Tag Archives: acceptance

The Trouble with Time

Time has this funny way of inching by at the speed of light. It’s ironic, really. One second you’re longing for the never-ending week to reach Friday and the next you’re realizing that an entire 6 months have passed.

My time abroad has been no exception to this oxymoron.

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September, tearful goodbyes, boarding the plane alone, and arriving to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok wasn’t that long ago. In one sense it seems like it was only last week that I was working on my TESOL certification with 100 friends from across the world. Getting a grasp on lesson plans and learning more about my new found friends was only yesterday.

And yet at the same time I feel like I’ve been gone forever. My routine and familiarities at home aren’t at the forefront of my mind anymore. I’m no longer walking to the driver’s seat instead of the passenger’s. I’m not overwhelmed when I’m surrounded by conversations I can’t understand. And I’m no stranger to the many differences between eastern and western culture. (Time is so crazy that since writing this post, I’ve already managed to settle into my new routine in Australia.)

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This isn’t to say that I fully adjusted to life in Southeast Asia–I’m far, far from that still. I certainly haven’t adjusted to the crazy heat of winters or the rice diet. And I never go a day without missing my people at home.

Instead, what I’m trying to articulate is that as daunting as a year sounds, it’s really only a year. And it’s stunning how quickly it can slip by without you realizing.

Some days I can’t wait for my head to hit the pillow and other days I’m afraid that when I go to sleep I’ll wake up and be 80 years old.

Time is an extremely, sometimes frustrating and agonizing, beautiful and meaningful gift when you consider the memories, experiences, and friendships that can be made during our short and long time here on earth.

Whether it’s just one more day or another 100 years, we should embrace our time. Don’t sit at a job you don’t like. Don’t spend time with people who don’t make you a better person. Don’t feel bad for not following someone else’s plan. Your time and their time are two very different things.

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Most importantly: don’t let the time you think you have get away from you, because we never truly know when the clock will run out.

I like to think that I’ve got a lot left, but if tomorrow I do wake up as an 80 year old woman, I know I’ll be able to look back and smile. And for that–ironies, challenges, the good, the bad, the ugly–I’m grateful.

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People are People

I try to keep my political posts to a minimum, but lately I’ve found that nearly impossible. I have a few things to say.

I am currently a minority. I live in a foreign country. I am a visa holder. I teach Muslim students. I teach Buddhist students. I work with Muslim teachers. I work with Buddhist teachers. I am neither Muslim nor Buddhist.

What have I learned from this?

Something I’ve know forever that has only been reaffirmed more strongly than ever:

People are people.

Sure, these people are different from me. We don’t believe in the same god, we don’t speak the same language, and we have very different cultures and traditions. But here’s the thing: that does not make me better or worse. It does not make them better or worse.

I’ve been blessed by the kindness of these people who differ so much from myself. They have welcomed me with all the English they know as I fumbled through even the most basic Thai. They have given me tips and tricks, making it easier to adjust to my move across the world. They have invited me to activities outside of school. They have shared dinners with me. And they have shared countless laughs and smiles–usually about trying to understand our differences.

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These have been some of the kindest people I have ever met in my well-traveled life. And I think that’s really saying something.

Reading the news lately has been painful. I’ve been offended, disgusted, and so confused. To assume that we can define millions of people because they share one common factor is not fair. Deep down, regardless of differences, we are all composed of the same parts. We all have something special to bring to the table. 

Whether you lean right or left, like elephants or donkeys, voted Donald or Hillary, all I ask is that you remember one thing:

People are people. Always have been. Always will be. 

Whether you are white, black, brown, yellow, man, woman, transgender, gay, straight, old, young, rich, poor… whatever… remind yourself that America was founded on differences.

We should continue to respect and embrace that.

The end.

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