“Life is unbelievably insane right now. I don’t think I knew what it meant to be busy until classes started two weeks ago.” — Ellie J., an ELIC teacher in Laos
It’s not uncommon to feel this way at the beginning of a school term. We always seem to anticipate that it’s going to be crazy, but as school starts, the busyness seems to come like an unexpected tidal wave.
One of the beautiful things about the EQUIP program is that it prepares recent grads for what’s next in life; whether that is long-term overseas, or working as a professional in your home culture.
The ability to engage in the busyness while enjoying the present is truly a life skill. As Ellie teaches in this busy season, she's also reflecting and finding things to be thankful for. She has sent us her top five favorite things about Laos in no particular order.
"I could write a much longer list about Laos,” she told us, but we’ll have to wait for another time and place for that.
TOP FIVE FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT LAOS:
- The generous, gracious, and kind Lao people. They are quick to forgive cultural mistakes (or even language errors as I fumble about trying to speak Lao), quick to smile at me and yell “hello,” even if that’s the only English that they know, and quick to offer help or friendship when I ask.
Friendly people at the market
- Being surrounded by a close knit team that extends beyond the borders of my city and into the other cities ELIC is in around Laos. Team Laos is, as everyone says, a big family.
Team Laos in action!
- The beauty of the scenery — Laos is a crazy beautiful country. Brilliantly emerald mountains, rushing rivers, pounding waterfalls, and plentiful bright green rice fields are all just a short motorbike ride away.
- Hearing the resounding “Good morning teacher” and “Thank you teacher” that bookend each class — the students speaking in unison, standing to show respect to me, their teacher. Lao students are very respectful and willing to serve their teachers.
In the classroom
Working together on a group project
- How life in Laos is full immersion. Nothing in Laos is familiar or easy. Everything has to be relearned and experienced for the first time. And you can’t get away with not learning the language — it’s necessary for life here. But in full immersion, you experience the culture and the people in a way that would be impossible if you weren’t all in.