They are looking for my replacement! That's crazy and wonderful and sad all at the same time. They will actually have 2 full time teachers here at the school, since there will be 4 grades and not 3. One of the teachers thinking about applying emailed me and asked me what the best and worst parts of teaching and living in Thailand have been. It really made me think and I thought I would share my response. Enjoy.
Hmmm.... The best and worst parts of living and teaching in Thailand...
- The kids
- There is a good variety of ages and subjects, so it doesn't get boring
- The kids (did I already mention them...?) :) Seriously though, the kids are so smart and fun.
- The school is really nice and they are great at getting me the supplies and things I need for my lessons.
- It's really laid back. If my lessons are done and I am getting everything done I am supposed to, then I don't have to be working on my free classes. Sometimes I head to town before 5:00 because I am caught up. I can also go out and get lunch if I want (on days that I don't have class right after my lunch break).
- The thai teachers are fun and really helpful and supportive.
- Teaching (no matter where in the world) takes a lot of work, time and energy. Just remember that you're a paid, full-time teacher so you won't have nearly as much free time as the volunteers.
- The exams at the end of each quarter can be time consuming.
- At the beginning it can be quite overwhelming getting used to the planning, teaching and kids. That gets easier with time, but the beginning can be tough.
- No bills!!!! Your room and food are free so you won't have anything you have to pay for here. That is so very, very nice.
- Your own room and space.
- The Thai people are the kindest, best people I have met in the world.
- You will really get a feel for the culture. I'm sure you know this, but living somewhere and just traveling somewhere provide very different experiences. Phichit is a small town and you will really get a feel for authentic Thai life.
- Lot of free time! There is a lot of down time in the evenings and on the weekends.
- The school director, Tang, is really great. She's fun and supportive and helpful.
- The fruit! They reallllllly know how to grow killer pineapples and mangoes here! They also have lots of fruits that aren't commonly available in the US.
- Low cost of living. Things here are a lot cheaper than they are in the states. We (I'm here with my husband) have been able to save some money and that is nice.
- The people you'll meet and the friends you'll meet. If you're here for a year you will get to know 3 separate groups of volunteers and make some great friends.
- The traveling and adventuring! We have been to some really fun, beautiful places and made some amazing memories!
- Food. I am a big food person. I miss a lot of things that are hard to get/not available. This has honestly been the #1 hardest part! Haha! We ate the meals that the school cooks made for the first 15 months or so, but now we just take the money and make our own meals. That has been really nice. Thai food is fine, but every day, every meal it can get old. I can't wait to eat Chipotle and Chik-Fil-A when I get home!
- Transportation. This really fits into both the best and worst categories... you will have a bike for transportation around town. They have trains that run to the other cities that are cheap and easy to use. It's fun to bike around the town and not have to worry about a car/gas/insurance/payments. I miss having a car of my own. (bear in mind that I have been here for 2 years. The first year is wasn't bad, but I'm just ready to be able to get around on something other than a bicycle! Haha)
- Weather. It's really hot and humid pretty much always.
- Church. I don't know if you are LDS or not, but we are. It takes a lot of time and work to get to church. The missionaries there are so helpful, but the translation is not always the best.
- I mentioned free time in the 'best' category. If can be really nice to have a lot of free time, but it can also get boring sometimes. Once again, this is something I noticed more during the second year than the first year.
- Being far away from family. I am really close to my family and it's hard to be away from them for so long. They don't celebrate Christmas here. I worked the last 2 Christmases (the next teachers won't because it'll fall on the weekend), but that was hard for me. I'm pretty hardcore when it comes to holiday traditions and I really missed those. Luckily, technology makes it easy to talk to family and that helps a lot. I also have my husband here, so I have a build in best friend :)
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It has been such a great experience. I am so glad that Tanner and I decided to come! We've had our ups and downs while here, but that's how it is everywhere. We have learned a lot and made a lot of really great memories. I know that we'll look back on this time with fondness for the rest of our lives.