#WeekendCoffeeShare–Life Updates and Realizations

If we were having coffee, I’d probably first give you a big hug (if you’re a hug person, that is…please let me know ahead of time) and then I’d say how good it is to see you. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined the coffee share, but life in Thailand has been quite busy.

If we were having coffee, I’d catch you up on the last few weeks. I’d tell you about celebrating Christmas in Thailand at school (where we did Christmas activities the first three class periods before continuing a normal day of school) and on celebrating in Bangkok over the weekend with my TESOL friends–which included ice skating in a mall and going to a really cool bar that looked like Hogwarts on the inside (it’s called The Iron Fairies and if you ever find yourself in BKK, I recommend it). I’d tell you about our New Years Party at school and the MASSIVE, school-wide gift exchange that we did. It was crazy and took at least two hours to pass out all the gifts. Every gift had a number attached to it and every student and staff member got a number on a piece of paper–whatever number you got lined up with a specific gift, and that was your New Years gift! It was so fun and quite a scene to watch. I’d lastly tellย you about spending New Years down south on the island-province of Phuket andย how lovely and fantastic that was (and I wouldn’t go into too much detail because Phuket merits its own post…coming soon).

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Saturday was Children’s Day in Thailand, a day dedicated to recognizing the future of the country by celebrating its youngest citizens. We celebrated all day on Friday at school–with games and activities and lots of yummy food. No class and students and staff alike did not have to wear uniforms for the day (the foreign teachers were instructed to “dress cute”).

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January 8, 2016, OR Doing the teacher thing and keeping a class of Kindergarten 1 students entertained during Children’s Day festivities

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how this year I have decided to push myself in new ways. To be more comfortable and confident in my own skin. To depend less on others and find my own independence. I love being alone. As an introvert, I thrive on it….but when I’m alone for too much time, I become anxious and scared. I’m terrible at making plans on my own and don’t like to go out and do things by myself–and I aim to get better at that. It will be really hard to push myself in these new ways and I certainly don’t expect to improve on everything all at once. It will be a process and, in the end, it will be so worth it.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how I’ve realized that I need to switch up my diet here in Thailand. I have been a pescetarian for four and a half year with little problem. However, it’s not working here. Portion sizes are smaller in Thailand and because Thai food is excessively meat-based, vegetarian dishes have very little protein. It is hard to find vegetarian foods that I’m used to in the grocery store and foods that we take for granted in the west (like cheese) are extremely expensive here because they are imported. The bottom line is, I’m always hungry here. One of the reasons I became a pescetarian was because of the health benefits, but here in Thailand, in such a meat-based culture, my health is only suffering. Because of this, I have decided to start inserting meat into my diet (slowly…oh so slowly, for the sake of my stomach) to improve on my overall health here. I love being a pescetarian and rarely miss meat–but I just can’t do it here anymore. Something’s gotta give. There is no reason I should be hungry–I have money and plenty of access to food–and yet, I am ALWAYS hungry.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that living in a foreign country is damn hard. I wouldn’t want it any other way–I have learned so much about myself already from being here and I will only continue to learn more, I love my students, and Thai people are honestly some of the kindest in the world–but oh, would I not give for just one day back in the States every now and then.ย Just one day.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you–do you have anything to share over coffee?

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18 Replies to “#WeekendCoffeeShare–Life Updates and Realizations”

  1. I can’t wait to hear about Phuket! The “ugly” island you posted about before was gorgeous so I’m sure Phuket was great. I just hope it isn’t pronounced the way it looks. “I feel like going to Phuket.” “Yeah, I’ve had one of those days where I hate everything too.” “What?” Sorry, just being a little juvenile ๐Ÿ˜‰ My guess is eating meat there you don’t have to worry about the steroids, antibiotics and such that the meat here is full of. If you don’t over indulge I’m sure it would be fine.
    Thanks for sharing your journey, both inner and outer, with us!

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    1. Haha. I know what you’re thinking there, Trent. ๐Ÿ™‚ Its pronounced POO-ket…though I guess it’s okay to be juvenile every now and then.

      I’ll get around to writing about it one of these days! It WAS a wonderful adventure.

      I definitely will not overindulge and I don’t intend on eating a lot of it. It would be so much easier if I had a kitchen to cook my own food, but I just have a microwave for the time being–though I’ve been getting creative in using it. Plus, it’s so much cheaper to eat out in Thailand than cook at home. So it’s been a bit of a struggle, but I’ll figure it out.

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  2. If we were having coffee, I would return your hug wholeheartedly and say that I understand exactly how difficult it can be sometimes to work in a foreign country. I would say hang in there, it gets easier, the first two years are the most difficult. And by all means push yourself a bit harder, but also make time to be nice to yourself. I’m glad you are looking after your protein intake. When in Rome, and all that.

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    1. It definitely is. I’m not sure if I’ll be here for two years, but we’ll see! I’ve been here since October and for the most part I love it here, but I definitely have those days where I really miss home and yesterday was one of them.

      Yes, I do expect a lot from myself and should work on being kinder to me.

      Thank you for stopping by, Margaretha. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I hope you are able to add meat to your diet without too much trouble. It’s sad that you have to change your diet but I guess that’s what happens…you have to change everything…when you move to a distant country! It sounds like other things are going well. It’s good to get out from time to time, even for those of us that are more introverted. It’s important. I hope to see more of you here…or should I say that I hope to see you here more often?!

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    1. I hope so, too! I don’t plan on eating a lot of it, but I do want to insert it in here and there. Things are different here and changes must be made, though!

      For the most part things are going well. I really do love going out and doing things, but I’m realizing I really don’t like to do such things by myself. I’d rather travel and go exploring with friends and save my introvert time for at home–which is a bit of a problem when so many of my friends are so far away from me. I want to become more comfortable with going out and exploring on my own, but it’s a process.

      We will see! I get so busy here with visiting friends on the weekends that I don’t have time to take part in the coffee share. I’m planning on staying home the next few weeks to save some money, so we’ll see!

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  4. *hugs back. Glad to see that you spent a fun holiday season! I look forward to your post on Phuket!

    I admit that I’m also super introverted…unfortunately, teaching in a small town in France has exacerbated my introverted self (as well as social anxiety), but I’m working on it. Hope that we can conquer it soon!

    Like you, I also haven’t been eating a ton of meat since arriving in France. Similarly, the French diet is meat-heavy, but I have been reluctant to purchase raw meat in fear of contamination (although I’m sure it’s safe. Just me being paranoid). However, what I’ve done is consume a good amount of eggs, as well as lentils- I would suggest trying to get those, if possible; they’re quite filling!

    For me this week: had a rough week back from vacation; the kids were acting up in class, and so I had to discipline a couple of them. Hope that it’s just because we’re still all in vacation mode- another week, then!

    Take care!

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    1. Eating what you want when you want to is much easier said than done when you don’t have a kitchen–and when you speak the native language poorly. I usually order eggs with my vegetarian dishes at restaurants, but they are fried and slathered in oil so although I’m getting the protein, they aren’t particularly healthy. I’m looking into using my microwave more creatively to cook in it and will perhaps get a rice cooker or hot plate in the coming months, but it’s a process getting settled somewhere completely new.

      I’ve been a pescetarian/vegetarian for almost five years now so I know the foods that I should be eating. I love lentils and could eat them probably every day, but they are not readily available here. I could probably find them at the bigger grocery store about fifteen minutes outside of town, but I currently have no means of transportation so usually save runs to that grocery store for special occasions.

      I have been working on breaking out of my shell, but it is a process. I’ve met some Thai people outside of school that I’d like to spend more time with and there are other western teachers at my school so I do have people to talk to…in English…but it’s still a process, especially since I’ve been working on adjusting to my town, etc. in the past few months.

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  5. Sounds like you’ve had such grand adventures! I love the idea of the New Year’s gifts at school–the photo is so cool!—and children’s day, too. That seems like an especially important sort of day.

    Good luck with re-introducing meat into your diet. The shift sounds like a necessary one, and I hope it’ll have you feeling much better!

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    1. The New Years exchange was certainly an adventure! And Children’s Day. It was so fun to play games with the kids all day.

      Thanks Diana. I don’t plan on eating it too extensively, but do want to insert it here and there just to ensure I’m getting enough to eat.

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  6. I looked up that Iron Fairies bar you mentioned, and oh my gosh what a visual treat! If that bar was here, I’d be in there all the time! From your pictures and how busy you are, I never would have guessed you’re an introvert. You get out way more than I do. I look forward to hearing about New Year’s at Phuket

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    1. It was unbelievable! Such a magical and fun place. Some people got their drinks in potion bottles, which was SO COOL. I ordered a margarita (a really fantastically good margarita at that) and it came in a traditional cocktail glass, but it was cool to see other people get their drinks in the bottles.
      Haha, introverts come in all shapes and sizes! I love going out a doing things and seeing people, but I get exhausted really easily and am usually one of the first to go to bed in my friend group here in Thailand. I love spending time with people, but I also need my bookworm and Netflix days, too, or I am NOT a happy camper. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Hey Britta! Good to read coffee updates from you. Isn’t it nice to be ice skating and yet you all aren’t even in winter clothes? I think you may be even wearing shorts! hehe. I participated in a gift exchange of that kind in the past but nothing of that level. Lucky is the one who won the minion toy! As for your diet, you don’t have to go all meat. I found myself craving for Thai seafood as it is really fresh. When we went to Phuket, there’s lots of side walk restaurants where you can select your own fish/lobster/crabs, right? Ahh, I can eat seafood my entire life! And the tom yum soups? THE best ever! ๐Ÿ™‚
    As for me, I’ve had some bad juju lately. Plans not coming through and unexpected things happening that are keeping us from going back to travel nursing. Tough times… but, we’ll survive. Don’t we all?

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    1. ICE SKATING WAS SO MAGICAL IN THAILAND! Especially with my TESOL friends and it was crazy in shorts! There was Christmas music playing in the mall and I was in such the Christmas spirit the whole time! We also got Starbucks beforehand so I had my coffee drink that I would stop for every now and then and it was just perfect.

      Well, speaking of whoever got that minion toy–that would be me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Another one of the foreign teachers actually got it but he didn’t want it and was going to go put it in a kindergarten classroom when I said, “hold up, hold up–give it to me.” I had had my eye on it the whole day and wasn’t going to let him just put it in a kindergarten classroom that easy! It now sits on my bed in my apartment.

      Yes, Thai seafood is really fresh. Unfortunately, I live in Central Thailand away from the coast so do not have the access that I would have farther South to fresh seafood. I do live by a river, and I think people go fishing in there, but it’s not the same as the yummy seafood. ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually don’t eat a whole lot of seafood here–simply because I’m not much of a pro at ordering fish in Thai–but I do love it. Also, don’t know where I’ve been, but I’ve never had tom yung soups. Should probably look into that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Ah, good luck getting everything sorted out with your plans! These things do happen sometimes–not having things work out as you hoped they would, that is. Hope you can get back on the road traveling sooner than later!

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      1. You got lucky with that minion toy eh?! Good thing that teacher gave it to you. At least you have some company now at your apartment, and a loyal one at that. ๐Ÿ˜›
        Most US Thai restos have tom yum soup and it is one of my faves but when I went to Phuket and tried it, it was nothing like the US version! hehe. It was creamier and thick. You can get tom yum chicken or pork or seafood. I had a hard time adjusting to its taste again when I got back.
        Thank you for the well wishes. I need me some positive thoughts too. If anything, the road will always be there.

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  8. Can I just say I think you are really brave to live and work in a place so completely different than your home country? I did the same thing after college, but I lived in Germany, surrounded by other Americans. I had it much easier than you, but still had moments of extreme homesickness and lonelineness. Now when I look back I am so happy I did it and have really good memories of that time. It also made me stronger and more independent.

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