12 hours

Khwanhatai Kongkapetch - Ecuador


November 20, 2015

One day, I woke up and walked to my apprenticeship (which was 5 seconds walk from my house) as normal. I arrived at the school and was told that I will be working with the new class today. I used to work with the kindergarten class(4 year olds) and my new class was 4th grade (8-9 year olds), it would be really different and I was really excited. I walked into the classroom with my supervisor and the teacher of the class.

My supervisor: You all know Ploy right? She had been working with the kindergarten class for the past few weeks, but now

One kid in the class: She is going to work with us!

The other kid: In our class! Yey!

That day I sat at the back of the classroom, observed the teacher and the classroom itself. During the break, the teacher came to me and asked how’s the time difference between Ecuador and Thailand. I told him it’s 12 hours, he got so surprised but really happy at the same time, he did say ‘Perfecto’. I didn’t really know why and I found out an hour after. It was a science class and they were learning about the movement of the sun, the teacher used me as a perfect example.

‘Senorita Ploy comes from Thailand, see, Thailand is right here (and he pointed at the globe) and Ecuador is here’

I didn’t know before that Ecuador and Thailand are on the exact opposite side of the globe.

‘When the sun faces us, it’s day time but when if moves away, it’s night time. Now the sun is facing us but not in Thailand. So now in Thailand is night time, it’s 10 am here and in Thailand it’s 10pm. The kids like all of you in Thailand are now sleeping!’

Lots of questions and noises had raised after that, all the kids turned to me who sat at the back and started to say a lot of questions they had.

‘No way!’

‘It’s impossible’

‘Don’t they have school?’

‘Then why aren’t you sleeping right now?’

‘How can that even possible’

‘So you have a different sky in Thailand?’

‘I don’t get it, how?’

It was another break right after that so that gave them the permission to run to me and asked all of the questions they had, even though my Spanish level wasn’t really that good enough to explain to them that it actually happens, but my mind was full of thoughts and lessons when I walked home on that day. It was my first big lesson.

When I was 8, I was in pretty much similar school and I had no ideas to that time difference it is actually exists. I couldn’t imagine how is that even possible for me sleeping and the other side of the world is going to school. I didn’t even have a thought of leaving my community, to go and live in another country? I was never, ever thought of that at all.

Right now, right here, I am a newborn baby in a body of 19 year old girl in Ecuador, I’m learning how to walk, to speak, to recognize my family, new faces and how to live in this completely new country. I realized how much I am so far from home, and how much I could learn from the people here, and from Ecuador. Those kids have given me the motivation to observe more in this small country and see what lessons still awaits me. I am so excited to see how my year will turn out.

 

Khwanhatai Kongkapetch