Do you ever get the feeling that something is just off? That something is off and you can’t necessarily put a finger on why. That something is off and you know that, even if it’s not necessarily convenient or easy, you have to make a change?
Today I should be heading to my first day of school at Teacher Britta at a secondary school in Nong Khai.
Instead, I’m catching a flight to another part of Thailand to settle into a new placement, to a new life.
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with Nong Khai. It’s a bustling town. There’s actually quite a lot to do here. It’s in a cool location, right on the border of Laos. There is absolutely no reason to not like Nong Khai.
It’s not you Nong Khai, I promise. It’s me.
From the moment I got here, I had a fleeting sense that something wasn’t right. I pushed it aside, though. This is my placement, after all. I shouldn’t question it. Right?
Still. I found myself avoiding it. I had already had a two day trip to Laos planned when I got here and found that, while there, the last place I wanted to return to was Nong Khai.
A few hours after reentering the country on the day I returned to Thailand, instead of setting back in Nong Khai, I found myself in a van being transported to the nearest airport. To visit friends in Bangkok. Bangkok, Bangkok, Bangkok. I had never been there before. It was exhilarating being in such a huge city. I celebrated Halloween with my friends there. We had a fabulous time. And most importantly, it wasn’t Nong Khai.
I had resolved to stick out the semester. I had barely given Nong Khai a chance, after all! I could end up falling in love with it. Still, Teacher Britta, who had been planning all through TESOL to stay in Thailand for a year, if not more, was almost certain she wouldn’t stay in this town for more than a semester.
Nothing about Nong Khai felt right to me…but I was going to stick it out anyways because I felt like I had to. And, more importantly, because there weren’t any other options.
Until a job opportunity came up while in Bangkok. A job opportunity at a school that sounded amazing, an area that sounded amazing. It felt right in all the ways Nong Khai didn’t.
So, I took it.
You may call me brash in my decision making if you want. All I can tell you is that I always listen to my gut. And my gut was telling me that this new position was right. It was telling me that, for whatever reason, a reason I can’t put into words, Nong Khai wasn’t the place for me. That I would never feel at home here. That I would be unhappy here.
Had this job opportunity not come up, I would have stayed in Nong Khai. I would have been fine. I would have made it through. But this job opportunity made me realize how important it for me to strive for my own personal happiness at all costs.
I am not my best self here.
I’m not sure why. But I’m not.
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I believe that places are powerful. I believe that whether we realize it or not, places affect us. That some places are meant to be our homes and some places are meant for us to merely pass through. I’d love to visit Nong Khai again at some time in the future. But I just can’t call this place home. Not now. Not ever.
And so, today, on the day I was supposed to begin my time as an English teacher in Thailand, I am instead continuing on my personal journey of self-betterment.
Teacher Britta can wait until tomorrow.
Today? Today is the beginning of the rest of my life.
And where am I heading to?
Well, that my friends, is the topic of another post.
(I gotta keep you guys reading somehow)