I’ve been in a lull lately with everything that’s been going on in 2016 from all levels: America – my home, Thailand – my other home, the world – our home, and even down to my own little world in my classroom – yet another place I call “home.”
Being a teacher in Thailand is as real as being a teacher anywhere else. You can plan your lessons perfectly the night before and go to bed prepared to the fullest, ready to change lives, only see it crumble at the whiteboard the very next day in front of silent and deafening classes. I’ve dreaded going to certain classes because the kids don’t seem to care or they aren’t on the same level as other students. I’ve questioned why the hell am I over here more times than why the hell didn’t I come sooner.
But it’s the little things I hold onto that keep me going, and with what little energy I have at times, I know I need to find them or create them because they are always possible. Like asking my shiest and lowest-level kid how he is, helping him reply correctly, giving him a high five and then passing him later that day while he smiles, says “Good afternoon, Teacher,” and reaches out for another high five. Like my South African friends who have helped me at a moment’s notice: housing me in their place and driving me around because I didn’t feel safe being alone after getting mugged; including me in their adventure to Koh Phi Phi to get tattoos and dive with sharks. Like my roommate from England who cooked breakfast the first morning I stayed in our new home together; who hardly knows me and has let me sleep with her in her king-sized bed because I don’t have air con yet. Like having seven staff members at the local Tesco surround me and share their phones to help me figure out where I live so they can deliver my air con unit to me.
Like meeting so many people around the world, including Thailand, who just want to sit down with me to laugh and eat good food. There are a lot of those moments especially.
I could go on, but do you see the pattern?
In the midst of really shitty times, I have it within me to pause and appreciate this unwritten adventure of a lifetime that I am living, and it’s because of that risk of using my heart and sharing it with other human beings that I can do that – and it always will be.