It’s so loud. So loud. So. LOUD. It’s SO LOUD that I can’t hear myself think. I can’t hear myself yell over the sound of laughter, crying, the ceiling fans blowing. The bell rings and I stop. I breathe in, I can’t talk over the bell—they don’t understand what I’m saying anyway, I breathe. 5 minutes left. I breathe.
The school I teach at in Thailand is an outdoor, open hall school. Each classroom has two doors (so twice the noise entering) and equipped with multiple fans to blow hot air, adolescent B.O and my small American English speaking voice around and out the open windows. It’s loud. My voice is quiet in the classroom but loud in my head. It’s loud going over lesson plans (or lack there of,) loud going over weekend plans, evening plans, training plans, self-reflections, and plans for self improvement. Loud and unable to shut-the-hell-up. Loud in my head and loud in my classroom.
This past weekend I left. I got on a bus and rode all the way up to Chaing Mai. The entire bus ride I relished in the quiet (how is it that Thai kids are so noisy, but the adults are so quiet?) I left my sunglasses on and starred out the window at the approaching mountains. I was readying my lungs for some thin air and clear skies.
Saturday morning my new friend, Andrew, and I were in the mountains. It was quiet. It was so so quiet. My brain was working hard—but not hard at getting the kids to listen and learn, it was working hard at maneuvering a mountain bike over sticks, rocks and vertical terrain. My brain had finally shut up and all it was doing was getting me over the next switchback safely.