The end of teaching, that is!
Gabe and I have both pretty much exhausted our list of ways to pass time in Bangkok, hence the lack of blog updates. Additionally, I agreed to write a paper for a friend who is remotely attending a university in Sydney and that has taken over my life for the past few days – not only do I now know everything there is to know about The Truman Show, but am also 5000 baht richer. I also learned that paper-writing (even when I’m trying to write like a C student) is a lot more difficult after a three year hiatus!
The political situation hasn’t been resolved at all, but is at a standstill. Samak refuses to step down and the PAD refuses to negotiate until he does, so things are more or less stuck. There still hasn’t really been any violence (I can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if a massive anti-government group decided to take over the White House for three weeks…), though there is no shortage of debate and controversy circulating.
It’s hard to know what is really going on, however; the articles that I’ve read on CNN and BBC sound really sensationalized, yet a condition of the ‘state of emergency’ here in Thailand is the prohibition of any news report that may “cause panic.” That said, the stories in the paper are rather bland and you honestly would have no idea that anything is going on unless you’re in the protest area. I had to come back to school last Thursday, but there is now talk of resorting to a coup, which would probably result in cancelling the end of the term. We shall see…
Speaking of school, things are wrapping up! Once this week is complete I will have a week of review (though review of what, I don’t know – last week was shot and even today I’ve had two classes not bother to show up!) and then exams for the final few days. I am officially done on the 26th and we’ll be leaving Bangkok on the 30th, which is when my work permit and visa expire. I cannot leave until that day and I must leave on that day – Gabe and I are plotting ways to make it out of the country in time! I can’t believe that departure day is officially in sight – back in the beginning, I honestly did not think that I would be able to finish it out.
I’m certain that teaching is not my calling, and I’m certain that an Asian city with 15 million people is not where I need to settle down. I don’t, however, have any regrets and am so glad that I tried it. Though challenging, teaching has been a great growing experience for me and it is pretty neat to know the ropes so well in a crazy place like Bangkok!
Yesterday while walking down Sukhumvit, on the opposite side of the city, Gabe and I got a phone call from a friend who was sitting in a pub that we’d passed. We turned around and joined the group of friends for a few afternoon beers and I couldn’t help but think how nice it is to randomly run into friends on the street in such a huge, chaotic place. I can’t say that I ever imagined it would happen!
All but about three people from my original training group are staying for at least another school term, and many are planning to be here indefinitely. They’ve all interviewed, accepted higher salaries and found nice apartments. We’ve all made friends, learned survival Thai, found our hangouts and feel really comfortable here; the foreign community is pretty amazing. There is alway something to learn, someone to meet and political debates to be had (especially with the Aussies)!
I personally am not up for another semester, but there’s no way that I’d be ready to leave Asia in a few weeks! I certainly miss friends and family, but five months would be far too short of an experience and I’m so glad that Gabe and I have the opportunity to take off and really explore for a solid amount of time.
I’ll keep this updated with our travel plans as they develop. We’re still weighing our options in terms of which direction we will head, but Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, more of Thailand and (if money allows) Malaysia are all in the plans. It’s going to be an adventure, as Thailand (which is not exactly stable) is far more developed and far less corrupt than any of the surrounding countries. I can only imagine what lies ahead - this will bear no resemblance to my tour of Europe, that’s for sure!