Holiday letter to friends and family during my first case of homesickness after more than one year living abroad; Chiang Mai, Thailand, December 26th, 2012.
“Good morning friends! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!
“I haven’t written in months out of pure laziness so here’s a quick update on my life! For starters, I’ve just recently passed my one-year mark in Chiang Mai and I think we’re actually nearing 14 months all up in SE Asia so far. Pretty crazy, and I think it goes without saying that I really miss you all. I’ve been a bit homesick on and off lately (for the first time, I might add) probably as a result of both the sheer amount of time I’ve been away and the holiday season being upon us (and being away from home for them for two consecutive years now). I sincerely hope anybody thinking about visiting me makes it happen.
“I spent part of Christmas day, my only day off (#muslimschool), skyping with my family and opening the package they sent me. It was really nice and felt like we were actually all together for a short bit. For the new year, I’m headed back down to the islands, this time to Koh Tao to stay with Addy who just came back to Thailand about 2 months ago and has already completed her IDC to become a fully certified dive instructor! And as you probably know, I completed my open-water course in Bali with my other dive instructor friend Marlies, so I’ll hopefully get to go diving one day with Ad as well (broken toe willing…hers, not mine). I’m flying down to Bangkok Friday afternoon and will take the overnight bus/ferry to arrive Saturday morning to the island. I can’t wait.
“The teaching job is still going well. I have frustrating days now and then but I’m finally starting to see some of the kids make real progress which makes me so proud (especially the kids that I know don’t have English-speaking parents at home to help them). We are halfway through the second term right now, and giving ‘assessments’ this week. They don’t really mean anything, the kids will move to primary regardless of the outcome, one of the Thai educational system’s major flaws (this happens at every grade level, not just kindergarten). Anyway, with about 2 months left of the school year, I’m really starting to think about my plan after the fact. One thing I know for sure is I will NOT be renewing my contract. I work for morons. Although it’s nearly impossible to nail down any real plan at the moment, I’d still like to do some traveling to Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam before heading back to the states. There are some family issues at home making it impossible to predict whether or not that will actually happen, but I’m trying to hope for the best and plan accordingly. My roommate would like to do some of the same, so hopefully we can travel together. AFTER my SHORT visit to ‘Murrica, I’m thinking South America, possibly to bounce around for awhile and do more traveling than working, but then possibly settle into a big city like Rio or BA to start teaching again. We shall see.
“I love you and miss you all and wish you the happiest of holidays with your loved ones!”