Moving to a new City in Laos

Noah Arnold ELIC Teacher in Laos

By Noah Arnold

For what feels like ages now I’ve been writing on here about moving to Luang Prabang. It’s actually only been about 6 months but it feels so much longer, I think, because it’s been such an emotional journey. But here I am, writing this blog in the city of Luang Prabang, Laos. Even now it’s hard to think I won’t be walking back into my classrooms in Pakse and seeing those familiar smiles I’ve grown to love these past two years. I don’t think it will ever be easy to think about that. Those students and that city have a part of my heart that will never change. But now I’m in Luang Prabang and I’m just going to have make my heart that much bigger to fit this city and these students in. It’s a hard process but I’m willing and excited to do it.

In just a few days I’ve already discovered that this city is unlike any place I’ve ever lived. It really has no comparison. It’s definitely Laos. The people here and their sweet smiles are the people and smiles I’ve fallen in love with the past two years. The Mekong River runs right along the city just like it did in Pakse, albeit in a much smaller scale. Sticky Rice and papaya salad still reign supreme in the food markets. And yet it’s so different. Maybe it’s the famous Luang Prabang accent which sounds more like singing than talking (people have already commented that it’s obvious I’m from Pakse with my harsh/strong accent). Maybe it’s the paved streets with actual, real-life sidewalks. Or maybe it’s the fact that the history of this city is so well preserved in it’s buildings and temples. Side note: I live in a city that has been lived in for nearly 2,000 years. What?! And that’s just as far back as historians can record.

Whatever it is there is a definite change coming for my Lao experience. I’m excited to see what that change brings.

Downtown Luang Prabang with restored colonial-era buildings.


Second, very long side note:

One thing I can’t get over here are the mountains. If you know me at all or have read this blog for any amount of time you know that I love mountains. I always have and probably always will. When I lived in Pakse I thought I was in mountain heaven. I don’t even know what to call Luang Prabang. No matter where I am in this city I can see them which makes me happier than I can even tell you. It probably helps that rainy season is just about to end so all the mountains are in full lush jungle mode. I often have to remind myself to actually drive my motorbike instead of stare at the mountains (That’s sarcasm, Mom).

These are just a few of the hundreds (probably not exaggerating) I’ve already taken.

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About ELIC

ELIC places passionately committed people in teaching roles across Asia, who primarily serve through the medium of English instruction. While we are focused primarily on university campuses and teacher training, we teach in a variety of other settings designed to best serve our host countries and government entities. In the last 30 years, more than 12,000 ELIC teachers have been placed and have taught an estimated 1,300,000 Chinese students. We have vibrant programs for college students, graduates, singles, couples, families and second-career adults. Our present countries of service include China, Mongolia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

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