Today is my first day teaching English as a foreign language. I am teaching high school at Sriyapai school in the southern province of Chumphon, Thailand. It’s currently 11am and I am sitting at a desk refreshing my Pinterest every 5 minutes. So far today I have given a speech in front of the school so all the faculty could look at me and say “Ooh, look at the farang, she speaks such good English.” Because most of the people here, teachers and students alike, don’t speak much English. Many teachers do know the basics though, so that’s helpful. I spent my morning being introduced to all the other teachers, which were basically short conversations that involved wai-ing and a lot of confused smiling. I tried to listen closely to their conversations, but the only words I could pick up were “farang” and “America”. I was also asked if I was hungry at least 4 times. It doesn’t seem to be too bad though, maybe because I haven’t actually taught yet. Thais aren’t very good with direct communication and telling you when, where, or how things will happen. I guess that’s where you just have to learn to go with the flow, and if I do end up teaching today I will most definitely be winging it. Everyone here is very nice though and I don’t think the adjustment will be as hard as I imagined it would be. When I first arrived in Chumphon two nights ago, I had so many emotions and thoughts running through my mind. I was scared, nervous, anxious, sad, lonely, and I wanted to go home. ASAP. The only thought that I couldn’t get out of my head was,”what the hell am I doing here?!” I knew giving up wasn’t realistic though, I knew I would have to stick it out living alone in a foreign country, separated from the friends I had just made and grown close to in the previous weeks during my TESOL certification course up in Hua Hin. Everything was easy until now because I had other people with me every step of the way. Some of my friends were placed close enough to me that we can visit each other, which is great! But day to day, it’s just me now, so I guess we’ll see how it goes.
Oh and “farang” means “foreigner,” it’s what Thai people call any Westerners in the town. There is even a “farang bar” which I will probably be checking out in the near future, just so I can speak some full English sentences with another person.