The past month or so has been very eventful!(I PROMISE I WILL KEEP UP BETTER SOON!) After 2 weeks of summer school we got off an unexpected extra week. Fortunately for me, I already requested the time off because my boyfriend planned a visit from America! That meant I still got the time off and I got back 5 extra vacation days to use in the upcoming semester! The odds started out in my favor! After over six months apart, the anticipation of seeing my boyfriend at the airport was unexplainable. Luckily he was wearing a huge flying WV shirt so I could pick him out of the crowd (not to mention he was a 6’3 white boy in an predominately Asian airport). After traveling for over 2 days he was surprisingly energetic and now I could share the fact that we still had a full day of traveling ahead of us to the reach the southern island of Koh Tao. After a hot and sweaty journey by plane, bus, ferry, and overpriced taxi, we arrived at our secluded resort on the private Tanote Beach. It was about a 15-minute cab ride from the pier, but the ride was well worth the seclusion and beautiful atmosphere. The next few days were spent talking, laughing, snorkeling, eating, drinking, and frolicking in the ocean. We went on a one-day snorkel tour to Shark Bay, Mango Bay and ended the trip at Koh Nang Yuan Island. Although it felt hotter than the Sahara Desert, we still climbed up all the steps to the viewpoint. The view was well worth the sweat! It was absolutely breathtaking. We ended up meeting up with two of our friends from home that happened to be on the same island. It was awesome to hang out with fellow Mountaineers! The boys spent the day deep-sea fishing, caught a bunch of fish and the hotel’s staff served us up an amazing dinner overlooking the ocean; stir-fry with the fresh fish, veggies, rice and wine. It was probably my favorite meal of the trip! If you visit Koh Tao make sure you stop by Fishbowl Bar and the burger stand that is right outside of the bar Chopper’s (Sairee Beach). Both were favorites that we visited multiple times in six days! Koh Tao definitely lived up to the hype, but I have a feeling it may have to do with who and not where I was.
Today is my first day at my new school Sa-nguan Ying (English Program). I am so happy with my school, my co-workers and my students. It is nice to be teaching again after a long period of vacation in the United States and in Thailand! Since my last post so much has happened. I have been in Thailand for over a week and I am continuously surprised, frustrated, excited and challenged. Our orientation group left Bangkok last Thursday and went for an overnight trip to the rural town of Katchanburi. Our hotel was resort style and the view and grounds were spectacular. We visited the River Kwai bridge,took a sunset dinner cruise(which turned into a monsoon dance party),rafted down the Kwai River and explored Taweechai Elephant Camp. I got to ride an elephant, watch an elephant show and take priceless photos. After lunch orientation came to an end and I had to say goodbye to many friends who will be teaching all over Thailand. “Chok dee ka” to you all!!
Four other American women and I got into our van marked “Sa-nguan Ying”, met our coordinator and found out that we would be going to visit our new school…RIGHT NOW! Mind you, we didn’t have a moment to shower after the rafting and elephant ride… Not the best first impression. Butterflies filled my stomach as we drove through the luscious green fields that make up rural Thailand. The girls and I anxiously chattered and giggled the whole time. When I arrived at my school I felt ecstatic, relieved, and eager. The campus is beautiful and the staff is more than willing and able to help the new “farang” teachers.
Finally we arrived at our apartment, which is literally within 3 minutes walking distance of our school. I received my key and charged to the elevator fumbling over my suitcase. I arrived on the fourth floor and walked into the most shocking moment of helplessness since arriving in Thailand. The numbers were in THAI!! I wandered aimlessly from door to door trying my key on a few of them. I felt frustrated, isolated and exhausted. Luckily our coordinator followed us upstairs shortly after and led us to the right door. My feeling of helplessness subsided due to the incredibly welcoming atmosphere that my school and Thailand in general continuously offer to me. I am so grateful for my accommodations especially compared to some friends I have talked to that are in different parts of the country. After moving in the next few days have been a whirlwind of trying new places, exploring, getting lost, trying desperately to speak some form of Thai, shopping, eating, drinking and soaking up my surroundings. The fluidity of my feelings is astounding! One minute I am frustrated and the next I am delighted.
I feel extremely safe despite feeling like an alien. I am already used to being stared at with not even a hint of subtlety. I am overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude for my fellow teachers who have helped me get around, my partner in crime Jackie, and my loved ones who are cheering me on every step of the way. Coincidently my partner in crime for this adventure has also become my partner in crime in the classroom. Jackie and I found out that we would be team teaching upon arrival at our school. It was surprising but we both embraced the idea with open arms. Two heads are always better than one. I feel appreciated by my students already due to the polite “ GOOD MORNING TEACHA” at the beginning of each class and the “THANK YOU TEACHA” at the end. So refreshing. I think I’ll shout to this country “GOOD MORNING THAILAND” and “THANK YOU THAILAND” before bed to practice gratitude. I can only hope I feel this inspired for the extent of my journey.
My wifi moves at a turtle’s pace! For more photos check out my Facebook Album! ❤ xoxo