As I sit here on my last day in Thailand staring at my packed bags I cannot help but let the memories of the past two years creep into my thoughts. This adventure has reached its culmination but it has imbued a long-lasting effect on my life. Between the people I have met, the crystal blue waters that I have swum in, and the children that I have had the pleasure of teaching, my time in Thailand has been nothing but extraordinary.
Roughly two years ago I started my Thailand journey by taking a 3-week TESOL course in Bangkok with about 30 other eager teachers. The variety of personalities in that group were no match for the situation we were about to tackle with regards to acclimating ourselves to our new environment. We went through Songkran on Khao San Road, Walking Street in Pattaya, and playing basketball at the local university. Each instance helped form friendships in the 3 weeks that were stronger than others I have spent years in.
From there it was up to Sukhothai for my first taste of teaching and living in Thailand. None of my classrooms had air conditioning so this was a test of hydration as well. Every Wednesday I would walk 40 minutes to go and play football (soccer). Temple lady made the best penang curry chicken I have had anywhere. Ramkhamhaeng National Park provided one of the toughest physical challenges I had ever accomplished.
Surat Thani was where I would call home for the remainder of my time here. A town in the south with a much larger farang community and all too easy access to the some of the most beautiful islands and beaches in the world. I was able to check off a huge bucket list item in getting my dive certification while also seeing humongous manta rays that would swim right over your head. A standard night on the town included Feel Good or Masuk and if we were feeling extra giddy then we would venture down to Sofa Bar for what was sure to be a unique experience every time. Fit for Life was a better gym than most of what you could find in a western country. Mondays on the football pitch were always a great workout trying to keep up with the speed of the Thai players.
There are so many images racing through my mind as I recount the fun I have had while calling Thailand my home. I am going to miss all of the people I have met most of all. They are the ones that truly made this experience more than perfect. Even with so many interesting plans that I have for the future, I am going to soak in the memories before I step foot on that plane.
Sawasdee Thailand! Until next time.
It is harder to say goodbye to this place than I ever could have imagined. The past two years have shaped me in ways I never could have grown in the United States. How did you feel when leaving the place you had called home for so long? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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