What am I Doing With My Life?

It’s been a while since I’ve had a post about me.

My life, what I’m up to, where I’m going.

So as to ensure that this blog doesn’t become defunct, I thought I’d take a moment to write an update about my life.

Back in January, I wrote that I recently discovered my love of teaching. Additionally, I wrote that I was planning to move abroad again before the year’s end.

Today, only one of those statements remains true. I still love teaching. I love it more and more every day. I will not, however, be moving abroad again before this year’s end.

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The last few months have been a whirlwind of growth and change and internal understanding. I’ve come to a lot of understandings about myself. I’ve realized that, during my youth and formative years, I lost sight of myself and my real, true passions. There can be a lot of pain and confusion in navigating the world as a highly sensitive person. As a child, I didn’t have any real understanding for why I cried so easily, why I seemed to be bothered by sounds other peope didn’t notice (I’m acutely sensitive to sound), and why I seemed to get tired so much quicker than my peers. Highly Sensitive wasn’t in my vocabularly and it wasn’t in my parents vocabulary–and because I didn’t know why I was the way I was and also because I wanted to fit in with my peers, I unconsiously managed to lock down that part of me.

I came across the term “highly sensitive person” for the first time in college and instantly recognized many of the traits in myself. However, because I had so severely repressed so much of what it truly means to be HSP, I didn’t understand what that meant for me as a person. It is only within the last few months that I’m starting to Continue reading “What am I Doing With My Life?”

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”

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–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”

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”

#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”

#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Unpack, Adjust, and Find Home

If we were having coffee, I’d be soo excited to see you!

It’s been ages since I’ve joined the Coffee Share and it feels so good to be back.

After five weeks of living out of a suitcase, I finally have a home. A month of TESOL training left little time for adequate blogging (I don’t do this blogging business for the stats but let me tell you, my stats have been terrible).

Now, though? Now, my suitcase is unpacked, my shoes are lined up by the door, and I’m sitting on my new bed in my new apartment and it feels so good.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how crazy this week has been. It has been emotionally and physically exhausting. If you read this post, you’d know that I am no longer placed in Nong Khai, a province in Northeastern Thailand, where I was supposed to be teaching at a secondary school. I hadn’t even been there a week when I knew it just wasn’t right for me. This knowledge wasn’t necessarily something I could explain. It wasn’t culture shock. It was just this inborn knowledge that something wasn’t right about me being there.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how on Friday, while visiting friends in Bangkok, an opportunity came up for me to accept another job…this time in Nakhon Pathom Province in Central Thailand. When I was offered the position, I didn’t hesitate. Everything about this new Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Unpack, Adjust, and Find Home”

CHANGES. They Happen Sometimes.

Do you ever get the feeling that something is just off? That something is off and you can’t necessarily put a finger on why. That something is off and you know that, even if it’s not necessarily convenient or easy, you have to make a change?

Today I should be heading to my first day of school at Teacher Britta at a secondary school in Nong Khai.

But…I’m not.

Instead, I’m catching a flight to another part of Thailand to settle into a new placement, to a new life.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with Nong Khai. It’s a bustling town. There’s actually quite a lot to do here. It’s in a cool location, right on the border of Laos. There is absolutely no reason to not like Nong Khai.

It’s not you Nong Khai, I promise. It’s me.

From the moment I got here, I had a fleeting sense that something wasn’t right. I pushed it aside, though. This is my placement, after all. I shouldn’t question it. Right?

Still. I found myself avoiding it. I had already had a two day trip to Laos planned when I got here Continue reading “CHANGES. They Happen Sometimes.”