Five months came and went. Tomorrow I leave my little town of Takhli, located basically in the middle of Thailand, to embrace new adventures. Takhli is a medium-sized town for Thailand. But to me, it’s like being taken back to agrarianism in the middle ages. A typical day consists of teaching, eating, working on personal projects and travelling a half-mile by bicycle to the 7-11.
I have always been a “city-girl” you could say. I love all the hustle and bustle. So arriving in sleepy Takhli was a culture shock. Even more shocking, though, was all the wildlife in this hot and humid ecosystem, aka Thailand. Let’s get one thing clear, I am not by any stretch of the imagination into “nature.” The closest I have been to camping is my uncle’s cabin. While lacking electricity, it does feature running water and beds. Also, there are no wild animals.
Oh, but Thailand has all kinds of bugs, snakes, lizards, geckos, stray dogs and feral cats. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if I could handle it at first. This is the girl who had her father kill the spider growing up. This is the girl who also had her boyfriend come over in college to setup mouse traps, because her father was too far away.
But now, look me! Not only have I learned to kill spiders (big ones, at that), I am also OK with the geckos that scurry around my townhouse. I am still not down with the water monitors, though. I had my only encounter with the three-foot
dinosaur lizard during my first weekend in Takhli. And it was one too many times.
So now when I talk to potential employers about my teaching experience, I can genuinely say that I cultivated adaptation skills to all sorts of situations. I think if a person can handle a spontaneous three-foot lizard occurrence, they can manage almost any threat an office could pose.
All and all, my time in Takhli taught me a lot. I worked in an environment where there was a huge language barrier. Not only could I not communicate with my students, I also couldn’t communicate with the other teachers. I had to learn how to effectively deal with frequent miscommunication. As a highly organized person who loves a clear sense of what is going on at all times, I taught myself to let go a bit. I had to, there was no other choice.
There were days I would come into school and an all-day assembly would be taking place. On other days I would have to stand in for a sick teacher, with a class I was unaccustomed to. Today, I wholeheartedly accept the unfamiliarity and inconsistency that makeup Takhli as well as my school. In the end, I grew so much as a person. Truly, more in several months than my last year in college.
However, I know that all I have learned won’t set in until I am back in the US. Then I will really be able to look back and reflect on my time in Takhli.
Image Credit – Leading a parade in Thailand. Photo taken on my iPhone, in Takhli, Thailand.