February 3, 2017
Chiang Mai, Thailand
I woke up early this morning even though there was no reason to. This is officially the last day of my CELTA program, and there is nothing scheduled until 3pm, when I get feedback on my final teaching practice from last night. It feels a bit weird now, having nothing to do. I got up and showered before 7, hoping that my classmate, Nerissa, would join me for a morning walk again. But I didn’t hear back from her, so I brought my computer out onto the covered veranda attached to the main building. Normally, I would be working on a lesson plan, a written assignment, or some other deadline-induced activity at this time, but not today. It all seems so anti-climactic.
Normally, there would be a party scheduled for this evening. After four weeks of mostly sleepless nights, having information force-fed to us as if from a fire hose, and stressing out over improving our teaching methods to satisfy our mentors, it would be a great chance to unwind and really enjoy being with our classmates, trainers, and the support staff from the school. However, because the school is under the purview of the Thai Department of Education, there will no party, due to the recent death of the King. All government offices are observing a year-long mourning period.
While this is understandable, and we all respect the reasons for the decision, it is a bit disappointing. We have all worked so hard to get through this course. No one, not even those who already have classroom teaching experience, has had an easy time of it. Many tears have been shed, both in public and private, as I mentioned previously. We’ve all had to lean on each other to get through it. And because of that, we have become pretty close as a group. We want to hang out and party with our new family. Because after today, many of us will most likely never see each other again. Sure, we have Facebook, WeChat, and various other ways to keep in touch and share our lives, but as we get back to our regular lives, the message frequency will wane, and we will drift apart slowly.
So for this weekend, several of us have booked a hostel near the city center, and we intend to hang out with one another as much as possible. We have tentatively planned hiking excursions, temple visits, and finding cool bars, good food, and massage places. Whatever we end up doing, we are intent on enjoying the hell out of it.