We made it to week 5! I woke up at 5:55 am this morning to mark the occasion. Did my laundry and cleaned my room before coming out to the restaurant for breakfast. Had a nice bowl of khao tom moo sai kai (rice soup with pork and egg) before setting off. Took me around 20-30 minutes to bike to Tha Wung Wittayakhan School for Language Training and our pending Midterm Review.
I have to admit though, that despite it being a pretty tough week of, teaching at our practicum school in the mornings, learning Thai with our language groups in the afternoons, lesson planning during the evenings, and prepping for our progress interviews, mock LPI, co-teaching classes, and scheduled observations, I felt extremely happy and thankful on my ride over.
Being here has honestly been a life-changing experience for me. Today at the school we basically had a whole lot of language stations to cycle through as well as a formal interview to check our halfway point progress and “fitness” to continue service. We also had our new language classes and Ajaans (teachers) posted. The day started out pretty strong, but by lunch time I was definitely ready for a break. Thankfully, since it is Saturday, we had the afternoon off. Yay rest!
Definitely a great opportunity to just relax and enjoy the rest of the day. There is nothing better than a nice, hot Americano (mai sai nom, mai sai nam-thaan) at the end of a busy week. It was so nice I had to do it twice. Ordered some french fries too, but they didn’t end up making it to our table. Seriously loving my life right now – feel like I’ve been saying that to myself a lot these days.
Today is actually Makha Bucha Day, so I felt the ever so slightest need to visit a wat. Closest one to Cafe Charlotte was Wat Pikul Thong Phra Aram Luang. (To be honest, we sort of just heard that drinking alcohol this weekend was somewhat culturally insensitive, so visiting the nearby market outside the wat sounded like the second best thing to do.) Being there however, made me realize just how much I didn’t know. There was a room there where a monk was sort of just sitting on a small pedestal in the front of the room. Supposedly he was some sort of Buddhist guru and people would come in just to sit, kneel, bow, or give an offering. He was meditating I think and during the whole time I visited he never moved. The foreign magnificence of it all was chilling.
Next stop was a large elephant statue. I really am not sure of its importance or significance. From what I understand, it is some sort of Hindu shrine? At the base there is a kind of altar where people can give an offering and whisper a wish in the ear of a rat that I am guessing is the servant or attendant of this deity. A family there sort of gave me a small explanation and demonstrated the practice in front of me. Wish I knew more about it so I could explain in greater detail …
Afterward, we met up with some other PCVs who were at a guest house along the river. Since the sun was already starting to set, we made our way up north towards our homestay families. It is always such a beautiful trek outside during this time of day. I enjoy every minute of these weekend bike rides. Just taking the time to let the scenery soak into your skin as you blaze by. Looking around and realizing that what you see is real and that everything is perfect the way it is.
Along the way, volunteers break off and head in their own respective directions. I’m not the furthest out, but I am close to the end. While on my bike, I tried to snap a few photos of the picture perfect moments playing out before my eyes. It’s almost like watching a movie scene. Most of my attempts were fairly unsuccessful, but a few made the cut. I’m not sure if Anna and Megan knew about my little photoshoot going on in the back. Thought this one turned out nice:
Back home I went straight to the shower and upstairs to start this post. Keeping up with this blog has been more work than I thought it would be! Currently, I’m outside typing this up and watching my host brother and his friends eating, drinking, and talking. Had some really delicious fried fish with pineapple sauce, rice, and a thick fried egg soup. So full and content. Bedtime soon.
Gotta be ready for the second half.