I lead a weird and transient life. This was the second time that I have come and gone from Thailand and seen absolutely nothing. It is a strange thing to revisit a country that you have hardly seen anything outside of the hotel and school. I was in Bangkok for a conference at an international school. Again. It was a different international school than last time, so at least the ride to school was different.
I don't travel for business very much. And by business I mean school. This trip is the second conference that I have been to this year, but I am not off to a new location for my job every week. I guess this was a conference although the official title was Adolescent Literacy Summit. It smashed together my two favorite things in the world: Books and travel. Best. Weekend. Ever.
Books, like travel, should change you. I spent three days frantically scribbling down books to read both as a teacher and just 'cause. If you want some truly spectacular book enablers, then look no further than Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle who were two of the literacy experts that were brought in. I wanted to read EVERY SINGLE book that they mentioned however in passing. Both the books that they were using research from but also books that they were reading with their students, recommending to their student's, or that their students were reading. Amazon has made some money off od me the last couple of days. I know who to blame.
Educational conferences are strangely emotional. At least for me. I vacillate wildly between, "Wow, this is such great stuff I am going to use this immediately!" and "Wow, why haven't I been doing this my entire teaching career. I am the worst ever! *sob" This conference was no exception. I have about 150 things that I want to implement in my school and my reading program but am also kicking myself that I hadn't thought of doing them before. What do I even doing with my time? #educatorguilt
There was a river cruise, however. At first, I wasn't going to go. The word "networking" was used when describing it. *shudder I was pretty sure it would be a lower ring of hell. However, after the first day, I was into both the conference and the people who were there (I regularly forget that I LIKE hanging out with high functioning international teachers). I ended up bought a ticket off of a colleague who couldn't make it, and it was well worth it. I found a group of introverts who wanted to stay at the table and talk and that, as they say, is my jam.
So, maybe I did see more of Bangkok than I thought that I had. I mean a four-hour dinner cruise shows you some sights! We passed some significant temples. One was made from broken plates as the Portuguese left Thailand. We passed the Royal Palace. It is kind of sad to see it now after the death of the King. It has been almost a year now, but you can still see the effects of his death on the nation. There are small signs and memorials everywhere. We stood for the Kings anthem each morning. Have you ever heard it? It is quite a beautiful song.
Travel can be many things. Is my trip less valid because I didn't shop, go to a temple, or wander for hours through the streets? I might need to visit again to do all of those things but I am pretty happy with the Thai experience that I did have.