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”

#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Change Happens Both Around and Within Me

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week has been incredibly busy…and tiring…

If we were having coffee, I start out with the big news first–I bought a motorbike on Thursday afternoon! My school got a really good deal on a used bike for me; some of the teachers came with me to buy it to make sure everything was in working order and to act as communication with the Thai speaking seller. One of the teachers is teaching me to ride it and with enough practice, I’m hoping to be able to ride it to and from school soon enough! I’m a bit nervous to go out onto the road on it, but also very excited. I’ve been feeling very isolated and dependent on others in my town for transportation of late and it feels very liberating to finally have a motorbike of my own. I can’t wait to explore around my province a little bit more Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Change Happens Both Around and Within Me”

#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”

It’s Christmas?

Oh hey, I guess it’s December 25th today.

By western standards, that means it’s Christmas.

By Britta living in a primarily Buddhist country standards–it means it’s just another day. As in, oh hey, I work today!

Tis the season to be jolly?

Sure doesn’t feel like it! For someone who’s used to spending the holidays in a frigid climate, I can’t grasp my head around the fact that it’s December…the holiday season…that it’s almost the new year.

It all feels weird and I’m okay with that…because lately, in the last couple years, I’ve been finding the holiday season more stressful than anything. Because I love this country and don’t want to be anywhere else in the world.

Most Thais view Christmas as a western curiosity–so yes, we are having Christmas festivities at school today, and yes, there are decorations here and there (by here and there, I mean primarily at Tesco). But it feels different. It doesn’t have the same meaning here.

In Thailand, I’ll be celebrating Christmas (and Hanukkah, even though that ended a few weeks ago) with some of TESOL friends. That said, it WILL be different because it IS different. This is Continue reading “It’s Christmas?”

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”

#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Sports Day and Bangkok and More Culture Shock Happens…Among Other Things

If we were having coffee, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

So much has happened this week, it feels like it’s been a lifetime.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m getting settled in further into my town and that I’ve managed to do some exploring.

I’d tell you that I love my school and that my students are adorable. I’m getting to know them more and teaching becomes easier each day. I’m starting to understand each individual class and their needs as a whole class a little better with each passing day and I love that I’m beginning to really see my students’ personalities shine through.

I’d tell you that Friday was Sports Day and that students and staff alike have been preparing like crazy for the past two weeks for this event. Sports Day a.k.a. when all classes are cancelled and the whole school is broken up into four teams for a day of friendly competition in activities such as water polo, jump rope, and E-Sports (or, when the whole school gathers to watch two people compete in video games).

I’d tell you how I went in to teach my second class on Thursday at 9:20 am only to be told that class was cancelled. In fact, class was cancelled for the rest of the day because preparations for Sports Day were underway. Only in Thailand my friends, only in Thailand.

I’d tell you how exhilarating and exciting and exhausting (wow that’s a lot of alliteration) Sports Day was and how much fun I had seeing all of the students enjoying themselves so much. I was Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Sports Day and Bangkok and More Culture Shock Happens…Among Other Things”