Back by popular demand, or really just one request from my mother, I have decided to start blogging again.
I am laying in my bed back in Phayakkaphum Phisai. I cannot believe 640 days have passed since I left this place! In 640 days I have accomplished quite a bit. I have worked as an EBD para, gotten my Masters of Education in Second Language Education, took my mom to meet my friends in Thailand, got a job teaching high school ELL at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, traveled to Europe and here I am back in Phayak.
You always wonder what it is going to feel like when you leave a place you loved for so long and return. Will it be the magical place you left? Or will it all seem foreign again? Will people remember you? Or will you just be someone who passed through and left? I was actually just as nervous as I was to return as I was excited. I had arranged to stay here for 3 weeks, which could be a long time if it was not just as I remembered it. I am relieved to say that when I returned to Phayak it was pretty much like I left it 640 days ago and I could not be more happy.
When I returned to Phayak it was just like returning home. Eating dinner with my friends, bicycling to the market, working in the office, teaching, singing songs, getting Pepsi Max at 711, eating my 10 baht breakfast of stir fried basil and pork over rice, sweating from the walk to work. Nothing has changed…well except one small thing. The only thing that has changed is that I know I will be leaving in a few short weeks. This is no longer my life, it is just my summer vacation. In a couple of weeks I will be back in my reality. Getting ready for my first school year at Washington Technology. Waking up at 5am when the dog starts barking. Going to the gym. Eating healthy. Working 7 days a week to save to travel again next summer.
But, another thing that has changed is that this time I am ok going back to Minnesota. When I left Phayak 640 days ago, I was the same nervous and excited as I was coming back here. I was finally truly happy for the first time in my life when I was in Thailand and I didn’t want that to end. I thought by going back to Minnesota I was going to be in the same rut that I was in when I left, but it turns out that was not the case. It turns out that I learned in Thailand that I am the creator of my life. I decided I was not going to let myself get in the same rut I was in. I was going to do stuff with my life. I tried a new job as an EBD para, I went back to school to get my masters in education and landed a job in my dream school district, I made some new friends in grad school and allowed myself to be social, I switched positions at my weekend job to one that was less stressful and more fun, I learned how to swim, I embraced my new roommate, I traveled. Life in Minnesota seemed different when I got back, maybe it was me. How could I stay in a rut when I am always planning my next place to go?
I decided when I got back to Minnesota to shake up my life and live a little more like I lived in Thailand. A little more flexible. A little more social. A little less structured. A little less neurotic. A little more content. A little more confident. A lot more calm. I realized in Thailand that I was going to live for me and that is exactly how I have been living and I am happy.
I know that my friends at home are probably sick of me talking about Thailand, but I don’t know if I can help it. I try to limit my talk of Phayak, but Thailand is part of me now. It holds a piece of my heart. It is the place that reminds me of happiness and gives me the energy to be happy when days are tough. I am blessed that my new career as a teacher will let me return to Thailand for a few weeks each year to renew my soul and keep reminding me to live life for me.