My TEFL teacher training has curbed my momentum and put an abrupt end to mine and Mel’s backpacking honeymoon. We have been in Ban Phe, a small beach town off the Gulf of Thailand, since Sunday night. We’ve been working long 10-hour days (7am-5pm) and using our evenings to plan for our lesson the next day. I’ve already taught two classes on my own at a primary school in Rayong. I was stumbling through it–running around the classroom playing charades and sweating bullets–but the kids were great, as usual. They gave me so much love and support that it didn’t matter how ridiculous I looked trying to act out the meaning of astronaut, etc. Also, I’ve been puking here and there while trying to overcome severe and total exhaustion. But no need to elaborate on that.
Today, I am thankful for Nam, who washes and folds all of my laundry and who cooked me and 20 of my fellow trainees a traditional Thai dinner to celebrate the end of our first week of training.
I am thankful for Claire, my lovely Irish roommate who is always composed, always laughing, always radiating beauty. She severed ties with an Italian love to follow through with her plans to travel the world before she’s 30. So free and bold and youthful.
I am thankful for Jenica, a strange 40-something Canadian woman who seems to have fallen here from another planet. She is oddly off balance and obviously out of place. But I don’t think she realizes it yet. Whenever she talks, no matter the topic, it’s as if she’s seeking justice, like she’s been slighted and is trying to get some answers, always with a bewildered tone. Underneath her rhinestone jewelry and pounds of makeup–thick black mascara, blue eye shadow, and hot pink blush–lies an insecure young girl who never fit in. Underneath a barrage of complaints–about Thai food, the weather, our hours, her drawings, or stick men–is an empathic woman with a heart of gold. Behind her neuroticism and awkward need to fill silence with meaningless conversation is someone who just needs a friend. I love her so much it hurts.
And today, I am thankful for Mel, old faithful. She’s been with me every waking moment for a month, and our bodies are starting to take notice; our biological clocks have synced up. I can always look to her for a mirror image of myself. My soul sista.
I could not have asked for a better group of teachers to train with. Everyone is so positive and outgoing and helpful to each other. 🙂