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”

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70 Years

Thailand feels like college in the sense that I feel like I’m in a bubble here and the outside world just doesn’t exist. The only reason I have any inkling of what’s going on outside of this country is because I recently subscribed to theSkimm. Well, that, and the occasional news story that pops up on my feed on Facebook.

So, it goes without saying that I completely forgot that yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day–something I am usually aware of given that Holocaust history has always been something I’ve been interested in and passionate about.

I may be a day late, but I still want to reblog this post from January 27, 2015…because whether we want to hear it or not, genocide is still happening–and it will continue to happen if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t educate ourselves about the past horrors we have implemented in the name of hatred.

It's a Britta Bottle!

70 years.

70 years may seem like a life time to us, but in the grand scheme of this thing that we call time, it is merely a blink of an eye.

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When Your School Abandons You on a Country Road for Boy Scout Camp and You’re Just Kind of Like, “Whaatt?”

Okay, so the word ‘abandon’ is a bit excessive.

They did come back to get us eventually!

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Boy Scout Camp rolled around at my school at the end of November. For three days, the upper primary students slept over at school and participated in many different team building activities. They put on lengthy show for parents on Thursday night and got to experience a lot of fun activities.

The kindergarten and lower primary students didn’t have to come to school on these days.

By contrast, the western teachers were expected to be there on Thursday and Friday to put on activities for the boys and girls at camp…

…which included sitting in the hot sun for five hours in the middle of nowhere waiting for the students as they made their way through a three mile hike on the country roads around the Continue reading “When Your School Abandons You on a Country Road for Boy Scout Camp and You’re Just Kind of Like, “Whaatt?””

On Being a Teacher

Teaching is hard.

Teaching is exhausting.

As a brand new teacher with just one month of TESOL training under my belt, teaching is a HUGE learning curve.

I teach four Anuban (the Thai word for kindergarten) classes at my school–two Anuban 2 classes, each composed of 32 four and five year olds, and two Anuban 3 classes, each composed of 23 five and six year olds. Whereas some English teachers in Thailand have hundreds of students and see their classes only once or twice a week, I see my Anubans everyday. This is great because I really am getting to know them. I’m developing relationships with them and because they see me everyday, they are able to get used to me and my teaching style with a lot more ease than if they only saw me once a week. Given that the small kiddies thrive on stability, this is a major plus.

For all the benefits of seeing my kids everyday–oh and their cute, shiny faces definitely are a major plus–it also means that I constantly have to be keeping them on their toes. What works for one class doesn’t always work for another. What worked yesterday might not work today.

My Anuban 3s are quite a bit more mature than my Anuban 2s, so I am finding that I can push them a lot more, whereas I’ve been constantly finding that I need to simplify my lessons for my 2s. Each of my four classes is very different and they require different needs and different Continue reading “On Being a Teacher”

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)”

#WeekendCoffeeShare–When Teacher Britta Takes the Wheel

If we were having coffee, I’d start off by saying IT’S SO GOOD TO SEE YOU (really slowly and overly enthusiastically, too, because I’ve been Teacher Britta for the past two days and Teacher Britta talks really slowly and really enthusiastically….and really loudly).

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about how this has undoubtedly been the longest and most rewarding week of my life.

Seriously.

Thailand. Teaching English. This is where I need to be. What I need to be doing. And I’m SOO glad this is my life.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about language camp. And preparing for language camp. As part of my TESOL course, all the teachers must participate in a two day language camp where we teach to actual Thai students for the FIRST TIME EVER. We were put into groups of two or three and while one of us teaches, the other one or two of us observes and lends a hand if necessary.

The past week has consisted of preparing for language camp. Preparing lesson plans, revising lesson plans, performing practice lesson plans, rushing to the printer, rushing for school Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–When Teacher Britta Takes the Wheel”

Chiang Mai: A Week (or So) In Pictures

Teacher Britta has lesson plans to complete for language camp later this week.

So, writing isn’t happening right now.

However, here’s a few pictures of this GORGEOUS country that I now call home:

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I should know the name of this Wat…but I don’t

Continue reading “Chiang Mai: A Week (or So) In Pictures”