Alright, here it is. The biggest news in Lomkao since we arrived: Jenn and I got bicycles. Now that’s what I call exciting!
Since we arrived, Jenn and I have been wanting to find used motorbikes that we can purchase at an affordable price – you know, so that we can drive to the grocery store that’s thirty minutes away, or anywhere at all that’s not on school campus. Unfortunately, this search is still in progress. When everything seems like a hike, though, any mode of reliable transportation other than your own two feet can make you giddy. Aka precisely how Jenn and I felt when our school coordinator informed us that she had some students repair the bicycles former foreign teachers had used at Lomkao.
We now bike to the office every morning, to our daily restaurant across the street, even to 7/11! It’s funny how the littlest things – that you used to completely overlook – can make a world of difference when you’re living in a simple world.
So, since I’ve got these cool new wheels, I thought I’d give you a tour around Lomkaophittayakhom’s school campus.
May I present: The entrance to Lomkaophittayakhom School. Each morning, the teachers rotate greeting parents and students at the entrance, waving at cars and saying, “Sawatdee Kah” and “Hello.” Every Tuesday, teachers wear uniform yellow collared shirts with black skirts – This day also happens to be my rotation day of the week every three weeks. Soon, I’ll be starting my Tuesday mornings, looking as bright yellow as the school gate, waving hello to Thai families.
When you first enter the campus, you’ll find a large open arena on your right-hand side, next to recreational fields and courts. This arena is called the Dome and is used every morning for student assembly. When Jenn and I were introduced to the student body on our first day at Lomkaophittayakhom, we stood on the stage in this arena. On the left-hand side is the welcome center and the two most prestigious academic buildings: the science and mathematics building and building 1. Within building 1, there are nicer classrooms with air conditioning and access to superior technologies – these rooms are reserved for the level 1 and 2 students. I teach my Mattayhom 3.1, 3.2, 5.1, 5.2 and my extra class in this building. Every Tuesday after school, I teach my 3.1 students an extra class to help them prepare for standardized testing.
In the first three photos, you’ll see the office I work in, the Foreign Language Department. Our office is building 4 which lies in the center of campus. The fourth photo shows building three, where I go to receive my salary at the end of each month and where I go to sign in and out every day. Our payment is dependent on signing in and out – though we are allowed a certain number of sick days, none of these are paid. The last photo shows the building across from our office, building 5. I teach many of my Mattayhom 5 classes in this building – and the view from upstairs is gorgeous. Take a peak inside some of the classrooms below.
Now, for some photos of me absolutely loving my job. Have I mentioned that my students are awesome? (My students are awesome).
Some more views around our beautiful campus, including the on-campus temple:
As you may have guessed, there aren’t too many exciting things to do around campus. It’s full of life when the kids are passing between classes – “Hello, Teacher!” – but on the weekends, it can feel like a ghost town.
On Saturday, I decided to venture out with my headphones and do some exploring. There is a beautiful trail that leads into the woods behind the Banana Cabana, a path that led me to find someone’s garden, beautiful fields, and a temple.
There you have it: most of the school campus and some interesting backwoods exploring finds. As much as I make fun of the lack of excitement in Lomkao, there’s no place I’d rather be. The other night, Jenn said:
“Any time I told anyone about our move, the first thing they’d do is tell me how dangerous Thailand is, warning me about being cautious and safe. But the funny thing is, I feel safer living in Lomkao than I have living anywhere else.”
And I couldn’t agree more. Of course, Thailand is dangerous in certain places, but what else is new? The same is true of the United States.
Our simple home is a home full of love, and that’s all we need.