Slightly more than five months have gone by, and now it’s time to say goodbye to this place I’ve come to call home, and bid farewell to the random group of strangers I’ve now come to call my friends.
It’s been an interesting ride (as have most things in my life, eh?) and I don’t think I’ve come to love Thailand as much as other people do. Thailand was definitely a breath of fresh air after the madness of India, but it is not without it’s own idiosyncrasies. It’s easy to miss the messiness of daily life if you’re just a tourist, visiting for a few weeks, but living here and working with Thai people, adults and kids alike, has been a completely different experience.
The Thai system is flawed, just like any other, and it takes a good amount of chill-pill to get through the absolutely bewildering things we’re sometimes put through. Just yesterday, we were informed that we would have to grade all of the students Thai-English tests (English tests that was taught in Thai) in addition to invigilating the students while they sat for their exams. On our last three days at the school with the students. I’m not quite sure what’s meant to happen, because the students won’t even be completing their English tests till Friday morning, which essentially gives us 5 hours to grade a whole bunch of tests. And even as I’m writing this, my phone’s going off with more changes to what we’re supposed to do / where we’re supposed to be / etc.
My point is. The Thai system is inefficient, and things often happen / change at the last minute, with barely any notice, or consideration for the parties involved. Like the time the school told us that we’d get a 4 day weekend, and then, the week before, changed their mind and wanted to shorten it to a 3 day weekend. Or the time that they told us that we were expected to go on school visits on the TWO weekends before our last weekend here, and also scheduled an English Camp on our last weekend here.
These may all seem like very petty, insignificant things, but surely it’s not too much to ask for to be told about having to work weekends way in advance – I mean, we’re teachers, but we’re also foreigners who want to have time to explore the country we’re living in. Ugh. Sorry, this is all a bit rant-y, I’m just annoyed and frustrated because I’d meant to use these last three days to do other stuff and I can’t.
And it really quite boils down to not having any respect for other people’s time. And expecting them to be available, to change or abandon their plans, to accommodate last minute requests. To me, it seems like basic courtesy, but I guess to them, it is culturally acceptable. It’s probably not even something that crosses their mind.
I know, I know – as the foreigner, I should adapt myself to their culture and accept anything and everything that goes on here, but my gripe is that I’m not a mere tourist here. Obviously, I add some sort of value here, which is why I’m getting paid to do my job. So, inasmuch as it is reasonable to expect the foreigners to adapt themselves to local customs and culture, isn’t it also reasonable to expect the people who want us here, the school, to make some sort of accommodations to us? I just feel that they’ve got to meet us half way, and we can’t be expected to cater to every whimsical request they make.
Right. So I didn’t mean for this to turn into a long rant about Thailand, but it is what it is. I guess I’ll write another post about the great parts of my time here – it’s always easier to write about the bad stuff and complain than it is to say nice things. I’ll get there.