Flower Arrangements & Snorkel Gear
Well, what a week it's been.
I taught my first academic class ever, I finally learned how to use the songthaew (pictured below), I was appreciated as a teacher, and I went snorkeling in algae filled water.
A songthaew is the main form of public transportation in Thailand. You hop on the back, press a button when they reach your destination, hop off, and pay the driver 10 baht (about 29 cents).
You heard about my first day experience. Luckily I can say that each day teaching got easier and easier. I am finally beginning to learn my students' names and I know what to teach and how to teach it.
On Thursday, schools across Thailand celebrated Wai Kru day, or Teachers Appreciation Day. It is a Thai ritual in which students pay respects to their teachers in order to express their gratitude and formalize the student–teacher relationship.The students make a flower arrangement and then present it to their teacher during a special ceremony. I wish I could tell you more about what was going on during the ceremony, but it was all in Thai.
My school invited me to participate. I was thrilled! Two students represented my Matthayom 2 advisory class and presented me with beautiful flower arrangements that they spend the second half of Wednesday working on. It was such an incredible honor to be able to accept it. It made me even more excited to continue working with my classes and getting to know them.
Let's fast forward to Saturday. A few fellow teachers in the Chonburi area and I decided to go to Pattaya for snorkeling. Pattaya is only about 1-2 hours away so it was perfect! We had an early wake up call of 5am so we would be able to get to the snorkel place by 8am.
Once we got there we had some extra time to kill. We decided to stop into a restaurant and get what might be the best smoothie I've ever had with a view of the Gulf of Thailand right out the front door.
When it was time to leave, we got onto the boat and headed off to the islands. On our first dive, I was terrified as soon as I got into the water. It was my first time snorkeling. Unfortunately, there was a lot of algae in the water which made it sort of difficult to see. We were also told that there might be jellyfish in the water so to be careful. Immediately I saw little round clear things floating in the water. And there were a lot of them. Jellyfish. I kept trying to dodge them but couldn't because there were way too many. They kept hitting me but surprisingly, I didn't get stung.
About 30 minutes later, we got back onto the boat. We asked our guide and a few other workers on the boat why we didn't get stung because there were so many jellyfish. It turned out, they were photo luminescent plankton and completely harmless. It was a complete shock to me. I've watched a lot of Spongebob in my life and it always led me to believe that plankton were green. At this point, I was confused and not sure what else in my childhood was a lie.
We ate lunch, traveled to a new island, dived again, and headed back to the dock.
The week made me excited to continue the journey that I'm on. Despite the hard times and the occasional homesickness, I'm the happiest I have been since I was in London last summer. I can't wait to see what other new adventures I'll have in these next 5 months.