I have learned so much in the process of being here in Thailand in ways that I still cannot count.
I have thought of how to say a nice, wrapped-in-a-bow version of goodbye to this place, but I do not think I can do it. This week at school, it was extremely hard to say goodbye to my students. They all gave me cards with sweet “I love you” and other versions of adoration and praise. In many ways, that is enough to return home with and feel accomplished. My coordinator gave me a sweet certificate that listed creativity and enthusiasm as reasons for why I was appreciated at the school. Okay, so maybe the alphabet and telling time is not rocket science or the arguments about abstraction that I am more accustomed to, but these were the building blocks that I had long forgotten.
In addition, I have gained so many new friends in so many cultures and from so many different traditions. My closest friends at the center range from England, France, Thailand, Germany, and the Netherlands. I have grown a much deeper appreciation for simple language because that is the language that we use to communicate. Before I left home, I leaned much more to sophistication only because that was the main part of my environment.
I have also lost many things as well. I have lost my fear of traveling alone. I have lost my guarded sensibilities about what composure means. I am happier with abstract notions of structure instead of the rigidity of my overanalyzed plans for the future. I can approach the world as it comes with a much happier, less stressed perspective.
I cannot say thank you enough. This trip was a gift and an a priceless opportunity. I am so grateful for every person that has helped me get to this point in my life. I am so grateful for every person that taught me a new piece to the puzzle of Thai culture. In terms of generosity, I have never seen so many totally random, different people come to the aid of a clueless foreigner more than what I have been a part of for the past 3 months. I will miss Thailand. I still do not think I know enough about the Thai culture, but I want to come back one day.
So long Thailand... I came here to make a difference in this world and walked away also being taught.