Kindness is…

It’s been challenging to look at my timeline this past week. Every single post, in some way, seems to be related to the election. And so many of these posts are fearful–for the wellbeing of themselves and others.

What a sad, sad feeling. Fear.

I won’t make this a political post, because we have far enough.

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Instead, I want to talk about kindness. Because believe me, there is SO much of it out there in the world.

Before I left, people were filled with questions about how I was going to survive this new experience. How was I going to communicate in a language when I only knew “hello” and “thank you?” How was I going to navigate a country where I couldn’t comprehend the signs? Wouldn’t I be lonely? Wouldn’t I be scared?

While I face many challenges here, I am greeted with many more opportunities. Opportunities to learn something new, find a friend in someone I wouldn’t normally, and share smiles with people who understand nothing I say (and vice versa.)

The most daunting part of my initial descent was my layover in Taipei. Solo. I found kindness in two Americans familiar with the airport and happy to bring me directly to my new gate for the next leg of my journey.

I found kindness in the girl I sat next to on the plane to Bangkok (hey, Lisa.) We both shared our excitement and our fear in the new adventure that lie ahead. There was comfort and relief.

My first full day in my new country, just so happened to be my birthday. It’s strange to be away from family and friends on days of celebration, so I wasn’t expecting much. I honestly forgot about 24 for the majority of the day. I explored Bangkok with a group of 8 girls from around the US and UK. We spent the day snapping pics, laughing at how sweaty we were, and sharing confusion over what the hell we were doing. I was overwhelmed with kindness when they surprised me with dessert and a happy birthday chorus of 20 strangers. A day that I didn’t think would mean much, turned into one of the absolute best and most memorable birthdays ever because of their kindness. Thank you to the great eight! ❤

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Kindness lives in my Hua Hin roommate (shoutout to Eileeny!) Every time I forgot something or needed to vent, the girl had my back.

My TESOL training Blue Group overwhelmed me with kindness. These people bore their hearts and souls to one another without judgement. We helped to motivate each other and keep our heads up when the going got tough. We leaned on each other physically and mentally after long and hot days of presentations in the classroom. We persevered because of mutual respect, determination, and, of course, kindness.

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My Thai teachers do their best to translate and explain what’s happening when they see my bewildered expressions. They tell us what to do so that we’re not clueless. They tell the kids to shut up so that we can be the fun teachers. They make us laugh. They invite us to son’s weddings. They drive you to the pharmacy after they see you blowing your nose. They offer rides and food constantly. They make 8,690 miles away from home feel a little less far.  Kindness.

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It is the man from the convenient store next to your apartment who flags down the last bus leaving town for your weekend away.

It is the 2,500 plus children who smile, wave, waii, and say hello every single time we cross paths, in school or out.

It is the smile of strangers who try their best to understand your questions.

It is the smile of strangers who you simply pass on the street.

It is the people who I didn’t know existed two months ago and will now be friends for life.

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So how do I survive, you ask? It’s easy. I survive (and thrive) because I am surrounded by beautiful, wonderful, smart, funny, and kind people. And you are too. Promise. 

While the world might seem a bit dark right now, be reminded that there is so much light. Big and small. Near and far. 

If we continue to show our love for people, similar or different, that kindness can grow.

May your heart be happy. Your worries light. And your arms open to accept it all.

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Looking to take a leap and find kindness across the globe? Check out XploreAsia for amazing opportunities.

For more consistent updates on my adventures, follow me on Instagram. mts25

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