Where’s the other shoe?

There is a saying in English for when things are going well and you are waiting for something bad to happen. We call that: “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Can I confess something really ridiculous? I’ve been hesitant to write about site life and the start of school because I’ve been actively waiting for the other shoe.

It’s not that there are no challenges…there most definitely are. Last week was a disaster. I got suddenly ill about 3 hours after lunch and had to have my counterpart pull over quickly so I wouldn’t vomit in his car. I broke my ceiling fan on accident. The doors to my house expanded in the humidity and wouldn’t open. I lost power every day. I’ve seen snakes and spiders and any number of large bugs crawling about a bit too close for comfort. But for every difficulty, there have been innumerable things to be grateful for.

I’m convinced I was placed in the very best site that exists. My counterpart, fellow teachers, kids, and community are so welcoming, and funny, and kind. We laugh with each other (and at each other) and it’s comfortable. It’s fun. So this post will be a bit of a highlight reel about my first three weeks of school.


The first day of school was mainly cleaning and prepping the rooms for classes. My counterpart and I taught our first lesson together later that week. It went well!


Over the weekend my host family had the community over to make merit to the monks in their home. Lots of cooking and laughter. It was nice to be back with them. I miss not living there and seeing them every day!


For now I’m working with 3 co-teachers. Prathom is about the equivalent of elementary school and Matayom is about the equivalent of 8th, 9th, and 10th grade. I work with one teacher for Prathom 1, 2, and 3, another for Prathom 4, 5, and 6, and my primary counterpart with Matayom 1, 2, and 3 (as well as kindergarten a few times each week). It’s great because that means I have at least one class with every student at my school, but it has also meant my brain gets confused jumping around between grade levels. I think this will get easier with time!

 This is my counterpart and I teaching the youngest two grades, called anuban. Our equivalent is kindergarten.

​One of my coteacher’s leading English Club students in a phonics game!


I hung out with the Prathom 6 boys as they planted morning glory in the school garden with my counterpart. Said hi to the school chickens while the kids worked.


Bonding (and laughing hysterically) over my broken door.

Yesterday, the five schools in my region came together. Another volunteer, Barbara, lives one community over and and we led a zoo phonics training for anuban teachers, along with my counterpart.

​Kids like to drop by my desk in the morning and show off their zoo phonics knowledge. Adorable.

So when is the other shoe going to drop? I don’t know. Maybe never; but I’ve stopped caring either way. I’m filled-to-the-brim happy with life right now…and we rarely wear shoes here anyway.

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