#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Unpack, Adjust, and Find Home

If we were having coffee, I’d be soo excited to see you!

It’s been ages since I’ve joined the Coffee Share and it feels so good to be back.

After five weeks of living out of a suitcase, I finally have a home. A month of TESOL training left little time for adequate blogging (I don’t do this blogging business for the stats but let me tell you, my stats have been terrible).

Now, though? Now, my suitcase is unpacked, my shoes are lined up by the door, and I’m sitting on my new bed in my new apartment and it feels so good.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how crazy this week has been. It has been emotionally and physically exhausting. If you read this post, you’d know that I am no longer placed in Nong Khai, a province in Northeastern Thailand, where I was supposed to be teaching at a secondary school. I hadn’t even been there a week when I knew it just wasn’t right for me. This knowledge wasn’t necessarily something I could explain. It wasn’t culture shock. It was just this inborn knowledge that something wasn’t right about me being there.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how on Friday, while visiting friends in Bangkok, an opportunity came up for me to accept another job…this time in Nakhon Pathom Province in Central Thailand. When I was offered the position, I didn’t hesitate. Everything about this new job felt so right and I knew I had to take it.

That said, it was still a couple of very stressful days. On Saturday, I received notification that I couldn’t come to teach at the new school unless I paid three months salary to the agency I had signed to work with in Nong Khai. In Thailand, it is very common for foreign English teachers to go through agencies that act as a communication buffer between the the English speaking teacher and the Thai speaking school administration. That said, this threat I was told about made little sense with my understanding of the contract I had signed with this agency. Also, I knew people in my TESOL course who had already broken contract with this agency to go to different schools. Already stressed and exhausted from the past week, I still panicked and it was a rough couple days of trying to figure everything out. In the end, everything worked out; the three months salary issue ended up being an empty threat and here I am in Nahkon Pathom Province.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell about you how leaving Nong Khai was so hard. Even though I knew the decision was right for me, I felt like utter shit for leaving the school I was supposed to teach at so last minute. I left town on the day I was supposed to start teaching and that was rough. I felt terrible because my renter there was so nice to me and got me a taxi to the bus station, even though I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I felt even more terrible when I realized my renter was also a teacher at the school I was supposed to teach at. I felt terrible when I told my agent I was leaving, especially when I heard the sadness in her voice. I felt like an all around shitty person because even though I knew I was doing the right thing for me, I also knew it was an inherently selfish thing. I felt like I was letting this town down by leaving.

Had this new job opportunity not come up, I would have stayed.

But the new job did come up. And I just knew in my heart that I had to leave.

Now? Now I live in Nakhon Chaisi, a small town forty-five minutes North of Bangkok.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how much I love it here. I’d tell you how I teach kindergarten at a small private primary school and I’d tell you how I feel like I’ve found a home in Thailand.

I work with three other people from my TESOL group plus two other foreign teachers. All in all, there are six of us. It’s nice. I would have been fine on my own and I would have been the only westerner at the school in Nong Khai, but I won’t lie–it is comforting to have other people who speak my language so close to me.

I love my school. I love my town. And I love the general area where I’m living. I’m close to Bangkok if I need to go, but I have a feeling I won’t even want to go that often. There’s so much to do here in Nakhon Pathom Province. So much culture.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how exhausted I am.

I moved to Nakhon Chaisi on Monday and started teaching on Tuesday. I’ve been going, going, going for well over a week.

Thank god it’s the weekend. Finally. I can breathe.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how breathing has its pros and cons. I’ve certainly been catching up on sleep and I’ve enjoyed exploring my town a little bit more, but I’ve also had my first bouts of real culture shock yesterday and today. Anxiety that I haven’t experienced in months has cropped up. I’ve been having frequent, almost nightly dreams of arriving back home in the States and I desperately miss autumn in this country where autumn fails to exist.

So far, I love teaching. I love my school and I love my town. Hell, I love Thailand.

But transitions are never easy, especially in a foreign country with a completely different language and culture.

If we were having coffee, I’d be ready to switch it off to you–and I’d ask you, do you have anything to share over coffee?

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This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster.

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31 Replies to “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Unpack, Adjust, and Find Home”

  1. Glad to hear you are all settled down. In the meantime, we are starting to get restless and ready to leave town. When you run out of places to go to, its time to leave. 🙂 So, after this contract which is the end of this month, we shall be headed back home and stay for about two months till we get our next assignment. Rest well Britta! You need it. 🙂

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  2. I found your blog via Weekend Coffee Share. I think that you were smart to leave a situation that didn’t feel right to you– and in the end it’s all worked out like it should. I trust that you’re getting more settled in as I type this and am sending happy dreams your way.

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    1. Welcome, Ally! I would like to check out your blog a little bit more; I visited briefly last night and was quite intrigued. 🙂
      Thank you, I am quite positive I made the right decision. I have definitely been getting more settled in and things are looking up from here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice to meet you, too!

        Keeping up to date on blogs is easier said than done these days, but one of these days I’ll make it over! I do like the sounds of your melodic drummer. 🙂

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  3. I’m glad to hear from you. I’ve wondered how you are doing. I am also happy to hear that you took care of the problem with the first school and moved on to a new place. Much luck to you! Don’t be a stranger!

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    1. Agh, being a stranger in the blogosphere is hard to avoid sometimes when life gets busy. Hopefully, as I get more settled in, I’ll have more time for blogging.
      Thank you so much. I’m quite certain that I made the right decision and things are definitely looking up in life.

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  4. Wow, what an adventure you’ve had!

    I can certainly understand your feelings regarding the job you left. I quit a summer camp counseling job where I was in charge of several major sections about 2 days before the kids arrived once. I did it because I needed to take care of myself and seek help for some anxiety issues, but that didn’t make the decision easier. Ultimately, though, it was the right call for me, and really the right call for that job, too—they needed someone who could do better than I, and I needed to be somewhere I could do better than there.

    Glad you’re settling into the new place, and glad to hear from you.

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    1. Thank you so much, Diana!

      I definitely know this decision was right for me. I love this town and this area and I think I’m much better suited to teach at my school here than at the one I was supposed to be teaching at in Nong Khai. I feel like the unhappiness I would have felt in Nong Khai would have affected my teaching there, too, and that wouldn’t have been beneficial to the kids at all.

      I’ll hopefully be more present in the blogosphere once I settle into life here!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That sounds the like the most hectic time! I think it’s good that you did what was right for you as there is no point in making yourself unhappy especially if that would impact on your teaching the kids. It’s wonderful that the new opportunity came up at the right time. It’s nice to get an update and hear how you doing on the other side of the world!

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    1. True that, Chrissie. I definitely think my unhappiness there would have impacted my teaching, and that wouldn’t have been good for the kids at all.

      I’m hoping to be more active in the blogosphere once I get settled in here. Life has been unbelievably crazy these past few weeks but things are starting to settle down.

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  6. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found somewhere that feels like a home for you Britta. I totally understand the feeing of letting people down in the previous place but I’m a firm believer in recognizing your instincts and going with them, especially as you’re their on your own. Your new job sounds wonderful and I’m sure you’re doing really well. Your photo really shows the emotion, big hugs to you sweet girl.

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    1. Thank you so much, Desley.

      My new job IS wonderful and I can’t wait to share more about my school and my students with you here. It’s unbelievable that this opportunity came up when it did and I’m SO thankful that it did!

      Hugs to you, too. I hope your move is going well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes the right things just fall into place at just the right time. I’m hoping to do a move update next week – I mean hopefully there will be news to tell as right now my house still hasn’t sold but I think we’re making progress 😄 x

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  7. So proud of you Britta!!!!! I love it!!! I’m so happy about you being so close!!!! We have so many adventures to do together!!! Don’t feel bad about leaving. These things happen everywhere I’m sure xploreasia is sending someone just as I write this. However they will not be as charismatic and great as you!

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    1. Love you, Mo! I feel like I hit the jackpot with this placement–amazing location, awesome school, AND I’m sooo close to you!
      Hehe, thank. I feel like my charisma is better suited for younger students, anyhow. I would have been fine teaching Matthayom, but it’s so much more exciting teaching the little ones!

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  8. I taught English in Japan shortly after graduating law school. I’d really wanted to teach in Thailand, but opted to teach in Japan because its mandatory minimum wages would better enable me to pay my law school debts.

    I made it about two months at my first school before making a move to another town and system. The move was so, so very right, and my time in Japan much happier for it!

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    1. Yes, Thailand is a beautiful country sure enough, but teachers do not get paid very well here. Foreign teachers get paid considerably more than Thai teachers, and still that salary would be next to impossible to get by with in the United States or any other western country,

      I’m so thankful that this opportunity came my way and I took it. I have not regretted it yet!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve just come over from the Weekend Coffee Share. I’m happy things worked out job wise and your place. How exciting to be experiencing a new culture and learning so many new things. My cousin teaches at a school in Japan and she has made so many wonderful friends.

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  10. Britta, that sixth sense is particularly important when you travel and even more so in a foreign-speaking country. I spent 8 months in Europe as a 21 year old and it was great but the homesickness was awful and I was used to being in a snug community and felt like I was falling through the ground at times, even when I was with friends. Living in another culture is an incredible experience but has its challenges, which usually end up being the best stories when you get home. All the best, Rowena
    PS I am writing a fair bit about my time in Paris in 1992 at the moment so perhaps you’ll relate.

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    1. I’m doing much better now, thank you.
      School keeps me busy for sure and it’s hard to be homesick when I get to see the smiling faces of my kindergartners who are always so happy to see me everyday. 🙂
      That said, we all have our good days and our bad days and I’m finding that living in a new country and culture makes the emotions of both the good and the bad days even stronger.

      Thank you so much, Rowena.

      Perhaps I’ll have to mosey on over to your blog at some point.

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