The roller coaster continues. I came here to feel alive, and that’s exactly what I got. There’s no easy way to explain my day to day life or experience because it is ever changing. Instead I decided to share a little overview of what I've been up to by sharing some of my ‘most’ moments and adventures.
When I felt the most relaxed: Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand
I was finally able to go to the stunning Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple)! For added adventure I went on a 40K bike ride with my ride or die, Ali, and we went to Wat Rong Suea Ten (The Blue Temple) and Singha Park. We biked all around the park and tea plantations. Coincidentally there was a special tea festival that day too which was perfect. I obviously tried nearly all the teas, including bamboo tea. I really wanted to like bamboo tea, it sounds like it'd be a cool tea, but it wasn't that great :( I was also gifted avocados (they don’t have them in Southern Thailand) by the amazing Yousif. Friends, tea, biking, temples and avocados definitely put me at ease.
When I felt the most proud: Teaching nearly one month alone
My two English co-teachers were required to attend a twenty day English Boot Camp. This left me teaching alone, which is something PCV’s aren’t necessarily here to do. Saying I was stressed is an understatement. I can definitely say that from start to end, the students got a little better and I think they trust and respect me more than they did before. It also gave me the chance to try some new things in the classroom which was really rewarding. So yea, I’m proud of myself.
When I felt the most vulnerable: Singing karaoke SOBER
When teachers retire in Thailand, it’s a huge deal. Classes are postponed giving students time to prepare dances, songs and gifts. For the school ceremony, students and teachers presented their songs and dances and then community members got all dressed up and performed too. The families set up their own picnics around school and everyone ate. Being the foreigner, everyone wanted me to eat at their picnic so naturally I picnic hopped and ate my weight in Thai food. The next day school was closed early for a banquet with food, dancing, videos, and of course karaoke. I was pressured and it only seemed fair that I too contribute. I sang Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.
When I felt the most encouraged: Lexi Baker’s Camp
Sometimes my goals here seems far fetched and hard to even think about starting. Then my fave, Lexi, put together an amazing English camp (my first one) and I was amazed. I now have some thoughts and ideas of how to put together my own thanks to her. Sidenote: After camp, her site (Thung Yao) was celebrating Wai Prat-John (give thanks to the moon festival). We ate mooncakes and watched dances and fireworks. It made going to her site that much more special. #TRANGGIRLSFOREVER
When I felt the most shocked: Finding a laundromat
Yup, your girls been hand washing her clothes nine full months. All along there has been not one, but TWO ‘laundromats’ in my village. In my defense you wouldn’t know they were there unless you already knew or were looking really hard. But WOW, life changing!
When I felt the most homesick: Camille Frances Cordilla
This lead to SERIOUS water works. I now have a beautiful new cousin I will not meet in person for two years! My other cousin is getting married this month and I will not be there. My grandpa is turning 80 this month too! It all hit at once and it hit hard. But alas, I cried it out, talked with people from home, and now am ready to keep pushing on.
When I felt the most lucky: Chase’s support
TMI *warning*. Thong Sia is what Thai’s call travelers diarrhea. It’s real. It happens to all volunteers. Luckily I wasn’t hit until recently. How I have avoided it so long is beyond me. More importantly, when I was up all night long, I had my sister Chase to talk to the whole time. She may or may not have asked me to post about her, and to post about my unfortunate ‘event’. Either way I have so much love for her, the rest of my family and friends who support me daily. I can’t get over how lucky I am to have such a great support system.