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Volunthai’s Travel Diary

Monday, 26 Nov 2007

Location: Korat Province, Asia - South East

MapExcerpts from Julia's diary:
I am the only foreigner in this village and so consequently I get stared at a lot. In fact, today I was ‘home alone’ planning lessons and two little girls plonk themselves next to me and then spend the next hour (no exaggeration) just staring at me. They scampered when my host family came back home from ‘town’. I went to a party at the school in the evening (to farewell the sub-director and introduce me). The party was heaps of fun. We had a yummy meal, drank whiskey and danced.
I underestimated the value of dressing nicely here, so I picked up some nice new clothes for teaching. Its rather amusing, after backpacking for 2 months I thought tidy trousers and a nice top would be ok for teaching, however, I find it’s a lot better to wear a nice skirt and top. When I wear a skirt I seem to get a lot more respect from the kids and the teachers make nice comments in the morning about how nice I look! Travelling overseas always makes me realise how sloppy most New Zealanders dress!
It is my 2nd week at school and I am starting to get into the swing of things. I can already see a difference in the kids as they get used to me, they are definitely less shy this week (in fact some are outright boisterous) and they are starting to speak English with me more. As I ride my bike to school I get lots of ‘hellos’ and ‘good mornings’. In fact, before 8am I am sure I say ‘Good Morning’ at least 30 times! It’s all good fun and it’s so good to see the kids getting more confident to use their English, even if it is just a ‘Good Morning Teacher’!
Tuesday was interesting. After the flag ceremony at school all of the teachers got in cars and went to a small school in a small village about 20-30mins drive away. The sub-director of our school is leaving to be the director of this little country school. So all the teachers in our school and many other teachers from other schools in the area met to wish the sub-director good luck in his new job. The open hall/meeting area was decked out with tables, we were seated and spent the morning chatting, eating, drinking fizzy drink and listening to speeches. A spiritual leader (not a lady monk but not a priest either) came, everyone tied white cotton around the wrists of the outgoing director and the incoming director (our ex sub-director) of the school. We all had a big feed and then at about 1pm went back to school.