, “May the key that opens your front door be more than that to you… may it be the key to brand new joys.”
Thailand has been exactly that “key.”
I’m missing everyone, fall, cheese, my bed… I won’t bore you with the rest. But I know this is where I’m supposed to be right now. XploreAsia has this saying, “you might not get what you want, but you’ll get what you need.”
(My first sunset in the new apartment)
And it’s too true. No situation is perfect, but it, in some way, will enhance your life (or at least give you a good story.) At the end of the day, we are better people for the lessons we’ve learned, regardless of whether or not it was what you were hoping for.
I’m finding what I need here: Clarity, challenge, excitement, beauty, knowledge.
Let the journey continue.