Hello! At the beginning of this Thailand adventure (for those of you who don’t know, I moved to Chiang Rai, Thailand for a year to teach English/Science), I made it a personal goal to put my thoughts into something more tangible, like this blog or even a journal. However, in the midst of diving into a brand new culture and the desire to experience all I can in the short time I’m here, I quickly lost sight of that. So here I am again, trying to make more of an active effort. I should mention that this goal stems from how I’m usually scatterbrained. In this post, I hope to manifest some structured dialogue from my thoughts. Here we go!
The amount of people I’ve met in the last four months has been a tenfold increase to the amount I’d meet back home. I was originally worried I’d feel some sense of loneliness or a lack of connection to people, whether it’s due to the culture or preconceived judgement, but I experienced quite the opposite. Most people I’ve met have been so open and even less judgemental. Simply put, it has been nothing but good vibes. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about how there are so many of us humans on this Earth, and it’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to cross paths with so many other humans. For this certain time and specific place, we were given a chance to know each other. I tell people often how I don’t particularly enjoy small talk; I’d rather jump into it and get to know the very essence of who you actually are and share who I am with you. This is what I’d consider a meaningful relationship. I thrive off of conversations and encounters like this. Anyway, I look forward for my life to intersect with even more lives! I honestly love people.
This isn’t to say that it’s been a tough time necessarily, but as with any experience, there are things that are thrown at you so you learn and grow from it. Teaching in Thailand has been such a learning curve. These students aren’t taught to think outside the box; they’re taught to memorize and regurgitate. It can be frustrating as a teacher who experienced an entirely different education system. I’m not even sure if I’m teaching the correct science curriculum sometimes because the textbooks literally have a fraction of what the Thai teachers tell me to teach. That’s been fun to deal with. Also, rules here are merely suggestions. With the exception of certain things like foreigners have certain unspoken expectations. So I never know if what I’m doing is accepted or silently judged, especially since this culture is so non-confrontational. I never hear any feedback on how I’m doing or if other teachers think I’m a terrible teacher, but since I’m a foreigner, they let it slide (or so I think). I literally do not know. But have you ever heard about how Thailand is the land of smiles? I thought it was because everyone is super friendly and nice, but no, it’s actually because their smiles have so many different meanings, both positive and negative. Though I should clarify this doesn’t apply to every Thai person! Some people have been nothing but nice and welcoming. This link was shown to me during my first week here and I can see some truth to it. I’m a smiley person too, but my smile is usually just because I’m happy, never due to a disagreement or conflict. I’ll personally bring it up and voice my concerns and not rely on a smile. So I’ll just continue wondering what the intent of a Thai person’s smile is when I encounter them.
I’ll end this post here since the night is late but expect more rambling posts in the near future!