Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day 95 // Over Half Way Done

If you haven't noticed yet, I like to count the days here. I seem to be constantly obsessing how many days/weeks I've been here, and how much more I have to go. But it doesn't come from a place of wanting this to be over. Perhaps it becomes a constant reminder to cherish every brief moment I have here while simultaneously coping with my ever present homesickness.

I only have 6 weeks left of teaching. It seems like just yesterday I was dropped off at the airport crying so hard I made my nose bleed. But strangely those first nights in Chiang Rai I spent in my room having panic attacks and seriously contemplating if I had the guts to do this trip feel a life time away. I have made a new home out of this crazy place and while things are still new and exciting, I am much more at ease and embracing it all.

In my 14 weeks here, I've already experienced a significant amount of personal growth. I've learned that in America, I would let stress and my anxiety get the best of me and prevent me from trying new things so I didn't feel uncomfortable. Well each day teaching, I still get butterflies in my stomach 5 minutes before class worrying if my lesson plan is stupid, or doesn't make sense, or if the class will be a total wreck.

Yup. And that's okay.
Having 16 classes a week makes that nervousness slowly diminish by the end of the week, but it's still there nonetheless. I also manage to deal with my stress in the only way possible when standing up in front of 24 students 16 hours a week, sweating more than humanly possible.

30 minutes left of class?! Uhhhhh
Before this trip I would have avoided any situation that would make me feel like this... but once you have to because it's...well... your job, it makes that feeling a little less uncomfortable. Without this experience I wouldn't have had the guts to start singing at the open mic every Friday in town. I wouldn't have started pursuing art the way I have been since I am often times so critical of my capabilities I stop before I even start.

As awkward as I get when I fail miserably at this whole teaching gig somedays, it's quite empowering at the end of the day. I just have to remind myself of this incredible opportunity and how proud I am of myself.

Anyone who says teaching in a foreign country is easy is either lying or is much better at controlling their emotions than I am. It's hard. Uprooting your life and making a new home in a place where pretty much everything is new and different and you don't speak the language is bound to be a challenge. But a challenge that will provide you with valuable life skills and perseverance. So any of you out there stressing about this, your emotions are totally valid, and it will be all worth it.

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