They say to prepare to have a lot of time on your hands while in the Peace Corps. There’s often nothing to do and will be able to develop many new kinds of hobbies. July however, has not been that kind of month for me. Here’s a bit of a run down of the past month(ish):
Reconnect: June 28th-July 10th
I’ll give it to you this time Peace Corps, having our ‘Reconnect’ training happened exactly when it should have. I was plunging lower and lower, feeling more and more morose about bits and pieces of things, personal and otherwise. And then I went to Reconnect. I don’t know if it was living with Americans again, learning some good Thai, hearing some of the fantastic projects that other volunteers are doing, or maybe that others are struggling as much as I am, but I felt as motivated to get out and start teaching and/or community projects as if I’d just listened to ‘Jock Jams 3’. Our medical team told us that things would get a lot easier once we got back to site this time around. Things would begin seeming a bit more normal, high and lows not quite so Mt. Everest-y. And it’s all been true. I feel a lot better here and more willing to hang out with the homedogs. The unfortunate thing about it though, is since then, I’ve been a busy mofo.
P-Lok/Sukothai: July 15th-July 18th
Thailand is awesome for having random four-day holiday weekends pop up from time to time when you least expect it (the reason being we’re neither Buddhist nor Thai and don’t have more than a general idea of when the ‘holiday’ season is in this country). I had just seen my friends at Reconnect a week before, so I wasn’t fully convinced that I needed to go traveling on the four-day weekend until I had five-hour conversations with my buds and a piece of cheesecake digesting. This was much better to have the in-depth, tough-stuff questions and conversations about our lives, our service, and our futures. That, and we were in an ancient city and got to go exploring like regular farangs and be a little touristy. It was awesome. I live in Thailand with Thai people (no easy task for a ‘fonzie’) so I get a daily dose of ‘culture,’ but this is the historical part of the country, one that as the nerd major in me is not getting enough of. The best thing about Sukothai: the wats. And more and more wats. Enough to last you a long time. Worth a trip if you’re here for a while, pictures coming soon!
Teacher Training/Kanch: July 20th-July 24th
So I got back on Monday the 18th around 1ish, was unproductive for the day, taught on Tuesday, packed my bag that night, and was off again after school on Wednesday. This time it was a teacher training in the nearby province, Kanchanaburi. This place is famous for it’s natural beauties and having the famous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai.’ The teacher training went really well and I was glad to plug my favorite reading activities and phonics lessons to the Thai teachers. Two success stories were from one teacher that was young, motivated, and all-around awesome. Special shout out to him for having the balls to ask us tough questions (like about the realities of the Thai education system and how we thought he could work within that), speak to us in much better than broken English the whole time, be enthusiastic enough to pump up the other Thai teachers, and how much we wanted him to apply to have a volunteer with him. The one that made me think that sometimes, our crazy project might just work was another good English teacher that was actually a past student of the English Education supervisor that was hosting the event with us, who had a Peace Corps Volunteer in the past. The teacher said that the English supervisor was his idol and inspired him to study English and become a teacher. As a teacher, I think that’s the best payment you can ever get.
So Friday night, after the training, we were unleashed on the city center. And by unleashed I mean hang out in our Jolly place, get massages, and play a variation of seven degrees of separation. It was my first Thai massage and I can tell you, it messed me up a bit. I got a legit Thai massage which means it hurt, a lot. On Saturday, I dragged my Granny ass around (I was hunching over about 10x more than usual) onto the train with some of the other Volunteers to check out the ‘Death Railway’ and one of the many waterfalls in the area. Packed in with the fonzies, we were told the views on the train are supposed to be fantastic. As they snapped shots, I realized that the picturesque things we heard of was the rugged Thailand that we live in everyday. I’m looking forward to the very famous Erawan waterfall and coming back to this beautiful province and awesome city.
Next on the Agenda: Late July-???
I can say, whole heartedly, I’m so excited to have a normal week and to have a weekend at site to do absolutely nothing. And by absolutely nothing I mean catching up on all of the things I’ve been putting off for the past month. Like that pile of laundry that I’ve haven’t done since before Reconnect, keeping you, my dear friends, family, followers, and stalkers updated on real life Thailand, planning projects/lesson plans, figuring out my next trips, getting myself on the study schedule I made for myself last week, starting to exercise again, clean my room from the accrued gecko poop, the list goes on and on.
There are also some more things coming up quickly on the radar: A possible English camp on August 1st, I know there won’t be school for me on August 4th, Mother’s Day, which I’m planning on spending in Ayutthaya is August 12th, and another potential English camp at the end of the month, details are a little vague. Another month comes flying off the calendar. I still can’t believe it’s almost August already?! With August comes September and after that is October which means three weeks of school being closed! I’m planning a long trip then to a place I haven’t yet decided on. It’s amazing to me to think how quickly time is passing here. Where did 2011 go? Which reminds me that I owe you a ‘Six Months in Thailand’ post that is long overdue. I’ll get right on it… just after the six loads of laundry!
Pictures will be coming soon to a blog near you!