Ever since graduation and leaving behind a well habited life in Scotland, I have been on the move and living out of a suitcase. Two weeks in my hometown, Dubai, and all the initial happiness that comes with seeing familiar, loving faces was moved along too quickly for my liking when I left for my less-of-a-hometown Kerala. Two weeks spent there with my grandparents fattening me up with all my favourite foods, relatives making home visits to find out what my next move is , and the least liked part of the trip- the dreaded marriage question. I believe my relatives know ‘my generation’ well enough to steer clear of the question, but sometimes they slip up and I stand, panicked smiling, and explaining how I have yet to do my Master’s degree and be employed. But once the chatter about my situation dies down, it’s all fine and dandy and I may only ever hear about it on the gossip mill.
Back to Dubai for some hurried packing and organising and I’m off to my next home- Thailand. This may come as a surprise (it was to me too) but I actually succeeded in making a post- graduation plan. I have officially settled in Thailand for the next six months to be an English teacher in the coffee-cafe-crazy town of Mahasarkham. And today was my first day teaching the tots of a government school in Mahasarakham! I can confidently say I wasn’t nervous about what to do since my lesson plan was thorough, my understanding of the students’ level of English quite on point and my materials all ready. However, the one thing I knew I couldn’t prepare for and dreaded the most was the buckets of sweat I was about to produce. With an all black outfit, some colourful jewellery and pictures of Dubai ready, I was hoping to not be too obviously unused to the humidity of Thailand. I failed. But lesson learnt was to make sure all the fans are on in the class just after entering and finding a cool, can-see-all-the-mischief spot to stand in. And a handkerchief at the ready!
To start off my lesson I knew I wasn’t going to be able to remember or pronounce all the Thai names and since this was an English class I decided to make things a bit more fun and ask the kids to come up with ‘English’ names for themselves. It made them braver and more creative from the get go as it provided a cool alias for those shyer students. Of course I couldn’t be a hypocrite and pretend my Indian name was an English one, so I named myself Pam. Teacher Pam.To add to the fun of it all I had my handy helper Pingu the Penguin who likes to fly and swim. My cute little doll demonstrated how to introduce oneself. The terrible ventriloquism and hilarity of my penguin-like voice wasn’t lost on the students and sent them into peels of laughter! All in all it was a happy day for Teacher Pam. Especially when one of the kids shouted out his English name was Bozo. I just might do a whole lesson on clowns now!