4 Months Into Brazil

I’ve been pretty quiet lately.

Actually that’s a total understatement. I’ve been silent.

Things have been pretty busy “in the real world” and I’ve been contemplating either shutting down my blog, or doing a major revamp, overhaul, and dedicating myself.

I’m going with the second.

In two weeks, I will have completed my position at work (my last day is March 15 – I put in my notice in January), and I will have more freedom to dedicate to the parts of my life that are so important to me but that I have been neglecting. Such as – writing and traveling.

I’ll write a more thorough post later, but a sneak peek into the highlights of my last 4 months into Brazil have included:
-Studying Portuguese
-Volunteering with Casa Do Caminhoes now three days a week – teaching one on one English lessons and assisting with -group classes for children from a nearby favela
-Trying desperately to find a decent Mexican, Arabic, or Indian restaurant (and failing badly)
-Enjoying our ocean view, amazing sunrises and a little pool on our own “private” porch
-Soaking up the sun on the beaches of Rio
-Experiencing the wonders of Carnaval

White Carnaval Sambodrome Rio 2015

photo credit: Tania Thorngreen

It Starts with Words

I’d always said I’d go to Thailand.

I was supposed to study here junior year in university, I was all signed up and had paid my fees for the study abroad program.. when life (aka bad relationship and bad decisions) got in the way. Instead of sightseeing and studying in Thailand, I was splitting my time between crying on my dad’s couch, hanging my head in the shrink’s office, and partying until the sun came up.

That was 4 years ago.

The years flew by – I graduated college, got my shit together in a way that no one really thought I would (even myself), and was suddenly an adult. Somehow I was 24, with a new Jeep, pretty apartment, great job, healthy habits, and an awesome amount of disposable income. 19 year old me would have pissed her class-skipping, alcoholic pants in surprise.

But something was missing. On paper, I had all the things that a responsible, successful young adult should want or need.

I was content. But I wasn’t happy. Definitely not happy. I felt empty, like a shell of a person floating through life, collecting paychecks and making purchases – a cog in a machine… I did not have purpose. I was not fulfilled by anything that I was doing.

I started telling people I was going to Thailand. I don’t know why. Attention? To shock people (I love to shock people)? To have something to say outside of the usual “how’s work? Yeah? good. Me too. good, busy, you know. Just got a raise, working on this project..”

I don’t think I meant it at first. But I realized it felt good. “I’m going to Thailand”. So I started saying it more. Even to myself, when I was alone. To my dogs, even.

But every time I went to buy my plane ticket, something would come up. Some conflict with dates, some reason to postpone purchasing.. And then when I ironed that out, it was credit card fraud issues. ANTICLIMACTIC as hell. I actually got all the way to checkout 3 times before it actually went through (screw you CapitalOne, for to this day never letting me purchase air tickets on the first try).

On the fourth time, when that confirmation screen popped up – I almost threw up. I was shaky and thought I was going to faint. I had gotten to the point where I thought I was never actually going to be able to buy tickets. It was right before I left for Christmas break from work. About a month before my departure date.

I had a little going away party (even though I was only going to be gone for 10 days, Americans don’t travel, get over it), and then had a leaving meal the night before my plane with my family. My dad joked about me not coming back.

My brother dropped me off at the airport, in capri pants, a tank, and a light jacket. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy, but I loved it, it gave me another opportunity to say “I’m going to Thailand”.

Its A Small World After All

Today I did very little, adventure-wise. I chilled at my guest house pool and planned a bit more extensively for my upcoming trip to Kratie and eastern Cambodia – more remote and much less touristed than everywhere I’ve been and thus requiring more planning. You don’t want to end up in literally the middle of nowhere, with no clue and no wifi.

Last night I ran into some of the Canadians I’d traveled with when I first came to Thailand, to Ko Tao and Ko Phangan. I didn’t think I’d ever see them again, and then one of the guys walked past me at Angkor What? Bar. Crazy!! He got Kev from in the bar (one of the best friends I’ve made on this trip so far), and we chatted and caught up for quite some time.
What are the chances, that in all of Southeast Asia, we end up in the same country, same city, same street, same bar, same time. Same same everything. Jeesh. It was so, so good to see them, it felt like just yesterday that I saw them last, and a lifetime at the same time. So much had happened, I moved to Bangkok, found a job, lived in Bangkok, settled down for a bit, and now my last hurrah before I begin work in June.. I suppose its pretty fitting, that I met them in the beginning of their trip (and mine!) and then got to see them at the end (they leave in May) of theirs, and the beginning of my round 2.

All the guys, minus one random guy, and also missing Garret

The Inspiration for All That I Do and How I live

The Inspiration for All That I Do and How I live

I am so lucky. My mom was a huge part of my life. When I was little, I was obsessed with her, and who could blame me because she always thought of the most fun and crazy activities, she was always singing and dancing like life was a nonstop party. I can remember being 11 and how it would freak me out when she would even go to the grocery store without me. Now, almost 10 years without her, I am so thankful that she squeezed so very much love into those few years that we had. She’s the number one inspiration for what I do now – seeing how badly my clients want a child, how they’ll spend all their money and time and risk so much, and knowing exactly the way it feels to be a child loved by a parent that wanted you more than anything in the world. This is why I come to work. This is why I live somewhere that makes me happy. Love and happiness is what life’s all about, and I thank my mom for instilling that lesson in me.