Well, I have left Mae La Luang and am now sitting in Maddy’s Dad’s beautiful apartment in Bangkok.
It is somewhat surreal to think that my time in the school is over. It turned out to be 10 weeks, a little less than the 3 months I originally planned for. This was mostly due to the exams that all of the students have this week, after which it sounds like most of them don’t turn up.
As you can imagine saying goodbye was quite emotional.
I slipped away from my Matteyum without any fuss at all, not even a thank you or a shake of the hand from the Headmaster. Although I was expecting a quiet goodbye, I was a little disappointed to go without any acknowledgement at all of my hard work. After all, I had taught over 80 lessons for free.
But the other two schools and Sinuan and family more than made up for it!
Pretom had a small lunchtime celebration for me. One of the teachers cooked one of my favourite Thai dishes, “Cow Soy” – which they nickname as Thai Spaghetti. It is spicy and delicious. The English teacher at Pretom, Cru Duan, then gave me a beautiful, traditional Luwah top. After the Karen people, the Luwah were the most prevalent in my area.
Cru Aew sent me off in style. She gave me a multitude of beautiful gifts, a skirt, a purse and an incredible Dragon bracelet that she had handmade for me by a local guy. We had a big hug and a few tears. Cru Aew has looked after me so well here and made my time so much more enjoyable. I will miss her!
But it was Hoi Ku Pah who really made me feel valued.
On Friday morning, we had an assembly in which I had to stand at the front while the teacher let the students know that it was my last day. They presented me with a beautiful Karen top and scarf. Afterwards, one student from each class came to the front to say a few words of thanks to me on behalf of their class. It was adorable.
After that, I had a photo with each of the classes and Pretom 6 each gave me a beautiful card they had made for me. I felt so sad not to be coming back again this week!
The day continued to get better when just before lunch I was told that the teachers were not going to be eating now, but rather, we would be going out for our lunch at Mae La Noi. The kids were given the afternoon off.
We had a brilliant afternoon, eating lots of good food, drinking coffees and beers and green tea. It was so much fun and I think the other teachers enjoyed the afternoon out as much as me! 🙂
I will really miss this school, having been welcomed with open arms and been looked after every step of the way. I will definitely come back to visit them here.
And of course, my family for the past two and a half months, Sinuan, Lipo, Namsup and Namchai. I will miss these guys so much. We had an amazing last evening together, sitting outside the house on a little raised platform cooking in the communal pot in the middle. Sinuan and I stayed up late together chatting until eventually we fell asleep under the stars.
The following day, I said goodbye to Lipo and the kids in the morning, and gave them the few gifts I had for them. Afterwards, Sinuan took me to Khun Yuam on the back of her motorbike and I was quite touched when Nootsabar told me that I was the first volunteer she had done that for. I really got on well with Sinuan, and since I have learnt enough Thai we have had some great conversations and a lot of laughter. I can’t wait to see her again!