How Do You Get to School?

Whether by Guagua, moto, metro, pedal power, foot power, school bus, beyoglu, habal, or behind the wheel of your own car, getting to school can be, and usually is, a cultural experience in and of itself.

How do YOU get to school in the morning?

An ISR member in Thailand tells us:

“I drive to school in my 18-year-old, not so dependable Mazda I got from an English guy moving back home. Time permitting, I take the back roads and avoid the ever-present morning police trap on the main artery. It’s about a 40-minute commute. We’re talking expansive rice paddies, Buddhist temples, swaying palms and oxen in the fields. The road to school is an adventure, and even more so the couple of times the old Mazda pooped out.

An ISR Member in Pakistan says:

The same taxi driver picks me up every morning and drops me off in the afternoons. Even from the back seat the 30-minute morning commute is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. As if traffic wasn’t intense enough, a couple of camels in the road along with the occasional water buffalo and the endless rickshaws, the commute gives you the feeling you’re in a real life video game. especially since there are no lane lines on the roads here.

An ISR Member in the Dominican Republic checks in:

It all depends on the weather, you know, and how much stuff I have to carry. On nice days I try to walk. I see the same smiling shopkeepers and neighbors along the way. I feel like a part of the neighborhood and often stop in at a small coffee shop for a espresso and breakfast. On rainy days I grab a Guagua.

How do YOU get to school in the morning?

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17 thoughts on “How Do You Get to School?

  1. We walk a lot of the time, it is only 1.5km and even in the sub-tropical heat and humidity it is okay.
    On lazy days, meeting days, days where I need to do something straight after school my driver picks up and drops off. 30 years ago I never thought I would talk about having my own driver, now he is there when I need him.

    He often drives past us walking to school, but he has learned he does not have to stop and see if I want a lift each time.

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  2. My favorite commute in my years overseas was when I rode a “scooter” in China. That electric bike, which looked like a motorcycle was amazing. Cost pennies to charge up the battery each week. Gave me tremendous freedom to just ride around and see different parts of town. Loved it! In India I rode public bus (an interesting journey) or on my big, steel Indian bike. Those bikes are heavy and virtually indestructable. At 4 different schools we lived on campus.

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  3. I happen to live in a compound that is attached to my school. The weather is almost always perfect and it is a 3 minute trike ride in. After 1-2 hour stressful commutes back home, it is one of the things I love best about my current position.

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  4. Doha, Qatar: Traffic before COVID was horrific, so I hired a driver for the 20-30 minute commute each way from our teacher compound to school. These days, the ride only takes 10-15 minutes max and I still love having a driver. No insurance, no licensing, no car, no gas, no maintenance. Love it.

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  5. Turkey; School bus along the Bospherus, great views, Hong Kong, public bus from Ap Lei Chau to Mong Kok. Germany; walk in morning 45 minutes, walk back in avo 50 minutes.

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  6. In Yangon – before it got spoilt, I used to wait for my school bus and chat to the same local every morning; the little nuns collecting donations and practicing their English and a doctor who walked by to work every day at the same time. On the bus, it was a great chance to chat to students and enjoy the scenery. Miss those earlier Burma days!!!

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  7. When I lived further away from the school, I had a driver pick me up every morning. Going home, I would just grab a taxi. Now that I live closer, I have an electric scooter and just drive myself to/from.

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  8. I live on campus, so if the weather is especially bad, I get to my classroom through the basements. If it is not horrible weather, or unbearably cold, I walk across campus.

    The most interesting commute I’ve had was years ago when I’d walk to school before dawn and encounter people walking backwards . . . in their pajamas . . . carrying swords. And they looked at me like I was the strange one. I guess they didn’t often see a white woman walking through the streets before sunrise, whereas . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I worked abroad, I walked most of the time or took the metro. Now that I am in the USA, it is back to driving in the city of Boston.
    I am pleased to say after almost twenty years abroad, I am finally back and settling in the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. NOTE: Here is a child’s perspective on going to school…one of a series of reminiscences written while I was teaching in China. It was intended for Chinese schoolchildren, but never published.

    04. Pemberton
    When I was three, my father began teaching in another school district. Once again, our new home needed to convert a garage into a bedroom. We boys pulled nails from old lumber and straightened them, because new nails were hard to find. With America just entering World War II, most steel went to build military weapons.

    Leveling a dirt pile, we uncovered an old rusted bicycle and a lawn mower. My brother cleaned, sanded, and oiled the parts to make them operational again; I had my first bike.

    The bus to school cost money and the driver did not like school children. Walking was free and let us look for treasures along the route. Once, I found a long piece of wire that my father used as “prison bars” in our rabbit hutch [cage]. At that time, airplanes were not heated, so the government bought our rabbit skins to make mittens for Air Corps flyers. Another time, a hat flattened on the road was good as new after a few washings.

    However, Pemberton was the best discovery. Pemberton was a frog… a dead frog… a thin dead frog that had been run over so many times that all that was left was a very thin skin and very clear features. Picking it up very carefully, we brought it home. Surprisingly, it didn’t smell. Our understanding parents slid our unusual “pet” into a large glassine envelope and kept it with important papers.

    Some years later, my younger brother had a new teacher named Miss Pemberton. He kept staring at her when she told the class her name. When she spoke to my parents, they told her about Pemberton the Frog. Thinking she was being teased, she was very upset.
    Sometimes, the truth hurts, even when intended to help.

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  11. I hop on the back of whatever motorbike happens to be passing, and pay 200 central African francs for the privilege. We have to get off and walk for a security check even to enter the neighborhood where the school is located, which means I pay three kinds of tax: the “driving to a posh part of town” tax, the “shirt and tie” tax, and finally, the “white person” tax.
    Still. It gets the wind blowing around the head in the morning.

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