The hallway leading to my room is open to any creature that wishes to come in; windows are left ajar to keep the air from getting stagnate, geckos and little finches come and go as they please. I open my door in the early morning and a commotion ensues with about a dozen or so animals scrambling away from my presence in an instant. I like this symbiotic living situation.
I am in my second week of teaching, and I am still not entirely sure what is going on.
“Everything is flexible! No worry!”
“But would you like me to do anything else?” I ask.
A very confused look crosses Ajan Surasit’s face. “Do more?” (“Ajan” means teacher).
“Yes,” with a nod of my head.
“No worry, just talk!”
And with a huge grin that consumes his face, the conversation is over.
I was trying to offer my help with any other tasks that needed to be done because my days are very relaxed, with my actual teaching schedule being once a day for about 2-3 hours. And with the curriculum already laid out for me, I spend Monday’s working on my lesson plan, which I will then use for the entire week. The rest of the time I am at my desk trying to look busy. But no one has bothered me, no one has come to ask why I am not doing anything, no one has called me out on reading a book. The Director of the college even stopped by to make sure I wasn’t working too hard. What a world of difference from the efficiency-pumping machine that is the American working culture! At this point in time, it makes me feel very useless, but I have a feeling in another month, I will be singing a different tune.
My students have nicknamed me Ajan Mali (Teacher Jasmine); everyone in Thailand has a nickname! Jack, Air, Arrow, Mint, and Tim are just a few of the girls names, and Yod, Moss, Oat, and Ohm round out some of the boys. I had them make me a profile page of themselves so I can start learning who they are, and I received very colorful, artistic renditions of names, where they are from, and their ages!
Last Wednesday was a holiday–not sure for what, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the king. Ajan Phao invited me to join him and his family on a trip to a floating market. How could I pass?!
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, King Rama IV palace, and Don Hoi Lot–close to Nakhon Pathom with Ajan Phao
A different way of life, a different perspective on time, a different outlook on responsibility. Soaking as much of it in as I can.