Writing often is quite honestly impossible, but I’m going to go right ahead and call that a good thing because it means I’ve been keeping busy! I’m loving my life in Thailand more than I had even hoped for and Trang has really become my home over the past month and a half. I figured I should just try and touch on some highlights and tidbits that I’ve failed to write full blown posts on over the past few weeks.
One of the first weekends in Trang, Baylee, Monroe and I went on an island hopping tour of the Trang islands with a wonderful group of Thai friends. We spent two nights on an island called Koh Ngai and we spent the days snorkeling, swimming, playing jenga and foosball when it inevitably rained, kayaking, and visiting different islands and caves. At night we exchanged English and Thai card games and had our fill of delicious Thai food. Instead of giving a more detailed post I’m going to go ahead and leave my video compilation here:
Another weekend away was spent in Penang, Malaysia – a country I definitely never imagined I would have had the chance to visit! Me, Baylee, and our co-worker Sean were joined by our friend Tyler from TESOL and his girlfriend Fah who live about 2 hours south of us in Hat Yai. It was great to see Tyler again and we had such a wonderful time catching up on everything since we’d last seen each other in Chiang Mai. We only spent a short time in Malaysia in a pretty touristy little section called George Town but we definitely covered a lot of ground. I felt a little bit of reverse culture shock seeing so many westerners when I rarely see them in Trang, and I felt myself awkwardly staring at people and being surprised when they spoke to me in perfect English. George Town is known for street art and there are a handful of beautiful murals all within walking distance of each other, so we spent a lot of time walking around to see them, taking our time in the little shops, and stuffing our faces with Malaysian food.
While the weekends away have been great, the weekends at home in Trang are just as great and very relaxing after long weeks of teaching. I always try and do something new nearby. Finally getting comfortable enough driving the motorbike has also given me a lot more freedom to explore the city I now call home. I’ve gone to a waterfall, a Trang FC soccer game, the botanical gardens in Trang, and even snuck into the pool of the nicest hotel in Trang a couple times. Trang has a daily market, a weekend market, and even a once a month market!
But of course, let’s not forget why I’m here: to teach! The majority of my time is actually spent in school despite what it may look like on social media. Teaching is hard work and totally exhausting, I’m usually eating dinner by 6 and asleep before 10 during the week – shout out to my mom,the former teacher, who I’ve been making fun of for years for going to sleep so early! But, as exhausting as it is, I am loving it! I hate waking up early but once I get off my motorbike, sign in at the office, and have had my coffee, I am entirely happy to be here. When I walk through the hallways my students are always yelling “Hello teachaaaa!!!!!” and I find my cheeks hurting from smiling so much.
This past week I’ve been testing my classes on everything I’ve taught up until now. The tests are entirely speaking and the students work in pairs with me, taking turns asking questions and giving answers. To get through all 45 or so students takes almost two full class periods, but has left some extra time at the end of the second class. With my P3s I’ve been playing 7 up, a game I loved in elementary school that they all know and love here as well. With my P5 classes I’ve spent the end of the second class having them draw and write comic strips in english. Thai children are INCREDIBLE artists, so they took to this assignment right away. Today after class, I had a couple of my students come by my office to show or give me the comics they’d been working on. One girl, Mai Kaew, after giving me her comic strip and leaving, returned to my office about 30 seconds later. After struggling for a couple minutes trying to communicate something to me, speaking in Thai that I obviously couldn’t understand, she finally said “I like you and I love english!”
It’s the moments like these that make every rat on the sidewalk, every squatty potty that smells like sewage, every mosquito bite, every jellyfish sting, every student that won’t STOP TALKING, and every craving for bagels, cheese, and tacos worth it.