On September 25th, I will embark on my first international journey, alone and unafraid. For the next 7 months, I will call Thailand, a place I know not nearly enough about, my home. I think living in this unknown land for many months will allow me an authentic submersion in Thai culture. Though at times I will inevitably remain distanced and different from the local people, I am determined to gain the perspective of a native, not a tourist. I hope to learn the art of living with “jai yen,” a quality the Thais hold in high regard, meaning “cool heart.”
I have longed for the day when I am forced outside of my comfort zone, a sort of solitary challenge to the preconceived definitions I hold of myself and the world. This challenge takes the form of new experiences, bold experiences. A true cancer by nature, I have the tendency to seek comfort and security. I have chosen to break free from this shell of limitation. I wish to grow, to learn, to overcome. I prefer a life that is always changing. Monotony will be my demise. I am restless.
When I arrive in Bangkok 3 weeks from now, I will wander around looking for new adventures in this overpopulated, pollution-ridden city which, sadly, will be a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere much like I am used to. I will soon cross paths with my friend Melanie, whom I’ve never met. She and I share yoga and a love of travel and beauty, our passions. Melanie and I will travel to a town called Chaiyaphum to volunteer at Ban Sai Rung, known in English as The Rainbow Community. We will be working in a garden and teaching English to a woman named Isara’s two children. Isara said we can stay in her mud house for the week or as long we like. After wwoofing, I would like to explore Chiang Mai, the hill tribe communities, and surrounding temples. I want to mingle with elephants and marvel at their existence.
October 15th marks the first day of my teacher training in Ban Phe. I have no idea what awaits me. I like to think I could be a good teacher, but then again I had always pictured my students being able to understand me. Language barriers will not allow for many fallbacks such as humor, which is usually my go-to when getting comfortable and relating with children. I am completely mystified about how an English teacher who doesn’t know Thai should teach English to Thais who don’t know English. This will definitely get interesting.
With a cool heart, I embrace the unknown.
“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”