I can’t believe that in 10 days my time in Thailand will be over and I will return home. It feels like I just got here!!
When I first arrived at my placement in Chonburi, Thailand there was definitely a little bit of culture shock. Sure I have been on mission trips and seen poverty and simple living, but I had never been put in a house to live for 5 months right in the middle of it. Houses are falling apart and there is trash and sewage. I didn’t think that I would ever get used to the heat..the lack of working AC in my bedroom..but I did.
I never thought I would feel comfortable walking around the dirty streets with all of these Thai strangers staring at me..but I do. In fact they are now one of the best parts of my day. Everyone greets me as I pass on my walk home from school, often times stopping to give me a ride on their motor bike, even the ones I’ve never spoken to. The little shoeless kids run after me or ride next to me on their bikes until I get to the house. I never expected that I would forget about my car and enjoy walking everywhere..but now I do. And I definitely didn’t expect to create unbelievable bonds with some of my students…and I definitely did.
I knew I would love teaching, I mean I went to school for it..always have loved kids and thrive working with them. But when I began teaching in Thailand, I didn’t think I would create such strong relationships with these kids and get so attached to them. Especially because of the lack of easy communication. In just 5 short months, I have seen these little nuggets grow so much in their personalities and their English. At first they didn’t pay much attention to me and felt uncomfortable because they couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand them. But somehow we still got to know each other. I can tell you about every single one of my kids and their unique personalities. Because you don’t need a common language to love each other. Now there is never a second during my day where one of my kids isn’t smiling across the room at me or standing next to my desk hovering at whatever uninteresting work I’m doing. This group usually turns in to 5 kids quickly and then I have to shoo them away 🙂 But not without a stamp on their hand or a pipe cleaner bracelet. The simple things that make them overjoyed and entertained for the entire day. When I walk down the hall to teach another class or when I arrive in the morning I literally get mobbed by children who just hold on to me and keep me from moving until they are done. Although it sometimes drives me crazy and I just want to walk without having my clothes half way pulled off of me, I can’t help but feel incredibly loved.
So I know teachers aren’t supposed to pick favorites..but this one just picked me. This is Nakaporn. Over the months she has become my little shadow. She loves me more than all of the other kids combined. So much that the other teachers call her my “daughter”. This sweet girl never leaves my side. When i get there in the morning she waits in the hall and as soon as i turn the corner she runs at me as fast as she can and jumps into my arms. Always the best part of my morning. During lunch she has created a routine. She finishes her lunch with the kids and then she comes to the canteen where the teachers eat and takes her place next to me at the table. If any other student tries to sit by me, she tells them to move and pouts if she can’t sit next to me. haha! Every day, whatever treat she gets, she gets me one too. My favorite is when she gets the butterfly popsicles and then breaks it in half and gives me the other half. 🙂 After I finish eating and dump my plate, she hands me my phone and then promptly grabs my other hand as we walk out. We always take a walk around school or lately, we have been watching the students play soccer. She always wants me to hold her so she can see, and if I sit down she climbs on my lap. I absolutely love this little girl more than any other thing in Thailand. The thought of leaving her breaks my heart and makes me just want to stay forever. These are the memories I will remember most ❤
As I return back to the U.S., I am excited and a little sadder than I thought I would be. I know when I get home to my hot water, comfy bed and air conditioned house, I will be so much more appreciative of these things. To the rest of the world, we are living in luxury. I never considered myself spoiled, but after living here and seeing how unnecessary all of these things are, I realize that I am quite spoiled, and mostly quite blessed to live in the comfort that I do. It is very possible to live without, the way that I have been living the past 5 months and the way the Thai people live their entire life. I think everyone should have en experience like this at least once in a lifetime. My time here may be over, but I know that my memories will last forever. Maybe one day I will come back to visit 🙂
See you in 10 days America!!