I have been in Fang for about three months now, survived my first time teaching and am beginning to enjoy it. Fang is a two-stoplight town north of Chiang Mai in the hill country. The town itself is in a valley surrounded by mountains and each clear morning I enjoy the view of them. Driving into town from the south, a turn in either direction will end up in rice fields. I have walked in them and they are very peaceful and relaxing.
If you are the sort of person looking for an exciting night life, then you would be better off staying in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Fang is more like a small town in Iowa or Nebraska or Texas. When you get up high, you see green for miles and miles.
The people of Fang are a combination of farm workers, wealthy land owners and merchants. My students come from all three, as far as I know. Students come to school each day laughing and smiling, chatting with their friends as they would a beloved sibling. They show up in uniform in the morning and continue to wear them when they go home. I see them at the stores on weekends in uniform.
Friday we had Sport Day where all the local schools send their teachers to one school to play competitive games. We foreign teachers went along to find ourselves in the middle of a parade. Though the day was a holiday for the students, many showed up in their uniforms to cheer us on, take photos and be together.
When I teach, I put my western values in my head and realize I have to just throw them away. These students already live in what they think is the best possible world. Maybe they are right.