Sawankhalokians: Part 2

As a continuation of this post, I want to delve further into my experience in Sawankhalok by focusing on and giving tribute to those who made my experience all the better. These people created a community for me, helped me navigate a new town and a new culture.

Meet my Sawankhalok community!


These guys live about 100 yards from our house at the corner of our little soi and the main road. As is common in Thailand, the front of their home has been converted into a shop, specifically a motorcycle shop. Always kind and helpful to this mechanically disinclined young woman: pumping up my tires for free, changing flats, and otherwise fixing my bicycle. Unfortunately, we never exchanged names but without fail they always say hello and wave as I ride past their shop.

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Sawankhalokians: Part 1


One year ago, I was hired to teach English in Thailand to high school students. Not only did I need to prepare to move to the other side of the world but I had a scant 6 weeks to get my life together. In miraculously swift movements, I was able to quit my job, get a visa, get vaccinations, and pack my life into one backpack and an obnoxiously large red suitcase. And off I went…

This past year I created lifelong friendships, which consisted of conversations employing only a narrow vocabulary of Thai and English words. Bridging language gaps, rather than distancing and disconnecting, has only strengthened and fortified my friendships (as well as allowed me to use a hilarious amount of hand signals and pointing, always a humbling and silly way to communicate).

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Beautiful Words

One thing I have grown to love about Thailand is the poetic way their language sounds and the meanings behind their words. The language is tonal, meaning that one sound such as ma can have 5 different tones, low, mid, high, falling, and rising. These 5 tones dictate the meaning of the word. So a simple ma, depending on the tone, could mean dog, come, or horse (unfortunately, I don’t know the other two meanings).

Thai also has a beautiful way of phrasing. For example, the word for ‘kind’ is jai dee, which literally translates to ‘good heart’. And when they talk about the mind, as in ‘peace of mind’ or ‘good mind’ they refer to the heart, tapping their fingers to the left side of their chest solidifying their words.

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Gratitude: Week of February 17

My students! No list of 1-5 this week. I can’t believe that this week was my last full week of teaching and that 7 of my classes are totally finished… It’s bittersweet. I am so sad to leave these amazing kids who have kept me sane, motivated, focused, inspired, and constantly laughing. I can’t begin to explain how much they have taught me; definitely far more than I have taught them. Although I hope I showed them that language learning can be fun and it’s about people not perfect grammar. Anyways, here are some super cute pics of my kids!

After the jump…  Continue reading “Gratitude: Week of February 17”