This particular school and the kids have had quite some exposure to foreign teachers in the past, but still, the way they respond to me is still with utter amazement (I’ll give them another week, and the novelty will have worn off!). The first few days were quite overwhelming. It was as if I was being pounced on by everybody but at the same time, I was still trying to get my head around the fact that I was working and teaching again, after having had 2 months of doing ‘nothing’.
Before I started, I made a promise to myself… I was going to be totally honest when it came to answering the question: am I happy to stay in this situation and do I want to teach, yes or no… I wasn’t going to force myself to stay, if it didn’t feel good to be in front of class again. To stay aware of this was quite a challenge especially as I was thrown in the deep-end from Monday onwards. But, luckily I’m able to swim. And as I went into the first class, knackered, overwhelmed and ill prepared, I was testing the water and swimming, all at once. I felt so at ease with the ‘pressure’ that was being put on me, which was such a great sign.
On Wednesday we didn’t have classes because of a national festival. And it was a day from hell, in my head. For some reason I was struck by something awful and I seriously thought I had to leave. After 3 full days!!!!!!!!!!!! But I questioned some more, I wondered, I looked at the bigger picture, and I knew that if I already felt ease during the very first lesson of teaching in India again, then that ease would only increase with time. I knew I couldn’t leave, I knew I’d only be letting myself down, if I did. What a relief that, for once, I wasn’t scared of letting others down by leaving (which was the case in China). Nope. Now it was ME who I’d be disappointing, by going.
I've since realized that this style of teaching and this particular environment is far more than just 'teaching'. It hardly feels like a job or a chore. It’s not to fill my time nor is it for the reason of not having any other options. Not at all. I’ve so many, but I know this is what I want to be doing for now. Even when panic attacks come out of nowhere (like on Wednesday), I know it’s okay. I won’t pack my bags…
By Thursday everything settled and I was flying. I was a ball of energy in the classroom and I was finding those parts of myself that had been put to rest for 2 months. I was coming alive in a different way and it was such a great feeling to get the kids on board so easily. I can’t even begin to describe how different it feels to be teaching here, than it did to be teaching in China, or even the boarding school I was at, before leaving India last year... Wouw…
Just a small note I’d like to add about the place I’m staying… Well, one of the senior staff members from school, Lekha, has taken me in. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be staying in this ‘mansion’. It’s outside of any towns and away from villages. It's on a huge plot of land, with coconut trees just outside the kitchen window. As well as the banana trees and the papaya, guava and cinnamon trees… There’s pineapple plants and a well for the water… Passion fruit, basil, aloe vera, curry, henna plants are growing and every morning there are workers out planting tapioca (a type of potato). The other morning I was greeted by a woodpecker, when I was having some tea sitting on the porch!
I can’t believe this paradise I’m in. I’ve got my own room and Lekha is so accommodating. A little too much at times, but that’s apart of their culture and I have to accept it. I’ll always appreciate it more than I can say.
Anyhow, I'm feeling quite settled at the moment, I’m here to the best I can and I know I’m going to learn so much. Right, I’ll stop the ranting for now and I’ll tune-in again soon. Love you all.