Settling In and Feeling Grateful
Since my first blog post, I've started teaching (mostly 12th graders and some younger classes,) and I really, really love it. Thai students are so artistic, and it's been so satisfying to come up with ways to tie art to my lesson plans and watch them transform their assignment into something creative and beautiful. Ugh, I really love my students.
In my last post, I talked a lot about how there is a balance of excitement and difficulty in moving abroad, and although I still believe that's true, I've decided that I really want to focus on the good in my life and to choose to be appreciative for all I have here in Thailand.
So, this blog is wholly for listing what I am grateful for in my new life in Phetchabun. Side note: making lists of what you are grateful for is probably the best thing you can do for your soul.
- My students--I hate those teachers who never shut up about their students like people about their kids, but really I'll probably include them in every post because they have become a huge part of my life, and I really do love teaching them.
- Mountains—I have a great view of some mountains from our front porch, but you can also see them on the drive to school, and it is so calming and nice.
- Leah Heald--Leah is one of my roommates, but she has already been teaching at my school for a semester. She always makes sure the farang (foreigners) at our school are taken care of, and she's basically our mom/camp counselor/friend/advisor. We would all drown without her.
- AirCon—It is so hot here. Like humid, sweaty hot. So when I come home from a long day in a hot classroom, nothing feels better than turning on my AC and throwing myself onto my bed for a solid nap in a cool room.
- A gym—Going to the gym was a regular part of my routine at home, so when I found a gym with AC, treadmills, and weights, I was thrilled. I need routines in my life, and it also feels so good to get sweaty at the gym then feel the wind on my face when I drive my motorbike home in the cooler evening.
- Transportation--I have my own motorbike! Yes, it is terrifying, especially in Thai traffic, but having a way to get around by myself is so important to me, and it makes me feel independent. Plus, I mean, it's pretty cool (see pic below).
- A direct bus ride to Abby Giesey- Abby and I went to college together, and so it's crazy that we both ended up teaching in Thailand. There is a direct bus ride from my city to hers, and I am so, so grateful for that because it is so comforting to see a familiar face and reminisce about old times and share about the new times.
- Music—Songs that I used to listen to at home are my go to fix for feeling down or missing home. You can remember that time you were screaming your favorite song driving down the highway or the one you danced to with your roommate in your dorm when you should have been studying. The playlist I used to get through finals week is the same one I use now to lesson plan. It’s just familiar and brings back good memories.
- A community that respects its teachers--America should take a note, really. In Thai culture, teachers are respected because that makes total sense. We are literally teaching the future for the benefit of the whole community.
Overall, I think the best part of this trip so far has been the hard lessons I’ve had to learn in adulting. This is my first time away from home and my first house that wasn’t my parents. When you go somewhere alone, you are the only one responsible for you. It’s been so good for me to learn to choose happiness (My mom is smiling reading that because that’s something she always tried to teach me) and to take care of my own problems, emotions, fears, etc.
I’ve also learned, though, that if you can’t take care of yourself, there are usually people who will help you, especially in Thailand. My school coordinators and fellow teachers have gone out of their way to help me adjust, keep up with my visa, figure out my housing and transportation, where to buy what, how to say this or that in Thai.
For all of it, I am grateful.