This morning a fellow Thailand PCV posted in our Facebook group about baking with her Matayom (grades 7-9) students every Friday, which turned into another project about making organic liquid hand soap, which turned into a school-wide hand-washing campaign. BAKING? SOAP? I can’t even get my Matayom students to stop beating each other up and playing on their cellphones, let alone produce something edible or useful. Goodness!
Stories like this are common among PCVs and they serve as wonderful inspiration and often spark other ideas within our tight-knit community. (Shout-out to KC and her amazing idea!) I’ve heard stories of grassroots soccer clubs, entrepreneurship lessons, eco-friendly tote bag crafts, and so, so much more! I’m continually inspired by my fellow PCVs and admire their creativity and accomplishments. Thanks to social media outlets, I’m also able to see what PCVs are doing in their communities all over the world, which inspires ideas for what I might be able to do in my own community in northern Thailand.
(Here comes the “but”)
But at this stage in my PCV game, success stories naturally make me feel like I’m behind. Behind in teaching, behind with projects, behind with integration, behind with successes. As the drastic over-thinker I am, these things go to my head quite quickly and within hours I’m questioning my job, my ideas, my successes, my purpose. I wonder, “Am I going about this all wrong?” and “What if I can’t do anything like this in two years?”
Suddenly my ideas for more exciting English lessons about family members and pets seem pretty damn lame. Suddenly I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing here and why I thought I could do this in the first place. Suddenly I’m binge eating my last box of Mac-and-Cheese (please send help, aka more) as I fight off tears and write this post.
I want to do. I want to be. I want to become.
I dream of hand-washing campaigns. I dream of healthy eating seminars and cooking demonstrations. I dream of world map painting and geography lessons. I dream of sharing Thai culture and language through multimedia platforms my students have produced. I dream of lessons about healthy relationships, goal-setting, career planning, and decision-making. I dream of kickball games, Christmas crafts, peanut butter and jelly snacks, and Beyoncé dance parties.
Gandhi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world” is one of my favorite quotes. But I think it should be altered a bit to better fit my current situation: “Be patient. The change you want to see in the world will not happen right away.”
I’m trying really hard to wait, as I know good things come to those who are able to do just that. I’m trying not to compare my successes and failures to those around me, but it’s truly difficult to do so, especially in our digital age. I’m trying really hard to do good, be good, and become better. I’m trying really hard to be patient.
But today got the best of me. Today was a day without patience.