Reflections on the Love Year

Every year, I pick a word of the year to reflect what I hope to focus on on a broad scale during the course of that year. I choose it at the close of the previous year after careful reflection about the direction I internally feel my life is going, and how I believe I can best lean into that direction.

Late last year, I picked love as my 2020 word of the year. Looking back, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

— — —

2020 seems like multiple years and like it just started. I feel like I’ve aged lifetimes, yet I can hardly believe that my 27th year is nearly over, that it was spent almost exclusively at my house. The days at home blend into each other. Time has seemed to stop, and I find that my internal clock is confused that it’s already almost 2021. What? Wasn’t it just summer? We just pressed pause in March, right?

Yet, even though September feels like a lifetime ago now, I know that, despite the monotony this strange year has brought to my daily life, time is marching forward; furthermore, even though my body has been all too sedentary these last 9 months, my mind and soul are moving forward with time.

— — —

When I chose love as my 2020 word of the year in late 2019, I was focused on obtaining external sources of love. In fact, that is what I thought 2020 would bring: external sources of love. In some ways, it has brought that. Yet, what I didn’t realize, and what I have been slowly discovering throughout the course of this year, is that 2020 has all about learning to love myself. Furthermore, those external sources that 2020 has brought were only obtained through a serious dedication to learning to love myself.

I didn’t love myself prior to this year. Not in the way I thought I did at the start of this year, at least.

On January 1, if you would have asked me if I loved myself, I would have said, “duh, of course I do”. I would have given you a laundry list of all the reasons I love myself–I do yoga every day, I meditate, I say no when I don’t want to do things, I eat healthy, home-cooked meals regularly, I try to get 7-8 hours a sleep each night.

That list would have shown that I’ve developed an impeccable self-care routine in the past few years. While self-care is, arguably, a form of love, it also doesn’t encompass love. Self-care says nothing of self-worth. Of having healthy boundaries. Of having joyful interactions on a daily basis. Of feeling secure in oneself. Furthermore, self-care on it’s own is a bit meaningless–as true self-care is meant to reset and rejuvenate oneself in order to show up at one’s best to all other forms of love.

While I had an impeccable self-care routine, I can’t say it supported me in any of those other forms of love until I really started working on myself in 2020.

Continue reading “Reflections on the Love Year”

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”

Heart Broken

“Where is your heart?”

He asked in exasperation. His eyes. Searching hers. Looking for answers that were lost in the dark waters of her abused soul.

This was the ultimate question, she knew.

Where was her heart?

This question…this question should sting in every sense of the word.

But it didn’t…because she knew her heart, wherever it was, could never be restored to what it used to be–filled with so much love. How naive she used to be.

After this year–this year of so much loss and tragedy–Opa, gone…then Sylvie, goddamn, Sylvie Continue reading “Heart Broken”

From Chiang Mai to Nong Khai–TESOL Reflections and Taking the Next Step

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.

— — — —

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”

Falling in Love is Awfully Easy–A Day at Elephant Nature Park

Where do I begin with this place?

The Elephant Nature Park just North of Chiang Mai is a world all it’s own.

It’s a place unlike any other.

It’s breathtakingly beautiful and it’s filled with so much love and hope for the future.

And I’m telling you–if you ever find yourself in or around Chiang Mai, you must go here. It’s a bit pricey–2,500 baht for a day trip–but it’s so worth it. I will never ever regret the day I spent here. And I only hope I’ll be able to go back sometime in the future.

I’m in Thailand for the indefinite future. I’m sure I’ll be able to make it back at some point. I Continue reading “Falling in Love is Awfully Easy–A Day at Elephant Nature Park”

Discovery; Or, a Love Long Ignored

This weird thing has been happening to me this summer.

This summer living with my parents in my hometown in the suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. “The Cities,” as us locals call them. You don’t just go to Minneapolis or St. Paul when you make a visit to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area–you go to “The Cities.”

“The Cities,” as if one can’t exist like they other. As if they depend on each other for a mutual and comfortable existence.

— — — —

Well, they don’t. We locals lump them together for convenience. We know that going to “The Continue reading “Discovery; Or, a Love Long Ignored”