I have slacked on keeping this updated recently, but in my defense so much has been happening! In the last few weeks, I got to experience quite possibly the greatest holiday ever, and I also finally started my new job! (Okay, when I put it like that, it doesn’t seem like so much has happened, but I have literally been on straight Go mode.) Since I have been such a slacker, I thought I would go ahead and include just a semi short and sweet list of things I have learned throughout this time because you should be learning something new every day of your life!
1. Songkran is the greatest holiday ever.
If you have never heard about this holiday, you are seriously missing out. If you have heard of this holiday, chances are you have dreamed about taking part. Songkran is the Thai New Year, and Thais definitely do it right. There are a few rituals with roots that run deep. One of them is the splashing of water as a symbol of cleansing and renewal. It is done with good wishes for the refreshment of your spirit in honor of the new year. Talc (a white pasty substance) is also put on people, generally on your face. This is sign of protection and is to keep away evil in the upcoming year. While the history of this holiday is neat, taking part in it is absolutely amazing. When you were a child, you literally probably dreamed of a water fight as big as this. The whole country is basically shut down, and everyone breaks out into an epic water throwdown. If you are walking outside of your house, you are not safe. Even if I dared to try and make it to 7-11 for a water, I was walking into a war zone with people waiting for me with hoses and buckets of water. It did not matter how much you pleaded to not get soaked, you were a target simply by breathing.
Songkran lasts a full three days throughout the entire country. In some parts of Bangkok, it will last five. Needless to say, it was one of the craziest, most exhausting, yet memorable times of my life.
Even little nuggets had guns ready to shoot you.
2. I am in love with Thai people.
Seriously in the last few weeks, I have been given constant reminders on how amazingly kind Thai people are. I went out one night and had a few drinks. When I went to get out of the taxi, I accidentally gave the driver 500 baht instead of the 100 baht I owed him. Instead of him secretly taking a huge tip for himself, he informed me of my mistake. Kudos to that guy!
I have never been to another place before where you can walk outside and strangers smile at you and say, “Hello”; where strangers offer you the food on their plate and the drinks in their hand. I fall in love with this country and the people more and more every day. I love how happy just walking down the street makes me simply because the people I encounter along the way remind me how awesome humankind can be.
3. I might have a plant obsession.
I think I have grown to have a plant obsession. In the last month I have bought 13 more plants for my new home, including one more I just purchased tonight. I can’t help it. I see these beautiful plants, and they are just screaming for a new home. Plus there are some awesome plants that grow in this tropical weather. Is there such thing as a Plants Anonymous?
4. Obsession #2: Cooking.
I finally have a stove. Like an actual, real stove. Most of you are probably thinking I am nuts, but in Thailand, these bad boys aren’t common. So since moving into a new place with a stove, I have been cooking more than Martha Stewart. It’s one of those things you take for granted when you have it, so once you get one after not having one for so long, I think it’s just natural to become a bit obsessed with using it.
Panang chicken curry
5. I absolutely
100% love my job.
Earlier this week, I was asked if I love my new job. In this same conversation, I was asked if this is the first time I am truly happy with a job. It got me really thinking. I have never hated a job, but I have also never really loved a job either. Sure, I enjoyed my previous teaching jobs, and I loved my students. But I also had so much pressure and stress from teaching in the States. In America there is so much at stake with your students. They have to pass state standardized tests, and if their results aren’t good, it’s your fault. Teaching in America meant that I didn’t have much of a life either. My work life and home life were intertwined because I had to take home my work every day. Going out to dinner with my family meant that I was bringing papers to grade, so I could still accomplish my work and see my family. My job never really ended.
Now I’m not saying that teaching in Thailand is a breeze, but scheduled in my days I actually get planning periods to plan my lessons. Throughout the week, I am able to complete my work at work, and I get to enjoy my life outside of work. I get to enjoy what I am teaching the students because there isn’t pressure on me or my students to pass an exam that tells them how ‘smart’ they are. I wake up every day, and I am actually excited to go into work. I look forward to teaching every one of my classes. I am in love with my school and the positive attitudes of my co-workers. The students are amazing, and I have loved planning lessons for them. I have started to learn so much about myself as a teacher, and I am eager to continue to grow and make myself better, not only for myself but for my students.
6. The little things in life make me the happiest.
In the last month, I have found the little things in life to just make me burst with gratitude overload. My friends, my family, food, a clean house, books, plants, cooking, working out, yoga.. I could go on forever. From Skype dates with the family to friends sending their love, from amazing food to great books, from awesome plants to nights in cleaning and cooking.. it has been the little things that have brought the biggest smiles to my face. For everyone reading this who has reached out to me lately, thank you. You have brought such a bright light into my life that I just feel the urge to pass onto as many people as I possibly can. This world we live in is too amazing and our lives too short to not appreciate all the greatness that surrounds us. So thank you to everyone who helps me realize that without probably even realizing you help me see that light!
Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward