The day started with another good Prathom 1 lesson, which was probably due to playing a writing game that actually matched the stupid levels of energy that they all have. They did all swarm around me again, but since I got my camera out that was more my own fault, and the result was a series of photos of them all clinging to me and waving. I guess I’m warming to them a bit more, but still, less handshakes would be nice.
The strange game I played with Prathom 5 yesterday was transferred to the field this afternoon, as the amount of running and tripping it involved made Bubpha worried that someone would smack their head if they played it on hard ground. This turned out to be a very good call, as most of the time was spent with the kids dancing, jumping, running and tripping each other up, with eventual winners being the students that didn’t end up falling over. It’s all fun to watch, but I would still appreciate someone sitting me down and explaining thoroughly what the rules are, because I’m still confused.
This evening we made our second attempt of the week of travelling to Itiya’s school in Ayutthaya, after Pilot the headmaster’s spontaneous staff meeting on Monday stopped us from going the first time. It didn’t really go much better today, to be honest. Bubpha initially wanted to leave at half 2 after all of our lessons were done but she was roped in to helping set up the displays for tomorrow’s Mother’s Day ceremonies, and after we actually left at half 3 Itiya phoned to say that she was feeling tired and would rather rearrange for next week. As inevitable as that was, we were on our way to the city at that point, and we weren’t about to let something silly like all our plans going down the toilet stop us from getting there.
Itiya had also warned me on the phone that Ayutthaya was currently being drenched in consistent, humid rain, but Bubpha said it would probably be clear by the time we finished our half an hour drive. It wasn’t, obviously, and we ended up having to skid round the city highways with windscreen wipers on full blast and a sense of hope that the stormy weather wouldn’t obscure any TukTuks or trucks right in front of us. The new plan was to try making it to Zenith, a company that provided local schools with foreign language teachers that both Bubpha and Itiya told me it was worth checking out if I was interested in working here in the future. We couldn’t find that either though, and after a while Bubpha drove us to the Baptist Church we went to yesterday to access some wifi and work out where we actually needed to go.
As it turned out, Zenith had infact changed their name to LearningLink about a year ago, so the reason why we were getting nowhere with finding it was because we’d been keeping our eyes peeled for a building name that no longer existed. Regardless, Bubpha found their number and shoved her phone to me after she rang them up and realised the receiver on the other end only spoke English. I ended up getting an email address from him so this whole excursion had some success, albeit success that I could have achieved from the comfort of my own schoolhouse, with considerably less rain.
We dropped by a food court on the way back where Bubpha promised me steak, which ended up coming from a restaurant called California Grill. It wasn’t the greatest place in the world, but considering it shares its name with a slightly dodgy kebab shop in Ipswich it was a nice surprise, plus the food court was a sight in itself. There were fountains everywhere packed with fish that looked like miniature hammerhead sharks, and as we stopped for ice cream before leaving I spent a lot of time gazing into the pools and trying to work out what species they were.
Of course, all of this mainly distracted me from the fact that I have a whole bunch of stuff that I need to sort out before tomorrow. Pilot wants me to have a significant involvement in the celebrations tomorrow before I leave for Chiang Mai, and has asked me to write ten sentences about my own mother to read out. That should be interesting in itself.
Just as importantly, I need to pack. The sleeper train I’m taking with Harry tomorrow will take me on a glorious 14 hour journey before we get to Chiang Mai, which I’m pretty sure is longer than my flight from England to Thailand took. I was dreading it at the beginning of the week, but the more I think about it the more I’ve realised it should be the perfect opportunity to catch up on some sleep.
Right now, that’s something I really need to do.