Early November 2016

Lately, every time I sit down to write a blog post, nothing makes enough sense to put it into words. Or maybe it all makes perfect sense and I just think too much. I’m not sure.

I always want to be writing, but I have no words; I only recently started to understand that maybe that’s okay.

My life is full of so many emotions and ideas and experiences right now and I understand none of it.

One of the main reasons I use writing–and  one of the main reasons I started blogging–is to makes sense of it all. To process and better understand this crazy, complicated, confusing life.

However, I’ve been realizing more and more lately that maybe it doesn’t have to make sense.

Maybe I should just let it happen and see what happens and enjoy the ride.

I’m not done blogging and I’m certainly not done writing.

There is just no room for pondering why right now.

I just want to live instead.

In Which I Consider The Future…and Feelings of Doubt

Moving to a different city without any job security waiting for you is scary. I’m so glad I did it. I feel more at peace about where I am than I have in ages. It’s still scary, though.

I went to brunch with a fellow graduate from my alma mater a couple weeks ago-she recently acquired a job in DC and moved here–and we were sharing stories about our experiences abroad. She had recently studied abroad in Europe and I, of course, am a few months back from Thailand. We started talking about places and the feelings we get from those places–how she enjoyed her time abroad, but how the city she was living in during her study abroad experience just didn’t feel right for her. How she didn’t feel inspired or alive in it. I was able to relate so much with her because that’s exactly how I felt about Thailand. That’s why I moved placements at the beginning of November and why I ultimately left Thailand in the end. While my second and final placement felt more right to me, it still wasn’t enough. While I will always love Minnesota because it’s my home, living there didn’t feel right, either. Now that I’m in DC, I just know this is where I’m supposed to be for the time being. I think places are like books–the best books are the ones that you read at a time in life when you resonate with them most. Likewise, the best places are those that you can resonate with most at a given time. Thailand was a fantastic place for me to travel through at this point in my life–but it wasn’t the right place for me to Continue reading “In Which I Consider The Future…and Feelings of Doubt”

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”

Travel Realizatons–The Value of Putting Money into Experiences

Last March, when I took a road trip to Seattle with two of my best friends from college, we had one simple motto that was our official trip slogan: “Save money, live better.” (I claim no originality for this…we did knowingly borrow said slogan from Walmart)

In many ways, I would say we were successful. We booked a hostel dorm room instead of paying for a more expensive hotel room (and, as a result, met some awesome new friends). Other than a few overly expensive dinners (one of those was an accident due to a misunderstanding between us and our waitress about a nightly special), we kept our food expenditure pretty low. We relied on our feet to walk around the city instead of using up gas. We also took in as many free sites in Seattle as possible–Pike Place Market, the gorgeous waterfront, and the architecturally fabulous Seattle Public Library to name a few.

That said, I left Seattle with an unfinished feeling that I can only now describe–after allowing for time and space and clarity–as lack of satisfaction with my time there. Really, I find myself wondering if we did indeed, live better by saving money the way we did. It’s not that I didn’t have a great time, because I did and I will always cherish the memories with my two college friends there. More so, there was the fundamental feeling that I had missed out on so much of the city because generally speaking, if it cost money, we didn’t do it. In our poor college student minds, this was logical to us. We were still seeing and experiencing a new place, so what Continue reading “Travel Realizatons–The Value of Putting Money into Experiences”

To Be a Traveler

When I first decided to come to Thailand, traveling wasn’t a priority.

I came to Thailand because I’ve always been interested in living abroad for a time and I had recently developed a interest in education.

Sure, I guess I figured I would occasionally go on trips and I had talked with blogger friends who live a reasonable distance from Thailand about potentially visiting them.

That said, I never considered that traveling would ever become a part of my identity.

Than again, there’s so much about Thailand that I never considered would happen–the amazing, life-long friends I’d meet in my TESOL course…how deeply I care about my students and how badly I want them to succeed…how in love I became with this country in such a short amount of time…how I sometimes think about how I’m twenty-two years old and I live and work in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area and holy man, this is the amazing, post-college life I have created for myself. No, I never considered any of that. How could I? When I signed myself up to move to Thailand, I knew I’d learn a lot in the process–but didn’t realize how fundamentally it would change me.

As I move on with my life here, as I become more aware of why I’m here and what I hope to accomplish as an expat, I’m realizing more and more that I do identify a a traveler.

To be a traveler requires a whole different mindset. To be a traveler requires less of a concentration on material goods and more on living and breathing and experiencing. To be a traveler requires an understanding that money is necessary to get from place to place–and that a lot less of it is needed than one might think.

As I look ahead to my two month semester break in March and April, I’m realizing that if I want Continue reading “To Be a Traveler”

Lilly and Grandfather

Lilly looked up at the vast expanse above her head in wonder. Her wandering five year old mind never stopped taking in the world around her. So many questions, always. At her young age, she didn’t know much about the world—but she was always curious, always hoping to discover more.

“The way the world works is very strange,” her grandfather told her once. She was sitting on his lap, quietly taking in words, in his low, gentle voice. A voice that exuded tired determination. He had been in Vietnam and had seen more of humanity in a matter of years than most people wished to see in a lifetime; he was a Vietnam veteran who wondered every day how he had survived while his buddy, his best friend, was blown to pieces right next to him in the Vietnamese rainforest. Yet, despite that daily question, his aging mind was filled with those nuggets of wisdom he had picked up not just because he had survived, but because he had willed Continue reading “Lilly and Grandfather”

Vulnerability

I’m feeling vulnerable right now.

For a lot of reasons, really. I don’t think I can properly explain it all entirely.

I’m feeling vulnerable and I’m going to tell you about it because I hate pretending I’m okay when I’m not and I think, in general, humans are too apt to cover up less-than-cheerful feelings. I think, in general, humans are too afraid to really feel.

Well, I’m feeling a lot right now and I’m not sure I can articulate all of those feels because their
pretty damn complex, but I’m going to make an effort because I’m a writer and this is how I do.


I’m feeling vulnerable because I spent the last hour of work today wiping counters that didn’t need to be wiped and washing dishes that didn’t need to be washed. I didn’t get a single order Continue reading “Vulnerability”

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”

This is a Sappy, Emotional Post about College Friendships

Last night, drunk, emotional Britta cried for what felt like ages–it was probably an hour or so–while her friends sat with her drunkingly giving her pep talks about life.

They were tears of joy, happiness, sadness, anger. I don’t remember the last time I cried that hard for that long. I certainly don’t think I’ve ever experienced so many different emotions while crying.

And my friends were with me the whole time, basically telling me how awesome I Continue reading “This is a Sappy, Emotional Post about College Friendships”