Saturday, July 3, 2010

Of Elephants and Stress and Other Such Things

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me." (Psalm 3:5)

We ran across this verse while doing devotions earlier this week. As Michael and I reflected on it, we were amazed at the simple truth of the verse. Here we are, farther away than we've ever been from anything familiar, and yet the core of our lives remains the same. We go about our activities each day, we sleep, we wake - through it all we are upheld and sustained by the LORD. On the other side of the world, you are sustained in the same way. So why do we worry about those who are far away from us? We cannot see you and you cannot see us, but in terms of safety and everyday living, that doesn't matter. It is God, and God alone, who sustains us every day. I've rested on that fact recently - hopefully you can, too, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

Anyway - lots of things have been happening lately. Mostly the usual - school, grading, eating dinner, trying to catch up on what we missed in orientation, sleep...and then it starts over again the next day! This schedule is a bit more rigorous than I originally thought it would be, and two weeks of it (not even two full weeks - only 6 days of school total) has left me quite exhausted and moody (just ask Michael).

This weekend we had a staff retreat, which is just what I needed, I think. We had a meeting on Thursday morning about some technical stuff (keeping binders for our classes - we have to meet the curriculum standards, you know!), and then left Thursday afternoon on a coach bus. At that point I had no clue where we were going, but it turns out we went to Pattaya...which I think is on the eastern side of Thailand. Well, no matter where it is, we were right on the Gulf of Thailand (I considered it the ocean), and it was beautiful! I was told by several people that it wasn't one of the nice beaches in Thailand...but I liked it anyway. :) Our retreat grounds were literally across the street from the beach - nice and close.

Most people did a fair amount of swimming - personally, I don't enjoy swimming in salt water, so I only stuck my feet in one night. Good thing, too - at least two teachers were stung by jellyfish! We did a lot of group games, which were intended to help us all connect with one another. Total, there's somewhere around 50 staff members from various countries, including Thailand, China, the Philippines, Canada, and the U.S. It was fun - I didn't really know any of the Thai staff before the retreat, and now I know several of their names. Typically, the Furang (white people) hang out together and the Thai do things it was nice to really mix for a while.

The best part of the retreat: several of us (about 15-20) went to a Thai culture and elephant show! Ha! It was great! I took some sweet videos and pictures - hopefully we can get those posted soon (I must request Michael's help in that particular endeavor). The culture show had several different traditional dances and games (like boxing), with cultural music included. The best was the last scene, though - they brought the elephants out for this one and the music was incredible! Basically, a couple of guys sat on top of the elephants and fought - kind of like sword fighting on top of elephants. Super fun.

The elephant show was after that - I was amazed not only at what the elephants did, but how they reacted to things. It was like the elephants had a sense of humor. They played soccer, when one scored a goal, it did a little victory dance! I laughed so hard at that...

So it's been a fun weekend. We got back this afternoon, and I've been working on school stuff pretty much ever since. Michael is still hanging out - we still aren't sure how much his schedule will change, but he's been working with the nursery kids in the mornings for a while (teaching songs, apparently), and then tutors with some of the elementary kids in the afternoon (well, if they show up, that is). It's going okay, from the sound of it. We'll see if they switch things up again this week, or if it stays the same!

I've been completely overwhelmed lately with the amount of work I have to do - I don't have any curriculum to follow for G. 12 English, and my history classes are pretty free in what we do as I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly I'm supposed to be doing. I know it'll click eventually and I'll get it figured out...but in the meantime it's a bit frustrating. I love the kids, though, and no matter how frustrated I am the night before, I always have fun when I'm actually in class. :)

That's about all, I think. Expect some pictures from this weekend sometime soon - if I don't put them on here, I'll put them on Facebook and post the link here so you can all get to it (if you don't have facebook, that is). Someday eventually we'll also take some pictures of our apartment so you can see where we're living, too.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Happy 4th of July!


  1. Hapyy 4th to you- I enjoy reading your blog! What a great experience!

  2. From half a world away came a verse and thought that we can hold on to as we take Peter to Auburn next month. What an awesome God we have!
    Just wanted to let you know that the flowers in Mom's back yard are beautiful! Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.
    Know that you both are in our thoughts and prayers. Be patient with each other and yourselves.
    Love, Amy and Steve

  3. Yay for pictures! So glad that God knew exactly what you needed and planned this retreat for you to rest and restore yourself.
    Lifting you up in prayer and looking forward to your next blogs. :)
    LOVE from MI!