Saturday, August 31, 2013

One Down

            Shortly after I found out I was going to Thailand, one of my best friends, +Kristen Reinckens, told us that she was moving to London for work.  Like me, Kristen loves to travel so this didn’t surprise me at all.  She is off to London for two years and even though I’m going to an equally cool place (maybe cooler), I can’t help but be a bit jealous!
            I lived in London for the summer of 2010.  I took my finals early and jet set across the pond to be a nanny for the next three months.  It was hands-down the best summer I have ever had, in most part due to the Dembinski family.  I couldn’t have asked for a more generous, caring, and respectful family to have shared the experience with.  With the help and encouragement of Nicole, I grew to know and love this city.  I named one of my London albums on Facebook “And London Will Have My Heart,” and it still does.  Because of my love for London, Kristen has had my support from the minute she told me.  I may have even screamed a little.  I am excited for her to fall in love with the city just like I did.
            The past month has been one of the most emotional times of my life, but last night as Kristen, Em, Dana and I were sobbing in our living room (Kristen takes off tonight for London), I knew that it was a good cry for me.  It kind of reminds me of the night we all huddled in my sister's bed the night before we left for college.  Sad to be leaving each other because our friendship is incredibly strong, but also excited about what is to come in the future.  I am very fortunate to have had these friends since high school, and although some huge changes are on the horizon, I am confident that nothing will change in our friendships.

            Kris, here is a little advice and a quick message for you!
                        -Be fearless.  With your adventures.  With your personality. And especially with your heart.  As you more than know, we’re all rooting for that perfect British boyfriend.
                        -See everything you can.  From a short ride to the beaches of Brighton, to a train ride to the grassy hills of Scotland, to a worthwhile plane ride to the Swiss Alps.  Enjoy the city at your fingertips but take advantage of everything surrounding you.  Get to 25 before 25.
                        -Shop.  Not like I need to tell you to..
                        -Go to all of the festivals you can possibly fit into your schedule.
                        -Don’t watch British TV.
                        -Meet up with all of the people I know and love to ensure you have reliable acquaintances.
                        -Don’t miss home too much and when you do, any one of us is just a Skype or FaceTime away.  Always keep in mind how lucky you are to be getting this experience and friend/family time is always closer than you think (aka you will see us in ONE MONTH for Dana and Mike’s wedding).
                        -Everything happens for a reason.  Is that a proven fact yet?

            This is going to be the experience of a lifetime for both of us and I can’t wait to follow you on your journey.  Literally follow you.  No matter what it takes, you will be the first to see my face when I am done with Thailand.  Keep your couch nice and warm for me in the spring!

Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think that you've lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.
-Asha Tyson

Monday, August 26, 2013

Moving Day

Today I had to make a small move.  A small move before the BIG move.  So, to Hudson I go.  Bitter. Sweet. 

Things I am excited for:

-I am finished paying for rent and utilities.  Enter starting to save for Thailand. Yes I said starting. Feel free to buy me a beer when you see me.
-Having a fully stocked kitchen.  I have grown to love to cook and it’s slightly difficult to do so when we have relied on raw veggies, hummus, cheese, and crackers as our dinner staples for the past two years.  Mom and Dad, prepare to be wowed by my skills in the kitchen!
-Spending more time with my family before I leave.
-Thailand is 60 days away.  We’re getting there!

Things I am not excited for:

-Leaving my apartment. After being here for almost two years, it will be extremely depressing to leave this little place I call home.  I’m comfortable here.  So comfortable in fact that I moved out my things tonight but kept most of my clothes here because I plan on sleeping on the couch as often as possible.  There have been many memories here and it is crazy to think that I will never live here again. I will be a visitor in my own apartment for the next two months. So strange.
-Leaving Albany.  Although I have often heard many people talk negatively about Albany, I have grown to love it, mainly because our apartment is in an amazing location.
Washington Park.  This is literally my front yard and unfortunately I don’t think we’ve taken advantage of it quite enough.  I will miss Tulipfest and Larkfest, and the man who pushes around a speaker system in a shopping cart.  I will miss the dog-friendliness of the park and our apartment building.  It’s a little thing, and I don’t have a dog here, but there is always one available to pet!  I will miss having such a great place to jog and to people-watch.  It’s a great place to grab a book and relax in the sun.
Lark Street.  One of the great loves of my life.  When we chose our apartment, I don’t think we realized how amazing of a location it was.  Could I even ask for more than having 11 bars in walking distance (and even more restaurants)?!  If you know me well, you know that no, I could not ask for more unless there were even more bars than that.  Em and I have grown into our patterns here.  Tuesday nights are for trivia at Lark Tavern.  A typical Friday night is for Lionheart, getting there at happy hour, eating popcorn for an appetizer (even though I hate popcorn), leaving for a typical dinner consisting of the best cheese board you will ever encounter at DeJohn’s, then going back to Lionheart for the rest of the night.  Saturdays are for stepping into Bombers at the instant they open to hang out with Paula and seeing where the day takes us. I not only love these places for their food, beer, and margaritas, but for the people I have met as well.  At Lionheart we are regulars.  After any weekend my mom is sure to ask, “Where did you go out last night, Lionheart?” Yes is more often than not my answer to that question.  The bartenders and bouncers there have been so good to us and I am definitely happy to call some of them friends and give them a more than positive shout-out.  These people will be missed.
The Capitol District.  The location of Albany is great. 40 minutes from Hudson. 10 minutes from Troy.  40 minutes from Saratoga.  Everything we could want to do is in driving distance and I have definitely benefited from it.  Going to SPAC and to the race track are two of my favorite things to do over the summer.  I feel lucky that I had such easy access to two great means of entertainment!  I just lost some money at Travers on Saturday and have a John Mayer and Philip Phillips concert coming up on Friday.  Happy to visit Saratoga a couple times before I go!
-Leaving Emily :(.  We have done everything together for two years. Celebrating birthdays.  TV watching.  Happy hour.  Boston and NYC trips.  New Orleans.  Concerts.  Vegas.  We’ve been each other’s wing women.  We’ve gotten over (or have helped each other attempt to get over) jerky guy after jerky guy.  We’ve celebrated promotions and raises.  We often finish each other’s sentences.  We’ve helped financially when one of us was $.14 away from over-drafting.  Although there have been some tough times, we have helped each other get through them and I can’t imagine living with anyone else these past two years.  This will be the most difficult thing about moving.  Lance, I love you forever.  I am so proud of all you have accomplished!  Hopefully you’ll be making the really big bucks by the time I get back and you can be my sugar mama (because Lord knows I will be coming back with zero dollars).  Although my bedroom is now empty, you have me for two more months.  We will deal with the big move when the time comes!

             This little move has gotten my brain thinking of the future. What will I do when I come back? Where will I work?  Will I come back to Albany or will I try and start fresh in a new location?  Will some of my friends be relocated by then?  The questions seem endless, but there isn't a reason to dwell on the future when it is something out of my control at the moment.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


            After six years of college, you’d think I would be a teacher by now, right?!  I always get flack when I say I am not a teacher, because technically I am, but I am not getting to use the skills I have learned in my classroom of three year olds.  Many of you probably know how difficult it is to even be considered for an interview.  If you have no connections you’re basically screwed.  After being at my daycare for a year and a half, I really began to feel stuck.  In March, I finally made a connection with a charter school in Boston and I was thrilled!  They offered me a job, but it was a fellowship position that was substitute teacher pay.  If I wanted to live in a box, it would have been perfect, but unfortunately for my living requirements, it wasn’t nearly enough.  I declined the offer, even though I had fallen in love with the school, and asked them to keep me in mind for the fall.
            Then out of nowhere, something fell right into my lap without having to put much work into it.  Kristen had just gotten back from visiting her friend, Alicia, in Thailand.  I kept saying how much I would love to teach abroad, like Alicia was doing, and Kristen encouraged me to send Alicia my resume.  When Alicia got back to the States, I did just that and I was offered a job two days later!  After weighing the pros and cons with my parents, and talking to my best friend from college whose wedding I was supposed to be in, I finally said, “I’ll kick myself forever if I don’t do this.”  I think I knew from the second I got the email with the job offer that I would go.  I have a gut feeling that this is what I need at this time in my life.  Although there is so much that I will miss here, it is time to go.  Time to wander.  There is absolutely nothing tying me down, so why wouldn’t I go?  So, accept is what I did.  I told my job that I would be leaving them in October, told Em that we needed to find someone to take over my lease, and began looking for flights.
            Soon after, I booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok and the trip became very official.  On October 26th at 1:30 AM, I will be leaving JFK on a 16 hour flight to Hong Kong.  16 hours?! Is that even possible you ask?  I guess I will find out.  All I know is that the plane better have comfy seats, good (enough) food, and plenty of movies.  But that’s not all.. There is a three hour layover in Hong Kong, then a three hour flight to Bangkok.  I mean, I enjoy flying, but I can picture this being an awful 24 hours!  It will be October 27th at 11:10 AM in Thailand when I arrive, and I will be 11 hours ahead of the east coast.  Someone from the school will pick me up from the airport and then an hour drive to Chon Buri, my new home for six months (or more if I decide to extend my stay).
           Recently, I found out devastating news about my best friend, to the point where I seriously contemplated cancelling my trip.  My mind kept going back and forth, but how could I possibly figure out what was the right thing to do? Deciding to still go to Thailand has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.  I may end up regretting going, but I may also regret if I stayed.  Only time will tell.  A situation like this really makes me see that I am not a child anymore and life isn't meant to be a walk in the park.  Sometimes I would love to put myself back in middle school where the hardest decision to make was what movie to go see on a Friday night.  But, Erica has been incredibly strong through all of this so far, and I know that not much will be different when I return.  Hope is my new favorite word.
            Even though the the last couple of months have been crazy, the next year will definitely give me a run for my money!  I figured I might as well share this time in my life, so I’m giving this blog a shot.  I am by no means a great writer (or even a good one at that), but what better way to keep up with me while I’m gone?!  To really get what I am going through, I feel that a simple Facebook status and pictures with small descriptions just won’t do.  I want to share my experiences with my family and friends in detail, but it will be difficult to constantly Skype to fill them in. Insert blog.  This is also for those who are curious about what it is like to teach and live in a culture-shock of a country like Thailand, or even for those who feel stuck like me and are contemplating following their dreams in a foreign country.  I don’t leave for two more months (­­­­­­­­­­­66 days to be exact, not like I'm counting) but I also want to share some moments in my life leading up to my departure, as well as more information about Thailand as I learn myself.  If my adventures in Thailand are important enough to share, the build-up before I go is too!
            So, this is your official invitation to follow me as I wander.  Follow me through my ups and downs, my successes and flops, my confidence and insecurities, my happiness and homesickness.  Follow me as I meet new people, see new places, teach ESL for the first time, ride an elephant bareback, and so much more.  I hope to learn about myself as I go and I can't wait to share these experiences!