“Good morning teacher!”
“Good morning students. How are you today?”
“I am fine thank you. And you?”
“I am fine.”
The usual awkward pleasantries of my morning speech end after that. However once again I actually have something else to talk about, as Bubpha tells me to talk to the kids about what I did after school yesterday.
“Last night, I went to Ayutthaya in the evening. I went to the…”
I realise I have no idea what the name of the temple we went to yesterday was, so I turn to Bubpha to get it confirmed. Wat Chaiwatthanarm, apparently. I’m never going to be able to pronounce that.
“I went to Wat Tai… Chai Prat Two Na Ram Temple. It was very nice.”
Eh, close enough.
I spout more stuff to them after that, mostly simple words about how England doesn’t have any nice buddhist temples like Ayutthaya does. They’re probably cottoning onto the fact that I’m just making it up as I go along again, but by that point I bid them goodbye with a “Thankyou” and walk to the side, triumphant that I got through another speech.
That is, until Pilot the headmaster hands me a megaphone and makes me repeat the whole thing again.
Most of my bad day and mood yesterday stemmed from the triumphant return of English Camp this week to Watphachi school. My timetable schedules me to be there for 2 hours at the end of every day, but since a lot of that time is spent by teachers from other schools coming into teach, I’m often left to do nothing but sit in the corner and play games on my phone. Great for getting new high scores on Temple Run, pretty terrible for making me feel at all useful.
I told Bubpha all of this and I think she understands where I’m coming from. Today she told me that she was going to work on a new curriculum with some of the classes – the front cover of the textbooks sitting beside me display that they are British Council recommended ‘Teaching Kits’, so hopefully that should mean that I get more involvement in general. With the older classes such as Prathom 6 we’re sticking to what we’ve been previously been doing though, but since they’re the oldest class here their English skills are generally much better to work with. This morning I played hangman with them, but despite my attempts to use the more complicated words from their textbooks in the game they guessed them all pretty quickly.
Today’s English Camp didn’t go much better, but that was more my fault – I had a splitting headache for most of it and for some reason the afternoon heat is starting to get to me again. The school is apparently stopping the sessions at the end of this week as nobody seems to be happy with how they are going, so at least I now know we’re into the home stretch with it.
This evening Bubpha was desperate to show me how to cook Thai food; I don’t know if this was out of a desire to get me to learn something or a subtle indication that I should be paying back for the all the food I’ve been given here, but I’m not complaining either way. My university eating habits are terrible so this was probably the first time in a while that I actually put some effort into cooking a meal, albeit with a lot of help and Bubpha showing me what to do. We bought some oysters and pork from the market to fry Thai-style, although it turns out this is still pretty similar to every other method of frying food. Plus for only the second time in my life I made rice that didn’t come out of a microwavable bag, and managed to not mess it up.
Overall, it turned out pretty well. If I keep up with doing this I may return to uni with a greater incentive to cook better food, which certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing.
But just to tip the scales back to lazy eating, I also had the Thai version of a pot noodle. It’s pretty much the same as any other Pot Noodle. With a bit more shrimp.
It’s weird to think that today marks a month since I got on a plane heading to Thailand. I feel that in some ways everything has gone quickly, but thinking about how much time left I have here feels daunting on occasions. I’m not really sure why I’ve spent this week with more of an uneasy, anxious mood about me, but I wonder it’s largely down to the novelty of Thailand having mostly worn off by now and having to accept both the positive and negative aspects of my day-to-day life here. Hopefully, it shouldn’t take much longer for me to do that.