I don’t always know what I want to write about. It’s actually pretty hard to figure that out. I am not a very structured person and I also prefer to go with the flow especially when it comes to journaling. Instead, I usually wait for something to inspire me or a special moment that I never want to forget to get my so called “creative juices” flowing. The second I try to force myself to write I get hit with a solid 500 lbs of writers block. However, when those temporary moments of stagnation subside I write without hesitation and more importantly from the heart. I have never cared about others opinions when it comes to my writing. To me it is a special outlet that allows me to share my interests and commonalities with other like-minded individuals. It is both therapeutic and comforting.
In relation, my epic journey in Thailand is coming to a quick end. Nothing about this experience has been easy for me. Everyday for the past 7 months has brought some sort of challenge my way (especially in the beginning). Being able to share my roller-coaster of emotions through my blog has helped me in more ways than many people could ever begin to imagine. I did not blog about my experience even half as much as I anticipated on but nevertheless I am happy with those moments that I did. Now that my semester of teaching is coming to an end you could say that I am inspired to reflect on everything that I have learned while living abroad. Enjoy.
8 major life lessons learned in Thailand:
- Kids are crazy and its a good thing. I have always loved kids but I never realized how much until becoming a teacher. Their energy is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Having to deal with 21 little hyperactive humans makes you sometimes want to run screaming for the hills or just hide in a nice quiet room away from all of the chaos. However, sure enough you start to enjoy their craziness. After all, they are just being kids, and it has been a nice little reminder that deep inside of my heart lies a little kid also. I am going to miss my students more than I ever thought possible. I am going to miss the endless hugs, nose nuzzles, laughing and I love yous. At this age kids are so impressionable and its important to remember that as adults we shape them for the future. It is our responsibility to teach them good ethics and to think with an open mind. If we expect to see a continuous progress in our society it starts with these little ones. I have seen them grow immensely in the last several months and I only wish I could continue to watch them grow. My sweet, adorable babies.
- You do not need to speak to someone to have a relationship with them. My co-teacher Am is an adorable Thai woman who is the same age as me. She is an absolute sweetheart who I will remember always because of her kind and gentle nature. Am cannot speak a stitch of English but we have a fantastic friendship. We communicate through charades, translators and laughing and surprisingly that is more than enough. Whether she knows it or not, Am made my teaching experience just as special as my students have. My students have had nothing but respect for me and I know that Am played a role in making sure of nothing less. I will miss you Am.
- Cockroaches are vile creatures and are EVERYWHERE in T-land. You would think after 7 months of living with these disgusting insects I would be able to man up and conquer my irrational fear. Nope. Not even close. After several encounters, broom beat downs, endless sprays and inhalation of poisonous bug spray in enclosed spaces I am absolutely terrified and traumatized by them. I am not exaggerating when I say that I wake up every night to do a spot check to make sure there are none running rampant in my apartment (I have called Mike in the middle of the night freaking out because this has happened)… Just the thought alone of these things gives me the heebie jeebies. Goodbye repulsive creatures of the night. I shall NEVER miss you.
- Living abroad takes a freaking toll on the bod. Of course this would depend on ones immune system and the country of residence. However, I can say with confidence that since moving to Thailand in July 2015, I have experienced 1 ear infection so bad that my ear drums were torn, 3 cases of the stomach flu, 2 cases of food poisoning, 3 terrible colds that I am sure were bronchitis and various common colds almost every other week and multiple moments with an upset stomach (Thai tummy). I never thought that my body would go through so much in such a short period of time lmao. It has been brutal. Working with kids has definitely played a major factor in all of this. Kids are dirty little buggers who get messy, pick their noses, eat things off the ground, cough on you and decide you’re sleeve is good alternative to a tissue. In addition to my germ-filled babies, the health and safety standards concerning food here are almost non-existent, thus it is pretty normal to wind up with some kind of food poisoning or upset stomach. Despite all of the ailments experienced I somehow manage to laugh about all of it. In a way you just get used to being sick all the time haha.
- My addiction to travel has gotten significantly bigger. I thought that this experience would relieve some of the nagging wanderlust I feel regularly. Instead it has accomplished the exact opposite. My urge to travel is stronger than ever and it scares me. There is something about living abroad that is insanely liberating and addicting. When I first got here I was so freaked out by culture shock that I almost bought a plane ticket home after only a month. Little did anyone know, I was an emotional disaster crying almost everyday that I would not be able to continue on further with teaching. However, with a lot of prayer, support from important people and blogging I got over those hardships. Now 7 months later, I am scared to death of moving back home. I have learned to live outside of my comfort zone and I LOVE it. For those of you who don’t know, reverse culture shock is a thing and I am almost positive that I will experience it once I get back home. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to be with my amazing boyfriend, friends and family again but I am terrified of getting back to the same old routine. Living abroad has been anything but routine and has been full of surprises and spontaneous moments that I will never experience back home. I will hold these moments dear to my heart for a lifetime.
- Thailand is money well spent and I now have a sick obsession with 7/11. I have had the honour of experiencing such a beautiful culture, kind people, beautiful scenery and endless outdoorsy activities. The plane ticket here is expensive but the country is affordable for even those on the smallest budget. What a fantastic place to travel. There really is something for everyone here and an adventure to be found just about anywhere. The party scene is unlike anything I have ever witnessed or been a part of for that matter hahaha. The beaches are the most beautiful and the wildlife is incredible. In addition, I have learned that I have an unhealthy obsession with 7/11. Most of my paycheques probably go here. The freaking store is everywhere, has almost everything you need and has basically fulfilled my western cravings for the duration of my time living in Banphai. Damn it, I am going to miss eating a Toasty every morning. Anyways, I highly recommend Thailand to anyone. It is life-changing.
- I have made lifelong friends around the WORLD. How awesome is that?! I have met so many amazing people since living in Thailand and I will forever love those who have made my time here incredible. The connection I have made with many of you has been surreal. Especially my Suchaya House roomies, I feel like I have known you ladies forever. Also, a shout out to my Banphai girls who have kept me sane over the duration of this semester as well as last. It is the coolest feeling to know that I have great friends now all over the globe. Obviously, once I return to Canada casual hang-outs will be almost non-existent but with today’s technology I have no doubt that many of us will stay in touch and hopefully have a reunion sometime in the near future. Good luck to everyone wherever life may lead you. ❤
- I have a huge appreciation for immigrants back home. My small glimpse of what it is like to be an immigrant has filled me with nothing but admiration for anyone who is brave enough to move to another country permanently. It is scary, intimidating, frustrating and just overall emotional. With such an intense communication barrier even the simplest of tasks can become practically impossible to do. I myself have avoided going into certain restaurants and stores simply because I am too shy or embarrassed because I cannot speak Thai. However, in this wonderful country there is no shortage of sweet people here who are more than willing to try and help you out despite these barriers. If I have learned anything, it has been patience and acceptance.
Just thinking about my time ending in Thailand is making me emotional. However, I know with certainty that my future holds many more incredible experiences. Although I may never have the chance to live abroad again I will never stop traveling. Travel is my life and I know that now. In exactly 11 days Mike is coming to Thailand. This will be my very first time seeing him after a very long and agonizing 7 months. Before I left a lot of people questioned our relationship and whether or not we would be able to withstand the long-distance. Without hesitation I can say that we killed it! Mike and I never even thought twice about it being an issue. We both knew that we would do amazing and we did. So on to my next journey. In 3 weeks, Mike and I will be traveling around South East Asia for approximately two months, island hopping and all that crazy fun stuff. I cannot wait and could not choose a better travel buddy!
Thailand it’s been a slice! You will always be a second home to me.
“Traveling- It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”-Ibn Battuta