We will be arriving in Charleston 3 weeks from tomorrow (which is SO hard to believe), which means things are really starting to wrap up here.
We aren't teaching, taking attendance, or grading anything this week, but technically the last day of school is Friday. We still have one last field trip and a big class party planned for the week, of course. Today was the last day for one of my students though, and it was pretty sad to say goodbye.
This past weekend was full with many 'farewell' events. We didn't have regular school on Friday, but there was a graduation in the morning for Kindergarten, and then one later for Grades 6, 9, and 12. It was unlike any graduation I've ever been to! Lots of dancing for the kindergarten one. Lots of speeches for the older kids one. But, overall, it was all done really well. Even though we didn't teach any of those classes, it was nice to be there while they said their formal goodbyes.
Friday night, our church here, Chaengwattena Community Church, hosted a dinner for all of the GES teachers. It was a really nice meal with a fiesta theme, and some time was given for each of us to reflect on the year and share one word that described this past year. We wrote the words on rocks as 'stones of remembrance.' Matt's word was "Father", and he started off by saying, "well, I chose the word father because Tricia and I have a little announcement..."! HAHAHA! Then, he explained that he really chose it because some of the kids in his class call him their dad at school and how that has gotten him to think a lot about being a dad, and about his Heavenly Father. My word was 'reality'. Even though it's been a tough season in some ways, I do feel that God has taught me a lot about living in today. I know that on days when I am enjoying life here in Thailand, my days are so much better than the days when I am wishing that things were like they used to be, or like I want them to be in the future. I'm thankful that God has been teaching me about this, and I pray that I will always remember that today is my reality. :)
After the dinner at church, most of the teachers went out to a restaurant/hookah bar downtown and enjoyed some drinks, hookah, and dancing. It was a fun time to just be out and enjoy all the other teachers... and in some cases, laugh hysterically at them while they were dancing/lurching themselves across the room. :) The atmosphere of the place was really cool though, and it made me want to handpick several friends from different times of my life to spend a few hours there. Anyone want to come?
Saturday, we got some work done during the day. Matt finished editing our honeymoon video, and I made a movie for my class. Then, we headed over to the Seamans' and hung out with the kids while Dan and Kristen went out. When they got back, we played our last two games of Cities and Knights of Cataan all together... Dan leaves this week for a long trip so we won't get to hang out all together anytime soon. We will really miss those game nights with them!
Sunday, we went to church and then had a cookout/pool party for the afternoon with our LifeGroup. It was kinda a send off for us since we're leaving soon and since it's the last time everyone could get together. We have loved our LifeGroup, and it has been a great mid-week refresher. It's been nice to get away from school, be around people who aren't teachers, and get to know some other incredible people. There was recently a pretty sad moment in our group when one family left because they weren't feeling welcome or secure anymore after a slightly intense conversation. This was incredibly sad for me and something I think I've learned a lot from. So, despite that family missing, it was a wonderful day of fun with our group. They cooked out steaks and chicken on the grill; we played ping-pong; hung out in the pool; and lots of other fun things.
Last night, we just took it easy and got stuff ready for the week. But I've been thinking a lot about how thankful I am to be able to have good closure for this time in Thailand. It really is a blessing that we've already had some events that have helped us think through what we've learned and what we're going to miss about Thailand. And we still have 3 more weeks to enjoy here which is another thing to be incredibly thankful for!