Important : One should read the following in one’s poshest English accent.
I hope you are all well and, wherever you may be in the world and whatever you might be doing, you are happy and enjoying life.
I am writing this little reflection on our time together sat in a coffee shop in Chiang Mai, a couple of days after we said our goodbyes at the airport. Tianna is quiet, and a little sad, without you all.
Looking back over the last two weeks and remembering …
The tired and some slightly apprehensive faces arriving at Tianna on the first day, yet still, Sam with her beautiful, beaming smile and Phoebe looking completely knackered, but still so very enthusiastic about the adventures to come.
The van journeys … those long rides to and from school made somewhat longer by Zac talking about … Zac; Crystal doing the instrumentals breaks in the songs; the songs … the Ice man and his moves to ‘It’s Raining Men’, Jack warbling ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’, Olivia’s Abba skills, Under the Boardwalk, Boardwalk! Thank you for the many beautiful voices (Rhi, I will always remember Stay), and the others like Gianna, who despite lacking any noticeable singing skills, tried nonetheless.
I’m sure the experience of those five days at school will be something that you will always remember. I saw some great work in the classroom and was particularly impressed by the progress made in your teaching skills as you grew in confidence over the week. Working with children is a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions, there are ups and downs, good days and bad days. I hope you all enjoyed the experience, perhaps it has inspired you to work with children in the future and try to make a positive difference in their lives.
Unfortunately, the memory that may live with me the longest is of the day a lovely, little birdy came to visit the classroom. Sat at the back and seeing the reactions on the faces of Maggie and Zac, I wondered if a decapitated zombie had crawled in. Maggie shrieked and ran, Zac jumped onto a chair pushing away any sweet, innocent children that were in his way, only to grab them once again when he was on the chair and use them as human shields. Even the poor, cute birdy, seeing Zac and Maggie react as they did, thought there must be some big, scary creature behind it and took cover in the classroom. I think it was probably as puzzled, but not as amused as the rest of us when it realised the truth of the matter. It was last seen strolling out of the classroom muttering something about how we were all doomed if these were indeed the leaders of tomorrow!
Spending the day with the elephants was a brilliant experience, even with Rhi taking particular pleasure in rubbing elephant poo and pee into my face. Not quite so sure about Flora attempting a full on snog with the elephant when the mahouts asked the elephant to kiss her. Somewhat inappropriate, and a little embarrassing if I’m honest Flora.
The Cultural Exchange was a fantastic afternoon. The boys in particular seemed to enjoy it, wonder why! Well done all of you, particularly Sam and Kendall.
Thank you to Phoebe for teaching me about her unique accent – that would be Phoebe from Chicago, or as she constantly kept correcting me, F-wee-bee from Chick-ar-go (don’t forget to jerk your head from side-to-side in order to achieve the genuine Phoebe look).
A note for those who chose to bully me throughout the two weeks, you know who you are. I am sure my cuts and bruises will heal soon, though the mental scars and trauma may take a little bit longer, but remember … you are on THE LIST and some where, some time, your comeuppance awaits!
Thank you to all of you for making it such a wonderful experience. Always remember the friendly Thai staff and people, what we learned about Thailand, what we learned about ourselves, the fun, the laughs, the banter, happy days, happy memories.
Peace, love and happiness always,