21 March 2008

Farewell Sarasas!

After fast days and dragging days, days filled with grading worksheet after worksheet, hours spent trying to prevent the pelvic thrusting of 1st graders, loads of rides to work on the songthaew and handfuls of Friday staff meetings, this girl is officially d-o-n-e! Wednesday marked my official last day as an English teacher at Sarasas Witaed Saimai Bilingual School. In the words of George Michael, can you say freedom? Here is my G1C predescessor Miss Anna and I celebrating on the last day.

Even though I definitely had my days (not all good!), I was a bit sad to say bon voyage to Sarasas this week. Throughout my time there, I met so many wonderful people from all around the world. Not only do I have like 10 new countries I absolutely have to visit now that I have friends there, but I would not have made it where I am today without a special handful of them (I am pretty sure they know who they are :)

Saimai was quite the living experience. I mean songthaew rides, bed bug infestations, countless foot massages, trips to Wongsakorn Market, morning/daytime/nighttime 7-11 runs, water leaks...the list could really go on. Through it all, I've realized (a) I have an unending supply of hilarious stories, (b) things will not go the way you planned regardless of how much you plan, but for some reason, end up working out the way they should and (c) laughter cures most problems, especially when it involves a one-piece, floral jumpsuit. Am I right Miss Lauren?

Here is a shot of the Saimai skyline from Wongsakorn Market with Sarasas's brand new dome as it's highest pinnacle. Pretty, huh?

Like I said before, I've had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world - Phillippines, Australia, England, Algeria, India, Thailand, China, Canada...the list could continue. Let's just say my travels won't be stopping any time soon! In 7 months here, I've learned about different cultures, learned how to deal with cultural differences and feel as though I now have a greater appreciation for what I have been blessed with in my life. After living and traveling around Asia, I have come to realize I am one lucky little lady. Seriously. Here is Mr. Shaun (from Australia), Ms. Apsari (from India) and myself on the last day.

On Wednesday night, Miss Suzi hosted a little shindig at her house for all the teachers to celebrate the end of another school year. It was good to relax, eat some good food and see everyone outside school gear, which doesn't happen as much as one might think. At the request of a certain sibling of mine, I will spare you boring details and information and just provide you with photos instead.

Of course, one of the reasons I was MOST excited to get done with school is because I still have a bit of traveling left to do! Unfortunately, my roomie Lauren headed back to Canada earlier than expected due to illness so my itinerary changed a bit, but Cambodia here I come! Right away Thursday morning, yours truly headed right on out of Saimai with Mr. Shaun and his friend Richard for a jaunt into Cambodia!

We hopped on a luxurious double-decker bus where for the next 3 1/2 hours, we took over the lower level lounge (yes, it was actually a lounge downstairs!) until arriving at Aranyaprathet, a bustling market/border town between Thailand and Cambodia. Immigration across the border was rather quick and within about 30 minutes, we got our visas and stepped across into Poi Pet. A poor border town, we stayed the night here and enjoyed a bit of local cuisine and a solid night's rest before first, stopping by the casino (come on, now I can say I've been in a Cambodian casino) then heading back out on the road!

Although Cambodia does resemble Thailand in many ways, the first thing that was so much more apparent was the poverty. Even now, two days later, it's still hard to pass someone trying to sell you something for money when you know they have next to nothing themselves. Now, after another 3 hour car ride, I've landed in Siem Reap - home of the famous Khmer temples at Angkor!

Clearly, if you hadn't noticed, I was a bit behind on the blog updates! Unfortunately, that's it for now, but I promise good things to come as I've already spent part of the day exploring these absolutely amazing temples. Be back soon!

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