Leaving DKT: Endish of Feb-Feb 28
Leaving was both exactly what I thought it would be and yet not at all. With finals and getting grades figured out in a system that has never given us a format for grading- the leaving didn’t really get a chance to sink in. That last week, as I started to say goodbye to a few of my classes, it started to become more and more real. I am leaving.
When I got to Thailand, I wasn’t ready. I was leaving behind the magical land of China and headed to a place where I was to meet a whole slew of new people and begin a new life. I had finally fallen into my travel groove and was leaving behind a lifestyle, a country and companions that I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to yet.
But none of that mattered. I was thrown headfirst into Thailand and after the excitement, anticipation and anxiety wore off about making new friends, moving to a new town and starting to teach- I was left with conflicting feelings. My students had touched my heart in a way that I never knew possible. They taught me so much more than I ever could have taught them. But the Thai lifestyle and being a teacher wasn’t really the calling I had hoped for when I signed up.
It left me confused and terrified to find out I had come all this way only to be back where I started. A little lost about who I wanted to become. But was I really lost? Was I really the same person I was before I left? If you have read my Valentine’s Day post, you’ll know that the answer to those questions is no. I have finally accepted that travel isn’t a phase I will grow out of and it’s not something that I can just get out of my system. It isn’t just a part of me. It is me. And so I planned. I researched- pouring over the internet, over my guidebook, talking to other travelers and friends and collecting as much information as I could. And I waited. I waited for the semester to be over so I could travel.
But here it was. The time and moments I had been waiting for for so long, and yet, I was sad. Despite my best efforts, I had made a life for myself. A daily routine that I was accustomed to, a fruit lady, a soup lady, a good relationship with my school and most of all- friends. My amazing coworkers who had inadvertently become a much bigger part of my survival in Thailand that I had realized would no longer be a part of my daily life.
I would never see my students again. I wouldn’t get to follow their successes and I wouldn’t get to see them grow into the amazing people I know they will all become one day.
That’s sad! And I was sad. And I was surprised at how sad I was.
In the last few days, Thailand was able to intervene. It reminded me of all the reasons I couldn’t stay. All of the little things that drove me crazy- the lack of communication, of organization and of structure of any kind has driven me mad. The lack of food choices the strange smells and my D-List celeb status was enough for now.
And so, after a wonderful last weekend with my DKT girls (who I will undoubtedly keep in touch with and see again very soon), I packed my bags, cleaned my apartment and headed to Bangkok. Unfortunately, the morning of my departure brought awful news. One of my students was in a terrible motorcycle accident and passed away. He was a sweet, sweet boy (17) and had his whole life ahead of him. He was remembered fondly by all of his classmates and remembering him brought back to me all of the wonderful things about Thailand. While I was upset I couldn’t be there for support and his remembrance, I was also a little relieved. Selfishly I had taken away something from his death, but I also wouldn’t even know how to begin giving my students the support that they needed.
And so, with a heavy heart, I arrived in Bangkok, now more ready than ever to live my life to the fullest and begin this crazy journey ahead of me.
** To read more specifically about my life as an expat- check out my guest blog post for Enchanted Serendipity here. And check out the rest of her blog as well!**