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Archive for December, 2010

2010..I bid you adieu!

January

Rang in the New Year with my soul sister..Had the craziest week..Took over BPM festival..Came home to find my 1st Grandparent had passed away.. Got fired from a year-long job..

February

Went through a crazy party stage..ended “things” with my best friend/most amazing boy ever..decided I was not going to school in the fall, though I didn’t know what I wanted to do..completely gave up on my last semester of community college.

March

Kara came home..Calmed down on the partying..got hippied out..struggled through my last semester..enjoyed/appreciated home & nature so much more..decided to move to Costa Rica after graduation..!

April

Started hanging out with my mom..and realized it was SUCH a good time..enjoyed my last month before heading off into the unknown..still struggled through my last semester..found solace in the company of  the one & only Jordan Harold.

May

 

Graduated from Scott Community..said goodbye to friends & family.. moved to San Jose, Costa Rica with Kara..started the TEFL course..lived a simple, happy life full of yoga, music, fresh fruits & veggies, wine, & full-on techno.

June

Went to an outrageous rave with 2 cosmic sisters..graduated from TEFL..moved to Montezuma, Costa Rica..experienced what life in the slow lane truly was..got swept away by the World Cup, charming Latin American boys, Imperials, & Reggae..

July

Had some of the best days..including going home for my mom’s 50th birthday..seeing Cultura Profetica after finding almost 100 dollars in a taxi, then having the most perfect day & night where everything just worked out magically..spending many a nights in Sta. Teresa..making a hula-hoop..meeting the most amazing girls from Nebraska, by complete chance/fate.. attending a wacky belly dance day with really good friends.. ❤

August

Made the longest bus trip of my life from Costa Rica to Mexico City..parted ways with a heavy heart from Miss Karita..went on to Mexico City to meet a friend..only to gain even more friends and be welcomed by a lovely family..Started my communal living, hippie life in Tepoztlan, Mexico.

September

Struggled to find a job..moved into my first apartment all my own..started making a life for myself in Tepoz..Had an amazing Independence Day with a hilarious, loving group of people..felt a strong pull to go home, so..I did! All the while, leaving behind some important people..but knowing it was the right thing to do..Started job hunting and got numerous offers including ones in Greece, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, & Thailand.

October

Spent some much needed time with family & friends, went on an awesome canoe trip, went to my first NFL game (Bears vs. Packers..thanks Dad!), got a meaningful tattoo with a friend..moved to Thailand on the 28th!

November

Started working as a Nanny in Bangkok, Thailand..started Volunteering with Camillian Home..got homesick..made the family I work for a Thanksgiving meal all by myself!!

December

Really became involved with Camillian Home, turned 21..had a Skype surprise party..made my own, nice little Christmas..got more homesick..started reading a novel a week or more..learned to hold my tongue..enjoyed the company of myself!

All in all, 2010 has been one crazy, fun, exciting, scary, emotional, expensive, and downright outlandish life experience..I only hope for that and more in 2011.

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Knowing my place..?

Most of  you know that it has not been smooth sailing for me working with Nadia’s grandma..The past couple of weeks though, especially since our blow out, have been good..even enjoyable. She’s helped me and I’ve helped her, and it’s been a peaceful, happy work environment for the most part..I should have known it was going to be short lived..!

As soon as Mr. & Mrs. Nadia’s parents went to China, ie. Monday, my life has went back to Grandma hell. It all started with something as silly as which bathroom I use.

Yesterday, I was informed that I was not allowed to use the main bathroom of the house, but rather could only use my bathroom in the “helps” part of the house..I just smiled and kept on doing what I was doing, because that survival skill has been one of the main reasons the past few weeks have been so peaceful!

Today, I used that bathroom because that is the part of the house I work in, and Nadia was taking her nap so I didn’t want to be in the other part of the house if she woke up. It’s just logical to use that bathroom, and the Mom told me I could anyways..When I came out the Grandma was waiting for me to tell me, again, I wasn’t allowed to use that bathroom. This time I told her I was and she lied to me and said “her daughter and the Doctor” said I wasn’t. I called her bluff and the rest of the day went downhill from there.

This leaves me thinking..do I accept my place as “the help” and along with accept the treatment of such people or do I wave my American flag and demand equality? On one hand, I feel like I’m in this country working so I should follow  customs and on the other I feel like they hired an American, and along with that come certain stipulations. I’m not saying Americans should be treated better than other people of other countries..but I just think people of Western culture, specifically the US, Canada, and Europe know better than to let people walk all over them.

This whole situation makes it a bit difficult for me to know “my place”..when alls I really want to do is to denounce “places” and live equally under one, peaceful roof..

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Christmas Spirit

No matter where you are in the world, the Christmas Spirit will find you.. Before I even woke up fully today I had a smile on my face. I must have had the sweetest dream, and I remember my first thought of the day was “A smile to start Christmas..off to a good start..”

After yesterday’s fiasco, I wasn’t sure how today was going to go. I was able to get the day off work because of yesterday’s ailments..so I guess everything happens for a reason. I started the day off talking to my dearest loved ones..Jordan, Kara, and my Momma. If a girl could start a day out any better, I would be curious as to how..!

I got an offer to go have a Christmas dinner with the lovely Pat..my Bangkok momma.. and her family. It sounded tempting..but honestly, and I know she’ll read this.. but I just didn’t think I could handle a family event, for fear of it making me sad. It was such a nice and appreciated gesture..but I knew I had to make this day great on my own.. So thank you Pat..! I hope you had a lovely day, and understand my reason for not coming!!

After I went to see the new Narnia movie, which was amazing by the way.. I then went and bought Nadia her last gift..her gifts including Dumbo on DVD, hair clips for her growing hair, and a Cubs onsie I brought with me. I then went to Villa Market and tried to find ingredients to make my Grammy’s ever-famous sour cream cookies.. but alas! The main ingredient, sour cream, was no where in sight!! So I settled on hot cocoa and Bailey’s Irish Cream for mwah!.. =)

After wrapping Nadia’s presents and making out cards for the family, and yes..even Grandma.. I went to my room and pulled up a long list of Reggae Christmas music, made some hot cocoa and Bailey’s and thanked God for such a beautiful, simple day. Of course I wish I could be with my family and friends..celebrating like normal..but I’m not. I kept telling everyone I wished all their Christmas wishes came true..but today I realized all mine have come true!

I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to be doing in my life.. living in foreign countries, learning new languages, experiencing new cultures..I have a healthy, supportive family back home..friends who love me..what more could a girl ask for at this time of year..or ever for that matter?

It certainly was a different Christmas for me this year..but the Christmas Spirit infuses us all and makes this day so special no matter where you, who you’re with, or what you’re doing..

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Worst.Christmas Eve.EVER!

My 21st Christmas Eve has been the worst to date. I try not to focus on what I usually do because I’m in the here and now and usually doesn’t always happen..but when usually entails being with friends & family, eating lots of Christmas goodies, wrapping presents with my mami, laughing, singing, going to midnight mass with the family, playing out in the snow, and curling up next to the fire after..well its enough to make a girl a bit more than nostalgic..

Today I woke up in the worst of moods..seeing as how my bed is tiny, I wouldn’t even say on the wrong side of the bed..just in the WRONG bed in general. I had only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before and did NOT want to work..Well just my luck, Nadia was the crabbiest little thing today. I could feel myself being short with her, and I felt bad about it..but gosh! Didn’t she know it was Christmas Eve and I was homesick..?! Well..around lunch time, I knew I’d be getting a break to eat so I was kind of snapping out of it and enjoying the day and my time with Miss Nadia, fully realizing that “no..this 1 year old baby has no clue what’s going on with me..only that I’m being a meany head today!”

I ate my lunch and then decided to have a few Christmas cookies, which I’m sorry..but are nothing compared to my Grammy’s.. 😛 Well one of these cookies must have had nuts in them that I’m allergic to..so instantly I told the Grandma I had to go take my Benadryl and lay down for an hour..which I felt okay about because Nadia was just about to go down for her nap as well. Well I took the Benadryl and slept for 2 hours and got up feeling rather queezy.. I then went to give Nadia her bath and finish work, which was only 3 more hours, but bath time did me in. Total over-exertion.. I felt worse than ever and had to tell the Grandma I had to go lay down again..thankfully, she was okay with it.

After sleeping about 4 more hours, I woke up feeling terrible still and knew I had to throw up. I could just imagine this cookie reeking havoc on my entire intestinal track.. After throwing up I got a terrible case of diherria..Sorry for the in-depth details..but just so people know I’m not trying to be a whiney, home-sick, unappreciative little girl.

So here I am, on the Eve of Christmas..laid up in bed..still feeling terrible..not being able to stomach anymore than bread. Christmas presents still not bought (as that was my plan for tonight)..So I imagine Christmas Day will be quite the same..hopefully just less uneventful in the medical department..!

While in the bathroom, however, I did think..”Well, atleast I can walk to the bathroom..atleast I can go to the bathroom without someone having to change my diaper afterwards..atleast I can see on my way to the bathroom..atleast I can hear the mosquitos circling right now..” And then something happened that hadn’t all day..I smiled..! Of the joy of living..! =)

Merry Christmas Everyone..! Hope yours is better than mine..but hey..atleast we are having one at all..!

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Volunteering..

For those of you who don’t know, every Tuesday I make the 1 1/2 commute out to the Lat Krabang area of Bangkok to volunteer at Camillian Home.

Camillian Home is a home for children who are disabled and/or have HIV/AIDS. They have around 35 kids in their care at the moment..around half are resident kids and the other half are day care kids that get free transportation to and from the home every day, to take part in physical therapy, school, and occupational therapy.

A typical day for me includes: Arriving at around 9:30, going to the third floor room (all resident kids, younger or having extremely limited mobility/mental health issues) and play with the kids. I then help with the feedings, which some kids require being fed through a medicine push-pop type deal. I’m not sure if this is called a syringe since there is no needle..but same concept. Others can swallow fairly well and eat whole foods like rice and small pieces of meat, but they still must be spoon fed. After that I help with diaper changes and sometimes bath time, for those who get particularly messy during lunch time, and then put them down for their naps. At that time, I go downstairs and join everyone else for lunch. I usually just grab some fruit and talk to the other volunteers or Faisal, the main coordinator of the home, who is also a volunteer..! He literally runs the place for FREE…amazing..

After lunch, at about 1:00, I head to the occupational therapy room to play games, do art, sing songs, and listen to music with the kids in there. They range from ages 8-16 in this room, in the home they have kids as young as 4. Their mental and physical disabilities vary greatly in this room. Most are extremely Autistic, some unresponsive, some extremely hyper or having a particular obsession such as writing or walking around in a circle repeating words..It can be a lot to stimulate them all at one time and for 2 whole hours..! The time goes rather slow when one activity can only last about 5-10 minutes. It wasn’t until recently that I went into the Physio room and starting helping out with Physical Therapy.

One boy, Pan, who’s 16, who is always so happy, laughing all the time, always pointing next to him telling me to come sit by him (he’s quite the ladie’s man..!) was crying last Tuesday because he didn’t want to do his Physio..so they told him I would do it and he perked right up. I was happy that I could do it for him to make it a little more bearable, but I could see the look of pain and discomfort on his face when I was doing the stretches and exercises..I think I felt my heart break a little when I was doing it..I tried to make light of the situation, though, and kept acting like his feet smelled..which he thought was hilarious!

That basically concludes my day at about 3:30, at which time I usually get a ride back into town with Faisal, who is constantly running between the home and the city..! Such a saint, that man!

Anyhow..I’ve gotten so close to these kids in the short time I’ve been going. Every time I go now, they all run up to me and give me the biggest hugs and most beautiful smiles. Whenever I’m having a hard time here and think about leaving, I always think of them and know in my heart that I have to stay. I love being able to make them laugh and feel loved..If I could take them all home with me, I would..each and every one..! But, at the same time, they are in a great facility with a good staff that takes good care of them.. So I’ll just continue to visit whenever I can and love on them as much as possible..!

This incredible place is only able to survive through the kind donations of others..so if you’re feeling in the Christmas spirit..please visit http://www.camillianhomelatkrabang.org/ and make even the smallest donation..anything helps..! God Bless..!

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New Song..New Chapter

About 5 years ago I was avidly involved in church life..going to youth group every Wednesday night, helping out at all the church fundraisers, holiday gatherings, etc., participating in youth trips, and helping out at Vacation Bible School in the summer! One of my most powerful experiences was, ironically, right before I gave all that up. I went to a National Youth Gathering in San Antonio, TX. with about 40,000 youth, all coming together to praise God. It was such a beautiful and powerful experience for me..being around that energy was intoxicating.

Shortly there after, within months, I embarked on my first journey as a world traveler. I headed to Mexico on foreign exchange, in search of many things..but God definitely wasn’t one of them. It was at that time I started my frequent use of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity that would follow me for many years to come. It wasn’t until recently that I saw a connection between the two events.

As I wrote previously, I was having a bit of a tough time adjusting to life here in Bangkok. A few weeks ago, I met the a woman named Pat at a Christmas party that I was randomly invited to, and seriously considered not attending. I think God.Fate.The Cosmos..Whatever you want to call it, made me go that night and I’m so thankful I did. It was there that I learned her husband was a pastor at a church called New Song.Now, I’ve been one to look into any and every spiritual path, be that my Sagittaria qualities coming out, or just being a lost little lamb in this big ol’ world..but I’ve recently been, again, thinking about Christianity. A few of my friends have been finding God and Jesus..but I’ve just had a hard time believing that is the ONLY path..It wasn’t until Pat said “Our church is for people who think church sucks!!” that I even considered going. I knew in that moment, and even told her so, that I knew I was supposed to find her at that party. Since meeting her, I’ve been thinking a lot more about God..One night I was having such a tough time, crying..no friends on Skype to talk to (dang time difference!!), and finally I just cried and said “God..please take this pain away from me..I can’t do it alone anymore..I don’t know if I’m supposed to follow you through Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Ganesha, or whatever!..I just need YOU!..” Since then..I’ve felt so light hearted an happy..I didn’t think such immediate reactions were possible.. Well since meeting Pat, I decided I would give New Song a try..just to see how I liked it, no preconceived expectations..

Tonight I went for my first Saturday night worship. The room feels more like someone’s cozy basement, more than a “church.” Everyone is so friendly and eager to get to know you that you don’t just feel like your in someone’s cozy basement, but rather that of an old friend. We started the night off by signing along with New Song’s amazing band. The lead singer has the voice of an angel..a very new, modern angel. When the boys are playing their guitars you can see the love and emotion they’re putting into it. I was starting to feel that intoxicating energy that I felt so long ago in Texas. When I looked over and saw Pat’s husband, Peter, signing along with his congregation..raising his hands up and praising the Lord with all his heart..I could feel the love he had for God, his church, and knew he was put on this Earth to do exactly what he’s doing.

After listening to an informal sermon about Jesus’ incarnation, I felt so lighthearted. Something about that sermon hit home and washed about a lot of the doubts I had before. I have always believed in Jesus Christ but always struggled with the Lutheran version that his is the direct Son of God..it just didn’t make sense to me. When Peter explained that it was God in human form, living amongst us..I was dumbfounded..Just having him  present it like that was so new and eye-opening to me. He said “I know I’m glad to have  God that knows what its like to be a human!” ..wow.. ME TOO! Praise God..Praise his Love, Power, Knowledge and Understanding!

I still have my questions and doubts..but I’m so happy to have found a community..or rather a family where I can learn,explore, and grow spiritually..all while feel so comfortable, welcomed and loved. New Song really has started a New Chapter for me.. Bless!

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There once was a time when I thought a unicorn was a real animal.

There once was a time when I thought cut-off shorts meant you had to cut your legs off.

There once was a time when I thought I was adopted (because my brothers told me so..!)

There once was a time when I thought being a teenager was some far off fantasy.

There once was a time when I thought my family might disown me for being a royal B*@&# at least 2 weeks out of the month..

There once was a time when I thought only cheerleading, friends, and senior boys existed in the world.

There once was a time when I thought my Mom knew nothing about life.

There once was a time I thought I was going to marry that star senior football player.

There once was a time when I thought Mexico was the worst possible place to be sent on foreign exchange.

There once was a time when I thought & hoped that year would never end.

There once was a time when I thought I would rather be in jail than finish my last year of high school.

There once was a time when I thought the only thing that mattered were friends, booze & boys..but this time, ones of Latin decent!

There once was a time when I thought I’d hug you goodbye, tell you I love you, and get to do it another day.

There once was a time when I thought the world was playing a dirty trick on me, and you’d come back saying “ha ha..just kidding..!”

There once was a time when I thought it was strange to feel complete happiness again, yet it was welcomed whole-heartedly.

There once was a time I realized both my mother AND my father did know something about this thing we call LIFE.

There once was a time when I thought I would follow a specific path, and end up at my dream school: University of Iowa.

There once was a time when my entire family questioned what I was doing, and even I had to stop and think.

There once was a time when I set out on a journey, not knowing where it would take me..but rather let the light illuminate my path.

There once was a time when I met that one and felt like there was no other.

There once was a time when I had to leave that one, and restart my journey alone.

Now is the time I’m on that journey. Alone. Making my own path. Lighting my own way.

Discovering me.

What a beautiful journey it is..

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