Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Week 5 of TEFL Classes / Official CIEE Blogger!

I have to admit, I breezed over the TEFL work for week five, partially because it was very logical to follow, and I'm freaking the hell out because I leave in ONE WEEK.

Create a lesson plan for a listening exercise for your students. Okay.
Create a lesson plan for a writing exercise for your students. Yup.

Seemed pretty self explanatory to me, and with the assigned reading I felt quite good about my proposed lesson plans. Maybe this whole teaching thing won't be as scary as I'm trying to make it.


In other news, I heard I will be an Official CIEE Blogger while in Thailand! I'll be featured on this website in the next coming weeks: www.ciee.org/teach/taught/thailand/blogs/

Looks like a new start to a writing world I never knew I could be a part of!

Visiting Tucson / Last Day at Work

I flew in to Tucson yesterday to have one last trip to see the parents and grandparents before I leave. I expected the sun to scorch my skin when I walked out of the airport, but to my surprise, it didn't. The desert greeted me with a gorgeous 70 degree bright and breezy day. It was the perfect welcome to my home state, and a lovely way to relax from all this pre-departure craziness in my head. Only 6 days until I fly to Bangkok. What the what??

The family is just wonderful. They always brighten my soul. Also, It is always the greatest thing in the world to get a loving home cooked meal from my parents. I tell you, I'll be missing that manicotti I had last night something fierce in a couple weeks here. 

My last day of work at Hilltop Kitchen was this past Saturday. I was actually quite emotional for me, even though I didn't articulate it too much. I was blessed enough to have a job where my coworkers and the owners expressed genuine care for me (albeit showing it through a continual rant of clever sarcasm). Never in my professional career did I experience anyone I work with sit down and tell me how much they enjoyed my presence and working with me, especially the business owner, all the while supporting my decision to leave for Thailand. Their acts of kindness were overwhelmingly powerful and meaningful to me. It was truly an honor to work at Hilltop Kitchen, I honestly can't say enough positive things. I have nothing but love for everyone at HK. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Week Four of TEFL Courses // Packing up my whole life

This is what happens when you wait to do your homework, Amy.

I did another one of those procrastination binges in which I thought, I can do a whole weeks worth of reading and homework on a warm, sunny Sunday on the outdoor porch of a Tacoma brewery, sipping a beer. Well, 8 hours later I'm powering through three 750-word essays, the sky is no longer warm, and my sleepy eyes are straining for a few more hours of productivity. I manage to complete the assignment, but am battling whether I go to bed at 8pm or attend a small get together I was just invited to.

After putting myself back together, I arrive at a friends house for one of those adult social gatherings where I always thought you need to bring some sort of alcohol. My wine was welcomed by more beer in the fridge and no food. I forgot I hadn't eaten much that day. My skin was already radiating heat from all the sun it had soaked up earlier, and the house felt like it was doing the same. Once I imbibed in a few glasses of wine I felt like I was either having a hot flash or my body was preparing me for the Thailand climate that will be my home in a few short weeks. Once we walked outside to the car, the air outside wrapped her big chilly arms around me and I could take a deep breath. I blame my punctual 8 hour study date in the sun for giving me a pseudo heat stroke. And to top it all off I fueled the fire with some wine for dinner. Oops.

So far my pre-departure plans for Thailand are going well. 

My preparations for Thailand are going smoothly. I'm still preparing myself for some epic road block to show itself and laugh in my face, mocking me that this whole adventure has been evolving far too seamlessly. But as of now I feel righteously independent that I have financed (for the most part - thank you Nahna and Pop) this whole trip, and taken care of all the necessary steps on my own. It feels quite liberating.

Right now my apartment is half empty, with all my unnecessary crap in a 5x10 storage unit down the street. The simple, de-cluttered energy of my apartment is strangely soothing. I'm amazed at how many things I don't really need to exist comfortably. Hopefully when I return I'll feel the desire to not have as many material possessions, everyone goes through some spiritual transformation process when they travel that results in this, right?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Week Three of TEFL Classes // 30 days to Thailand

Using Stress as Your Friend

I'm getting into a much better rhythm with this course work and pre-trip anxiety. I feel it fueling me to do my absolute best on this class to make sure I don't screw up when I fly half way across the world to do a job I have zero experience with. The stress before this trip reminds me of a TED Talk I watched months ago that claims stress can be our friend. Goes against everything we've learned about stress and anxiety in our lives right? We've always been told stress will lead to a plethora of health problems and potentially kill us prematurely. Kelly McGonigal tells us in her video to use the cues we get from feeling stressed out (pounding heart, breathing faster) and view them as helpful, as preparing our body to face the challenge before us. She explains most of the premature deaths and ailments caused by stressed are actually caused by the belief that stress is bad for you. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body's reaction to stress.

It's a really spectacular thing to reframe your understanding of stress in the moments it hits you, and it's not as easy as it sounds. I'm trying my best to use all the energy swirling inside me that is trying to send up red flags as my body prepping for this once in a life time adventure. It's also incredibly cathartic to write it all out. So maybe this can be a little piece of information to help anyone feeling stressed out, and use it as your friend.

Check out the video: