My days consist mostly of teaching, studying, and volunteer translation work. Life has fallen into a somewhat normal pattern.
Yes, I know it’s been months since I blogged.
I’m emerging this week from a world of homework, teaching, and translation. I have two weeks to take a deep breath before I dive under again.
Perhaps this next time when I go under I can do it a little more wisely. When balancing homework with ministry, I just simply have not got it figured out.
I like living life. But sometimes I try to live too much life all at once. So that’s why the past few months you didn’t hear much from me. And looking back at the past few months, there are several things that I would do over again and there are several things I would not do over again.
One of those things I wouldn’t do again was help an acquaintance with a Sunday afternoon children’s event/party. I didn’t know until I got there that I was supposed to be MC (master of ceremonies, or announcer, or moderator. Whatever you want to call it). In Thai and English. I have never been an MC in English, much less in Thai. It was terrible.
But I did many, many things I loved. And some of those things might turn out to be a lifelong job. I don’t know yet.
Here’s a glimpse of what life looked like for me the past 3 months.
I taught. The top left picture is of two wild, adorable children that I’ve been teaching English to on Tuesday evenings. The top right picture is a group of children at the Saturday morning White Elephant Club in San Kamphaeng. I haven’t been helping with this all the time; only at times they don’t have enough teachers. I also substituted for a friend at Chiang Mai City Church (CMCC) for a few months. The bottom picture is where we went to visit a student’s family at their home with Pastor Kiat, the Thai pastor at CMCC.
I made a birthday cake for this young lady and took it to her school. She’s been a part of my life for the past 4 years, sometimes more so than others. I am so thankful that now she is able to go to school. That is an answer to prayer.
We had a traditional Thai dress day at Thai church to celebrate the church’s nth anniversary (can’t remember the actual number).
We said goodbye to some people and said hello to others.
We helped with an English camp at a local high school in San Kamphaeng.
My favorite thing that I’ve started is volunteering a shift once or twice a week as a translator at the local police station. This has turned out to be something I love, being that bridge between two cultures. To be honest, I also enjoy the adrenaline rush. For the most part, my job consists of translating for people who have lost important items, such as a bankbook, passport, cell phone or wallet, or translating for foreigners who have been in traffic accidents. Every now and then I’ll translate for a case for a foreigner who has died in Thailand, or has gotten in trouble with the law or in an altercation with a Thai national. There are some intense times where I, as a translator, feel like a kickball being kicked from side to side.
I love getting to meet new people as they come into the station, and being able to give them at least a slight sense of security when they see another foreigner there. Most people who come to the police don’t want to be there, and not knowing the language adds another stresser. Speaking and learning Thai is something I enjoy, and I love the chance to use language as a way of helping others. I also love getting to know the people on the Thai side of things. Many of the officers I work with are close to retirement, so in Thai I refer to most of them as uncle. Then there are others that are closer to my age who enjoy practicing their English and just being friends. On the top right hand picture is a picture of two of my “uncles.” The one to the left has a very gruff exterior and a very soft heart.
One of my friends, Care, to the right in the picture on the left, was an intern the first few months I was there. She loved practicing her English with me. To the right is another of my favorite “uncles.”
So yes, I’m still alive. Other than the things above, I’ve mostly been doing homework, as well as some additional translation for acquaintances. And that all of that has taken up most of my waking moments.
Hopefully soon I’ll have time to tell you sometime about the time I got stuck in a phone booth during a rainstorm or the time when we ordered pizza at the police station. As well as my recent trip to my friend’s home in Chiang Dao.
If I would tell you what a river was like
If you’d never seen one before,
Then I could tell you that it is water
That runs between two shores;
And how it starts with being a spring
And ends with being a sea,
But I am afraid I cannot explain
What a river means to me.
If I could explain silence and strength and song,
Paint it with brown and gold and blue;
Mold peace and heartache into a bed
For this wide river to run on and through;
Then weave a scarf from the moonlight’s beam,
And capture the life-strength of a tree,
Then maybe, just maybe, I could explain
What a river means to me.
Currently for my creative writing class at Payap University, our homework is to write an hour a day. About anything. Today as I sat beside the Mae Ping river, this is one of the things I wrote.
*Photo credits: Melissa Weber
Silence at midnight
When the world is asleep
Except for the geckos, my dog and I,
And the lone plane in the distant black sky.
Fingers reach, stealthily into the box,
Half ashamed, then again, not ashamed.
The telltale rattle, the swift pouring;
I sit. And he sits, beside me, brown, intense and awake
In the sleeping darkness;
Brown ears cocked, eyes trained,
Tail thumping methodically.
We eat together, I from my bowl, and he
The spoonfuls I throw at him.
We share the meal, and the togetherness and aliveness
In an unconscious world.
He does not know the meaning
Of qualitative research and causation and correlation
And grounded theory and phenomenology.
But this he understands.
And oh, yes, so do I.
So do I.
photo credit: pixabay.com