I wish this post could be overflowing with photos from incredible places, new foods, adventures with friends but unfortunately it won’t be filled with those things.
I can’t even try to make up some elaborate story about how incredible Thailand has been the last few months because to be quite honest, Thailand has not been a joyful place to live the last few months. The COVID situation in Thailand has been spiraling at a concerning pace and I’m stuck right in the middle of it. The situation has become increasingly worse in Bangkok and the surrounding areas and that is exactly where I live. The lack of vaccines, crowded markets/factories, and the Delta variant have made Bangkok a hotspot.
Earlier this week, the government announced that Bangkok and surrounding areas will experience another “partial lockdown”, meaning everything that is non-essential must be closed. Because I live on campus, my school can keep all teachers on campus if the government announces any type of restrictions. This means I cannot leave campus for any reason, but I still have access to everything on campus.
This is the 5th or 6th lockdown I have encountered since moving to Thailand, some enforced by the government, and some enforced by my school. Either way, my experience here has been completely different than I ever expected. I have been frustrated and angry about how my situation has played out. Before I moved to Thailand, I selfishly wanted to be impacted by this chapter in my life. I wanted to travel around Thailand, experience scenery I never thought existed, and I wanted to live my life without having many responsibilities.
I have asked myself, why was I brought all the way to Thailand in the middle of a pandemic just to teach online and sit in my room. The answer has been revealed and has been noticeably clear to me, I was brought here to bring joy to the children I get to teach each and every day. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who is/has been experiencing the restrictions this school year. My precious students and their families have been going through the same situation and frustrations as me. I have been brought here to share my talents, personality, and love with the students and their families. If I can bring endless amounts of joy and laughter to my students for 40 minutes a day, I will do everything I can, to do it.
Before moving here, I had the idea planted in my head that the purpose of my trip was all about me. But in the last few months, I’ve really understood my purpose here. I wasn’t bought here so that I could experience life without few responsibilities and forget about life in America. I was brought here for these children. To show these children that even in midst of unfortunate events, you can still find joy in the simple things. It is my job to educate these students but I’m also able to bring happiness and a positive attitude to help them with the situation that is happening around them.
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to teach these students. What an honor it is to help mold these students and teach them the basics of English when their bodies have the ability to absorb a new language at such a young age. Not only am I able to teach my students, the parents who have to sit along side of them are also learning basic English. I’m able to share my talents and abilities with parents, siblings, grandparents along with the students. I had no idea that I would reach hundreds of children and adults before coming here. It’s such a humbling feeling knowing how many people I’ve helped while living here. My life has changed in more ways than I could have imagined since moving to Thailand but more importantly, the lives around me have changed just as much as mine.
Sometimes, life doesn't go as planned and that's okay. We grow when things are uncomfortable and don't play out the way we want it to. It's important to find the silver linings in even the most difficult situations.