We arrived at the main station to switch to the train that would take us the rest of the way around town and back to our station by school. We all took off running through the insanely crowded platform to catch the next train. I counted as each student stepped up into the train car but came up missing two. Hoping that they had gotten on through the next door, I hopped on the train and quickly searched through the adjacent car to find it empty of students. My worry heightened as the train began moving. I sped through the train, rushing past people, looking for the rest of the group in hopes that I didn’t see correctly and they actually made it on before us, but, no luck. Resisting the urge to panic, I had a student call the phone of one of the missing members, who were in fact left back at the main station. After insisting that they stay where they were we departed at the next stop and quickly grabbed the next train in the opposite direction where I found the two students sitting calmly on a bench taking a selfie.
Reunited we quickly regrouped to make a new plan. Luckily my time in Myanmar has taught me a great deal about not being attached to how things are “supposed” to go, and always having a plan B (and C, and sometimes D). So after confirming the train schedule back to school we had a quick retreat at a local café to cool off and fuel up. Then we continued on to explore the downtown area while waiting for the next train. I led them through streets where they explored and (in some cases) interacted with the local community.
As our short but eventful trip came to an end I was not the only one who had a sense of euphoric fulfillment. We walked back to school from our station drenched in sweat with huge smiles on our faces. Stopping one last time for a street snack of fresh squeezed sugar cane juice (the first time for almost all of us) the students excitedly talked about where else we could take a trip to. As they chatted about different possibilities I heard a different attitude in their voices, one of anticipation in getting to know more of their own country, their own culture. It might by my hopeful teacher brain but I think next time they might be looking forward to a little more than just missing school.