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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The Little Things

“Our deeds still travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are.”- G. Eliot

 “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”-M. Buber

 “If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing you may find you’re missing all the rest”- DMB

 “ The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.”-Euripides

I believe the best writers find comfort in words, whether they are their own words or someone else’s. The best writers can acknowledge the process and the product and allow for both to inspire them.  I felt drawn to these quotes today and admit that they simply and eloquently depict the image I hope to convey with my post.  Hats off to these writers!

Slowly but surely, I am adjusting to my new life in Thailand.  I am quickly forming routines, local restaurants and coffee shops I frequent, and new friends. Teaching is beginning to dictate my bedtime and it feels good to form a “normal” schedule.  Then… some moments I look around and it hits me “Holy shit… I live in Thailand.” Since my last post I have explored around my town of Suphanburi and found new cafes, bars, friends, swimming pools that I plan to visit again and again. Despite the urge to travel to a new city or place every single weekend; it feels nice to plant some temporary roots and embrace the city I will call home for the next year.

Today I received a package from my parents with various necessities I requested. Just seeing the note with my mom’s handwriting on it made my heart smile. When I describe my feelings, I never want to be cliché, but I have started to see the true power and authenticity of certain cliché sayings in a new light. “It’s the little things.” We have all heard that phrase a million times, but being a foreigner on the other side of the world teaches you this cliché in an elevated manner. It’s the little things you miss about home, about loved ones, about “normal” life but it is also the little things about my new surroundings that excite me, challenge me and inspire me.  I appreciate the people in my life and the luxuries that I took for granted every day, like internet (especially WIFI), cable, menus in English, toilet paper, hand dryers, and the ease of everyday communication. But I also appreciate the respect I receive here, the flowers I got to welcome me to my school, the laid back lifestyle and the incredible generosity of strangers.

When everything is different, it forces you to grow, to adapt, to change but it also leaves you craving the familiar and reminiscing about places, people and memories that you love. Each day is a spastic balance of soaking up the adventure, living in the moment and missing friends, family, and especially my boyfriend. I hope each of you know how much you are on my mind, even though we can’t talk as much as I would like. To truly find ourselves, we can’t cling to the familiar. We must trust in those we love and remember they will love us just the same, whether we are near or far. I have learned to embrace the roller coaster of emotions that run through me in a given day. They are there for a reason and to truly live, we must feel. It doesn’t matter if it is cheerful, gloomy, frustrated, scared, amazed, nostalgic, angry, excited or goofy. If we are feeling…we are living.

Luckily, I have the stability of teaching to keep me level headed. Jackie and I have discussed how the place that we feel the most at “home” is at our school. Teaching, learning, laughing, thinking, writing lesson plans, and grading; these are all familiar to us. The students in Thailand (as a whole) are much different than any students I had in America. They seem genuinely happy every single day. I am not sure if this is how they actually feel, but it is the energy they give off. I can’t help but smile when I get to school and am greeted by each and every one of my students as I pass them. Most American students were too cool to talk to teachers in the hallway and would pretend not to see you. Being an ESL/EFL teacher has proven to be increasingly frustrating as time goes on and I am realizing that it is extremely hard to understand what they comprehend and what they are politely nodding to (despite having no clue what is going on). Thankfully, I have found amazing resources in veteran ESL teachers at my school, online ESL/EFL games, lesson plans, songs, videos, etc. I know that if I give my best, there is nothing more anyone can ask of me.

Teaching and learning is the essence of my journey. Yes, I am literally a teacher, but I am also a student. Thailand, along with each person I meet here, is teaching me things about human nature, life, and myself.  I am continuously learning, which is exhilarating and exhausting. But I must remind myself, it is up to me which of those feelings dictate my experience. I choose to live. I choose to feel. I choose exhilarating, beautiful adventure.

               “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,

we must carry it with us or we find it not.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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