Chapter 2: Starting Anew

2637 Words
Dark clouds always come and go, what matters is how you dance in the rain. --Carlo *** After a few days of settling in, I started online job hunting and dropped a few applications by foot. It was somewhat frustrating due to the language barrier, unfamiliarity of the place and not to mention roaming-out alone. Once you're out of the tourist zone only a few people can speak English. Even though I'm having some difficulty there is still a benefit out of all of this hard work, the scenery, the new environment, the retail varieties available with good prices, and the amazing food. I was at the MBK, window shopping when my phone vibrated. On the line was Jane "Hello, Cuz (cousin), where are you?" "Hi, Jane, I'm outside. What's up?" I asked "Can you come to my school this afternoon at around 3:00 pm? The art teacher took emergency leave and they needed a substitute teacher."  "Did you already got me a spot?" "Nope, not yet but I managed to request Principal Bergen to give you a chance to do a demo and interview. I told him you were an art major and loved kids. What do you think?" "What kind of demo? And what is the requirement?" "Don't worry much, Cuz. The Principal just needs to see your chemistry with the kids, which I believe is a perfect match. You always have that magic when it comes to kids plus it is your forte. By the way, the demo will take place at the K1 class. " "Alright, this is vital so I'll make you proud. I'll see you later." After the call, I got up my seat and went home to change and prepare for the said demonstration and interview. I still got 3 hours, I need to leave early so I won't get stuck in traffic. I arrived at the school twenty-five minutes past 1 pm, I went to see Jane first to get some pointers. The guard provided some directions to follow, It was not difficult to find since their faculty room was just behind the main office. The campus is big, it consists of K1-12, the middle school is on the far end of the campus and has its own gate. The campus has its own sports facilities and consists of several classrooms and buildings, I passed by the basketball court and swimming pool before heading to the main office. She was already waiting for me outside the main office. "Hey, you came early," she says while waving at me "It's better to come early as I am not sure of the traffic in this area, plus I need advice on this demonstration." "Did you bring your CV (Curriculum Vitae)?" she asked "Yeah, I have it, always ready. By the way, will the interview come first or the demo?" "The interview normally comes first then the demo, let's go to my classroom first and discuss it there," she said as she motioned to her classroom. I followed her and waited, as she gave instruction to her students and handed the class to her assistant while she spoke to me. She gave me some pointers, she mentioned some activities like nursery rhymes, reading, fill in the blanks and drawing types of activity. And since the subject is arts, she suggests doing a drawing demo. After getting some information, I went to the office to see Principal Berger, the receptionist asked me to wait at the meeting room since it's still early. I stood up when the Principal came in, he greeted me and asked me to sit down. "How are you? Jane told me you just came" he asked "I'm good, I've settled in quite okay." "That's good to know. So, how are you finding Thailand?" "It's not much different from home, I seem to be just in another province or city" He asked me a few questions regarding my background if I have any experience in teaching and the art discipline I have taken up as part of my tertiary education. I provided an honest answer regarding my experience not to give any false expectation. Although I had informal teaching experience in the past when it comes to theatre arts acting and dancing for kids. Which he somehow liked. He leads me to the classroom where I will perform the demo. "Good afternoon class!" he greeted the children in the classroom "Good afternoon, Teacher Berger!" the students answered back. "Today, we have a guest who will help our art class. Please listen to him carefully and follow his instruction" "Good afternoon class, I'm your guest teacher, Teacher Carlo." "Good afternoon Teacher Carlo!" they responded back "Today I will teach you how to draw a face using different fruit shapes. But first, is it okay to sing a song?" I asked the students "Are you ready?" "Yes, teacher" "Listen to me first then we will sing again and you follow, okay?"I gave a thumbs up to get their agreement. I started singing while drawing the shape on the whiteboard. "Watermelon, Watermelon Papaya, papaya Orange and banana Orange and banana Fruit salad, Fruit salad" I sang with the children while clapping my hands, and they followed. Afterwards, we draw the big circle for the head, the eyes shaped like papaya, the left ear and the upper lip for orange and banana, the right ear and lower lip and a curly hair for the fruit salad. The kids enjoyed singing while making their art piece. I walked around helping the kids do their tasks. They later coloured and added or made some improvisation of their work. Some put eyelashes, some placed earrings or a crown, the boys added caps and so on. I waved goodbye after they submitted their work. Principal Berger seemed to be content with the demo so we went back to his office and he gave me an offer. It wasn't so ideal but it's a good start so I took it. He placed me as a substitute for that art teacher that was on leave. He also offered other classes since they needed an extra teacher for arts and ICT. It wasn't so difficult since the kids were just between 7-12 years old. I started with 3 loads, 2 arts and 1 ICT subject, it's not long term but at least I have something to spend my time with which pays. The curriculum is already set and all I need is just to follow the outlined topics. I started the next day, and the class went well. They also introduced me to the other teachers. Jane introduced me with her circle of friends which eventually became my circle as well. So far the transition went well and I began to fit in.  "Savadee Ka, Teacher" my students greet me with a little bow as they placed their hands facing each other in front of their chest like a prayer, as I passed by the classroom. I stopped and answered "Savadee krub" following their gesture and smiled. I continue walking back to the faculty room. "Hey Teacher Carlo, what are your plans this evening?" Teacher Nattapong (or Nat) inquired as he stacked his worksheets on his table. Nattapong is a Math teacher, he's about 23-24 years old, about 5'7" tall, black hair, fair complexion and with chinky eyes. He's a bit sporty; you can see it in how he handles himself even in his black pants and white polo uniform. I like how enthusiastic he is every time he sees me. "Why are you asking, do you want to go out with me?" I answered back teasing him. I placed my laptop on my table and faced him and the other teachers while I put my hands on my pocket and leaned on my table. "No, Teacher Jane, Piraphan, Patiya and Teacher Jude, are planning to go to Talad Neon, it would be fun if you will join us" He laughs as he explains. "Oh, come on Teacher Nat, I know you just want to spend some time with me. Hahaha" I laughed at him "What time are you guys going?" I asked Nat as I turned to Jane talking to her using our language "Can we just follow them afterwards, I need to change outfits" I whispered to Jane, while I pointed to my polo. She nodded and smiled. "We can meet at around 7 pm, Patiya and I need to just buy a farewell gift for our friend," Teacher Piraphan said. Teacher Piraphan (or Phan) is also one of the Grade school teachers, she has long wavy brown dyed hair, with a petite rectangle-shaped body. She wears glasses and has a bubbly personality while Teacher Patiya is the school librarian, she has a slender body type, with a Chinese white like complexion, thick eyebrows, and dark round eyes. There were like twins, wherever the other one is the other would follow or would be there. "Cool, I'll go with Nat first and we'll meet you all," Jude said  "I know you and Jane are planning to go someplace first "he explains as he continues to sit on his desk next to Jane. "Let's check out some bars first Nat" Jude wink at Nat smiling. Jude is a Caucasian with brown hair, he has that athletic build around 5'10" tall. He is the Swimming instructor and currently dating Jane. He has this deep voice, like the radio DJ which you wanted to listen to.  "Ok, that's settled then" Nat chuckles as he sways his head laughing. Jane and I went to her apartment first, I left a few clothes with her since it's near the school. We both changed to more casual wear, put some powder and lipstick. Unlike Jane wearing bright red lipstick, I'm wearing a little darker than my lip tone. I was glaring myself in the mirror when she asked me about Jude. "So, what do you think of Jude now that you already know him?" she said interrogating "He's okay, Why are you asking? Are you planning to move on to the next stage or don't tell me you're already his girlfriend?" I peeked on her reflection to see her reaction and she faced me and gave me a big smile. "Oh my God, when? Spilt it out!" I shriek "Do you remember how he seemingly avoided me last week? How does he behave as if he's going to explode?"  I nod at her "Yeah" "Well, that's him rebelling, I went to see him in his apartment, confronted him and asked what's going on. He said that he keeps on giving me a hint to be his girlfriend which I seem not to be giving any interest in. I was honestly in awe, I asked him when it was and why he just didn't ask me directly."  She sat down on the bed, crossed her hands on her chest, and grinned as she continued. "He was so annoyed at me, and I was laughing at him asking him to ask me directly this time." she was shrugging her head as she continued, "you should have seen the look on his face, he was stunned. So I made him face me and I asked him instead." She looked at me and she explained, "I was caught in the moment, it felt like it had to happen anyway otherwise, I wouldn't be there. So that's how it goes." I exhilarated on her apology, giggling I said "What a dork!  But I bet he looks so cute and irresistible, that's why you got hooked" and I laugh again. "Congratulations on your new headache!" I then hug her.   We returned to what we were doing before her announcement, we looked at each other making sure we both looked fabulous. And sprayed some perfume, you'll never know when Mr Right would come so better ready than not. After a few turns in front of the mirror, we went out to meet the guys. We went to some seafood stalls and had some popular street foods and ordered a few cocktails while Jude and Nat grabbed some beer. The ladies ordered the food for us, they like us to try some of the foods that we haven't tried yet. I love the spicy grilled seafood, Som Tam, and some food on a stick or skewers which they ordered. The Thai's love their sweet, spicy condiments and exotic foods, I am fascinated by their capacity to swallow chillies followed by alcohol. The guys were entertaining, they love toasting drinks and these ladies are convivial, they are not figure-conscious which is why I enjoy their company. Because of them, I'm starting to love spicy food a lot although there are still a few spices which my taste bud doesn't like or not familiar with the food is something I revel in. The ladies, Phan and Patiya left early as they had another party to go to. While we went bar hop with Nat and Jude. I noticed a lot of transgender and ladyboy as they call them, they fill the bars along with other ex-pats enjoying their company. I met a few decent guys, some of Jude's friends and friends of friends. There're a few Filipino entertainers, mainly singers and band members, we chatted with them after their set. They have been living here for a long time now and like me, some of them are teaching or working in some office in the morning. I asked Nat about his life since we're mostly together, Jude and Jane have their own world sometimes. "Nat, how long have you been teaching? Is this your career choice?" I asked him "I've been teaching for about a year now," he said "And yes, I like to teach. When I was a child I admired the dedication of my uncle in teaching. His stories about how gratifying it is to raise and impart his knowledge to his students. The stories of his successful students whenever they visit him. I like that kind of dedication. I like people to remember me like that" his eyes glisten as he shares his aspiration "Wow, you're so Nobel. You sounded like a poet, your passion for your profession is admirable" I said moving my glass for another salute "cheers to that" I uttered. He then asked me, "how about you? Is this what you wanted?" I was caught up with the question since I don't know what I want, so I answered, "No, I'm just passing time. I haven't figured out what I wanted." I guess all I wanted is to have a family of my own and for now it seems impossible to have. I shook my head at the idea and smiled back to Nat and changed the topic by asking his love life. "Tell me about your love interest, are you in a relationship right now?"I asked him He laughed, "Nope, I'm not in a relationship right now but hopefully soon." He smiled and drank his beer, "I like this girl and been wooing her for some time now," he continued and gave me a wink.  "But I have this positive feeling that she will be my girlfriend," he said. "Confident! Awesome, when are you going to introduce her to us?"I asked He laughed and said, "oh you know her already" and he continues to giggle "Who is it?" I asked and started to give the names of our colleagues until he finally blurted "It's Pham" "OMG, that's why you keep asking all of us to accompany you guys. We were just props!" I said "You're mean! you used us" I laughingly told him We both laughed and teasingly joked at each moment I remember him making his move. I told him how he sucked in courtship and he kept on gushing. This is what my new life looked like. After school, I go out with the teachers and roam around Bangkok then go home to my Dad's house. On the weekend I spend time home to check some papers and prepare lesson plans. I sometimes chat with my siblings or help out my Aunt and my Dad on household chores. I had regular video chats with Nana and Uncle Uloy, to see if they're okay and to know what's happening at home
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