Last week was a bit slow at work. I have 10 different classes 8 which meet twice a week (Listening & Speaking), and 2 that meet once a week (Reading for Science). My 8 that meet twice a week were all absent since they are M6, which translates to seniors in high school. They are tutoring for exit exams and entrance exams all at once so I only had 3 classes all week long. I did a lot of planning and organized a flexible schedule of when I would see the students, when they have holidays and when I won’t be in the class. It wasn’t hard work just tedious.
Here are some pics of what I see in school throughout my week:
Kruai (Oven Roasted Bananas!!! AROY!) Ah yes, we have a squatting toilet. No tissue in the toilet, and after you’re done you dump water in there until the bowl is clean… I mean at least it’s healthier……
After school Tuesday I went to one of the four pools in my town. Thursday I have one of my best hours in the week: Spanish club. It’s so free, impromptu and fun since I teach them songs in Spanish. First they learn the meaning of each line and translate after they practice singing along. I think realistically we’ll do 1 song every two weeks so they can really sing and have fun. Point is they ENJOY it and even my host teacher is learning Spanish as she helps me. (I hope to make my actual classes this enjoyable, but I have to remind myself that it is doable *with time)
I also had a few lunch/ dinner dates which was nice to move the week along. *When you get coffee @ Thailand it comes with tea in most places
Thursday night I was taken 30-ish minutes out to the next big city to eat KFC and enjoy Swensens after by P’Am. Note: spicy chicken wings are way more BOMB here and it wasn’t my idea to have American food so soon! Note 2: I loved it!
By the end of the week I was taken to lunch and coffee with P’Buddy! This man is amazing, he teaches English and I can tell he genuinely cares when he asks how I’m doing. He smiles so big when he talks about his grand babies and is retiring after this term. Point is we relate in ways more than words we can speak to each other (for now): we love coffee
It’s nice, I’m realizing more and more how much support I have in Sawankhalok. (MOM, DAD: Yes, your baby girl is being well taken care of 🙂 )
For example, I expressed the transition is still hard to a couple of teachers in the office and how sometimes it does get lonely; homesickness is a forgetful part and very prominent part of my week altogether. So, they invited me out for a Friday night drink. Scott (Australian) & Paul (from London) There is a lot of normality in being able to just get a drink after work it was refreshing and fun for the small town of Sawankhalok that has now 2 bars! (we found the 2nd one that night).
The Weekend: My first two weekends have been adventure adventure adventure and barely home. I thought I was in for a quiet one, ‘I thought.’ I was woken up by a wedding at 6am! The monks pray for 20 minutes and they have thai songs and it’s BUMPIN, Oy Vey. I reminded myself: “Amazing Thailand,” and took advantage of waking up early at a normal time for California so I talked to a couple of friends & fam, and hand washed my clothes. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but if I have, I don’t care. Each time I’m scrubbing ALL of my clothes I myself am amazed.
After I tutored at a coffee shop with two students and had a good time with them. They WANT to learn and I love it. They are capable of so much, I know it.
As if I hadn’t done enough, I got picked up at 5:30p to go to Tak! We spent the night and went to a wedding the next morning (I mean 8am morning). It was a very interesting process to see to compare only 1 American wedding I’ve been to, to 1 Thai wedding. In Thai weddings they are prayed for by monks for 20 mins and then guests have a pre-meal appetizer. Then people help the groom carry the gifts for the bride and brides family? (from what I understood), it’s like a caravan that follow him. I had the honor of presenting some sugar cane and being a part of the wedding. It was really fun. Another different thing is that the groom has to prove himself to whomever is stoping him with a flower rope by answering questions and giving envelopes of money. Some were challenging and I can tell it’s a fun challenge. Then there is a lot of gift giving and wai-ing to different people that have helped their relationship and marriage especially to both parties’ parents. Note: there is a 9 course meal as the wedding is going, I probably back tracked all the work I did with insanity the week before. 1hr and a half away Our lovely hotel Tak is pretty in the evening
After we headed out to Mae Sot! The border of Myanmar and Thailand in the Province of Tak with Master Samron, Beverly, Noe, and Van. Beverly, Noe and Van are foreign English teachers from the Philippines. Master Samron I call Po (father), at first I actually thought he wanted me to call him Paul, so I would transition from Master Samron and Paul, then he introduces me as his daughter along with my 3 other siblings haha. I even asked (again since I forgot) “What do you prefer being called, Master Samron, or Paul?” He seemed a little embarrassed and replied “You can call me Po, others call me Master Samron.” Took me two weeks but now I understand he is my Thai father who has taken such great care of me so far and I know I can truly trust. Even my host teacher P’Am said he is a wonderful man anyone can go to. AMAZING
A SIDE NOTE:******When we visited this temple, there were fireworks to scare the evil spirits. They weren’t the pretty ones, just the ones that made noise. I was scared. I jumped when I first heard the fireworks and looked around to see if there was anyone on the floor since it sounded like gun shots. I was paranoid. After reading about Paris, Lebanon, Kenya, lost planes, crashed buses and even school shootings in America, it’s sad to think I can’t feel safe anywhere. I stayed up till 3am thinking of these things, these people, the innocent and horrendous people. I know I’m safe in Thailand and all I can do is pray but recently its more in my face that this world is going through a lot. I don’t know what to say or do but it was a significant moment that made me think, “Why would I feel SO frightened?”****END NOTE
I was in Thailand seeing Myanmar
Well that was my week. Let’s see what challenges actually teaching bring me this week! Talk soon, Elaine ❤