Gratitude: February 24 – March 9

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind. School is finished, well at least classes and my final grades, and we only have a few days left to show up. It’s a strange feeling knowing I won’t see many of my students ever again.

Explore and Discover

1. Exploring and Discovering :: I cannot begin to be grateful enough for my ability, physically, monetarily, etc. to see the world! So many people are unable to, they have other obligations or mental blocks that prevent them from being able to explore and discover. And to explore, I don’t mean boarding a plane and crossing into another nation, although that’s one of my favorite forms of travel, but to possess the wide eyed mentality of a child and discover the world you live in: the simple elegance of plants, the innocence of animals and children, the smell of the wind during the season changes, the wealth of important information in museums and conservatories. To appreciate the world as it is and your part in it, that is the beauty of life.

2. Books :: I have been reading so many deliciously wonderful books this year I have been in Thailand. Fourteen to be exact. Which is wayyy more books than I have ever read in a year and I am loving it. I already wrote a little post about my favorite books from this year: here 🙂

Family Vacation

3. Pai :: I had spent so much time thinking that my favorite place in Thailand was Chiang Mai, but lo and behold, Pai is everything I love about Chiang Mai all wrapped up in a 4-block radius and nestled in a sweet valley. Delicious Western food decorates most menus, colorful and pungent juices freshly pressed for me, soy milk cappuccinos for Ami, and real bacon and hamburgers for PT. Motorbikes, hotsprings, hippies, live music, coffee shops. Ahhh a wonderful little sanctuary for us farangs.

Graduation Congratulations

4. SawanAnan Wittaya School :: Teaching has been a humbling and eye opening experience. I fully appreciate teachers now and thoroughly feel guilty for my occasional bratty misbehavior when I was a student. And despite the bureaucracy, the confusion that comes with being a farang, and my initial loss at how to teach, this has been an experience that I will always cherish. I have learned how to teach, but most importantly I was a student here. A student of culture and language, of patience and gratitude, and I learned far more than I expected or hoped for. Thanks Korin and SW for giving me this opportunity!

friendssss

5. Friends :: During my first 6 months here, I found that I LOVE to travel alone. And in Thailand this is so easy because the people here are so friendly and there are many other solo female travelers that you are bound to befriend. But I found that traveling with friends and in a small group is so much fun. Traveling in Chiang Mai and Pai with Amiel, PT, Lyndsey, and Andrew was refreshing. I haven’t hung out with that many farangs in quite a while and I had forgotten the great feeling that comes with being in and a part of a group. We all got along smashingly, because as travelers those initial boundaries and social cues vanish and we all become more vulnerable and patient. To experience things for the first time with others and to share these parts of life is a huge part of exploring and I am happy to have PT’s company for our journey southbound!

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”

Gratitude: Week of February 10

1. P’Julie :: Again. She really has been taking care of me this week. On Sunday we went on a little adventure. Mostly getting lost and looking for restaurants that turned out to be closed, but in between all those odd little detours, we visited several little museums, temples, and historical sights. But my favorite part of the day was lunch in Sri Satchanali. We sat in this little bamboo hut where everything from the chairs to the top of the hut was made from a bamboo tree. It was comfortable, the breeze was amazing, and the luscious view of mountains, trees, and a lake, all culminated into a 2-hour relaxing and easy lunch.

     

2. Tai Chi :: P’Julie in her wonderful mother/tour guide capacity has invited me to the Tai Chi classes at the local Chinese school, for the children of Chinese immigrants who are Thai citizens (I think… language barriers can be confusing…) . Anyways, the classes are taught by this adorably tiny woman who is at least 65 years old and she has a ton of spunk. We warmed up for about 5 minutes, did Tai Chi for 20 minutes, aerobics for another 20 minutes, and then “playing with a bamboo stick” for another 20 minutes. It was fun, and really funny.

3. Valentines Day/ HIV Day :: Valentine’s Day was celebrated a little early at school this year because Maka Bucha was on 2/14 and being a religious holiday we had no school Friday. But the Valentine’s Day celebrations were of course ridiculous and an easy excuse for many students to miss class later in the day. There were performances, handing out of condoms, dances and songs about HIV prevention, which were all very light hearted and funny, causing us farangs to wonder if the real message of HIV/AIDS was really getting across to the students or not… Nonetheless it was a fun and celebratory day.

Also, the students covered my with stickers throughout the day – feeling loved 🙂

         

4. Long Lazy Weekends :: Hammock hang time, long bike rides, coconut waters, massages, “House of Cards”, smoothies, and naps 🙂 Just what I needed.

5. Preparation :: I am preparing what I need to take while backpacking and what I need to send home! It’s all so exciting and I cannot wait to travel around before heading home. Also, I have begun preparing for job applications. I can’t believe that in 3 months I will be back in the USA… surreal.