When you are teaching in a foreign country, you can see how things change constantly. Change can take place with students, administration, colleagues, visa rules, work documents, and even our own life.
These changes might mean to leaving in search of greener pastures, students going to the next level of education, people starting a family, friends forming new relationship, progressive individuals developing new skills, the courageous ones accepting new challenges or friends going back to their home country for good. The feelings of each change depend on how much people become out of it. They may welcome it or not, but the feelings are real. Of course, they may vary from one person to another.
Being in Thailand for more than two years now, I have noticed that my life has constantly evolved. Meeting new people, students as friends, travelled new places, strange colleagues turned confidante, newly discovered interests, and teaching insights; all of them have taken new perspectives.
However, as changes take place, you will surely meet a person who directly influences and affects your life in a magnitude that he/she might never know. You might not even know that you have been influenced until things have taken a new shape. This individual, opens up your mind to possibilities, paves the way for opportunities and has led you to discover your interests. He/she has challenged your professional beliefs, yet, has moved you personally and spiritually. Most of all, this is the person who speaks more about how to value yourself and to work with love.
I met this person in New Life Center (a small volunteer group of English teachers) in Nonthaburi, Thailand. A referral made by an acquaintance became a journey of friendship. He amazed me with his agility, energy, enthusiasm and easy laugh without questioning his age. I became a tag along person in his art lessons and participated in his private English classes.
Over several dinners and his simple boiled vegetable dish, I had come to know him. His varied interest made his life colorful. He was hilarious and challenging, yet victorious. His experiences sum up his work journey as a teacher, writer, and a witness for Christ, a lover of various forms of arts, humanitarian, great father, and a romantic husband.
The person I look up to is a great believer of his friends more than an ego-booster. His motivation for them is life changing.
I remember it was Friday night, over a "Sawadee" fish and vinegar dip when he asked me to replace him as a Filipino blogger in Ajarn.com. He had gone back to the Philippines without me accepting his offer of writing a blog for a popular teaching site. Yes, I write, but I am happy to write phrases only in my thoughts. Nevertheless, I feel there is no turning back. I couldn't put down a man who simply believes on what I could do without having a try.
Change is inevitable. People who come to our lives to make that change meaningful may not know what we could have become but definitely it is worth trying for. Change is not linear and so are we!