It has now been about a month since my last post. I tried to make a personal goal to write once a week, but for a while felt uninspired to write anything. I found myself having so much free time with nothing worth writing about, but then suddenly everything changed and now I find myself barely having enough time to write! Reflecting back I realize a lot has happened in the past month. I met the Governor of my province, unexpectedly had to get up in front of over 100 students to lead an activity at an English Camp, went on my first vacation to Krabi and went rock climbing, led my first English Teacher Training, taught my first yoga class, began teaching at my school (the semester started about 2 weeks ago), oh, and as you probably heard, have witnessed my first military coup. (I know many of you have messaged me to make sure I am safe- don't worry. Everything feels exactly the same as it did a few weeks ago. The worst that has happened in my town was that for one day there was only 1 tv channel so we missed out on all the Thai soap operas.. Right now I question the international media more than anything happening here in Thailand.)
When I originally applied for the Peace Corps I was warned that one of the most difficult parts of the experience is all the free time volunteers find themselves with. Although I felt this way the first month or two, I'm realizing that I will have exactly the opposite experience. My schedule is now jam-packed, and I find myself exhausted by 7 pm everyday. This was not what I was expecting, although one thing I've realized over the past few months is that the only thing you should really expect is the unexpected..
My typical day begins around 7:30 when I arrive at school. Everyday the students meet outside in front of the school in their uniforms, in their designated lines, to sing the national anthem and say a Buddhist prayer. After this, I teach a bit of English to the whole school. Right now I am teaching Zoo-phonics, which is a method of teaching phonics where every letter has an animal and a motion to go along with it. The kids really seem to like it and everyday I teach one new letter. Today we learned “F fff-fff-fff-fish.”
At 8:30 the classes start. I teach grades 4-6 four times a week, and grades 7 and 8 three times a week. (Also kindergarten one day a week.) Most days I have about 5 classes, each an hour long. I have one full day a week that I don't teach, which is designated for working with the community. I am still figuring out what to do on this day.. Next week I plan to meet with the health clinic in my town.
Even though I am so busy, I find that having a more steady schedule and that actually having work to do makes being here feel more fulfilling. The kids are sweet and well behaved and the teachers always make a point to include me in things. One of the teachers here has started tutoring me in Thai twice a week, and another teacher and I run everyday after school. At first when I arrived in Thailand the thought of living here for two years seems daunting-practically impossible. But I'm starting to feel more attached to the people here, which makes it a little easier to imagine living here for the next two years.