Spring semester at GES brought more changes for us. I started long-term subbing in Grade 1 for Kristin who was out on maternity leave. Tyndall changed classes to K-1 since he was (mostly) potty-trained and needing a little bit more structure. That meant he also changed to having a "farang" (foreign) teacher instead of just Thai teachers, so it also made it easier for us to communicate and understand how he was doing during the day. He has loved being in the preschool class, and it's been a great change for him.
Because my job changed from part-time to full-time, we needed a helper for Tyndall after school and around the house. God brought P'Nui into our lives, and she has become more than Tyndall's nanny, our house-manager, shopper, dinner-prepper, Thai teacher, but an incredible friend! She is a sweet sister in Christ, and it's so neat to get to know her heart for others and for Thailand! She's one of the worship leaders at her church and helped lead Thai worship at our lower elementary chapel one week. We are excited for her to start seminary soon, even though we won't get to see her as much! George and his family also help us out a ton, mostly on Saturdays when we teach Joy Club. We are so thankful for them as well and continue to learn so much through their friendship. These friendships have been unexpected blessings, but definitely some of the most treasured ones of our first year here!
My Grade 1 class was full of life and adventure. I had (most of the semester) 23 kiddos who kept me on my toes daily. I loved hearing different accounts of their days and having lots and lots of questions and opinions and comments from their little (and big!) personalities. :) Thankful that I was allowed to spend a few months with them and prayerfully show them more of Jesus. I look forward to seeing a lot of those relationships grow over the years. Now that Kristin is back from maternity leave, I'm spending time with the lower elementary ELW (English Language Workshop for Grades 1-3) teacher since that's what I'll teach next year.
Matt has enjoyed teaching Grade 2 again (it's what he taught when we were here in 2008-2009), and he will be teaching Grade 2 next year, which means he will have a lot of the students I had this semester. That should be interesting! I really love seeing Matt as a teacher! He cares so much for the kids but also enjoys teaching them new things. It's just neat to see!
One thing that I've really appreciated too is that we live approximately 143 steps from our classrooms. It's so nice to run home on breaks and (for me) have some alone time. Most of my lunch breaks, I get like 20 minutes to myself which can help recharge me for the rest of the day, and I usually get a mini Thai lesson from P'Nui during lunch as well. It's not always easy having the school right outside our home, but a majority of the time it's a blessing!
In addition to teaching the regular daily school schedule (7:30-4:40), we both did a lot of tutoring and continued to teach the Saturday school, Joy Club. This has had its pros and cons but overall, it's allowed us to get to know more students and build more relationships with parents as well as have more spending money and giving money. I think it also helps us enjoy our family time a lot on the weekends. Matt and I typically have an afternoon date on Saturdays and then Sundays are full days with meeting with our church, eating lunch at Que Pasa with friends, naps, then hanging out in the evenings (lately we've been swimming in the evenings which has been fun!) and prepping for the week.
We had our first visitors in March! Emily and Sheila came to Thailand for their Spring Break, which was way too short. They were troopers powering through jet lag and experiencing Thailand in such a short amount of time. We didn't see them as much as we would have liked (in retrospect, we should have taken some days off), but we were super thankful for the time we did hang out. Loved hearing about their adventures in Kanchanaburi and Cooking with Poo and their day trip to the beach. My favorite was hanging out at their condo pool and getting dinner and foot massages on their last day. Can't wait for our next visitors to come at the end of May!
So thankful for friendships that have grown this semester! This stage of life with 2 working parents and an incredibly active little by would be incredibly draining were it not for life-giving friends. The kind who bring coffee and random snacks to your classroom. The kind you go get massages with. The kind whose kids play with yours. The kind who babysit for date nights. The kind who come over for dinner and don't mind making themselves at home. The kind who do games. The kind who do movies. We are thankful.
Overall, we continue to love our new lives in Thailand. Sure, we have rough days and days where the cultural differences and not knowing the language are hard and challenging and frustrating. More of them lately with trying to do business-sy stuff. But that's part of living cross-culturally. And we understand a lot of those things better this time around. The cockroaches and spiders and snakes and smells and heat... still not our favorite things. But it's easier to take the good with the bad.
All that being said, we are super excited to have time in the States this summer. We miss our family and friends A LOT and can't wait to see everyone and have quality time with everyone soon. I'm also excited for everyone to see Tyndall and see how much he's grown and what an incredible little boy he is. It's going to be GREAT to see him playing with his cousins and our extended family again. Only about a month away, and lots of fun to be had in the meantime!
Pictures are on Facebook. I'll maybe add some in here later for my own sake, but for now, I feel accomplished having gotten this done. ;)