Welcome to the Baht Life- Day Three/Four/Five

Day Three

I started my morning off the way I do almost everyday, with a peanut butter sandwich and some fruit. I had all of the above, so I didn’t need to spend any money on breakfast. On the way to work I stopped and grabbed two Redbulls (20 baht/ $.67), to prepare for the energy drain that tiny children are. Also, please note that Redbull is $.33 in Thailand. I do not know how it is possible that it is actually cheaper than a bottle of water.

Work on Tuesday was really easy because my three hour-long preschool class was cancelled. That left me with two teaching hours with kindergarten, in a seven-hour work day (turns out I didn’t need to drink both energy drinks). I used some of the free time to lesson plan, but mostly messed around on the internet and skyped with friends and family. Unfortunately, lunch was fried rice with eggs and another dish I didn’t like, so I went and picked up lunch from a curry woman down the street from my school. The lunch I picked up ended up not being so great either and so a lot of it got wasted (40 baht/ $1.34). The biggest difference between meat dishes in Thailand and meat dishes in America is that in Thailand, everything gets thrown in the pot. After I saw what seemed to be like some large vein or vessel in my curry I was pretty turned off. It was a friend’s birthday at work, so I left during my break and picked her up a birthday cake from Nick and I (80 baht/ $2.68).

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After work at the elementary school, I went to meet up with a friend that I study with a couple days a week until evening hours. On the days I meet with her, I dont return home for eleven hours, and I’m pretty burned out by the time I do. After stopping to pick up dinner for Boobay and Kao-Home, my rabbits (60 baht/$2), I came home exhausted. I was debating what to do for dinner for myself, when Kay invited me out with her friends. I told her it wasn’t in my budget but she insisted on paying for me, so I ended up going to mookata with Nick, Kay and another couple.

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A mookata style dinner involves a hot bucket of coals in the middle of the table, that burn under a pot and griddle. There is a giant buffet line where you choose the vegetables, meats, noodles, spices and herbs that will go into the pot. The dinner I cooked consisted of pork, chicken, baby corn, noodles, morning glory, cabbage, and various types of mushrooms, all in a delicious broth that I poured over a bed of green noodles. We also had a beer tower, which is exactly what it sounds like. It stands at about 2 1/2 feet tall and the core is an ice cube surrounded by beer. We had an amazing dinner, which I could not have afforded to attend, were it not for Kay’s generosity.  A dinner style meal like this normally runs about 140 baht ($4.70), beer not included. It’s a good deal if you are looking for a wide arrangement of food, and more importantly want to eat dinner in a way that is different from the normal routine.

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After dinner we went back to the house to drink some more, and finish my preschool project, and I picked up a small bottle of whisky to share. The whisky I find myself most commonly drinking is Hong Tong, which runs 110 baht ($3.68) for a fifth sized bottle. It’s not too bad, but I don’t know if I will ever drink whisky again after my year in Thailand. It’s all I have had since leaving America.

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(Using peanut butter jars for drinking cups, and alcohol bottles for water painting glasses.)

Total- 310 baht ($10.37)

Day Four

On Wednesday morning as Nick and I were pulling out the garage, I challenged him to a race. We took separate courses to work and raced one another through the back streets and alleyways of Surat Thani. Although I lost and probably wasted gas, it woke me up with a little adrenaline rush, and got me ready to start my day.  I arrived at work and went through the regular motions of the day. Preschool-kindergarten-kindergarten-and more preschool after the lunch break. I brought in my cat piano that I finished, and introduced it to the preschoolers, who seemed to like it.

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When work got out I went to study with my friend and was with her until almost seven. Afterwards, I went to meet a girlfriend for dinner at a restaurant she wanted to take me to, and I had a nice dinner with a beer. I should have explained my budget to her, because I realized once I saw the menu, that most of the dishes were not within my price range. Even with a beer and appetizer, the meal itself was under $10, but hardly. On my way home I stopped for a bit of gas, which would last me until the weekend (50 baht/$1.67), and then arrived home at an empty house. Hanging on my doorknob was a dinner that Nick and Kay brought home for me from the market, and so I put it in the fridge for breakfast the next day. I worked on some student plans and then slipped away into a much needed sleep.

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Total- 270 baht ($9.04)

Day Five

Upon arrival at work on Thursday, I learned that it was Sports Day. It was a day where most classes were cancelled, so that students could watch sports competitions taking place on the fields outside. Often I arrive at work to discover I will not be teaching or classes will be cancelled, due to some event that the foreign teachers were unaware of.

The first half of my morning consisted of taking my nursery class for a half hour walk around the school to practice standing in a line and walking with your hands on someone’s shoulders. This was a total disaster. After the nursery I went to my next class, which is grade 4 in the government school. My school is divided into two parts, the private English program and the government side. The EP is for students who pay an extremely high tuition to be in a setting where native English speakers teach the majority of your teachers. They have nice facilities, newer resources, and get a better education because they’re paying a high price for it. The government side is a normal Thai school. The class size is twice as big, and the classrooms are filled with only desks and notebooks that are stacked along the wall on the floor. Often the air conditioner is not working and the classrooms are in pretty bad shape. I have three government classes, second grade, fourth grade and sixth grade, and I see them each for an hour every week. Their English level is very low and some of them are at a similar level as my kindergarten students in the English program.

When I arrived at my P4 class, only a few students were in the room, and the rest were out at Sports Day. I figured since this was their only hour of English each week I would hang around and spend some time with them. I let them teach me the card game they were playing, Circus, which turned out to be exactly like Uno. I was still like an English lesson, because they had to explain the game and rules to me, which required them to speak as we played. It was perfect because I got to know a few students more than I normally would, and since it was a relaxed atmosphere, they weren’t as nervous as they normally are about speaking with me. After spending the hour with those students, I returned to my office, and had the rest of the day free.

That evening we had a couch surfer from Russia come to stay with us, and we took her out to Koh Lampoh to watch the sunset and then to the night market. She was only in Thailand for a few days, and wanted to try a lot of different Thai foods, so we took turns buying and trying different things (50 baht/$1.67). After that we went for dinner and drinks with a group of friends at the pier, and had a really nice night (140 baht/$4.69). The whole town is decorated for Chinese New Year, and we walked around checking out all of the lanterns and food stalls with Chinese treats (30 baht/$1).

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Total- 210 Baht ($7.03)

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Welcome to the Baht Life: Day One/Two

Day One

Sunday was the first day of my eight day, ten dollar budget. I enjoyed having the house to myself, as Nick was out of town teaching an English camp. Yes, the kids here spend their weekends at camps where the goal is to learn English outside of their English classes and English private tutoring. I spent Sunday doing the things I always need to do but manage to put off. I cleaned my room, organized my ever-growing pile of student work, and took care of my laundry before that pile got any larger. My parents sent me an envelope full of newspaper articles from San Diego, so stretched out on my bed and caught up with some of the current events at home. I found the selection they chose to send me interesting, as much of it focused on ridiculous stories, such as “Man leaves infant with Pit-bull as babysitter.” Also included was a picture of them in the newspaper, from a dress-your-dog-up Christmas parade. And last but not least, the papers for my student loan; a reminder that although I am on the other side of the world, I have not be able to shake free of my responsibilities back home.

I finished the articles and attempted to continue reading a book I have been struggling to get through for the past two months. The book is “100 Years Of Solitude,” which has amazing reviews and won a Noble Peace Prize. I pick it up at least three nights a week, but somehow only manage to make it through maybe ten pages before falling asleep. This was the case for Sunday as well. I was only a half chapter in when I passed out, and spent the next two hours of my Sunday afternoon napping in my warm bedroom. When I awoke, the weather had cooled down and I figured I should try and get outside and enjoy the rest of my day. I rode my bike down to Koh Lampuh, a big park in Surat Thani. The park is located on a small island, surrounded by the river. It is a beautiful place to work out, take a walk, play music, read, enjoy the sunset or people watch. I have used it for all aforementioned reasons, except that rather than playing music I was entertained by Nick and some friends, when they decided to have a jam session one Friday evening.

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After spending a few hours in the park, I went to the Sunday night market to pick up dinner. For dinner I grabbed pad thai and chicken skewers (60 baht/$2).

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After the market I went back home and started a project for my preschool class. One of the biggest differences about my preschool classroom, and American classrooms I have worked in, is the lack of visual learning aids on the wall. I decided to make a giant counting chart for the kids, so that they could touch the numbers as I said them. After hanging out with Nick and his girlfriend Kay, I called it a day and went to sleep.

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Total- 60 baht ($2)

Day Two

The arrival of Monday meant the beginning of the workweek. I have to be at work by 8 am, I get an hour lunch break and an hour break to plan, and by 3:30 I am riding my bike home. It’s a quick workday that is over before you know it.  My school also provides me with free lunch, which helps with budgeting, as long as the meal doesn’t include eggs. Anyone who knows me, knows that the one thing I hate more than anything in the world is egg. The smell, the taste, the sight, and the fact that it is a liquid animal within a shell. I do not understand why I am one of the only people I have ever known that thinks there is something wrong with that.

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(Normal school lunch- Noodles with meat and veggies on a giant prison tray.)

Planning for classes this week was easy, because I decided to structure my lessons around “Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish,” by Dr. Seuss.  I read the book to my kinder class, and had them point at different pictures and explain to me why they were silly. I left work early because I had to go to the immigration office and get my passport stamped, for a thirty-day extension. (I will not be including this cost in my budget, as it is not a normal expense of my daily life). The immigration office is an official Thai government building, and I don’t know why, but I was surprised by the condition of it. From the outside the building is part of this giant complex in traditional Thai architecture, but the inside was old, worn out, with years of dirt on the walls, and damage to the ground and doors.

 

Of course, I was the only Westerner in the entire building, and all the other immigrants stared at me like I was from another planet. The immigration office was packed to capacity with Burmese and myself, all waiting to have our passports stamped. There was a service window, and rather than a single file line, there was a cluster of people all shoving one another to get access to it. As I waited at the back of the mob, I wondered if when I got to the front if people would shove up against me as well and crush me in the sea of bodies.

 

After about twenty minutes of standing there, debating if I should move up, I realized there were another room and a sign that said “one stop visa renewal.” I wiggled my way through the crowd and walked into the next office. There I sat at a desk and waited for the woman to simply stamp my passport. I watched the clock pass over an hour, as she continued to tell me, “just one moment please.” I was patient because by the looks of the leaning towers of paper and folders on her desk, she had a lot of other work she had to do, and was probably having a long day. I sat quietly and looked around the office. Seated next to me was a mother with a baby that was naked. I wondered why she would take a naked baby, especially with no diaper, to a government office to do immigration paperwork? There are things you see here, that you just wouldn’t in the States.

 

After immigration, I went to a coffee shop and had a smoothie (50 baht/ $1.67) and worked on some lesson plans. I stopped by my neighborhood night market and picked up dinner and some more fresh fruit (80 baht/ $2.68), and some candy as rewards for my students (100 baht/$3.35).

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That evening Nick had company over, and we had a few drinks as we talked and swapped music videos from America and Thailand. I had a half bottle of whisky in the freezer, and Nick picked me up mixers, so I didn’t need to spend any money on that.

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Total- 270 Baht ($9.04)

Welcome to the Baht Life

Last night, I was inspired by a friend’s blog post, in which he declared he was going to live for ten days in Washington DC on one hundred dollars. It may sound like a good chunk of money, but after living in the city last fall, I know that a hundred dollars hardly gets you half way through the week.

A year after leaving DC, I have relocated to Southern Thailand, where money goes a lot further (which is great, since you make a lot less). With a week until pay day, and less than a hundred dollars to my name, I decided to copy his idea.

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I am starting with 2,365 baht, which is the equivalent to 79.38 USD. I will track my week, from Sunday to Monday (eight days), and document the ways that I spend money and live my life on less than eighty dollars. I chose eight days because his goal is to show how you can live on ten dollars a day, and I would like to offer the same, except from the life of someone living abroad.

To be fair, my fridge has a loaf of bread, some sandwich meat, and a drawer full of fresh fruit and a few vegetables. My motorbike has a half tank of gas, and my water jug is empty. Living in a country where the water is not safe to drink means that I must constantly be either filling up water containers or buying water bottles. While water is still cheap, it adds up quickly when you’re doing it daily, and consume as much as I do.

Rent is the only expense that will not be included in this week’s budget. Just to give you an estimate of what life costs here, I rent the master in a two bedroom/ two bathroom/ fully furnished house, and pay 4,500 baht ($151) a month.

This week I will find productive and creative ways to spend my time, that allow me to avoid spending as much money as I normally would. I will avoid nicer restaurants, going out for drinks, and buying items I don’t need. To save gas I will also be making a conscious effort to walk to places I would normally use my bike to get to.

The house that I have been living in was under construction since late November, and it was only just completed in the last few days. Now that it is finished, Nick, who is wonderful  housemate, and I can make it our home. Decorating with the limited supplies we have, will provide me with a way to fill time. I will also post pictures of before and after, so you can see my Thailand home.

There is an Olympic sized pool up the street from me that I can swim in for a little more than a dollar a day, and a park down by the river, where I can lay out and spend my day reading and writing.

I am also taking inspiration from my friend’s idea to track his progress on a painting he is working on. In order to save money, he will fill some of his free time with the canvas, and hopefully complete it by the end of the week. I too will start some type of picture, whether it is a drawing or painting, and dedicate my evenings to it. I will also share the activities I plan for my students and any art projects I prepare for them.

As life so often has a funny way of working, living on a budget this week comes at an ideal time. I recently found out that the school I work for is closed the second week of February. However, my agency has mandatory on call office hours, and if we choose to be unavailable, we will be penalized a day of pay for each time. I was planning on using this week to meet up with a friend who is in Thailand, and spend the week in the islands with her. A normal weekly budget for me is around $100-$150, depending on how often I go out, or what unexpected costs arise. Saving money this week, so that I will be able to afford to take a few days off, will work out perfectly. As I mentioned earlier, I also don’t have much of a choice, since this is what I have until the 9th.

I hope you enjoy the photos of my daily life, and more so, that this inspires some of you to leave your jobs at home, and come live a life style where you can afford to live on such a small amount of money, while not living without any of the normal comforts of life as you know it.

Feel free to check out The Dandygram, and see how Trevor does this week!

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http://thedandygram.blogspot.com/2013/02/living-on-100-for-10-days.html

It will also offer an insight to how one lives in one of America’s most expensive cities, compared to life in an emerging country.

Looking Forward

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There is something within me that keeps pushing me. Driving me forward. Forcing me to uproot myself over and over. There is a pulse in my body that can not be calmed.  A hunger I cannot satisfy. I want to see everything. Be everywhere. Feel the earth around the world. Lose myself again and again.

I am looking for more.

My mind is always a day ahead of tomorrow.

When Life Started Looking Different

This morning I was playing on the playground in the sandbox, with my preschool class, and I noticed something floating in the air. The sun was shining in a way that created a beam of light in front of me, and in it I saw millions of illuminated little flicks of glitter floating in the air. I looked down and realized that the kids playing in the sand had stirred it from its resting place, sent it flying freely into the air.  My hands, as well as the children’s’, were coated in the same gold flakes. What a beautiful (preschool) life this is.
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caught in the moment

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snack time with with cookies and cake

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dirty finger nails

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out
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There are days when I really don’t want to wake them.


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Mistress of the Moon

Mistress of the Moon

Did 6 days really just go by?

Thursday night- Got off work and rushed to buy my first pair of heels in Thailand. Big New Years Eve party for staff at the school I work at. Must dress up. Cannot wear Tom’s to this event, let alone Tom’s with holes in them. Went straight from tutoring to a banquet at a hotel, which was also the tallest building in the city. Everyone who works at Anuban Surat was there. Only farang were me and two of the boys I work with. Hung out with all the Thai teachers and got to know them more personally. Food kept coming and coming in courses, some of the best Thai food I have had in the country. Free booze. Got up and danced with a bunch of Thai people in a traditional Thai style. Had an absolute blast. Watched my two western co-workers sing “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” and “My Heart Will Go On” while a constant flow of Thai teachers went to the front stage and created an impromptu performance. Two Thai male teachers started reenacting the Jack and Rose scene from the front of the boat, their arms wrapped around one another, with roses being put in their mouth and behind their ears.  My roommate won a vacuum cleaner at a raffle, while everyone else won towels. The night was beyond anything I had expected and I left with a giant smile on my face.

Friday- New Years celebration in the nursery. A buffet of cookies and junk food. Kids went nuts. Gangnam style on repeat. Balloons being used for kickball, soccer and any other game that involves hitting or kicking. Total madness for hours. Got of work early, dropped Boobay and Kao-Hom off at a friend’s house, and got on the first ferry to Koh Pan ghan.

A boat that was packed to capacity. We sat out on the open deck and cracked open our various bottles of alcohol. At one point we joined a giant group of at least twenty people playing kings cup. Before we arrive I take a moment to lay back and relax. Collect myself before I am hit with what is coming. I lay my head back on my frayed shoulder bag. The moon has consumed the sky and it has an orange glow to its giant smiling face. We arrive to an island where everyone has come to party. We drop our stuff off at a friend’s hotel and make our way to the full moon party.

Total madness begins.

Reality was burning down as the strangest new wonderland was growing with the progression of the night. As I walked down the streets it was as if I was running from anything I knew as normal. I am at the biggest beach party in the world. Hula hoops. Water slides. Sparklers. Fire crackers. People breaking open glow sticks and shaking them all over those who surrounded them, showering glowing neon rain on their friends. Blinking giant plastic bows on top of heads. Indian headdresses. Running shorts and matching neon sweat bands. Millions of shirts with some arrangement of “Full Moon/ New Years” printed on them. Buckets of alcohol. Minimal to no clothing. More alcohol. Stages covered in dancing bodies. People swarming all over the beach. Every street in town leading to the sand. A constant flow of bodies. Movement in every direction. Different music entering each ear. Music competing to be louder than the next. Mushroom mountain. Dubstep pulsing through my body. Bumping into every person you pass. Shoulders brushing strangers bodies. People grabbing you. Hugging you. Love everywhere. So many half clothed bodies. Fire signs. Fire jump ropes. Fire works tearing through the sky. Glow sticks. Strobe lights and green lasers cutting through clouds of smoke. Fog machines allowing bodies to hide in the rolling blanket.   Painted bodies. A representative for every country all in one place. Anything you wanted could be found. Anything you dreamed of somehow became possible. It was like I entered another dimension and all signs of reality blew away in the warm December breeze. Sprinkles of light falling from the sky. The fireworks left strains against the purple night. They kept coming and coming. A never-ending storm of glittering color lighting up everyone’s faces and making the crowd’s eyes shine.

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Squeezed neon paint into my palm and rubbed my hands together so that the entire inside of my hands were glowing as I danced. Letting them leave trails through the air. For my entertainment as much as anyone around me.

A stranger comes up to me as I dance in my own world, he places a giant ring of glow sticks around my neck and tells me, “I can tell you are not like other full moon girls, you are different. You are beautiful. Please keep dancing.” I am stuck in slow motion, watching from outside as my body keeps twirling, and everything around me is spinning so fast all focus is lost.

Dance. Dance. Dance. Bass. Bass. Glow. Spin around.  Lose yourself in the color. The blur. Turn around again and again and again. Body was elevated. Music lifted me off the ground. Floating in a daze of bliss. The sun is already here. How did that happen? Where did the night just go?

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A sunrise revealing the damage of the night. A beach destroyed. The beauty of what just took place fading, as reality of daylight takes over. I leave my sunglasses on.

A boat ride back to Had Yuan, the beach where we have reservations. Before our boat can dock I jump into the water. Good morning Saturday. Thank you Friday night. You have left me with memories I will never forget.

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I swim to the sand, stumble to a lounge chair and pass out under the sun until lunchtime.

This is my recovery from my first night of celebration.

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I spend all of Saturday and Sunday on the beach. I have nothing else that is required of me. I laugh and lounge the days away. I drink whiskey as I read American Psycho. When I tire of this I put my ipod in and melt back into another world.

Sunday night I slip away from the bar we are at, Peace and Love, and let my body sink into a damp hammock. I want a moment of solitude to think about this past year. Who I have been. Who I could have been. But more importantly, who I want to be in the coming year. The New Year isn’t about making outrageous resolutions that will fade with the winter weather, but rather about consciously thinking about who you want to be as life evolves. I didn’t make a resolution, but rather a commitment to be more involved in the communities I live in, and to give back to the places and people that are providing me with all that I have.

Monday is the last day of the year and it is storming when I awake. Waves are crashing against the rocks that our bungalow is propped up on. The rickety stick bridge we have to take is being smashed and sprayed by the angry ocean. The palm trees on the sand dance with such force that I am convinced they share the same souls as people I met Friday night. The storm is ready to shake the last moments of the year with its relentless power.  This presents a small hurdle, since we must take a boat ride again to get back to Haad Rin, for the New Years Eve full moon extravaganza. The storm gets more and more wild until the girls and I are starting to debate if it’s worth leaving our location for a destination that could end up being a disaster. I stand strongly in favor of going. This is an event that people travel to Thailand to attend. I will not miss it.

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The sun has just set and we have the last moments of daylight as we jump on a small boat, packed to capacity with foreigners. It takes an entire group of men to push the motorboat into the ocean, where we then charge against waves much too large for this boat to handle. It jumps out of the water, every time leaping over the waves, in danger of tipping over or sinking. This is total and utter madness. My friends are terrified. I am laughing hysterically. Salt water sprays my face, drenches my body, and I am a child again. This is the wildest ride of Splash Mountain I have ever been on. People are screaming. Gripping anything they can. My friend’s hand has a death grip on my thigh. I don’t know if she is aware of this. The boat driver stands on a seat as he steers the boat from a giant metal rod coming out of the engine. The ride is so rough and wild I cannot believe I did not fly out of the boat. The fact he is standing makes him a hero.

We arrive to a scene even more insane than the full moon party. We find a bar and I cover my body as well as my two friends’ bodies with neon paint. I am glowing with a pattern of multicolored triangles that start on my foot and spread over one half of my lower body and then twist their way onto the opposite arm and the side of my face. Electric green dots glow under my eyes. I am a creature of the night. My friends are wrapped in vines and flowers and twists and twirls and hearts and “love” written in cursive dances over their skin. This is my calling. This is what I want to be doing. A  body paint artist with a bag full of neon glowing jars of paint, who decorates people for the wildest nights of their lives.  The energy was pulsing through the town. Fire works could be heard blasting over the music. My friend said it best, this is the partier’s pilgrimage. The biggest party in South East Asia. The colors. The noise. The taste. The feel. And most of all, the smell of the ocean and fire and 50,000 bodies. The sensory overload left me numb. How do you explain taking in so much that you no longer feel anything anymore? Everything is not enough. Excess. Impulse. Wheres the good in being good? I may have well spent the weekend eating diamonds. It was insanity and in it I found all the clarity I needed to get my new year started. I kiss you goodbye 2012. Thank you.

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The location where you buy your ferry tickets and wait for your ride to leave was packed with people trying to make their way off the island from the night before. Bodies were strewn all across the floor and I quickly searched out an empty spot and went and passed out on the ground against a wall. The concrete was hard, cold and filthy, and I couldn’t have been happier to just stop. Just for a second. To close my eyes. To let my mind go blank behind my eye lids that were glowing from the firework patterns. The never ending party. It takes its toll. Youth is incredible and I thank my body for allowing me to put it through the things that I do.

Traveling home on the first day of the year gives me hours to think about the events that just took place. What was real and what wasn’t? How many amazing beautiful people did I just meet, who I will never cross paths with again? How many times was reality lost as music took a hold of my world? How many times was I hugged and squeezed as someone shouted “Happy New Year” in my face. I am still covered in body paint, although I have ditched any glowing jewelry. I have a headband of yellow daisies wrapped around my forehead, holding down hair that is full of sand, and glitter and gold that fell from the sky. I look down at my feet. Neither of the shoes on them are mine. Neither match.

Hello 2013. May you be as sweet, kind, exciting and as full of adventure as 2012 and life in general, has been to me.

Lupine Hills


I’m in a coffee shop on my lunch break, watching the rain pour down, and the hands on the clock inch closer towards class time.

It’s Christmas Eve, yet I’m having a hard time feeling like the holiday has finally arrived.

I spent the first three hours of my day practicing for a Christmas performance tomorrow, where my kindergarten class will sing and dance to “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

After lunch I will lead my nursery class in Jingle Bells, until the school day is over.

For weeks I have been doing Christmas themed activities, art, and games with my students, but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas here.

This is my second Christmas away from my family, and I am finding that although I am not homesick, there are some things that I am really missing. I miss the way our Christmas tree glows in the center of the living room that we are only allowed to use during this time of the year. Our “fancy” room. I miss my Mom’s Christmas decorations and candles all over the house, the same that she has been using since my childhood. I miss hearing the bickering over who is going to hang the lights outside and whether or not we should do it differently than the year before. I miss putting on Christmas music, and hearing someone else complain about how they don’t want to listen to it, that it is tacky or annoying. I miss baking Christmas cookies, decorating cookies, burning cookies and most of all eating cookies. I miss my Mom and Dad pretending to be Santa, even though I stopped believing in him over a decade and a half ago. I miss looking under the Christmas tree and seeing all of the gifts wrapped in the exact same paper, and my mom not writing any names on them, therefor making the opening process a complete surprise.

I’m not homesick, but I miss my family.

The holidays are meant to be spent with the people you love most, and if you are with family and friends during this time of the year, tell them you love them and don’t take their company for granted.

You could be on the other side of the world.

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday.

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Living History

In every town, in every city, there are buildings that are being reclaimed by nature. The trees, the roots, are eating what man has made. The fingers reach out and grab a hold of the bricks, of the wood, and they wiggle their way into every little crack. The roots push through the foundation and pull on the ceiling, until floors rise and roofs collapse. Vines have wrapped their arms around window frames and have snaked around shattered glass. Years of rain have left tear marks running down the faces of these ghosts. The earth is taking back the space that man attempted to claim. This is nature’s territory and we are just visitors. Other buildings go up around those that crumble to their death, a never-ending story of birth and decay.

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