When I started the application process to teach in Thailand last July, it was a mere idea that I had plenty of time to back out of. As I began to look into the country and culture, I got really excited and told my mom “You HAVE to make me go. Don’t let me back out.” I have a history of backing out of big commitments at the last minute, but I knew that I really wanted to do this-even if it was crazy and scary. The months continued and I continued to gather all of the things I needed for the application checklist. The final thing was the big program fee, after that there was no turning back-click..I did it! I knew that this was going to be a big deal, but it was still months away so I was mainly just excited. There were several days when I had doubts about leaving the country for that long, but my parents supported me and my mom stuck to her word and didn’t let me back out. Fast forward about 6 months to now….
I now have 12 days until I board a plane and travel 28 hours alone to Bangkok, Thailand where I will have orientation with hundreds of other people who made the same big commitment that I did. I’ve never been out of the country for longer than a week, and definitely never without my family or a group I knew. How do you even prepare to leave the country for 6 months, possibly longer? How do I pick the important things to bring and leave everything else stored up? How do I say goodbye to some people and leave without closure from others? What if the plane crashes and I didn’t say goodbye to them? What if my luggage gets stolen? What if I get on the wrong flight? All of these questions circulate in my mind daily, especially now that it’s crunch time. Probably the hardest thing I’m leaving behind is my first nephew, who will be born in September while I am still in Thailand.
With a week and a half left, I am only waiting for my visa and then I will have everything set to go! Minus the packing 😛 Haven’t started that at all! It’s starting to sink in that I’m leaving, but I don’t think it will fully hit me until I am at the airport saying goodbye to my parents. I’m sure there will be plenty of tears. My parents couldn’t even leave me at my first college dorm without me running back out crying to say bye one more time. I can only imagine how much harder this will be. The flights will be long and boring. First one is from Atlanta to LA, then LA to China, and lastly China to Thailand. I leave on May 4th and won’t arrive until May 6th (hello jet lag ). Hoping for aisle seats like I requested! Especially on the 15 hr flight to China on an 800 passenger airbus- whaaaaaat?? Who knew you could fit that many humans on something and still make it fly. Crazy.
Well, the days are passing quickly and I am getting more excited and nervous each one! This will be the biggest adventure of my life! I’m ready for my new home by the beach with yummy Thai food and cute 1st graders who don’t know what I’m saying! 🙂 Feel free to comment if you have any questions!