Tag Archives: growth

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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The Key to New Joys

Week one of teaching is officially in the books. How crazy? I swear I was boarding that early AM flight just a few days ago.

What a wonderful week it’s been! The kids are so fun, the Thai teachers are welcoming, and I definitely get my 10k Fitbit steps everyday running from class to class.

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(Teaching day one!)

I have 32 different classes with a range of proficiencies. For the most part, it’s been smooth sailing. I’ve been having a blast making the kids laugh with my singing of Justin Bieber songs. And I love seeing their wheels in motion as I watch vocabulary and conversation click. It’s such a good feeling. Sure, I have to repeat myself a million times and it’s extremely challenging to talk over a 45 student class, but I really am loving it!

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(Ellie, Lisa, and myself at Railay)

I am beyond thankful to have my friends, Lisa and Ellie, in my school. We have quite a bit of fun laughing about our confusion and the communication barrier together. It’s made the transition so much easier and more enjoyable. Having people to share my meals, enjoy a good laugh, and walk to 7/11 for snack with is more than I could have ever hoped for on this crazy adventure. It’s the little things, I tell ya.

Because we’re the only foreigners in our small town, it’s all eyes on us all the time. The students are always saying hello, waving, and waiing (a bow of respect.) While this place is so different than the US and Minnesota, it’s comforting to see smiles and hear sa wat dee’s (hellos) from almost everyone we pass. The people here are so unbelievably friendly, it’s amazing.

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(Railay Beach)

I spent this last weekend in Ao Nang,  a cute beach town and a tourist hot spot. It was a blast. We met new people from around the world, saw beautiful sights, and got our fix of western food (I love you, pizza.) It was an all-around fantastic weekend. Lisa, Ellie, and I all agreed that it exceeded our expectations by far. But Sunday came and it was time to get home.

Home.

Home for me is 8,554 miles away. Home is a little, stucco house with round garage doors. Home for me is the family and friends that I talk to and miss everyday I’m away.

But now home is also my little hotel room at the PN Mansion (just a hotel, not an actual mansion–don’t worry) in Ao Luek, Thailand. Home is my fellow teachers turned friends. Home is Ao Luek Prachasan School.

It’s only been a little over a week since the farang (foreigners) moved to town, but I’m already feeling fairly settled. And it’s such a good feeling to have.

I still can’t understand a word people say around me, read most menus, or get used to the constant heat, but I’m establishing a routine, finding my favorite spots, and truly unpacking my (growing) piles of belongings.

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(Exploring our neighboring Thanbok Khoranee National Park)

Before I left, my beautiful friends gave me 56 letters to read throughout my time here. Special days, sad days, when I need a hug but can’t get one. You name it, there’s a letter for it–seriously, everything. They even got my family in on it. I’ve been slow to opening these letters because I’m trying to hold out for when I really need them most.

Sunday, however, seemed like a good time for one. “Open When You Move to Your New ‘Home.'”

The card reads, “May the key that opens your front door be more than that to you… may it be the key to brand new joys.”

Thailand has been exactly that “key.”

I’m missing everyone, fall, cheese, my bed… I won’t bore you with the rest. But I know this is where I’m supposed to be right now. XploreAsia has this saying, “you might not get what you want, but you’ll get what you need.”

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(My first sunset in the new apartment)

And it’s too true. No situation is perfect, but it, in some way, will enhance your life (or at least give you a good story.) At the end of the day, we are better people for the lessons we’ve learned, regardless of whether or not it was what you were hoping for.

I’m finding what I need here: Clarity, challenge, excitement, beauty, knowledge.

Let the journey continue.

XOXO

For more consistent updates and pictures follow me on Instagram! mts25

My, Myself, and Thai

If you know me at all, it comes at no surprise that I find myself packing my bags and printing boarding passes.

The past year has been an interesting one. Graduating college. Moving home. Starting full-time. And feeling completely passion-less.

My busy, exciting, and social college life was gone, and I found myself horribly comfortable. It seems like an odd way to describe comfort. And it is. I am never one to deny comfort. Comfy clothes, evenings on the couch, sleeping in; I love it all. But to say that my entire life was comfortable, and not seeing an end to that, was terrifying.

I knew it was time for a change: a new job, a new place, a new passion, a new path. Anything. Everything.

img_1730Here’s what I’ve realized in the past year and half since graduation, something they don’t tell you when they hand you your diploma: There is no set path that you have to take with your life. There is no need to compare yourself to your classmates, peers, or coworkers. There is no one else you have to answer to besides yourself and God.

I was doing what I thought I should be doing for a 23 year old, but I wasn’t doing any of it for myself. I got comfortable and bored and completely scared to make a move.

So here I am, once again, packing my bags and printing my boarding passes. But this time is different. I’m not doing it because everyone else is or because it’s the next logical step on a timeline. I’m going to make a difference. To learn. To experience something new. To cross things off the bucket list. To figure out the future, my future. And to figure out myself.

We think we have forever to take chance, but the truth is that we only have today. So why sit and be comfortable when you can be scared, excited, happy, sad, confused, amazed, and hopeful? It’s time to stop comparing and time to start growing.

Here’s to new adventures and working on me, myself, and Thai (lots and lots of Thai.)