Month: January 2019

Thawing Out

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

So I do this thing

I record voice memos. I press “record” on my phone, set it down in front of me, and I just start talking.

After a few minutes, I actually forget that I’m recording and just talk and talk and talk. Some are 5 minutes, and some have gone for as long as an hour. I have about 25 voice memos on my phone and if I were to visually display the emotions in them, it would look like a rollercoaster. Some are full of energy and pep, while others are filled with silence and sniffles from crying. At first when I started doing this, I thought I was crazy – literally talking out loud to myself and rambling on and on about things that were probably meaningless at the time…but also having the audacity to actually record these meaningless thoughts! But once I go back and listen to them, I am grateful for every second. Every up and down. Every moment of raw emotion. That’s when I start figuring things out about myself. Turns out, nothing I’ve talked about has been meaningless and I’m reminded that clarity comes with time.

I find it odd that I have barely written or read while in Chiang Mai. I used to write in my journal or read every single day! For some reason, it’s just not happening these days. But then I realized, my voice memos have been happening more frequently. So really, I have been journaling, just in a different medium.

I recorded a voice memo tonight. It’s Sunday night and I have a full week of teaching and tutoring coming up. I have a couple hours before bedtime, so the possibilities of what I could do are endless! But then I sat on my bed and just looked around at the journals I haven’t opened, my books that are tucked away, and my dream journal that has been sitting on a blank page for weeks.

Where has my creativity gone???

I sat there staring. This is what I long for all the time: time. And here I have it, and I’m wasting it by doing nothing.

So I start going into my self-ramble mode and ask, “Where has my creativity gone? I know it’s in there somewhere – why has it gone away, and how can I bring it out again?” This is something I’ve actually been wondering for quite some time. When I was in what felt like my prime, I was writing consistently, creating vision boards, drawing, painting, coming up with big ideas that could change the world (or so I thought), and dabbling in photography. These days? My creativity consists of a weekly Microsoft Word newsletter for my class aaaaaaaaand that’s about it. I teach my kiddos yoga every now and then and we have some fun lessons each day, but it’s nothing to rave about.

I decided to press “record.” I asked those same questions out loud. And it turned into a natural spewing of thoughts and frustrations. And then I looked at my miniature book case and picked up one of the few books I brought to Thailand. Living out of a suitcase meant I was extremely limited with what I could bring, so I had to leave a lot of things that I love back home. A book I brought with me is one I haven’t cracked open since August of last year – but that little voice in my head told me to bring it anyway.

“Women Who Run With the Wolves.”

The last time I had read from it, I was in the middle of a chapter. So in my voice memo, I grabbed this book, opened it, and started reading out loud everything that I had underlined so many months ago. These words come from the chapter titled, “Finding One’s Pack: Belonging as Blessing – The Ugly Duckling.”

When writers, for example, feel dry, dry, dry, they know the way to become moist is to write. But if they’re locked in ice, they won’t write. So what is the solution? Do as the duckling does. Go ahead, struggle through it. Pick up the pen already and put it to the page and stop whining. Write.

Generally, stop talking.

Do your art. Generally, a thing cannot freeze if it is moving. So move. Keep moving.

I stopped recording, and I started typing.

I couldn’t really believe the sequence of events in this voice memo. I was frustrated about my lack of creativity, and the one page I decided to read addresses this exact frustration. So here I am, moving my little fingers, struggle and all.

It’s going to be a good week, I can feel it.

Can’t wait to run with my beautiful little ducklings tomorrow…

Joy

Sunday, January 20, 2019

I don’t have much of an update right now…..I take that back – I don’t have the energy to write out a detailed passage right now. It’s a lazy Sunday morning and I’m sitting in the sun at a corner coffee shop watching Old City slowly wake up. Being a teacher is very tiring, so I appreciate these mornings of chilling, wandering, and taking in my surroundings. But as exhausting as teaching is, it is worth every single minute.

Things are going really well. 🙂

Hugs to you. 💙

Settled

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

Holy moly, I’ve finally found the time and energy to sit down and write a little bit. The past few months have been go, go, go, go, go! No time to slow down. But now that I’ve officially started working, I am finally feeling a sense of routine and balance. I normally haven’t been a fan of the word, “routine,” but I’m discovering that it’s important for me to have some sort of consistency with my time. The past few months I’ve gone from road tripping down and up the West Coast, moving out of Seattle, visiting home, traveling to Vietnam, getting my TEFL in Krabi, traveling North to Chiang Mai, looking for a job, going back home for the holidays, and finally settling in with a job and a home. I’m tired just writing that…

But I’ve made Chiang Mai my home, and I’ve started a job at a beautiful international school. I’m so excited to say that I’m a kindergarten teacher to 20 hilarious and precious children. Finally reaching a goal I set a very long time ago.

I’m finally feeling grounded, centered, and stable. I’ve loved traveling around and finding my way – but it feels so good to know that every day I’m going to my classroom and helping these kids grow in this wild and crazy world.

Life outside of school has been beautiful as well – Thailand is a lush and adventurous country with so many things to do and places to explore. Last weekend I went with a group of friends to a beautiful campground – even though I had my $12 tent, the conditions were so perfect, I actually slept outside. I was laying in the middle of a big field with a clear view of the bright stars everywhere I looked. It was warm, dry, and no bugs. It was perfection. After the sun rose, we went to a natural hot springs and then a beautiful temple on a mountain tucked away in a cave.

I like it here…

And then there’s school… My heart expands whenever I think of my students. Not only is it amazing when things I teach my kids stick with them (I taught the word “mountain,” then Danny ate part of his sandwich at snack time and held it up and said in his cute Korean accent, “Teacher Andrea – mountain!” His sandwich did indeed look just like a mountain. Ahhh!) – but I want to cry each time a parent tells me that their child loves me and doesn’t want to leave after school. These kids are giving me so much purpose and inspiration. My creativity is also coming back and I’m so thankful for that.

Friday was Children’s Day and all the kids dressed up as their dream career. My classroom was full of doctors, soldiers, ballerinas, teachers, policemen, and even a couple of Supermen. One of the challenges at my school is a vibe of negativity – I won’t go into detail, but I’m working really hard to avoid the drama and focus on the positivity. One person looked at my kids and said, “The sad thing is that the majority of these kids won’t become what they want to be right now.” Why do we kill the dream??? I look at my students and I cannot wait to see what they will become – and I believe in them. I remember in elementary school, I dressed up as a forest ranger. That was my big dream when I was a child. Although I’m not officially a forest ranger, I spend a lot of my time in Nature and with the trees. Then in high school, I wanted to get into film (I was obsessed with the idea of directing music videos). I wasn’t in Hollywood, but working in production and marketing at a TV station for 8 years fulfilled this passion. And now my dream is to be a teacher and make our future a better place. My dream has come true – and I plan on guiding my students into believing that their dreams will come true as well.

I can’t wait to spend each week with these kiddos and keep teaching them new words, concepts, and morals. But I’m also excited to continue learning from them. A teacher and a student at the same time – this is what life is all about.

Can you handle the cuteness?? I can’t either…

Feeling so lucky.

I take back what I said earlier… I don’t like it here – I love it here.

Thinking of you all and sending you Thailand love!

xoxo