I met my German friend in Spanish class when I was fourteen, the September of my freshman year of high school. After spending the first 9 years of my schooling at a small, private Catholic school where the majority of the 50 students in my eighth grade class had shared those 9 years with me, starting off at a large public high school was intimidating, especially for an introvert like me. The first semester of high school, I clung to a fellow introvert and friend from my parochial school–we were essentially attached at the hip. With the exception of my German friend, who was my first new high school friend, it wasn’t until second semester when I started to expand my horizons and develop more friendships. My German friend and I got to know each other and spent a lot of time with each other in between classes. Unfortunately, her U.S. visa was only valid for three months rather than the typical year that high school exchange students spend abroad, and she was back to Germany in December.
We managed to keep in touch in spite of what we both viewed as her premature departure from the U.S. This was before I had a Facebook (that came later on during my Freshman year, and we did connect there eventually), but we e-mailed each other and had each other’s street addresses. We both had (and still have) an affinity for letter writing, and we would send letters and postcards to each other. She sent me multiple postcards from her travels around Europe, and once a big box of German Chocolates. When I started college, I sent her a pair of mittens with my university’s logo emblazoned on them. We even had an opportunity to see each other, albeit briefly, when I toured Germany with my high school band in 2011. Continue reading “On Cross-Cultural (and Continent) Friendships”
If we were having coffee, we’d be hanging at my house and I’d be sitting in my pajamas. I have deemed this morning to be a chill morning and am going about it as quietly as possible.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined the coffee share, if you haven’t noticed. If you have noticed, there’s a bit of a two-fold reason behind this. First of all, life has been really busy and I haven’t necessarily had the time to sit down and write a coffee share. I’ve also been going through a bit of a writing slump lately. I’m dutifully writing out my Hump Day Haikus (usually at the last minute on Tuesday night) to keep up with my one weekly blog installment, but other than that, I just don’t want to write I always want to write but am struggling to find my words. A lot of thoughts are happening internally and I don’t quite know what to make of them/don’t quite know how to put those thoughts into words. I’m sure time will put things into perspective but for the time being, I’m left feeling confused and lacking the inspiration to write much of anything.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m starting a new job tomorrow! It’s a temp position that will only last for a few months. I’ll be doing administrative work and other tasks assigned as they come in at the financial department of one DC’s neighboring city’s City Hall. Certainly not the dream job for me (I’d much rather be doing editorial work, preferably in a historical or cultural institution) but I am taking this as a new and exciting Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Things Have Been Happening”
If we were having coffee,I’d start off by saying hi! It’s been a couple very hectic weeks since I’ve joined the coffee share. I moved twice, lived in three different places, and was without wifi for a week. I’ve been preoccupied with getting into my own place, figuring out housemates, and continuing my job search. I’ve been learning a lot at the coffee shop and I’ve been feeling more comfortable (in some respects) with my position there.
If we were having coffee, I’d be delighted to let you know that I’m now officially a resident of the District of Columbia. I was so flustered and nervous when I didn’t have a place by August 1, but my college friend was so accommodating by letting me move in with her to her new place. I spent one week there until my current roommate and I had our DC place secured and ready to move in to. Last Sunday, we moved into a gorgeous, fully furnished house in a great neighborhood. We’ve signed a lease to live here until December, with the intention that we’ll be more settled into DC life then and have a bit more money on our hands to spend on furniture and such for an unfurnished house. For the time being, we are happy in our house for now. I met my roommate on Facebook, in a group for those looking for housing in the DC area, and she’s been great so far. We will have two more roommates joining us in the next month, including my good friend Phoebe, whom I interned with at the National Postal Museum in 2014! I love the way life can throw surprises at you if you allow it. Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Moved…Again”
If we were having coffee, I’d say hello and we’d probably exchange some pleasantries. Then, I’d dive right into how exhausting my grandfather’s funeral was on Monday. Let me start off by saying that I’ve come to realize that I prefer to grieve in private. So, naturally, I have come to realize that I despise the public grieving ground that a funeral is. Everyone patting each other on the back and offering condolences. I know people mean well but man, I just want some space. My grandfather had an open casket and at twenty-three, I have never been to an open casket funeral before. I have never in my life seen a dead body and I mean, I’m a grown up. I know a dead body is pretty harmless. It won’t bite. Still, I couldn’t handle it. I tried my best to ignore the part of the room where his casket was on display for viewing because I knew I would lose my shit…but then I decided it would be right to just take one look. So, I found myself about ten feet away from the casket–close enough to see his body from afar–and, as anticipated, lost my shit. Thankfully, my aunt and mom came to the rescue and promptly dragged me away, telling me that I should feel no obligation to look at his body when I wasn’t comfortable with it, that grandpa wouldn’t want it that way.
Needless to say, when my time comes–hopefully many, many moons from now–I intend to be cremated and turned into a tree.
It’s an incredibly good feeling, knowing that you did the right thing for yourself regardless of how hard it was or how difficult it was to get there.
As I watched the plane I was on for the first length of my journey back to the States take off from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok a handful of days ago, I was overcome with a burst of emotion and I started to cry. They were brief tears. They didn’t last long. But they were tears none-the-less.
It’s really hard to explain my feelings toward Thailand. How, at times, while I was living there, I hated it. How unhappy I was while I was living there. How I couldn’t wait to leave when I was preparing for my two week trip to Europe in mid-March.
While in Europe, the friend I was visiting with gave me some really good advice. At that point, I was still feeling a lot of animosity towards Thailand for the hardships I experienced while living there; I was more than happy to be spending time on European soil. I was telling her how much Continue reading “The View from Home”
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
Now that that’s all sorted out, let’s get on with it.
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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”
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.
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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”