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Elephants and Eardrums

My brother often says: “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.”

Now, personally, I prefer my adventures to go smoothly. But, perhaps it actually is “things going wrong” that make something an adventure. It certainly does make a better story.

Especially if that story happens to be your ear drum rupturing while living abroad.

Now, I think this sounds a lot cooler than it actually was. It was, in fact, not one of my finer moments in life to call my father in Hawaii in the middle of the night, crying about my head bleeding (Fathers love those kinds of calls, right? — shout out to my dad) after I woke up to some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

Thus, he calmly instructed me to get to the hospital because it was likely that my eardrum had burst. So, do yourself a humorous favor and picture me venturing to a Bangkok hospital by myself in the wee hours of the morning holding a towel to my ear.

— The bright side of this is I am now fairly confident in my ability to do basically anything.

I arrived at the hospital and a nurse took my temperature, stating, “Wow, you have a fever” (note, still holding towel to my bleeding head). Fortunately, this was not a foreshadowing of the rest of my hospital time and the staff was all very kind and professional and helpful — even after I fainted due to the pain. (Told you this was a good story!)

In hindsight, I should probably send them a thank you/apology card.

To make a long story short, a mean sinus infection caused this episode (but I think I’ll probably start telling people it was from scuba diving or sky diving because that sounds way cooler). So, I lost my hearing in my right ear for a few weeks and continued to teach in Thailand.

I’m going to put that on my resume.

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So, this was a minor set back. But, four weeks later, I am happy to report my hearing has almost completely returned, Thailand is still fun and adventurous as always, and I have continued my traveling and teaching adventures as planned.

My students took their midterms the week of Christmas (it is crazy to think I am more than half way done with my teaching — how did that happen?) and they are still as sweet and silly as ever. In December I had the honor of being a judge for a Christmas singing competition (spoiler alert: every class except one sang Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’) and a Christmas speech competition where they had to report on the history of Christmas. It is safe to say my heart melted. Last week I also had my students tell me some of their New Year’s resolutions, and three of my favorites were: “Get back to the body I used to have” (undoubtedly heard on a television commercial), “Go on a plane even if it doesn’t go anywhere,” and “Play video games while sleeping.”

May these important resolutions be some New Year motivation for us all.

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To my surprise, the holidays were unexpectedly absent of homesickness (with the exception to the eardrum rupture. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little homesick during that) — most likely due to the fact that it is 93 degrees and I still don’t believe it is January right now, and also because my brother came to visit (also, I do miss my family everyday, so don’t think I don’t miss you dodo birds). It was so nice to see a familiar face and show him around Thailand. We had an adventurous week in the south of Thailand, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. We spent Christmas on the beach eating pizza and drinking Singhas, and we spent New Year’s sending lanterns into the sky in Chiang Mai. To say that our week was fun would be an understatement… and in summary, it consisted of the beach, $3 mojito buckets and the inevitable headache that follows, exploring, zip lining, playing with elephants, sending off lanterns, and traveling around. I am so grateful he came to visit. Thanks Bri guy!

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So, as always, Thailand is excellent and I am continuously humbled and amazed by daily life here. Whether it be my students bringing me gifts such as aloe vera, cookies, or a surge protector, or hiking 1300 steps up to a beautiful Buddha statue in Krabi, or paddle boarding in Koh Phi Phi, or having monkeys jump on you while hiking, or feeding elephants breakfast in Chiang Mai… it’s often hard to believe that this is real life sometimes.

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If there is anything I learned in 2015, it’s that life should regularly consist of those “wow-this-is-real-life-moments.” So, that is my New Year’s resolution for 2016. To never stop being amazed and humbled by my surroundings (and also to not make any more trips to the hospital).

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Happy New Year!

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