This is my slightly delayed Valentine’s Day post
Don’t worry this won’t be too long.
It’s Sunday and I’m ending my 6th trip to Chiang Mai with a quick breakfast when Jackie mentions that she has heard of a school in Chiang Mai that is hiring. And I’m like perfect! I tell her to send me the info because how great would it be to teach and also live in Chiang Mai (what is clearly my favorite place to be)?
I’m home in Phrae about 4 hours later and reunite with Bri, who has been having a completely different weekend. She went camping with our Teacher mom and dad: Teacher Rodel and Teacher Janet.
And she relays something that Teacher Janet was saying about how previous teachers (from OEG or similar organizations) had come and really been focussed mostly on travel. She said she thought Bri was here for the kids, and then Bri told me that she had been thinking about that all weekend. “Was she here for the kids? Was she here for the right reasons? What even are the right reasons anyway?”
And Teacher Janet said how tough it is for the students to constantly be getting new teachers and how they always regress in the beginning. Because it’s such a small program so it makes such a big impact.
And of course once she brought that into my head I couldn’t let it go. I cried the entire way to Zumba that night. And most of the rest of the night, too, actually. But I wasn’t really crying because I was sad. I was crying because I was feeling this completely new kind of love I didn’t even realize had been growing. I was crying because just the thought of my students struggling because I was going to leave them broke my heart. And to think I was maybe even going to leave them to teach other kids in Chiang Mai?
I couldn’t do it.
Less than 12 hours later I was sitting in front of the director of the school telling him I wanted to stay.
So, now I am.
And I can only judge the “right” and “wrong” reasons for myself, but I’m going to do that now by saying: I know I didn’t come for the “right” reasons.
I came because I was scared. I came because I wanted to travel. Hell, part of me came just so I could post beautiful Instagram photos and prove to my peers that I’m not drowning. (when most of the time I am, let’s be real)
And sometimes the reasons are pointless. Because regardless, I am here. I’m doing this. And obviously this was meant to happen.
But looking back at all of my back and forth trying to decide whether to stay, I can say that I am pretty proud of what actually ended up tipping the scales for me. It wasn’t saving money. It wasn’t to travel. It wasn’t to avoid going home to work at the LA County Fair.
It was because there are 40 small human beings here that I love in a way I didn’t even know I could love. I didn’t even know my heart had room for 40 kids. They make me so unbelievably angry on a daily basis, but I just can’t leave them yet.
So maybe I did come here for me. But I’m staying for them.