A Good Guy

I try to be as open as possible about my life, my triumphs and my heartaches, my doubts and my beliefs and I am always willing to share matters that are close to my heart. Sharing is usually something that comes quite naturally and without reservation. One thing that I am always hesitant to share about are my romantic relationships. Not because they aren’t a huge part of my life but because I believe there is a sacredness in the intimacy of being in love that  should be protected and tread upon lightly. Not just falling in love but also falling out of love. I will never play the woe-is- me role. I am strong and independent but like anyone with a seemingly tough exterior have a big heart so I love and feel very deeply. I also was raised that if I didn’t have anything nice to say I shouldn’t say it at all. But today, I feel like I have a worthwhile message for girls who are in love, looking for love and especially those who are broken hearted.  

Around the time I started my blog and moved to Thailand I went through an emotional rollercoaster ride due to my relationship with my college boyfriend of five years. If you know me and/or him personally, please be aware that I write this with the utmost respect and delicacy. I also write it with a simple dose of the truth.  Like any relationship we had our ups and downs and for the most part we had a lot of ups but ultimately our lives were headed in different directions and we couldn’t continue to be a unit and go where life wanted to take us. At the time, I dealt with our breakup privately and in a tasteful manner which I still do to this day. I don’t believe airing his dirty laundry is beneficial for anyone. I forgave him on my own terms and took control of my own life, happiness, and destiny. It feels artificial to box it up and tie it with a neat bow because let me assure you, heartbreak is no simple matter. It was actually excruciating, relentless, isolating and persistent. But I can look back now, after I have fallen in love again… the right way… and be grateful for the pain because it lead me to where I am today. Long  before I started any type of relationship I fell in love with myself and how much I have to offer myself, my partner and the world.

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Always NOW

Here’s my weekly “Head Space”. I give you my thoughts in a pretty unrefined manner. I’m not sure who it’s for but writing is my own form of therapy and I truly need it this week.  This week has been a roller coaster for me emotionally. My head space has been very full. But as usual my weekly Friday ritual of sunrise yoga on the beach & joining with a group of like minded people supporting an awesome local mental health awareness organization has reenergized me and left me feeling inspired, invigorated and peaceful. I got painful news this week that my four legged best friend and sibling of 14 years was losing his battle with cancer. My mom told me the news that my precious pup Connery was gone and it hit a tender spot in my heart.

Why do we love our pets so much? Why do humans create such an attachment to their animals that they quite literally are part of the family? Luckily, thanks to the universe, I am currently reading The Power of Now. The Power of Now focuses on the difference between our mind and our Being. It stresses the importance of living in the now because that is physically the only “time” we ever have. It is always Now.

We attach ourselves so strongly to our pets and that love is such a wonderful representation of Being. We can’t chat with our dogs,  ask them about their day, or argue with them over frivolous things. But we form a bond with them, we love their presence and their companionship. They remind us what it is like to be loved and to love unconditionally.  They don’t worry about the past. If you are angry with them for destroying your new shoes or stealing food off the counter, dogs don’t dwell on it. They sulk in sadness because they can feel your anger but a few minutes later they act as if nothing happened and go right back to living in the now. Dogs don’t care what your goals are or if you reached your sales quota for the month. They won’t judge you if you eat ice cream straight out of the tub. They definitely don’t care how expensive your car is or what brand your purse is. Our relationships with our dogs or any pet for that matter, represent all of the best qualities of a loving and pure relationship and a satisfied present life. They depend on you and you depend on them. They can sense when you need love and extra snuggles and they have an uncanny ability to find ways to cheer you up. (Side note:If you are a dog person and you haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein grab a box of tissues and go buy it immediately. It will change the way you look at dogs forever.)

Through this great sadness of losing my dog I gained great clarity as well. I’m not sure why sadness gives me such perspective on life but I have come to realize that I don’t let pain sit long with me. I immediately need to craft it into something more. I use pain to propel me forward and remind me what matters to me, what I need to let go of and what more I can do to help others through pain. “You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep.” The pain of losing my dog coupled with the power of reading this book have pushed me back a few steps and allowed me to take a moment to appreciate what is. When you reflect on your relationship with your dog, the bond you share, and the incredibly genuine and raw sadness you feel to lose that life you are immediately reminded of what matters the most in life. Dogs teach us a lot about life, how to love, how to forgive, how to be fiercely loyal to the ones we love and who treat us right and most importantly, how to live in the moment. As for my sweet puppy, I will love you always Connery Bell. You were an amazing companion and the most polite gentleman puppy brother a girl could ask for. My love and our families bond with you will last forever.  Dogs aren’t thinking about next week, stressful deadlines, or what their friends are doing, they are thinking about what is right in front of them, whether it is food, a squirrel, a treat, or a ball they are chasing…they put their whole heart and attention into that moment. We could all learn a lot from our dogs.

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Kicking off 2016: Dry January

My last post was Christmas Eve, so hello again friends. I hate to sound like a broken record because every time I realize how overdue I am for a blog post I start writing and apologize for my inconsistent nature. I have a personal goal to write SOMETHING every single day but that doesn’t always translate to blog material. Sometimes it is simply thoughts & musings in my planner, rants in the notepad on my iPhone or scribbles on my lesson plans. As I’ve said before I am someone who is very self-aware, both of my strengths and of my weaknesses. Suffering from ADHD gives me an incredible energy and ability to take on loads of projects but it also leads me to bite off more than I can chew. I want to do it all which makes it very hard to do it all well, consistently. This is something I cut myself slack for but when it comes down to it, I know that my behavior and my habits are in my control. My creative mind seeks space to grow, breathe, wonder and wander but my Type A side needs routine, control, and stability. I am an open book when it comes to my shortcomings and I refuse to “accept” things that are within my control as the “way it is”.

This is where the fitness aspect of my life is crucial. After a month of my 60 day exercise challenge and 5am wake up calls for workouts I am feeling motivated, determined, focused, dedicated, empowered, committed, and excited (clearly we have been working on forming adjectives in my ESL classroom this week). Having physical fitness goals and a program to follow gives me the discipline I need in my life. I am very skilled at doing whatever the hell I please. But, I am wise enough to want more. I know I can push myself to be more than average, ordinary, or satisfactory. Fitness reminds me you have to work HARD for what you want. You have to put in the effort on days you feel like it and especially on days you don’t. You have to commit and stay consistent in that commitment to see results. When you are wishy washy in your commitment your results are wishy washy and ordinary. With the start of 2016 I naturally reflected upon my journey through 2015 and how many ups and downs I had. When I bite off more than I can chew I manage to swallow anyway but it is a personal goal of mine to channel my energy into fewer projects this year with MORE mindful focus and intentionality placed on the chosen ones. 2015 has been a year of monumental growth from the inside out. The funny thing about figuring yourself out is you continue to change while doing so and hence, have more to figure out! You must believe you CAN do anything but accept you can’t successfully do everything(I know, I know…but you still wanna try). I know that my anything begins with using my words & sharing my constant journey to a balanced, healthy lifestyle full of adventure & genuine happiness.

I had two incredibly different teaching jobs in 2015, one that was so stressful, emotionally draining and exhausting and one that is currently uplifting, flexible, and my classroom once again feels like a place where I feel my creativity is celebrated. I feel like I am positively influencing my student’s lives every day.  I am happy to go to work every morning. I have also slowly but surely dove into building my own business as a health and fitness coach. This is something I never in a million years imagined I would do but as I progress as an individual I realize that most people don’t turn out to be or do what thought they were going to be. That’s the fun part about life. We don’t know what the future holds but we are surely in control of building ourselves up into the best possible versions of ourselves. Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” As I mature, I realize that when I make myself better I in-turn become better at whatever job or life obstacle is in front of me. The more I encourage others to take risks, take action and live the life of their dreams the more I continue to do it myself.

Accepting that my path is incredibly different than an average American 20-something has given me the power to listen closely my heart and actually TRY different things to find what makes me genuinely happy. The hard part is this process is never ending and at times can feel daunting but I have some truly hysterical people in my life who remind me not to take anything too seriously. It is amazing to me what different people teach you and as a traveler, teacher and coach I am constantly influenced by so many interesting and dynamic individuals.  It is a fascinating world and my favorite way to experience it is through the stories of strangers and new memories with friends.

Between all these goals, plans and dreams for the future I refuse to forget the invaluable moments that are happening right now.

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Simply Straya& Serendipity

It’s been a while but I’m back with a ridiculous surplus of adventures to share from the past two months of my life. I’ve felt more alive in the past two months then I can ever remember. I feel as if I have said that before on my blog but with little fear of redundancy I dare say it again. I must be doing something right if I continue to feel more and more alive with each chapter of my journey. As if moving to Australia wasn’t exciting enough I also stumbled into what still feels like a fairytale right before I left home. There are so many clichés that can make you crazy, especially about love, more specifically about love when you are doing everything in your power to not be tied to anyone or anywhere. But the old cliché that “it always happens when you stop looking for it” has reared its ironic little head into my life. I had no idea who I would find, staggering through Benjamin’s with more wine than blood in my veins, but I couldn’t be happier that I did. Our circumstance seems impossible but as always I am a firm believer that everything works out the way it is supposed to. I am trusting in my gut, the universe, whatever you want to call it and I’m sure everything will fall into place. Thanks to my new partner in crime my last month in America was kicked into overdrive with lots of new friends, good food, long nights, surprises, Coronas and heart to hearts and the grand finale of jumping out of a plane for the first time. We went skydiving the day before I left for Australia and it epitomized how the last month felt; intimidating but extremely exciting, vulnerable but free, anxious but genuinely joyful. I guess it’s most easily explained as serendipity, finding something good without looking for it. And honestly, I still can’t stop smiling.

The next day I hopped in the minivan with my parents, my ridiculously stuffed backpack(s) and boarded the plane with my new traveling partner, and lifetime partner in crime, my older brother Nick. We started off strong by being dropped off at the wrong terminal at JFK. After 27 hours, lots of bickering, and an exploded beard oil can (leading to an extreme drug dog scare at customs) we finally arrived in Australia(or Straya…what we lovingly call it now). We got a shuttle to our hostel in Brisbane, which is the center of the east coast of Australia. We had one night booked at our hostel and absolutely no further plans. I am not exaggerating. We explored the city all day, hit up a street food market and called it an early night. We decided to book another night and wait for the arrival of the final member of the #Wandernuts trio, Jackie, to arrive from Fiji. The owner of the hostel just laughed as we came down to reception the next morning and asked to book another night. He said, “Yeah I planned on coming to Brisbane for a week… 9 years later…” Nick and I looked at each other with an “OH SHIT” kind of glare and #9yearslater became a running joke for the rest of the trip.

It is absolutely mind blowing how many people I have met in Australia in the past month who had no intentions of staying one place or the other but were enticed by the beauty, the freedom and the kindness that saturate every corner of this country. Brisbane served us well and who knows how long we would have been trapped there if it wasn’t for Nick & Jackie’s deadlines to get back to America. If you are visiting Brisbane be sure to check out the XXXX Brewery tour, Koala Sanctuary, rent bikes and tour the riverfront, botanical garden and lagoon. If you are looking for an amazing hostel check out Brisbane City Backpackers, awesome location, sweet set up and the staff was so helpful. The people we met in Brisbane truly made that city come alive. In the blink of an eye, we went from having no plan to having every single day, bus, hostel, ferry and boat trip planned for the next two and a half weeks. Shout out to Jake at Wicked Travel Brisbane, thanks for simplifying our lives and making our holiday experience perfect!

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The Waiting Place

THE WAITING PLACE 

by Dr. Seuss

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.

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I’ve loved Dr. Seuss since I was a young girl. I still do. I am fascinated by his ability to take imperative life lessons and weave them seamlessly and creatively into timeless children’s books. Hindsight is an incredible force and it is definitely one that is relied upon too heavily in our society. Why do we wait until people or experiences are gone to grasp their value? How many times have you heard the saying, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” There is a lot of proven psychology behind the fact that we want what we can’t have. Pauline Wallin, Ph.D. summarized the three main factors as heightened attention, perceived scarcity and psychological reactance. Simply stated, we focus more on things we know we can’t have especially when we think there isn’t enough to go around and even more so if someone tells us we can’t have it. Human beings are creatures of habit whether we like to admit it or not. We complain about people, careers, parents, living situations but undoubtedly miss them when they are gone. When we look back, we realize it really wasn’t that bad and we see the memory with the rose colored lens of hindsight. Nostalgia has a funny way of making people funnier, food more delicious, weather more intense and good times more exciting. How do we transfer the power of nostalgia into right now? How do we actively appreciate life and the world around us each and every day? How do we escape the waiting place?

Once again, this is why I turn to writing. This is why I wish more people would turn to writing. When you force yourself to reflect about your circumstance 9/10 you reflect upon the good aspects of your life instead of the negative things. You can also find solace and strength for getting through situations that are undeniably difficult. It may not be the answer for everyone, but time and time again it proves to work for me. Now that I have finished my long-term substitute teaching position in the inner city and I am not in the day-to-day grind of feeling exhausted, under appreciated and down right depressed; I have gained hindsight and perspective. I knew that I would feel this way because I took the time to reflect and to look at it through the bigger picture while I was immersed in it. When it became too much to swallow, I realized I hadn’t taken the time to reflect and release with my words. Now I am blessed with the time to do so before I embark on my next exhilarating journey.

As a society and a generation, we are loosing the ability to look at situations through a broader scope and focus on the means to an end. I wanted to move to Australia and pursue my travels so that teaching opportunity was the most logical stepping-stone to get me there. It was hard, it was stressful, I cried a lot, but I got experience in a demographic I never thought I would and I touched the lives of young people who need more than anything a positive role model to believe in them. I had no idea I would ever teach that age level or outside of my certification area, but usually the best lessons I learned when we embrace uncertainty instead of running away from it.

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Cheers, No worries. Cheers, No worries.

After Bali we jumped on a plane and headed to Australia. Once again I was in complete awe that this was not just a dream destination in the far off “future” but a plausible real experience happening….right now. After a whirlwind journey, a layover in Malaysia with some exceptional red velvet cake in the airport, a trip to duty free for some essentials (two bottles of Absolut) we finally arrived in Sydney. Due to a change in plans Jackie and I were using her parents timeshare and staying at the Marriott in Circular Quay, which is the tourist heart of Sydney with a two minute walk to the Sydney Harbor, Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge. Every restaurant, bar or activity we needed was either a short ferry ride away or within walking distance. Within minutes of being in Sydney we realized it was happy hour and we were starving, obviously this needed to be taken care of. It felt so weird to be a country with predominately white people, the signs were in English, and it was so clean I could eat my dinner off the sidewalk. Not to mention, there were so many attractive young men in business suits Jackie and I thought we may have to cut the trip short due to a heart attack. We met a group of people whose office building was close by and they came to this place often for happy hour. They gave us tons of advice about Sydney, Australia, and we enjoyed many laughs and cocktails. We were very grateful for their hospitality and they put a great taste in our mouth for Australia. The next five days in Sydney were a whirlwind of beautiful beaches, incredible food, extremely friendly people, picture perfect waterfront towns and one of the most badass cities I’ve ever encountered. I could seriously go on forever so I’ll stick to the highlights.

Walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach – Favorite part of Sydney! This also included the unique art exhibit Sculptures by the Sea. This was one of the most breathtaking 5 kilometers I have ever experienced. There are about 6-7 separate beaches along this ocean front path and each one was unique. Some had huge sand beaches, others were covered with rocks and cliffs. Each one was worth lingering on and as Jackie and I walked we talked about the world, our lives, our travels, just our average heart to hearts except in one of the prettiest locations ever.
Tarango Zoo– We got our fix of koala bears, kangaroos, wombats, crazy reptiles and our favorite the giraffes. Not only was this an awesome zoo it also overlooked Sydney Harbor giving the animals one of the best views of the city. Worth the trip.
Manly– A little neighborhood a short ferry ride away from the Circular Quay. Perfect water and beaches and you instantly feel like you are a in a suburb you could raise three kids, drive your Mommy Lexus and go to the Farmer’s Market on Sundays. We wandered through the streets picturing our future lives and landed at Little Manly, a picture perfect beach with about 5 other people on it.
Watson’s Bay– A ritzy suburb with a similar feel to Manly just add a few zeros to the residents bank account. We enjoyed an awesome brunch at the Dunbar House and soaked up the sunshine, despite the frigid wind.
Darling Harbour– Cute area with tons of restaurants, bars, shopping, the aquarium, animal center and various other tourist attractions. Jackie and I decided to post up at a waterfront beer garden and enjoy some of the famous hard cider and specialty beers.
Sydney Sky Tower– Sydney’s tallest structure (1,014 feet) with an awesome view of the city. Worth the trip! Wish we could have done the Sky Walk!
Pitt Street Mall– Adorable outdoor shopping mall that has everything a 20 something female could possibly desire, including handsome Australian man singing acoustic live music while you shop.

Overall, we did an awesome job playing tourist in Sydney. We brought flashpackin’ to a whole new level and I’ll never forget the question, “So you’re backpacking that’s cool…where are you staying?” “The Marriott”….. Shoutout to Pie Face for saving our stomachs and our budgets and all of the very generous Australian fellows who provided us those 12 dollar cocktails that we clearly couldn’t afford. I am awed by the friendly culture, cleanliness and overall badness of Sydney and I can’t wait to visit again. Then our trip led us to the other powerhouse city, Melbourne. We quickly found out from our Aussie friends before we even got to Australian there is a serious rivalry between the two cities. I am not sure how uniform this sentiment is across the Australian population, but in my own personal experience, you either love one or the other. It’s kind of like the New York/LA debate but on steroids with a tinge more animosity. Jackie and I were excited to experience both cities and form our own opinions.

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Bali Livin: Footloose and Fancy-free

As an American when I thought about Bali, it seemed like a far off distant Neverland that could only be dreamed about or pinned on Pinterest. When I moved to Thailand I truly had no idea that I would explore South East Asia so much while I was there. I quickly realized that I absolutely had to take advantage of being on this side of the world therefore any chance I got to explore a new country I took. After many separate groups of teacher friends made their way to Bali after our first semester in Thailand, I knew I had to make it happen. Just like that Jackie, Maggie and I booked our flights and convinced our friend Brittaney to come along with us. (Not that it took much convincing). We got tons of advice from friends which made planning our trip relatively easy. We also agreed to remain extremely flexible in our plans by only booking our first hotel. We started our Bali adventure in Ubud, which is north of the airport near the center of the island. Ubud is known for its rice fields and amazing scenery. I will tell you a little secret…Ubud is the best kept secret of BalI! We expected to spend a night or two, do some outdoorsy stuff and then head straight for the beaches. We were absolutely captivated by this town the moment we stepped foot in it. It was so quaint and interesting, with brick sidewalks and tree lined streets full of shops, cafes, spas and art galleries. There was a huge cultural influence woven into the streets due to the temples and ancient architecture still standing but converted into hotels, businesses and restaurants. It was a whirlwind experience and we ended up staying a few extra nights to soak up as much Indonesian culture as we could. Must sees if you are traveling to Ubud:

Monkey Forest– A short walk from the action of downtown Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and temple swarming with wild monkeys. They can be vicious (one bit Jackie & stole her sunscreen from her bag) or they can be very loving (at least 3 climbed on my head and gave me high fives). I think it just depends on the monkey vibes you give off. Clearly, there has to be part monkey in me somewhere.

 Sunrise at Mt. Batur– We woke up at 2 am and took a painfully winding ride to the bottom of the active volcano Mt. Batur. We proceeded to hike 1,716 meters up this volcano in the freezing cold and pitch black. Maggie was the ultimate trooper and completed the hike in FLIP FLOPS! On top of the volcano watching the sunrise above the fog is one of the most vivid memories I have of the trip. I felt like I was on top of the world. The hike down the volcano slowly brought us back to reality but that is the way things go with traveling, you gotta take the good with the bad.

A Coffee Plantation– Bali is known for its coffee and this made me ecstatic after suffering for a year with instant coffee in Thailand. We got the chance to visit a coffee plantation and taste test about 10 different types of coffees and teas. The most famous coffee was called Luwak Coffee. It is made by feeding the coffee beans to an animal, a Lombak, and waiting for them to poop it out. The bean ferments in their stomach and then it is roasted normally. It is casually referred to as “Shit coffee”. Jackie and I had to try a cup and it was honestly delicious. Good luck finding some in the states because it supposedly costs 50$ a cup!

Authentic Scenery- We had so many friendly tour guides/cab drivers who took us on excursions off the beaten path. It was incredible to explore the rice fields and secluded neighborhoods of Indonesia. I can picture the narrow roads in my head and I hear the ONE Indonesian song playing…that lasted about 25 minutes….and was on every time we got into a car. Nonetheless, it was magical scenery and so different than what you picture when you hear “Bali”.

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Great Expectations

I apologize for disappearing but I am here and ready to get you all back up to date with my crazy life. I am now back in America sitting in my bed at my parents’ house in Syracuse, NY shivering under 3 blankets. It is 28 degrees and snowing outside. In the past two months I have been in four countries, countless cities and have sucked more out of life than some people will for the entirety of their existence. I wrote this piece before I set out on my month long trip. To be honest, I had no intentions of including it in my blog, it was more for personal reflection, but it does an uncanny job at introducing the past two months of my life and a trip I will remember forever. I am going to try to condense the trip into three blog posts but we will see what it turns out to be. One of my quirks as a writer is that I go in completely blind as to what I want to say and simply let my thoughts guide me. But that is also what I attribute my authentic voice to… I have tried to fight it but ultimately it’s what works for me. Enjoy these expectations and stay tuned for the rest of the stories to come!

Expectations for The Finale Trip

Before I moved to Thailand I read a girl’s blog who lived and taught here and one of her biggest pieces of advice was “to not have any expectations of what your experience will be like because you will most definitely be wrong.” I took this sentiment to heart and shared it with Jackie and we adopted it as our motto jumping into the experience without expectations. My friend who started teaching here this semester shared with me an idea given to him by his aunt. She told him to write down his expectations and hopes for his experience before he left for Thailand so he could have them to look back at once he was finished. She wanted him to realize how different his expectations would be from his reality. Looking back on how much my life has changed in the past year and how “normal” life in Thailand feels today, I wish that I recorded my expectations. Not because they would be right but instead to see how WRONG they would be. I decided that it isn’t to late to use this technique both for my final backpacking trip and for my adjustment back into American culture and life. I won’t be disappointed if I am “wrong” because I know that the reality will be even better than what I can imagine. It is wonderful that my life seems to work out that way and I accredit it to using my knowledge of the law of attraction, a positive attitude and bringing kindness with me everywhere I go.

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Alice in Wonderland

This post is dated October 7, 2014. I just realized I never posted it and it was only saved as a draft. To keep the chronological story pieced together I decided to post it anyway. Plus, these pictures are too amazing to miss out on! Enjoy & look for a lot of retroactive posts to come in the next week!

This is my last full week living and working in Thailand. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. This week we have to work Monday- Sunday judging our students final projects and helping them practice for their presentations for the competition this weekend. We also have to pack ALL of our lives in two suitcases and a backpack BUT the week culminates with a month long trip to Bali, Australia and Ko Phi Phi so it is hard to complain.
Our last weekend living in Thailand was one of the best yet. We were invited by our coworkers and Thai friends to go on a trip to the Central/Northern province of Petchabun. We stayed at our coworkers family resort nestled in the picturesque mountains. We had an amazing weekend full of TONS of Thai food, incredible views, lots of laughs and tons of photos. On Sunday we visited arguably the most beautiful place I have ever seen…anywhere. A massive temple called Wat Pha Sorn Kaew nestled in the mountains. We hired a van for the weekend and he took us up and down winding roads for about an hour.
When we finally reached the destination Jackie & I had to put on canvas wraps because our shorts/dresses were too short. Once we reached the steps of the temple, our jaws were dropped for the remainder of the visit. Every square inch of the steps, walls and temple was covered in gorgeous mosaic glass that was so vibrant and colorful. Every nook and cranny was covered and so intricate. We climbed each stair case snapping photos and “ohing and ahing”. Not only was the temple magnificent but the views were even more stunning. The mountains looked as if they lasted forever. The temple was built 10 years ago but it is very much a part of the “Unseen Thailand” category because it’s not often visited by foreign tourists or travelers. The architecture and design of the temple was very Gaudy-esque and definitely not the traditional Thai style.

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Contagious Enthusiasm

After an exciting weekend with two amazing ladies and friends from a place so near to my heart, Syracuse, NY (my hometown) I am left with lots of inspiration, new memories and a rejuvenated feeling in my heart. I discovered a while ago through social media that Hannah and Hannah would be traveling in South East Asia and specifically Thailand. Although I hadn’t seen or talked to them in years I knew that I had to reach out to them! Luckily, the universe aligned and they were able to come visit me within the first week of their three-month trip through South East Asia. As soon as they arrived at my apartment we began talking; swapping travel stories, reminiscing, getting in extremely intense conversations about life, love, adventure, YOU NAME IT!
We had a jammed packed weekend in my town Suphanburi; including attending a Suphanburi FC match, lots of delicious Thai food, a trip to the Samchuk 100 years Market, a visit to my school and did I mention delicious Thai food! The past few weeks have been filled with lots of Suphanburi activities! It actually feels like my home now, not just a town I am teaching in. We attended two Suphan FC matches which are the closest thing we are going to get to a college game day or professional NFL or MLB game here in Thailand. Our town lives and breathes for Suphan FC! We even bought our own jerseys so we could officially represent! We have had tons of activities going on at school and I have kept busy teaching my 7th and 9th graders. Every day guarantees at least one surprise! My kids keep me on my toes, make me laugh, frustrate me and most importantly remind me why I moved here in the first place.
It is a true blessing to wake up everyday and love what you do and I actively remind myself of that. The day I posted my blog about gratitude happened to be the day before a very important day at our school; the Wai Kru ceremony. It is a special day dedicated to students thanking their teachers for all of their hard work. They have a ceremony where they sing many songs and chants and wai out of respect for their teachers. They also present the teachers with extremely elaborate flower arrangements that they make themselves. I will let the pictures speak for themselves because these arrangements were truly works of art. I continue to feel lucky for how appreciated I feel each and every day. It is something that never will get old.

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