Have Job? Check.

I’ve been racking my brain for weeks trying to figure out a way to stay in Thailand to continue on in the prevention of human trafficking. As stated earlier, my NGO offered me a management position – one that I would jump at, but they are lacking funds so I’m not guaranteed regular financial support which seriously downgrades the offer. I also have a couple leads on English teaching jobs north of Bangkok but they are less than perfect and would take me away from the work that I love and came here for. I was seriously considering returning to the U.S. for the summer to work and sell some belongings, but then there’s the cost of a return flight and no guaranteed job in the lower 48. Oh, the dilemmas.

Last week, a friend and fellow volunteer told me she has a neighbor who runs a school here in Mae Sai and is in desperate need of an English teacher. I called her the next day and interviewed two hours later. I was hired immediately. I start on Monday. The job is part-time which allows me to continue working with DEPDC/GMS. It also puts some much-needed cash in hand. The school is the Great Thai Academy – a private school for privileged Thai kids. I will teach grades 1-3. I’m used to teaching underprivileged Burmese and hill tribe kids (most of whom are ages 14 to 25). They are stateless, humble, eager to learn, and absolutely delightful. This will be something entirely different. The school is wealthy; the kids have uniforms and parents with cash, and they don’t have to cross the Burmese border everyday to come to school in Thailand. In some ways, teaching at a private school is like getting a foot in the door with the community’s elite – the upper echelon of this strange border city. For me, it’s strictly a means to an end. Earn money from the wealthy to continue serving those who are not.

This job is a godsend in many ways and I can’t really walk away from the offer. I haven’t signed a contract so if it’s not a good fit, I’m free to walk away. I hate that I’ll be away from DEPDC/GMS for 14 hours per week but a girl’s gotta eat so a girl’s gotta do what she do.  It’s ironic, really, that I have been working full-time for the last five months with no pay whatsoever, but I am fulfilled, content, happy even.  Further proof that money doesn’t equal happiness.  Who needs bank accounts and paychecks and tax deductions and these pieces of paper we’ve given so much meaning and value to?  Oh, right.  All of us.

Technically, I’m prohibited from working in Thailand. My tourist visa expired long ago. I leave the country every 15 days so I can stay without the threat of deportation. I most certainly don’t have a work permit but Mae Sai is a renegade border city – where illegalities and police bribery run rampant so I guess this sort of works in my favor. As for teaching English to primary kids, talk to me in a week and we’ll see if I’ve pulled my hair out or not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the job. And astounded that it landed in my lap quite effortlessly and that I don’t have to pack up and move or leave DEPDC/GMS. I must thank Ms. Jessica Yee, international volunteer/med student, for opening the door. It enables me to stay a little longer. How much longer remains unknown.

Yours in earning money from the rich to provide services to the poor,



5 thoughts on “Have Job? Check.

  1. Congrats on the job Noel! Make the best of it and see where it leads you! Look where everything else has led you! I for one am constantly amazed. I envy your adventurous path.

    I would like to encourage you to think differently on this rich kids vs. poor kids thing. I know I can’t possibly know and understand fully, not having seen what you’ve seen. But try to remember that kids don’t really have a choice of what family they are born into. In most cases, kids are kids! They are not yet fully corrupted, brainwashed and influenced by human institutions, marketing, politics, religion and money. They just want to be kids. You might try thinking of them as equals… planted in different soil through no choice of their own. And what a unique opportunity to see both extremes! Maybe if you can teach them about one another, and get them to truly learn and understand one another, this division of rich vs poor will lessen, or even be eliminated. Sure, that’s a bit idealistic but hey, you didn’t let the odds keep you away from trying to do big things did you? Nor should they. Fuck the odds. The odds and these supposed chances of success vs. failure are just obstacles to people’s dreams.

    Anyway… good luck and thanks for all the great reports from the other side of the world. Take care, Adam

  2. You are 100% correct. Kids are kids and I’m sure I will fall in love with many of them. It’s pretty damn hard not to! The socioeconomic divide is certainly not chosen in many ways but I have taught at a private school before and it was torturous in ways that DEPDC/GMS has never been. I will go in open-minded and open-hearted. Thanks for putting it in perspective. The owner of the school already wants to tour DEPDC/GMS so perhaps good things can come of this (i.e, taking in impoverished kids and waiving the expensive tuition and/or learning about the education system in Thailand for stateless individuals). Her mission is one I respect and value: to provide privileged children with quality education so they can be leaders in their communities and help the less fortunate. This is the tract I will take all the way. I’m excited and nervous but will give it my best shot and see where the path leads….

    Thanks for all your support and encouragement. There are days I feel like packing up and leaving but my heart isn’t ready to leave. And it’s messages like yours that help remind me why I’m here.

    I hope things are good in your world. Remember to see all that you have rather than focus on what is lacking. If that doesn’t work, sell the fucking house and buy a ticket. My door is always open to you wherever I may be. I’m not off-grid, but I’m not far from it. And damn, is it liberating!

  3. Congratulations honey. I’m so glad this new job is materializing. And…grateful you will have some money to meet your needs there. Lets hope you like teaching these rich kids. Hopefully this will open other doors. I am housesitting this weekend in Huson. This is my last day. There are 4 llamas, 2 canaries, 1 bunny, 2 kittens, 3 dogs. Its alot of time and care. Glad I don’t own these animals. The dogs are sweet but they are connected to me by the hip. I have no peace away from them. Its a gorgeous spot out here in the mountains where they do have bear and coyotes. Its been nice to have a change of pace. And I was paid $200.00 for 5 days and $26. for taking metal into
    the recycling center. Well honey I hope to talk to you in a few days. Love, mom

  4. I agree with Adam — go in open minded — you will be surprised what you will learn FROM these little ones . . . it will be very eye opening. I am continually amazed when I go to my kids’ schools and talk to little ones in those grades. I hope they are not settled in their upper echelon ways like you suspect. Keep the faith my dear! Congrats! Jill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s