#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Sports Day and Bangkok and More Culture Shock Happens…Among Other Things

If we were having coffee, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

So much has happened this week, it feels like it’s been a lifetime.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m getting settled in further into my town and that I’ve managed to do some exploring.

I’d tell you that I love my school and that my students are adorable. I’m getting to know them more and teaching becomes easier each day. I’m starting to understand each individual class and their needs as a whole class a little better with each passing day and I love that I’m beginning to really see my students’ personalities shine through.

I’d tell you that Friday was Sports Day and that students and staff alike have been preparing like crazy for the past two weeks for this event. Sports Day a.k.a. when all classes are cancelled and the whole school is broken up into four teams for a day of friendly competition in activities such as water polo, jump rope, and E-Sports (or, when the whole school gathers to watch two people compete in video games).

I’d tell you how I went in to teach my second class on Thursday at 9:20 am only to be told that class was cancelled. In fact, class was cancelled for the rest of the day because preparations for Sports Day were underway. Only in Thailand my friends, only in Thailand.

I’d tell you how exhilarating and exciting and exhausting (wow that’s a lot of alliteration) Sports Day was and how much fun I had seeing all of the students enjoying themselves so much. I was Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Sports Day and Bangkok and More Culture Shock Happens…Among Other Things”

Culture Shock–In Words

I’ve grown a lot in the past couple years.

I talk about that a lot.

I preach about it, really.

Just last night, new friends of mine were commenting on my maturity for a twenty-two year old and I just said in reply, “Well, I grew up a lot in college.”

And I did. I did grow up a lot in college. I found my confidence and my independence and my strength and college and I am so thankful for that.

But today? Today I am feeling vulnerable.

Today, I am sitting my new apartment in my new town in Thailand. It’s the weekend after my first week of teaching English and I have no plans but to explore my city and get to know the Continue reading “Culture Shock–In Words”

#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 Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Unpack, Adjust, and Find Home”

CHANGES. They Happen Sometimes.

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.

But…I’m not.

Instead, I’m catching a flight to another part of Thailand to settle into a new placement, to a new life.

— — — —

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 Continue reading “CHANGES. They Happen Sometimes.”

For the Love of PAI

A hipster’s paradise with a small town vibe.

So much to do, so much to see.

An abundance of natural beauty EVERYWHERE.

Something for everyone.

— — — —

If you were to ask me to write up a tourist pamphlet for Pai, Thailand, I’d most likely write something akin to the above.

Yeah, it’s corny. But it’s kind of a little bit 100% accurate.

— — — —

When my TESOL class found out we had a three day weekend in the third week of the course, we immediately started making plans (ha, well some of us started making plans and the rest tagged along. I must admit, I am NOT a planner…something I want to get better at while living abroad).

We wanted to get out of Chiang Mai for a little bit and the obvious choice for many of us was to head to Pai–a small resort town in the Northern mountains of Thailand.

Pai is this expats haven in the middle of Thailand. I saw more Farangs (the Thai word for “Westerner”) during my one and a half day stay in Pai than I have since leaving the United States. It was a little weird, to be quite honest. It didn’t feel quite like Thailand. But that’s absolutely okay…because Pai is it’s own little world. It’s own little oasis to get away to…and everyone needs to get away at some point.

— — — —

Honestly, I didn’t realize how stressed out I was from my TESOL course until I got to Pai.

Highlights from our trip included chilling by the sweet pool at our accommodation. Speaking of Continue reading “For the Love of PAI”

From Chiang Mai to Nong Khai–TESOL Reflections and Taking the Next Step

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.

— — — —

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. Continue reading “From Chiang Mai to Nong Khai–TESOL Reflections and Taking the Next Step”

Falling in Love is Awfully Easy–A Day at Elephant Nature Park

Where do I begin with this place?

The Elephant Nature Park just North of Chiang Mai is a world all it’s own.

It’s a place unlike any other.

It’s breathtakingly beautiful and it’s filled with so much love and hope for the future.

And I’m telling you–if you ever find yourself in or around Chiang Mai, you must go here. It’s a bit pricey–2,500 baht for a day trip–but it’s so worth it. I will never ever regret the day I spent here. And I only hope I’ll be able to go back sometime in the future.

I’m in Thailand for the indefinite future. I’m sure I’ll be able to make it back at some point. I Continue reading “Falling in Love is Awfully Easy–A Day at Elephant Nature Park”

In Which Teacher Britta Heads to Northern Isan (Or, Almost–But Not Quite–Laos)

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for (or so I like to think, in my egotistical, self-centered mind).

Okay, but I DO know that many of you have been anxious to hear about where I’ll be teaching in this vast and beautiful country that is Thailand.

Well, it’s announcement time!

**Drumroll please**

— — — —

I’m so excited to announce that in a few short days, I’ll be leaving the beautiful mountainous region of Northern Thailand (I’ll miss you, Chiang Mai! I love you, Chiang Mai!) for the vast and mysterious landscape that is ISAN.

Isan, for all y’all unaccustomed to Thailand, is what we people familiar with Thai geography (or more like just barely familar, in my case) call Eastern Thailand.

Isan is the poorest region of Thailand.

It also has really nice people and the best food. According to my TESOL instructor, at least, who Continue reading “In Which Teacher Britta Heads to Northern Isan (Or, Almost–But Not Quite–Laos)”

Contemplations on My Place in Thailand Thus Far

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days.

Processing everything that has happened in the last two weeks.

Trying to understand everything that has happened from the good, the not so good (and yes, there has been some of that), and the just plain stressful (and perhaps there has been a bit too much of that).

I’ve been thinking a lot, as I do…and I’ve come to this perhaps profound(?) realization:

I am not in Thailand.

……………….

Okay, yes, physically, if you pin point my location on a map, I am currently located in Northern Thailand in the city of Chiang Mai. Currently, you will find me writing up this blog post at the most Western ass coffee shop possibly in the whole city, if not the whole province (it’s almost obnoxiously cutesy and hipster, grossly overpriced, an expats haven…and man does it feel like home).

So, yes, I am in Thailand.

But you know, just because you are physically somewhere doesn’t mean a whole lot. I think Continue reading “Contemplations on My Place in Thailand Thus Far”