The highs and lows of transitions, learning Thai language and making sense of Thai life.
My time at home has already come to an end, but the good times can still continue, just in another context and setting. I was reminded this summer, how my plans can still change no matter where I am in the world. I did not get to do all that I wanted to do and see all I wanted to see, however what I received from intentional time with others was so much more meaningful than my plan would have been. I am blessed. I live a “double-agent life”. The life of an international is like that…tricky to capture or make sense of. I have been reminded of my roots, God’s grace and faithfulness in calling me out of my comfortable state-of-being to something so much more and at times, scarier. He’s called me to be brave. So once again, I step out in courage, for another year of teaching overseas in "exotic" Chiang Mai, Thailand, so ordinary a job yet so great a privilege-to teach. To do what I’ve been called at this very time and place to do.
I am both anticipating this new year and all that is before me and at the same time grieving the farewells of so many of you and those I love. I’ll be back again next summer, but changes continue to abound. I have no idea if I’ll stay yet another year at GIS, go off into the world somewhere else, head back to the States to teach or go back to school. SO many options! I could use prayers on that, since I’ll need to know by December and God often likes to reveal those things at MY last minute…:)
It was great to see so many of you, even if it was a short time. I enjoyed sharing through pictures, stories and food (sticky rice and mango, anyone?), my life experiences over the past year. I left refreshed, encouraged and renewed…totally excited to get started on planning for the school year! So much work to do before my students begin in 3 weeks, but I am glad I’m back a bit early to take Thai, prepare school and reacclimatize.
Hot and humid is this time of year but thankful for the moisture of monsoon rains after living through the hot, dry season before I left. I already miss the Colorado air most of all.
I’m living on my own for 2 weeks in a “new” house. I moved the day I left to return to the States, so I’m back to cleaning and organizing my place.
There is anticipation of two other girls from Colorado headed my way to teach at GIS! One will teach 4th grade with me, the other, a friend from college, fellow peak bagger and outdoor educator/enthusiast will be teaching secondary art graphic design! CO Represent!
The walls of my classroom have been feasted on by termites and new walls have just gone up. Adventures never cease…even while I’m away! Goodbye, leaky, termite infested walls!
Returning has been so strange. “Oh, there’s the jungle! Oh, there’s a gecko! Oh, there’s a monk! Oh, a temple!” This will never feel and never be “normal”. I have one foot in CO and the other in Thailand. Adjusting back to driving on the other side of the road is interesting too!
Today is day 4 since I’ve arrived. Jet lag has been killer. I’m good until about 1 or 2 pm and then crash hard...trying not to sleep, but sometimes taking too long of a “nap” and waking up late at night, wide awake and then up super early in the morning. Hopefully soon, I’ll find my rhythm…
Thai lessons are good so far, yet super difficult. This rising, falling, low, high, flat, long, short, not “high enough” or “low enough” tone stuff is the most frustrating thing…I mean, I knew what I was signing up for, but seriously, I’ve realized I should sing-song talk all the time if I’m ever going to get this. The discouraging part is that the simple vocab I learned last year, I’ve been saying incorrectly…trying to re-learn that stuff is tricky. I’m not one to give up though…keep these high’s and low’s coming! I’ll get there…eventually :)
I’m taking this time before school begins to enjoy the beauty of this place…exploring with my camera. Hoping to better capture the authentic and ordinary day-to-day beauty of this life.
I'm also taking time to think through ways to create deeper, more intentional connections with those I live with and among. I pray this year is the year of community!
I’ve included some photos from my summer vacation! It was a busy whirlwind, but well worth the trip :)
Much love to you all from Chiang Mai! I don't journey alone...I carry you all in my heart!
Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing or if there is anything I can pray for you for!!!
Mailing address: (Previous addresses I've given or the GIS school address is fine, too! Packages usually take 2-3 weeks to get to me, depending on size and weight).
Sara Gurule c/o Grace International School P.O. Box 32 Hang Dong Chiang Mai 50230 Thailand
(Usually padded manilla envelopes are the cheapest, easiest way to send things. Receiving cards and updates from YOU is my favorite!)
Praise: -Safe arrival to CM
-Many great times with great people this summer
-Refreshment and confirmation of where God has me
Pray: -Mi familia. It was more difficult this time around to say goodbye, pray for their encouragement.
-Good re-adjustment-solid sleep routines to kick in…physical and spiritual protection
-Thai language-I’m already reaching frustration levels, but I hope to persevere…
-Preparations for new teachers who are coming and for the school year and their support raising process. Also, the school is still in desperate need for Middle and High school English and Chemistry teachers...!!!
-Dates to keep in mind: July 27-31 New Teacher Orientation Aug. 3-7 Staff back-to-school week and orientation Aug. 10 School begins for 2015-16
Your prayers make all the difference! They are heard and felt!