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!”

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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”

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!”

Post College: One Year Out and Still Learning

Being able to obtain an education is one of the greatest gifts the world can offer and I’m grateful for all that I learned in my four years of college–both inside and outside the classroom. That said, I firmly believe that it is possible to learn just as much outside an academic setting, if not more. Going out into the world is a different type of learning than what is offered inside a university setting–rather than developing my critical thinking skills and pushing the boundaries of my mind as I did in college, I’ve learned a lot from personal experiences in the last year. Here I present some little nuggets of wisdom that I took away from my first year out of college. It’s only the beginning and I’m positive there is much more to come from my ventures in learning out in the quote-on-quote “real world.” So, without further ado:

  • Loneliness is sometimes self-inflictedYou and only you have the power to build relationships with the people around you. No one else will do that for you. If you’re nice to people and show an interest in them, they’ll probably like you. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with building meaningful relationships with people and had no idea what to do–turns out it’s way easier than I ever thought and I just over analyze the hell out of everything.
  • An unknown future is only terrifying if you allow it to be terrifying. Too many people are afraid to follow their dreams because they’re afraid of the unknown, but life is too short not to embrace the opportunities you want to embrace. In fact, if it scares you, you’re probably doing something right.

Continue reading “Post College: One Year Out and Still Learning”

My Search for Personal Independence

One of the things I have always prided myself on is my independence.

I have never felt the need to go along with the most recent trends (as teenage Britta proclaimed more than once with much disdain, “Ugg boots are so appropriately named…because they’re soo ugly”) or to go along with societal ideals that make little sense or seem soul-sucking (there seriously has to be a more productive and effective method of working than the 9-5 job construct). I am a firm believer that we have built a society around ourselves that is much too complex, and the idea of having to participate in it is, really, somewhat maddening.

I listen to my heart and do what feels right, regardless of what other people think.

I mean, this is how I ended up in Thailand in the first place. That independent spirit, that desire for adventure and, quite frankly, the desire to avoid our ever-complicated society for as long as possible.

Seemed simple, right?

In fact, for me, it was almost too simple.

When I tell people about my Thailand experience, I often hear, “Oh, you are so brave. I could never do that.” Meaning, they could never move to a different country with a completely different language and culture.

Well let me tell you, it was hard. Living there was hard. The country and the culture were so exhausting to me and, as much as I wanted to become more comfortable there, to call Thailand a long-term home (because, oh, I did want that), it eventually became quite apparent that that wasn’t going to happen.

So, yes, actually living there didn’t work out for me. But–getting on a plane and actually moving there? Geez, that was almost too easy. Too easy that I barely even thought about it. And you know why? Because once I got there, I didn’t have to Continue reading “My Search for Personal Independence”

The View from Home

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”

#BeReal – BRITTA BUCHANAN

Back in February, Hasty asked me to write up a post about what it means to Be Real for her blog. This the result.

I’m currently back home in the U.S., taking some time off from the blogosphere to recharge and catch up with people in real life…but I’ll hopefully get back to posting soon!

In the mean time, I invite you to hop over to Hasty’s blog to check out my guest post and perhaps peruse around the rest of her site while you’re there.

HASTYWORDS

My #BeReal guest today is Britta Buchanan.

britta

What does it mean to #bereal?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, in the context of how I perceive myself and in the context of how others perceive me. As I write this, I am wrapping up one semester of teaching English in Thailand with the intention of heading back home to the United States after a bit of travel. Six months ago, I would have told you that I’d for sure sign on after another semester in Thailand; the idea of living abroad was still enticing and new at that point and I couldn’t imagine any context where I would want to come home. In fact, back in September, upon my arrival in Thailand, I wrote in my journal that going home would be a step back.

Why go home when there is a world of opportunity to explore…

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From a Five Month Expat, With Love

Thailand,

It has come to my attention that I will be leaving your borders for the unforeseeable future quite soon. It’s an ending that’s coming quicker than I anticipated and it’s an ending that will fill me with an equal amount of joy–at the prospect of returning home–and sadness–because, well, Thailand, you’ve become a new home. Feelings aside (because we all know how much I love feelings), it’s an occurrence that will inevitably happen sooner than later. Well, Thailand, before the onset of said occurrence, I have some words to get out there regarding my time here.

— — — —

Oh Thailand, it’s been such a wild ride. One that I will never forget. One that has shaped me in more ways than I ever possibly imagined. Thailand–you are everything: frustrating, beautiful, frustratingly beautiful. You are exciting, an adventure always waiting to happen, a whirlwind of crazy, wonderful, exacerbating, so much life. You are an endless array of oxymorons and you never get old.

and Thailand…oh Thailand…

I love you.

I love you a lot.

Adjusting to you was far from easy. Sometimes, adjusting to you was downright the worst. Chief among the struggles I  encountered during my adjustment period was your food–because although there is so much to love about Thai food, eating it day in and Continue reading “From a Five Month Expat, With Love”