Once upon a time, a girl named Britta moved halfway across the world in search of new opportunities, a new life, and new adventure.
She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she didn’t realize how hard it would actually be.
And she also never imagined she would meet a group of people who would ultimately change her life forever.
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Okay, screw this writing in the third person. I’m annoying myself right now.
I’m sitting here in my hotel room in Nong Khai and I’m not going to lie–the last day and a half has been one of the hardest of my life. After a month of safety in Chiang Mai (and oh man, did I not realize how safe it really was), I’m completely and totally on my own. I have yet to meet anyone in Nong Khai who speaks enough English to have an understandable conversation (though perhaps I’m not looking in the right places). I tried to have a conversation with the lady at the hotel who made my breakfast earlier today and ended up bursting in to tears when I got back to my room because I was just that overwhelmed by that tiny conversation, or lack there of one. Incentive to learn Thai? Check YES!
The Thai teachers who were supposed to show me to my accommodation are all on vacation out of the country (My school’s semester starts next Monday) and I feel like I’ve been dropped here without any support or any knowledge of what to do and where to go. I’ve been in touch with my agent via phone and SMS, but she isn’t actually in Nong Khai right now. I know how stereotypically Thai my current situation is–the lack of communication and the last minute change in plans. It’s actually kind of hilarious, really, how stereotypically Thai my current situation is. I’m not necessarily bothered by it since I’m generally a very go with the flow type of person–it’s just too much right now when I’m already a bit of a basket case.
I woke up this morning feeling absolutely hopeless. I was honestly apprehensive about leaving my room. I called my my parents and two of my friends back home in tears.
It was while talking to them that I realized something–I have had absolutely no time to process these last couple weeks. I have been so over stimulated by constantly going, going, going in my TESOL course that I haven’t felt like sitting down and writing a thought provoking blog post in ages. I wanted to blog yesterday, but was having internet connection issues on my computer. I’ve fixed the problem and have internet now and now? Now I just need to write.
Because writing is part of my identity. It keeps me sane. It keeps me rational. It brings me up when I lose my shit….and I have definitely lost my shit.
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So, where do I begin?
There is so much on my mind right now that it feels like it’s about to burst.
Quite simply, though, it’s that October 2015 will go down in history as one of the best months of my life. I look at the majority of the pictures taken throughout this month completing my TESOL course and realized they all had something very significant in common–I look so happy in all of them…
…because I was so happy. And I’m so unbelievably grateful that I got to have this experience with these people. This month was filled with hardships of their own–adjusting to Thailand and Thai culture, trying to balance my desire to constantly be on the move with my friends with taking much needed time for myself. Getting used to Thai food and the dreaded Thai tummy (it’s a real thing, people…Thai food can be rough to the unassuming digestive system). Among other things.
But, all in all, this month was filled with so much joy and happiness.
This group, this group I was thrown into TESOL training with right here, they are what made all the difference:
There were 50+ of us this month, broken up into two groups of 25-30. I spent most of my time with Green Group given that I was in the Green Group, but I also loved spending time and getting to know people from the Purple Group, too (green and purple are the colors of Thai royalty, hence the group names).
I can honestly say I’ve never felt so accepted and so a part of a group in my whole life. Of course, I got closer to some people more than others, but as a whole, all of us together have this sense of adventure, this desire to do something different and exciting. After all, that’s why we all left our families and our homes and our lives back in the U.S., Canada, and Britain, and uprooted ourselves to Southeast Asia.
Many of us have said that this month was kind of like college. But one thousand times better.
Don’t get me wrong–I absolutely love my college friends and adore the time we spent together. Senior year of college was amazing and I wouldn’t change it for the world. That said, this experience in Chiang Mai was something different. Being with these people with the same sense of adventure, all of us training to be English teachers abroad. It was so powerful. And as I sit here in my hotel room in Nong Khai, nervous and apprehensive to continue on on this journey as an English teacher in Thailand, I look back at the time I got to spend with these people and relationships I’ve forged and I’m reminded that I can do this and I will.
This group of people. They give me strength in a way no other group of people ever has…in a way that I can’t properly explain. And I know that this is just the beginning of our journey together. We may be spread out across Thailand now, but we built this connection in Chiang Mai. And that connection will carry us all into our teaching placements and beyond. I just know it.