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Reflections

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

– Gustave Flaubert

I have now been in Thailand for about six weeks - 

        by this time three years ago I had already completed my study abroad in Italy,

        I was wrapping up my last two weeks of work in London by this time last summer

- and I'm not even close to being halfway done here.

The past six weeks have flown by. Some have been a breeze, and some not so much. 

I have seen some of the most beautiful places, but many came with discomfort and confusion along the way.

I am having the time of my life, but there's also a constant pang of missing my family and home comforts. A pesky pang like a minor headache that you can never quite get rid of. And sometimes when I'm walking down the street and getting stared at for looking different, I miss the life that I expected to live up until February; a life working at a familiar company, in a familiar community, with familiar people in London. 

But then I walk into the classroom and see my students. Or I get off whatever plane, train, or automobile I took that weekend and see a new, spectacular place. Or even the small things like when I am awoken by the crow of the roosters outside of Suporn Place every morning. In those moments I realize it is all worth it. 

I am extremely blessed to have this opportunity. I know that when I get on the plane to come home I will never be the same. I have seen and experienced such a variety of people and cultures. I have been welcomed with open arms and have found people who have similar values and goals as me. 

Before I came here, I thought of myself as an experienced traveler. I had been to 11 countries in my life. That sounds impressive, right? That's a mere 5.6% of the world's countries. All of the countries had been in Europe and North America - 28.6% of the world's continents. There is still a lot of the world for me to discover. More importantly, that's a lot of cultures for me to learn about. When I came here, I realized how little experience I have and how little I actually know about the world. I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list. 

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am so grateful that I am lucky enough to take part in it. Even through the good, the bad, and the ugly I know that I am constantly growing into a more well-rounded, aware individual. 

If you have a similar opportunity, don't let fear or nerves hold you back. There will be tears. There will be hard times. And more than likely, there will be a stomach bug or two. But in the end, it is more than worth it.

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