Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
Needed a good half hour after school today to lay sprawled face up on the floor in front of my newly bought Hatari fan with nothing but my grey ExOfficio Give-N-Go boxer briefs stuck onto my sweaty frame and a small bag of Haribo Happy Cola gummies to keep me company.
Why the emphasis on branding? Because I would like to take a moment and thank the inventors of these three things for giving me something to be grateful for.
Moving in has been a process. It takes awhile to get used to all the creaks and quirks of a new place. Especially if you inexplicably have running water only 2-3 days of the week. Laundry day is any day when the little spigot in my bathroom closet puts out. I am forced to basically continue wearing anything that passes the five second sniff test.
ExOfficio, thank you for deciding to make your underwear anti-odor.
For food, I am at the mercy of people shouting outside my door and windows to “come eat.” The strangeness of the things that I eat only just recently has hit me. Looking down at my bowl sometimes I am shocked into the realization that I am really not in America anymore. I’m really not. That I won’t be back to the country of my birth for another two years has also been a tough pill that I almost forgot to swallow. Do you realize that no one here is American? No one here is actually speaking English. Everyone around you is speaking Thai. Thai. Listen. Thai words are coming out of their mouths. And Thai food is going into yours. Do you realize that you have never seen what you are about to eat ever before?
Thank you Haribo for giving me something my eyeballs and tastebuds recognize.
As for you Hatari fan, we’ve only just met but I feel like I’ve known you for a very long time. The sensation of cooling comfort you provide in gentle, passing waves is something that vaguely reminds me of a place I once knew where the air did not bring with it bites and beads of sweat. You are my one and only fan. Probably the only one that I will ever have here in Thailand. So there’s that. If ever anyone asks, I will respond with “mii fan leeo” (which roughly translates to “I already have a significant other” … punny).
The real reason I’m writing this post though is because I sort of crashed and burned a bit today.
The learning curve for teaching nine different grades, in a language that basically no one understands, is rather steep. School culture here is so completely different from America. Norms I had felt myself becoming comfortable with in the States are atypical here. Creating lesson plans and curriculum for such a large array of grade levels in a subject you have very little researched experience with in such a way that takes into account the fact that you can’t really explain things in Thai, but need to convey the message in a clear and concise manner so as to help and not hinder the learning process while at the same time realizing that the in-built structure is not catered to a student centered approach that encourages intrinsic motivation and self determination is actually kind of hard.
But I’m happy to do it. This is exactly what I wanted. To feel completely alone, helpless, and dumb. To explore the space near rock bottom so as to learn how to reorient myself and find a way back up. I am determined in my optimism. For in negativity lies the crypt of courage. And I need courage now more than ever to keep going.