April 30, 2013

no bullshit

This is probably the longest I have gone since I moved abroad without doing any writing at all. Something about coming back to Asia as the place I have responsibilities and opportunities has been a bit of a mind fuck and I am taking some time to figure some things out when it comes to my career, writing, teaching, traveling and everything in between. I didn't start this blog to brag about how great my life is or show only the wonderful parts of living abroad. I always want to be honest and any faithful readers of my blog know how difficult the past year has been for me. While things are still the same, (in someways a bit worse as now I am actually really broke and don't have steady work yet) my mindset is starting to change and I can see and feel it happening. Still too soon to say I am totally content and satisfied with life, but I have had ALOT of time to think lately and I think I am getting there.

I am not sure how I ended up a 20 something teacher, a profession I have fallen into and am starting to actually like! I have always been told that those who cannot do, teach. I want to change the world, make a place where I would feel safe having a family and knowing there will be clean air and water to breathe in 100 years. A peaceful and understanding place that I envision and try to demonstrate to my students everyday. A place that feels further and further from reality each day. Maybe, just maybe, this is how I am supposed to leave my mark on the world, the only way to leave a lasting impression that might be for the better. Maybe what I need to be doing with my life has been right under my nose the whole time.

Mostly, I haven't been writing, because I don't know what to say. My life is quite mundane lately and if I try to write one more post on how to find part time work and live off of 100 baht a day, I might lose it. I can't seem to organize my thoughts and this big scary city leaves me feeling drained and alone by the end of the day and writing down all that seems too daunting. I have always written my honest opinion about being an expat and you can read about all the challenges I have faced so far, but I thought that things might get easier over time.  While I am much more used to the culture and can manage with my little Thai, different obstacles and hardships always present themselves, it is all about whether or not I can stand up to the challenge!

It's hard to make good, real friends. With people coming and going from this country to that constantly, it can be difficult to make and maintain real, trusting friendships here, and more times than not you are left disappointed. Most people that leave their home country to live abroad do have the trait of being a little undependable but being able to talk to people that understand and relate to you is harder than it should be. While this may just be a fling before real life begins for some, I am starting to realize that this IS my real life and having good friends is an important part of life for me. It may be harder to find meaningful connections here but this problem has taught me to really appreciate the good friends that I do have and for this, I am thankful.

If you don't like teaching, you better have a very marketable skill. While I finally starting to find my groove in teaching and am even considering making a career out of being a traveling teacher, it sometimes can be discouraging trying to anything else to make a living here. While teaching is much different and better than being a server like I was in America, it sometimes feels hopeless when I realize teaching is all I can really do. I am teaching rich kids for the money and resume filler while I try to get by everyday. I guess I just expected to have it figured out by now, what I want from life, what I want to give to it. Now, I wonder if I will ever have it figured out! Seems unlikely.

Visas  If the legal process for living as an expat and getting the proper visa's to live and work here weren't so difficult,  I wouldn't mind living abroad forever! You never realize how difficult it is to live in a country that is not your home and how much money, time and resources the process requires until it is too late. Soon we will be going to Cambodia on a visa run and then hopefully the long, drawn out process of getting a immigrant visa and work permit will begin, a ordeal that will cost practically 2000 usd when all said and done as well as tons of paperwork and trips to the immigration office, just for ONE year of legal residency in Thailand.

Somedays you just don't want to face the heat and the masses. Thailand, and Bangkok especially, can be a hot, smelly, crowded, overwhelming place at times and some days it can be hard to face a packed subway ride, hot walk and dodging people on the streets to get where you are going. Some days it is just easier to stay home rather than brave the world. I don't remember this feeling as strongly in other places but I think it is all part of the charm of the city. While some days I don't look forward to my busy commute, other days I turn on my happy music and try to look at the city through new eyes, some that appreciate the magnificence of this modern, cultural city!

In the end, I like to remind myself that while my life might feel difficult at times, it is not because of where I live, if I lived in America, I would have other problems that would be totally different but just as troubling and stressful (if not more).  Now I am currently in the denial stage where I am just trying to not think about anything (but in reality end up thinking about everything all the time) and take it one day at a time. My two best friends will be here in TWO weeks (!) and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to travel around this beautiful country with them and really enjoy life! I watch a lot of documentaries about how terrible the world is to remind myself how good I have it and I honestly hate being this middle class white girl who lives in paradise complaining about life. I don't want to justify myself, but I don't want to come off sounding like I am ungrateful or unhappy, I just felt an urge to write today for the first time in a while and am trying to organize my thoughts to be comprehensible to myself and relatable to others. I know I am not the only person who feels lonely or sad or disappointed or curious about the point of it all but sometimes when I am sitting here over thinking everything, trying to wrap my head around it all,  it sure feels that way.

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