2003-August 2010: Mentally plan on entering Peace Corps at a time TBD.
August 2010: Meet Mr. Brendan Connolly upon his return from a year of teaching in China. Decide I want to teach in China and begin doing some research.
November-December 2011: Decide (for some now unknown reasons) that one year is too long to be away from home, living and traveling in a new country. Discover CIEE 6 months in China program. Simultaneously discover CIEE teach in Thailand program.
Early January 2011: Continue to debate China vs. Thailand. China pros: more useful language, more foreign place, friends who have lived there. China cons: weird food, winter, no facebook, communism. Thailand pros: beautiful everything, warm weather, friends who have been there, great food. Thailand cons: relatively useless language, touristy country.
Mid January 2011: Watch “An Idiot Abroad: China”. See people eating chicken fetuses, people hocking loogies everywhere, bathrooms with no doors, lots of smog. Decide I want to go to Thailand.
Early February 2011: Begin application and tell friends to apply. Sarah tells Saleem.
Mid February 2011: Application submitted. Admitted shortly thereafter.
March-October 2011: Thrift store shop for teaching clothes like it’s my job. Buy and read novels/guidebooks about Thailand. Attempt to begin learning language. Stalk former/current teachers at my school (hey chelsea!). Find subletter/foster father for Milo (hey jeff!). Drink as much craft beer as possible. Consume as many pumpkin products as possible. Plan “last meal”. Buy tickets/pack/freak out.
October 20, 2011: Fly to Thailand. Attend orientation. Meet awesome people and decide this is the best decision I’ve ever made.
November 1, 2011: First day of school!
November 2, 2011- Present: Teach the cutest kids and travel nonstop. Eat well for cheap. That’s a pretty sufficient summary.
Today, February 27, 2012: Well, today I realized it has been about one year since I applied to come to Thailand, and now I have less than 2 weeks left here. This Friday will be my kindergarteners’ last day of school, which means I will probably get some presents and cry. Next week is what I am dubbing finals and fun week with P2; final on Monday, movies and painting the rest of the week. My last day of school is next Friday, March 9th, and I can’t fathom how time has gone by so fast. It seems not that long ago that I was in a constant haze of Thailand planning (and stressing). An adventure that consumed by thoughts for an entire year is coming to an end.
Thankfully, there is a second chapter. The travel chapter! Here’s the plan:
March 10-19: India! Northern India to be exact.
March 19-28: Nepal!
March 29: Long layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
March 29- April 6: Laos!
April 14-17: Cambodia!
April 17-24: Indonesia! Bali and the Gili Islands.
April 25: Fly home…
While I am super excited to travel and go home to see friends/family/cats/beer/burritos, I am not at all looking forward to leaving Thailand. This seems like an obvious statement. I mean, who comes to Thailand and wants to leave, ever? But really, coming to Thailand is arguably the best decision I have ever made. Danielle and I were talking a few days ago about our ideal jobs/life scenario and without thinking I said “teaching abroad”. It’s a weird feeling to realize that you are literally living your dream. What else could I ask for (except for friends/family/cats/beer/burritos)?
So, in conclusion, I would like to thank Brendan for having taught abroad and telling me about it. I’d also like to thank Carl Pilkington’s fabulous tv show for helping me realize Brendan was crazy for going to China and I should go to Thailand.