Life has a funny way of working itself out. This week has been one crazy emotional roller coaster. Last Saturday I felt I had hit an ultimate low and today I feel like I am on cloud nine. Last Saturday I was crying in a hotel room not knowing what was going to come about in my life and today, well I am still in a hotel room they call “an apartment,” but it is set up as my new home across the street from the most welcoming school and town I could have ever imagined.
Last Monday night at 8pm I got a call from my agent that another school that would be a better fit for me had an opening. I was told to get on the 9am bus the next morning and given directions to this town. That was all the information I got. 6 hours later I ended up in the southern most district, Phayakkaphum Phisai, in a province in Northeast Thailand called Maha Sarakahm. I was picked up at the bus station by two Thai teachers and taken to my accommodation (which I was told was temporary until I got the ok today to finally unpack and call it home). The Thai teachers that picked me up took all of my stuff to my new room and literally started unpacking my stuff. The next thing I know I am across the street at the school sitting with the director of the school and the entire English department. The welcoming was more than I could have asked for. That night one of the Thai teachers took me and the other two farang (foreign English teachers) for a tour around the town, out to dinner and ended up at a Buddhist temple to watch a celebration and then lit lanterns and watched them fly into the sky. We found out the lanterns represented sending away all your bad thoughts and spirits. It was a sign like none other. The next two days were spent visiting the school, going to meetings to determine our schedules, eating lunch with the teachers, talking to the students and participating in the parade around town and sports day. It has all been magical!
My town consists of one block, but on the block you have everything you can possibly need. A bank, the phone store, two 7/11, a tesco express, tons of miscellaneous shops and plenty of food stands. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday they have “big markets” which consist of random things for sale and more food stands. The town opens early in the morning and is shut down by 7:30-8:00pm. After 8pm everyone retreats to their homes and the town goes quiet. Even if you wanted to hang out at a bar or coffee shop and just chat with friends there is not really a place to do so. So, I head back to my 9X9 foot room and start reflecting on life. I am starting to get used to it. I have realized quick that a need a hobby, playing the ukulele is the first thing that comes to my mind.
My life may be simple here, but I am learning a whole new appreciation for life and what really matters. What really matters is happiness. In my last placement I was located near a huge city with shopping malls, Western food, movie theaters, everything you think you need, but what I was missing was a sense of belonging and appreciation. My new school brought me right in a started introducing me to the entire town. I walk down the street and the kids from school wave and smile and say “Hi teacher!” and their parents wai in respect to “new teacher.” It is a feeling of pure joy!
I start teaching on Monday morning and I can hardly contain my excitement (and nerves). I finally get to do what I came here to do! This week was a huge test for me and I passed. I made it through without falling completely apart and let everything pan out around me and it all worked out in the end.
I have a feeling this is going to be a great year!