2016: A Reflection

2016, I have decided, will be a year of confidence, of poise, of adventure. It will be putting myself out there in more ways while also continuing to nurture the introvert inside of me. It will be sticking up for myself and chasing after my dreams. It will be blossoming even further into the strong, independent woman I know is inside of me. It will be having faith in my decisions, not doubting what my heart tells me.

 January 3, 2016

— — — —

 2016 was a year. On a global scale, many would agree that it sucked.

On a personal level, it sometimes sucked, but it was mostly quite full. If 2015 was the best year of my life thus far (as I’m pretty sure I dubbed it at its close), 2016 has been the most enriching. In many respects, it was a very painful year—particularly in its early months. 2016 was completely losing all sense of self while simultaneously trying my best to live in a foreign country and culture. It was being alone in Thailand on my birthday, with head lice and pneumonia in tow—at the same time. It was striking out independently in search of my place in this world and feeling a lot of uncertainty, anxiety, and doubt along the way.

anuban-2-2
It was also leaving these cuties and the joy of teaching them (on the rare occasions when they wanted to be taught) behind, unsuccessfully holding back tears as I left their classrooms for the last time, because the love, kindness, and intellect of children is grossly undervalued and because they taught me so much.

That said, 2016 did have its bright spots: traveling in Europe with an old high school friend; showing my parents around the beautiful country I called home for six months; having no clue what the heck to do with my life post-Thailand, but trusting my gut in Continue reading “2016: A Reflection”

Advertisements

Where I’m at, Now

November has been rough.

It’s been an anxiety-ridden month filled with uncertainty and confusion.

On a national scale, I was rocked by the outcome of the U.S. election. I walked around on election day convinced, like much of the rest of America, that we would wake up the next morning to the first female president-elect ever. It was going to be historic and beautiful and I would be joyful.

On a personal level, I’ve been experiencing a massive amount of change as well. I’ve had an exhausting few weeks where I’ve been processing not only the change happening around me–in the wake of the election results and the way people have been reacting to them–but also in accepting that there is a great change happening within me.

I see a lot of parallels between the two that I’m going to attempt to articulate here.

— — — —

In the aftermath of the election, I simultaneously realized that not only was the projected outcome of this election grounded so much in expectation, but that I live so much of my life grounded in expectation–and how unhappy that makes me.

Lately, I’ve been frequently reminded of a conversation I had with a friend of mine back when I was in Thailand: “You think too much, and that keeps you from actually doing all the things you want to do,” she told me. It’s a truth I’ve been working on changing this entire year–and one that became increasingly apparent to me throughout the course of this month.

It’s a fine balance for me, thinking and doing. As an intuitive introvert, thinking and processing is how I understand the world around me. I love going out into the world and experiencing it. Too many experiences overwhelm and exhaust me, Continue reading “Where I’m at, Now”

Post-Election Thoughts: A Metaphor

“Being in your twenties is hard,” I told one of my housemates the other day. “It’s lonely and isolating and it’s this weird time where we’re coming into ourselves so much more and sometimes that sucks.”

“I do not like it. I do not like it all,” she replied.

— — —

Yet, how can we possibly move forward if we refuse to rise above the things we do not like?

Early November 2016

Lately, every time I sit down to write a blog post, nothing makes enough sense to put it into words. Or maybe it all makes perfect sense and I just think too much. I’m not sure.

I always want to be writing, but I have no words; I only recently started to understand that maybe that’s okay.

My life is full of so many emotions and ideas and experiences right now and I understand none of it.

One of the main reasons I use writing–and  one of the main reasons I started blogging–is to makes sense of it all. To process and better understand this crazy, complicated, confusing life.

However, I’ve been realizing more and more lately that maybe it doesn’t have to make sense.

Maybe I should just let it happen and see what happens and enjoy the ride.

I’m not done blogging and I’m certainly not done writing.

There is just no room for pondering why right now.

I just want to live instead.

US Election Thoughts: On The Future of America and Why We Need Old Blood in 2016

Bernie supporters are angry. So angry they staged a walk out at the Democratic National Convention when Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket was formally announced.

Bernie supporters are angry and they have a right to be. The man they supported and believed in, who they thought would be the best pick for the 2016 Democratic ticket, was undermined by his own party. The Wikileaks prove it. There’s no denying the facts.

Bernie supporters are angry and that’s okay. Expressing anger is a healthy reaction in situations where one feels they have been slighted, ignored, purposefully not heard.

So yes, Bernie supporters are angry. As they should be. However, as a twenty-three year old millennial who is paying closer to attention to this election than any of the five other elections that have happened in my life time, I am seriously worried about how their anger will affect the outcome of this election.

— — — —

I do not identify as a Democrat or a Republican. I have been and always will be politically moderate. I identify with portions of both conservative and liberal ideologies. I believe in voting for a candidate who is the best fit for a given office, regardless of their party orientation, and am not opposed to voting across party lines.

All this said, I usually don’t express my political believes on the internet. I believe my political beliefs are my own business and my own concern. Today, however, I am making an exception to that rule. Today, I am discussing my own political beliefs on the internet for the world to see…because I believe it needs to be heard. Because this 2016 election the most important election recent history. Because I wouldn’t feel right keeping silent.

— — — —

This election year, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton. I will be voting for Hillary Clinton not because she is a woman (though hey, as a young woman myself, I do think that is pretty damn great). I will be voting for her because I strongly believe she is the best qualified candidate for the position. Hillary has gotten a lot of flack lately, yes. Most recently for the way she has utilized her State Department e-mail account–but also for political slights and policy missteps that she’s made throughout her political career. Because she often comes off as cold, uncaring, and dare I say it BORING while addressing the public.

People have found every which reason to despise Hillary, to tear her down–and yet she’s still standing. She’s still standing after four decades that included eight years as First Lady in the White House, eight years as Senator of New York, and four years as Secretary of State. Politics is Continue reading “US Election Thoughts: On The Future of America and Why We Need Old Blood in 2016”

To Be a Traveler

When I first decided to come to Thailand, traveling wasn’t a priority.

I came to Thailand because I’ve always been interested in living abroad for a time and I had recently developed a interest in education.

Sure, I guess I figured I would occasionally go on trips and I had talked with blogger friends who live a reasonable distance from Thailand about potentially visiting them.

That said, I never considered that traveling would ever become a part of my identity.

Than again, there’s so much about Thailand that I never considered would happen–the amazing, life-long friends I’d meet in my TESOL course…how deeply I care about my students and how badly I want them to succeed…how in love I became with this country in such a short amount of time…how I sometimes think about how I’m twenty-two years old and I live and work in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area and holy man, this is the amazing, post-college life I have created for myself. No, I never considered any of that. How could I? When I signed myself up to move to Thailand, I knew I’d learn a lot in the process–but didn’t realize how fundamentally it would change me.

As I move on with my life here, as I become more aware of why I’m here and what I hope to accomplish as an expat, I’m realizing more and more that I do identify a a traveler.

To be a traveler requires a whole different mindset. To be a traveler requires less of a concentration on material goods and more on living and breathing and experiencing. To be a traveler requires an understanding that money is necessary to get from place to place–and that a lot less of it is needed than one might think.

As I look ahead to my two month semester break in March and April, I’m realizing that if I want Continue reading “To Be a Traveler”

A Very Phuket New Year

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I’m going to clear one thing up–because I know we’re all a little juvenile now and then (right, Trent?). So, for all y’all English speakers of the world (which is probably the majority of the people visiting this site because, well, it’s entirely composed of a words and phrases constructed with the use of the English language), “Ph” does not make the same sound in Thai as it does in English. English speakers know “Ph” to make a sound equivalent to the English “F.” In Thai, this is not the case. In Thai, “Ph” is pronounced as we would pronounce a stand-alone “P.” So, although I’m quite sure some of you have read “Phuket”  with the English understanding that “Ph” = “F” and stifled a giggle, the Thai (and correct) pronunciation sounds like this: “POO-ket”

Let’s all say that together, now: POO-ket

Okay? Okay!

Now that that’s all sorted out, let’s get on with it.

— — — —

My New Years plans were up in the air for a while. I went from “Maybe Bangkok?” to “Ugh, I love me some Bangkok but I go there all the time. Maybe Chiang Mai.” to “Okay, I love Chiang Mai to pieces but I really want to go some place new and haven’t been down South yet…” and because a group of my friends were already planning to go to Phuket, “Oh, hey, beaching on New Years doesn’t sound half bad…I think I’ll book my ticket!” is what eventually happened.

Phuket, located in the South of Thailand, is the largest island in Thailand and the only island that is also its own province. It’s a major tourist area in Thailand so, quite, frankly, Phuket doesn’t feel much like the Thailand I’ve grown used to at all. It’s incredibly westernized and very expensive. That said, it’s also incredibly beautiful and I’m so glad I was able to experience it over Continue reading “A Very Phuket New Year”

New Year, New Outlook

With a new year comes new goals and a new outlook.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how I’ve been living my life up until now and the changes I can make to ensure I live a fuller and more enriching life.

With this reflection, I’ve realized two things:

  1. I expect way too much in life. Those expectation keep me from living in the moment and being thankful for what I have.
  2. I am very confident in myself, but I don’t trust that confidence in situations that are outside my comfort zone.

I’m realizing more than ever in this new country where I am far away from my family and Continue reading “New Year, New Outlook”

2016, the Beginning: Lost and Okay With It.

I have a confession to make:

I’m lost…

What a way to start of the new year, right?

But this is a good thing. I promise!

I’m not physically lost. I know exactly were I am. I could point it out exactly on a map. As I write this (being the dutiful blogger that I am and getting this done ahead of time), I’m currently physically sitting in my apartment in Central Thailand. By the time this post goes live, I’ll be sitting on a beach somewhere down south, perhaps a little hungover from a too exciting New Years Eve.

So no, I’m not physically lost. Rather, I feel mentally lost…

A ‘who am I and what do I aim to do with my life and I really have no fucking clue how to navigate this world that I’m in’ lost.

I’m feeling rather calm about the whole ordeal. No need to freak out here. Just accepting these feelings as they come, ya know?

— — — —

The past few months have been a whirlwind for me. I’ve had very little time to process everything that has happened. Now, finally, I feel like I’m settling into my town. I feel comfortable here. I know where things are; though the language barrier is continuing to be difficult, I’m picking up on more Thai and trying my best to utilize that in conversation. After spending the last couple months here drawing inward and trying to make sense of my place here, I’m finally eager to go out and meet and develop relationships with Thai people.

I’m so happy to be here and can’t imagine living anywhere else right now. Though there are certain aspects of home that I miss, I don’t crave them. I don’t desire to have them in my life.

Thailand is where I need to be right now. This I know with confidence.

Thailand is the place where I’m choosing to figure myself out. While I learned so much Continue reading “2016, the Beginning: Lost and Okay With It.”