Teaching English in Thailand: Days 55-58, Not All Rainbows

Sometimes in life, even though things may look great to onlookers, they aren't always so dandy in reality. This applies to every single person on the earth, no matter where they are or what they are doing. To those of you looking in at the people like me who doing exciting things, it seems crazy that we actually still have down days. 

"You're in Thailand, you should be having a great time!" I hear you say.

Yes, that's true! And for the most part, I am, we are. But, just like anybody else, things still happen. The world doesn't just stop because I'm in Thailand. 

So this week was one of those weeks. I'll speak for myself and also my travelling pals when saying we had an exhausting yet amazing weekend in Pattaya, so it was inevitable some of us would come down with a crash. That, and the fact that we can count the amount of teaching days we have left on one hand can make us feel a bit.... meh. It is so close to the end of our placement, and although the past 8 weeks have flown by, it is also a long time to be living in someone else's home, eating food you would usually retch at the sight of, and of course, teaching a class of 40 all day long every day, when you have very little idea about what you're doing! 

So. This is not necessarily a reflective post on the past 8 weeks (that will probably come next week), but more of a post to explain that even though our Instagram feeds might look like a dream and we try to ignore the lesser-good bits when answering your questions of "hows it going!?" normal things do still happen. And by noting or mentioning these normal or even bad things, we aren't being ungrateful- and I would hate for it to seem that way.

Take this week: my host, Kanang, has had teacher training seminars for the past two weekends, and again on Monday and Tuesday. This means that she's pretty tired and of course this impacts upon how jolly she is- naturally. I feel bad that I have been off gallivanting every weekend whilst she has been studying, but what else am I to do? Seeing as she wasn't going to school with me on these days, Rowena and I had to get a taxi to school and find a lift home from a teacher. This is sometimes a struggle as I live half an hour away from school, so I really don't want to put people out!  

It does perk me up when my lift home is teacher Ju (the lovely lady who took me to town last Friday and to meet her hubby) because she's so funny. There were really bad floods and torrential rain on Monday, but this didn't phase Ju. She flew through those 2ft floods at 30mph, leaving me clinging on for my life and letting out the odd nervous laugh/yelp! Then when we came to the speed bumps that were clearly there, again, she flew over those shouting "OH, SOLLYY" after we were lifted off our seats in the car. And she had the nerve to tell me "Oh, don't wolly your seatbelt, I drive safe!" Yeah, right! So, Ju has kinda been keeping me smiling all week.

Another thing that can't be avoided just because you're on a trip, is death. Kanang unfortunately had some bad family news this week and attended the funeral on Wednesday. She invited me but I was sure that it wasn't going to be the pick-me-up that I needed. Its a bit of a hard question to answer, that one, as its not as simple as "would you like to go to the shops with me?" (which of course, is always a yes if it sells chocolate).

I was having a chat with another ETA who was almost speaking aloud about her issues. She was saying to herself (and me) that it was OK to be feeling a bit annoyed or sad about some things, and that its OK sometimes to feel like she's not enjoying herself here. That, and my bad mood this week is what inspired me to write this post. Especially because I had nothing exciting to write because I've had a boring week- another thing that's gotten to me. Some ETAs seem to be having the best time! They are placed near to the beach or to amazing sights, so they post pictures online that would make anyone a little bit envious. Some other ETAs are at schools that seem to put in loads of effort with them: they dress them up in Thai clothes, take them on school trips, get them involved in activities at school, their students are cute little kindergarteners (definitely jealous about that one), and more! But see- other ETAs are having a great time. Not everybody is thinking these things that I am perhaps being too moany about.

Where you will stay, what school you will work in, and what your location will be is just the luck of the draw when doing this job. This makes it exciting; when you don't know where you are going to be placed, or if you will be on a joint or solo placement when you receive your spot on the TET Programme with the British Council. Of course, the good outweighs the bad. It's a great experience and a brilliant way to spend a summer! 

Just remember, life still goes on when you're away for such a long time. It's not all glorious beach rainbows and ping pong shows, after all.


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