What I’ll Miss

Tim Connors, TESS 130

I’ll miss waking up on a one inch mattress laid on the floor beneath a mosquito net
I’ll miss the lizards, spiders, ants, and cockroaches skittering across my walls
I’ll miss my neighbor hocking loogies
And the toddler next door babbling and waving

I’ll miss riding my bike through rice fields
The dogs that bark and snarl as I pass
I’ll miss motorcyclists grazing my elbow
While the village leader’s announcements boom

I’ll miss the reliable weather
The chill of an open house in “Winter”
Bucket showers in frying pan Summers
The rain falling like bullets or spitting all day

I’ll miss Tesco Lotus
The bevy of Seven Elevens
I’ll miss haggling at markets
And noodle shops on front porches

I’ll miss sticky rice and laap
I’ll miss Kaao Soy
And Kep Muu
And Nam Prik Num
I’ll miss pretending spicy food hasn’t set fire to my insides

I’ll miss the smell of cooking rice wafting from every domicile
Curries cooking over open fires
Air after heavy rain

I’ll miss the music, even our school song
And the karaoke keeping me up at night
I’ll miss learning the meaning of songs
The dance shows
Folksy songs crooned over loudspeakers

I will not miss squat toilets
The bike rides in the rain
The staring eyes
Or the jokes at my expense

Will I?

I’ll miss three hundred students packed into 1,000 square meters
I’ll miss the morning announcements
I’ll miss the wai
And all the children laughing at my Thai

I’ll miss the teachers who giggle when I say hello
And too shy to say anything else
I’ll miss the math teacher making dirty jokes, the Thai teacher flirting
I’ll mostly miss my counterparts

Our weekly meetings
Our daily greetings
Our Struggles to communicate
Waiting for them
Laughing at slang
Sharing stories

I’ll miss almost all 300 students at my school
Students playing in the vacant lot
Matayom students fighting their nerves
Pbratom students saying “hello” and slapping my hand
Anuban students sprinting with precocious legs
Ok, I’ll miss all 300 students

I’ll miss the orange farm
I’ll miss my host family
I’ll miss fruit with flavor
I’ll miss the workers’ children, who gave me snacks on Children’s Day
They were my first friends at site
I’ll miss Krim’s tenacity, Toon’s bravery, Sua’s calm, Jam’s recklessness, Yun’s gentleness,
Cram’s excitement, and their drooling siblings jabbering

I’ll miss the days I felt frustrated, unappreciated, unloved, useless
I’ll miss children pestering me into a smile when I felt empty
I’ll miss knowing other volunteers understand
I’ll miss the fifteen hour bus rides to meet them

I’ll miss the people
The people, the people, the people
Their laughter
And curiosity
I’ll miss the parties next door
“Don’t be serious” next to riap roy
The generosity and politeness
The never-ending meals in friends’ homes

I’ll miss the person I am here

I can only take so much back

Thailand, I wish I had more time
But there’s so much experience to
Reflect on

I’ll be thinking of you

Goodbye, see you again

Yours truly,

Tim C.


Read Tim’s previous articles and contributions.

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