My Student In Thailand

I knew where Natalie was when she didn’t come to our World Literature class at UNLV last week, because she had already talked to me about her trip to visit family back in Thailand.  But when I heard a blip on the news last week about political turmoil shutting down Thailand’s airports, it just didn’t click…

…Until I checked my email Monday morning and found a message from her, apologizing that she was going to have to miss class again this week, because she’s stuck in Thailand.  She didn’t sound worried at all about her safety, though; she was just worried about missing any more class so near the end of the semester.  If anything, she sounded irritated by the whole situation. 

I wrote back that she could email me the work we’d already talked about, and that if she wasn’t back by next week, we could arrange to make up the little remaining work we have also via computer (hey, at least she has access to email; that’s a good sign). 

I suppose this is also another reminder of how insulated Americans can be from the rest of the world, or how desensitized we can get what with the barrage of gory news blasted at us from all quarters.  The ongoing strife in Thailand hadn’t even dented the outer perimeter of my attention as of last week, but in the last 24 hours, I’ve made sure to look up and study several articles on the situation.  Today, the unpopular leader being protested was officially ousted from office, and rebels said they’d free the airports soon, so that bodes well. 

Here’s an overview of the events leading up to this crisis.

Natalie, like all of the many students from Southeast Asia I’ve seen in four years at UNLV, has more struggles learning to use English well than, say, those who come from a Spanish-language background, but she works so hard at it, being so conscientious of her potential, efforts, and goals, that I can’t believe that anything as trifling as a bloodless coup would stop her from learning, anyway.

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