Why Am I Moving to Thailand?

Why Am I Moving to Thailand?
Note: This blog entry was written on March 28th, on the shinkansen (bullet train) heading to Tokyo from Kyoto.
And it begins. I leave for Thailand tomorrow, to embark on a fascinating new journey. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve decided to move to Thailand and teach English. You may be curious why I decided to uproot my life and go to somewhere I’ve never been before to do something I’ve never done before, and I feel like an owe an explanation. Maybe to you, or maybe to myself, but either way, I want to document and share my story.
After graduating college, life took a lot of new turns. I moved to St. Paul, the small town I grew up in, and started working on the family farm. I started coaching high school girls basketball with a coach who I admired. I had a lot of big sights and dreams and ideas of what life would be like and the things I would do, and everything turned out nothing like I’d imagined, much more real and difficult and complicated. I faced problems I didn’t know how to solve, I took chances, small chances that felt like leaps of faith, and I did a lot of what felt like acting until it started feeling natural. The workplace was difficult and complicated, but I learned a lot. Coaching was terrifying at first – what do I say? What do I do? Will they listen to me and respect me? First I had to figure out how to teach them the sport. I learned from the best – that coach I learned from had some great ideas and attitudes that I was able to channel. Later came the part where I wanted to help teach the kids about life, not just basketball, and that’s a part of coaching I have only scratched the surface. So as all of this life was happening, the coaching and the working and living life, I realized I wanted more. I wanted to do something different. I had a desire for adventure, and a desire to feel like I was making an impact. For a while, I wasn’t sure what was calling out to me. I started thinking about what gave me pleasure in my day-to-day. Coaching, working with kids, feeling like I was making a difference, making a positive impact. Teaching seemed like it fit all the criteria, and has been something I’ve always thought about in the back of my mind. My next question was, how do I pursue it? Drop everything and go back to school? Continue working and take a part-time program to become a teacher in two years? But what if I did all this and realized that teaching was a poor choice for me? So I was stuck between these two thoughts. Until someone special suggested teaching abroad. It sounded far-fetched to me, expensive and out of my level of expertise. Then one day, I did a search on Google: teaching abroad. The list of links popped up: Greenheart Travel, The Global Work & Travel Co, InterExchange, CIEE Teach Abroad, Language Corps, English First, Teach Abroad, Teach Away Inc… the list went on and on. I felt butterflies of excitement in my belly, like I was about to come across something really great. I clicked on the first one that grabbed my attention: Greenheart Travel. Their mission statement:
Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers, and create leaders.
I was smitten. After a little more research, I discovered that for most of these programs, the only requirements were being a native English speaker and having a bachelors degree. After doing the proper research, comparing all the different companies, figuring out which program fit my needs (less than a year commitment, decent pay, start date that started after the basketball state tournament {which I always knew we had the ability to do. Go Buckaroos!}), I chose to pursue Greenheart’s Teach in Thailand program. I knew right away that I chose a great company – the process was orderly and streamlined, proving to me that they had done this many times before, and correspondence with Sara at their office was always timely and reassuring. I did all the appropriate paperwork, paid my dues, and bought a one-way ticket for Bangkok.
Telling all the important people in my life was difficult. My parents, also consequently my bosses, took it hard. My sisters, though surprised, were excited for me. My grandparents told me they hoped I had a wonderful experience. I told my roommates about my plans and moved back in with my parents. I told my basketball family, who said they would miss me while I was gone. I told my friends, who cheered me on. I told my extended family, who reacted in different ways – some supportive, some curious, mostly very happy for me. My boyfriend Kai was in my corner, backing me up the whole way.
Right now, just 24 hours before I fly out of Tokyo bound for Bangkok, I am filled with many emotions. Excitement, anticipation, joy, fear, love. I am afraid that the heat and humidity is going to make me a grouchy sweaty mess. I am afraid that I won’t be able to make a connection with the kids I will teach. I am afraid that I will face problems for which I can’t produce a solution. And I’m sure that I will experience all of these things. The important thing for me is that I embrace these problems. That I wrap my arms around them and become comfortable with them. Living only inside your comfort zone doesn’t allow for any growth, and accomplishing easy things isn’t fully satisfying. So I’m taking a leap.
Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *