Thailand was beautiful. We traveled around Chiang Mai and the southern islands in Thailand.
We went on a two day trek in Chiang Mai, going white water rafting, riding elephants, and spending the night with a Hill Tribe. The views from the village were amazing, especially since it's the rainy season in Thailand. We were able to see the rain clouds come in over the mountains, and since we didn't have electricity, we spent the night around a fire playing games with our trekking group.
We tried to do the entire country in a week...which was impossible. I honestly wished I had a month or so to really travel around Southeast Asia. We only had one week in between semesters, so we left on a Saturday, and returned on a Saturday. We spent about half the week in Northern Thailand, then the rest of the week in Southern Thailand.
We didn't care too much for Phuket (which felt more a place for young people at "Spring Break"), so we took a boat to a Phi Phi Island and the islands South of Thailand. It was beautiful. Absolutely breath-taking. The water was so clear you could see the fish below. On our last day there, we took a long boat around the islands and visited coves, beaches and went snorkling. It was one of the most peaceful places I've been to.
We didn't stay at any hostels that cost more than $9 USD a night. Most were around $5, and were very cute. I had to get used to the haggling process...it's a part of their culture, but since everything was so cheap anyways, I felt bad trying to get things for even cheaper.
Time is flying by. We are already two weeks into the new school semester here. I'm still the Kindergarten/Upper Elementary Head teacher, but currently not teaching any kindergarten classes. It's a good opportunity for me to learn new teaching skills, since now I teach children from 7-8 years old (1st grade), 11-13 years old (6th grade), and 16-17 year olds (My Writing/ Conversation Class). It's a wide spread, but I think it'll be ok. In the Fall, I'll take on Kindergarten class and drop my 1st grade class.
I recently got a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do and hope to be able to continue taking classes. I still attend my Tai Chi class on Fridays, and just started my Chinese Language classes in the neighboring city.
After coming back from Thailand, I realized I think I'm done with traveling...at least for a while. This last year has been amazing. And tiring. In a way, I almost wish I didn't travel as much as I have, but then saved up money to be able to travel for a few months at the end of my teaching contract. It was just too hard to only be able to visit a country for 3-4 days at a time. But I wouldn't have traded any of this for anything.
I enjoy having a six month contract for the sole fact that it gives me enough time to enjoy where I'm at, but it's constant enough for me to reassess my goals and to make plans for the future. I still find it funny that I had to travel to a foreign country to heal my soul.
But this experience has also given me the traveling bug...I want to visit South America and Europe next...someday...when I have money ^_^ For now, I'm happy just living, teaching and learning here in Taiwan.