May 2-7. I never thought I would miss the sound of the roosters cooing above my head at 5am… and I thought correctly. Their piercing shrieks are almost as bad as listening to Chinese karaoke when you’re trying to sleep, but it’s a close call. The mornings were as glorious as ever at the orphanage and I relished in the rising sun that I had missed for 2 weeks straight. The rotis, apples, pineapple, and patka poa were as delicious as ever. Even Tavi, a rambunctious 12 year old who got on everyone’s nerves, couldn’t bother me when he tried to poke my eyes out with his fork.
The differences in this week of the orphanage were few, but profound. As I had explained in my last post, the second half of the kids were here at the orphanage, while the ones I had been with before were away with their families. I also did not do as much adventuring or new things as I normally had done before. Bowjoe and Goe seemed too busy to spare time to take us to any waterfalls or temples, and since every other staff member was either busy or had left for America (including Tim and Bay), Brian and I were left to our own devices. This wasn’t much of a setback, just more of an unexpected change. My schedule also became much fuller than it normally was. I was now teaching 3 English classes a day. The 2 girls who sold us rotis every morning were eager to learn English, so every evening at 7pm you could find me tutoring these 2 girls in the Big House.
Brian, on the other hand, was content with playing soccer in the evenings. I was never all that great at soccer and didn’t want to try my hand at becoming seriously embarrassed, so I let him do that on his own. During our down time, we would bike around Mae Sariang, get massages, or watch a soccer game. However, we didn’t get a bunch of down time because in addition to our jobs as English teachers, we also became farmers.
Every afternoon, before lunch and after English lessons, we would plow a field with the other staff members. When I used to think of plowing, I thought of oxen pulling the plow machine while the farmer steers it. The Thailand reality is much farther from that. There was a small motor equipped to the plow, but it did almost nothing to ease the process. It was mostly the strength of your body to propel the plow forward. As such, it took a long time. After one circle of the field, you would be too hot and your hands would be too blistered to carry on, so we switched after every round.
Talking with Brian about our adventures never became dull. It was amazing to realize how much we had experienced in such a short time, and it was great to share these experiences with someone who could understand what they meant to you. We never wasted time in pondering whether or not we wanted to do something new, because were both in a “let’s do it all” state of mind. It was even better to have a friend with you during those experiences at the orphanage because it made plowing fields, climbing trees, teaching English, and biking around the area 10 times more fun.
The nights were also fun with Brian. We stayed up, watching soccer games and talking about nothing, while the kids played games. They let us join in a few times on their ridiculous hand games, but Brian and I were so bad that we decided to no longer embarrass ourselves after the first few rounds. Before bed each night, we would take turns buying the kids ice cream, which probably gave us some bonus points in their eyes. Our logic behind it was that if we ever want to come back to Thailand to stay for free, we could always count on those kids to remember those chocolate nut bars.