2017 Goals: The Good Year

Sometimes, I say/write things that aren’t true. Not because I’m a compulsive liar or enjoy throwing people for a loop. Not because I enjoy tripping myself up (because I really don’t).

Sometimes, I say things aren’t true because my whole life is organized around my internal processing skills (both a joy and a pain of being an INFJ personality type). Sometimes, what I actually want/think/believe takes some time to catch up to what I think I want/think/believe.

Truthfully, it’s all a bit of a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s the way I roll.

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At the beginning of 2016, I wrote about my lofty goals for the year.

They were very much internal goals and, correspondingly, I spent much more time in 2016 trying to figure myself out and grow as a person than I have in the previous 22 years of my life combined. All the outward changes in my life were based on these internal goals–my decision to leave Thailand and move back to the United States was very much based off of an internal understanding that the growth I needed to accomplish at that time couldn’t be done in a country and culture that were so far away from my comfort zone. My decision to travel to Europe for two weeks was based on a desire to find comfort with an old friend after a jarring few months in Asia, and my decision to move to Washington, DC, was based on an intuitive feeling that it’s where I needed to be to find a bit more of myself.

Even before I decided to leave Thailand, I knew 2016 needed to be a year of internal change–and it proved to be exactly that.

At the beginning of 2016, I had an intuitive feeling that it was going to be memorable and life changing…and it was.

Now, at the beginning of 2017, I have this very intuitive feeling that it’s going to be a good year. What does good mean exactly? I guess I’ll find out, but I’ve also learned in the past few months that more often than not, I can’t simply trust my intuition–I must act on it.

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I recently texted a friend that I’ve been feeling a bit directionless lately–which was, in the moment, a true statement. That said, in the aftermath of pressing the send button, I found myself feeling very negatively that I had expressed that statement at all. I had a moment a few hours after sending that message where I thought, I think I’m feeling directionless right now…but am I really? It was a classic INFJ moment of clarity that got the wheels actively turning in my head towards a changed mindset.

It’s true that I have been feeling directionless lately but, contrary to that feeling, in the past month I’ve actually started the process of setting out a very clear direction in front of me. I realized in my moment of clarity that the feeling I had of directionless wasn’t a lack of direction in itself–it was a fear of following the direction I’m realizing I want for myself now. Continue reading “2017 Goals: The Good Year”

To Be Alone

If you can’t eat by yourself, how do you expect to have a baby by yourself?”

“I can eat by myself!”

“When have you ever?”

“When certain people leave the table and I am not finished!”

— — — —

I’ve been watching a lot of Friends lately–I’m in the process of making it through all ten seasons of the show. In fact, I’m nearly to the end of the last season and will probably have a crisis of identity and livelihood once I’m finished–in the words of one of my current roommates: “They’ve become your friends.” Uh. Yeah. Basically.

Anywho.

Friends aside, I’ve also recently been thinking a lot about the concept of being alone. I just moved to a new city and though I know my temporary roommates and occasionally do things with them, we’re all busy and have different interests. More often than not, I’ve been finding myself doing my own thing in my spare time–going out and visiting new places on my own, exploring DC and the area around it.

Naturally, being the writer I am, when I spend a lot of time thinking about something, I usually turn to eventually writing Continue reading “To Be Alone”

Helsingør and Helsingborg

Helsingør and Helsingborg are cities in Denmark and Sweden, respectively. They are a short ferry ride away from each other across the Øresund, a strait that connects the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

My friend, Lexi, and I decided to make a day trip to visit both of them during my stay in Denmark. Lexi had already been to both places, but was nice enough to accompany me on my visit to them.

Helsingør is about an hour away from Copenhagen by train–we just hopped on an early train in Copenhagen and were in Helsingør before we knew it.

About Helsingør–it’s adorable. Almost disgustingly adorable. While in Denmark, I found that most towns and hamlets relied heavily on quaint, rustic architecture and aesthetics. Perhaps I was easily swayed because I’m the type of person who values aesthetically pleasing areas and perhaps it’s because I had just come from Thailand, which isn’t exactly a country of highly aesthetically pleasing towns (streets and sidewalks in Thailand are generally unkempt and dirty, at least by Western standards, and often times buildings appear to be quickly put up simply to serve a function). That said, I very quickly fell in love with the kitschy, cute nature of Danish towns and cities. Helsingør certainly was at the top Continue reading “Helsingør and Helsingborg”

Visit Nakhon Pathom!

Nakhon Pathom is the small province I lived in for five months when I taught English in Thailand. Bordering Bangkok to the west, it’s an area brimming with history and culture, though not one that is visited often by travelers coming from outside of Thailand.

While most tourists and expats alike venture through Nakon Pathom from Bangkok on their way to neighboring Kanchanaburi–a well-known tourist destination because of its magnificent national parks and the history it holds as the location of the famous Death Railway Bridge–they don’t realize the rich culture and history they are passing by in Nakhon Pathom.

Nakhon Pathom certainly doesn’t have the same allure as other destinations close to Bangkok–such as Ayutthaya, home to the ruins of the second capital of Siam; Kanchanaburi; and Koh Samet, the closest island to Thailand’s captial city at three hours away. That said, its rich Buddhist history makes it a prime stop for those especially interested in history and/or Buddhism. Those travelers who enjoy destinations off the main tourist path will also appreciate Nakhon Pathom for the rich culture present in this area without being downtrodden by the high prices and destructive nature tourism oftentimes brings to local environments.

When not stuck in Bangkok traffic, it takes about an hour to get from the heart of Bangkok to Nakhon Pathom city. A visit to Nakhon Pathom could make an easy day trip, but for those interested in traveling more extensively around the Continue reading “Visit Nakhon Pathom!”

#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 tell you about spending New Years down south on the island-province of Phuket and how lovely and fantastic that was (and I wouldn’t go into too much detail because Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–Life Updates and Realizations”

#WeekendCoffeeShare–The “Just a Little Sickie, Boy Scout Camp, and Loy Krathong” Edition

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am currently sitting in my little studio apartment that I haven’t left all day because I have a cold…and I’ve been catching up on sleep… and just generally taking it slow today.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week was pretty darn busy.

Thursday and Friday, classes were cancelled at my school for Boy Scout Camp. The upper elementary school grades arrived at school on Thursday and stayed over at school until today for camp. They participated in a lot of exciting team building activities, including a four mile hike into the rural areas around school (more on that in a later post).

The western teachers were expected to be at school both Thursday and Friday to put on activities for the campers. On Thursday (a.k.a. Thanksgiving day for all y’all Americans in the house), I was at school for twelve hours–from 8 am to 8 pm–and the night wasn’t even over yet by that time! I left in the middle of an elaborate performance that the students were putting on because I was too exhausted to stay and also had a terrible runny nose by that point. So, I spent my 2015 Thanksgiving Day at Boy Scout Camp at a Primary School in Central Thailand…who’da thunk? Friday was rough because I wasn’t feeling well and had such low energy. I ended up not helping much with the activities that the western teachers were putting on because I had such low energy. I left school around 5:00 Friday, got home, and didn’t leave my apartment for the rest of Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–The “Just a Little Sickie, Boy Scout Camp, and Loy Krathong” Edition”

The Little Things: A List

I’m continuing to discover that it’s the little things that matter most.

Currently, these include:

  1. Having a third of my students come up to me to hug me as I leave class for the day.
  2. Eating out by myself and successfully ordering food completely in Thai.
  3. Working one on one with a student and seeing his concentration as he really tries to take something away from the lesson.
  4. Getting a ride home from work from a group of Thai teachers–just because they can.
  5. Getting a ride to work from a student’s parent on the back of his motorbike–again, just because he can.
  6. Waking up early enough to see the sunrise.
  7. High fives in class, all day, every day.
  8. Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  9. Popsicles at lunch break.
  10. Watching the sunset.
  11. Being here. Right now.

Continue reading “The Little Things: A List”