You know the feeling. You come back after a long day – maybe you’ve been in the office, maybe you’ve been running around in the inhuman heat – and all you want to do is get home, take a nice bucket shower, turn the fans on and try and relax. Only when you get in, instead of any sort of warm welcome all you’re greeted with is a swarm of ants carrying several gecko corpses across the floor.
OK, so you probably don’t know the feeling (for your sake, I hope you don’t), and I’ll spare you any photos. Geckos are plentiful out here, but usually they’re alive, and whilst I have a bit of an ant problem it has never been worse than occasionally seeing a few scuttle around the bathroom. So seeing a whole colony of them attempting to carry these dead geckos away – one of which no longer had legs – was not what I wanted to walk into in the afternoon. Although I disposed of them all quickly (despite the geckos getting stuck to the dustpan) the whole situation spooked me a bit. Stray dogs aside I hadn’t had any problems with the insects, mammals or other wildlife here until now, and I don’t like the thought of living with a bunch of ants that proudly display to me whatever dead lizard they’re currently playing with like some kind of trophy.
Prior to the gecko horrors however, everything went pretty smoothly today. The Friday school uniform consisted of everyone wearing a flamboyant shirt proudly displaying Ayutthaya’s name on it, which looked like the kind of thing a trying-hopelessly-to-be-cool dad would wear on holiday, but I think everyone here pulled it off better than that. Bubpha told me yesterday that she would buy me an equivalent shirt but we both forgot about it, so I was left slightly out of place wearing my standard checkered-blue work shirt whilst everyone else looked a bit more outlandish. Still, it’s also possible that maybe everyone in the school did the really awkward thing of wearing the same shirt today by accident and all of them are too embarrassed to say anything.
My morning lessons saw me lead a triumphant return to singing in classes, although sadly without a guitar as my G string has broken (go on you immature people, laugh it up.) What I did do instead was teach the kids some dance moves to a song in their workbooks called “Here We Go Looby Lou”, which pretty much all involved shaking and jumping a lot. Bubpha took a good few photos of me doing this, naturally, as I can’t have a slight dignity-robbing moment here without a camera being pointed at me. That said, the idea of singing and dancing in a classroom feels a lot less awkward now than it did when I started school a couple of weeks ago, and the thought of dreading doing such things before I came to Thailand feels like it was a very long time ago too.
I finally managed to find a Thai dessert I like at lunch today, as the sticky rice with coconut I was given was truly amazing. Plus I had Mangosteen fruit for the first time, which are a bit of a pain to break out of their shells and eat, something that inevitably lead to me spitting the pip into my hands as quietly as possible in the hope that nobody would see me do it (they probably did). But they’re really quite nice, although that’s usually the case with Thai fruit.
I played football again after lessons, but I didn’t fair much better than yesterday’s mild fiasco. Partly this was because I played just after the aforementioned dead gecko incident, partly it was due to spraining a foot muscle after running for about 5 seconds, and partly it was because I’m still really terrible at football. But even though I had the feeling that I’d let my team down the kids were all friendly and polite, constantly cheering and congratulating me when I had the ball (which, admittedly, wasn’t very often.) I think that seems to have been a theme running through my working days this week, and looking at my right wrist which is now covered in rubber band thingys that the kids have been giving me since Monday (I think they’re called scoobies? I really can’t remember) I’m getting the sense that I’m starting to fit in here quite well and that the kids are warming up to me.
Which is cool, because they’re all pretty awesome.