Evolution: Thoughts on Outgrowing Friends and Why It’s Okay

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I used to seek for approval before I proceeded with anything. I had the need to be liked because who doesn’t want to be seen as cool? I always craved for validation from my parents, family, peers, colleagues, friends and men. It’s a culture thing. Trust me, it wasn’t just tiring. I got burnt out. 

 

During an uncontrollably hormonal day, I found myself posting my desperate cry for enlightenment on a Facebook Group called She Hit Refresh. She Hit Refresh is a tribe of women in their 30’s who quit their jobs, said goodbye to the lives they didn’t feel happy about and started anew somewhere far from their homes and everyone they know. Instinct told me that for sure, this is the right tribe to throw my questions to as they can for sure relate more. They have more experience in what I’m lamenting about but couldn’t find enough courage to ask anyone. I was scared to be misunderstood. Because the truth is, nothing has prepared me for running away with only my hopes and dreams of being able to find whatever it is that I was looking for along the way. I never had enough words to explain it.

 

Danica: I hit Refresh. Twice. Now I feel like I have outgrown my friends and I feel like I couldn’t relate to them anymore. Has anyone experienced this? I moved twice and now I became introvert. Maybe because I feel uncomfortable when new acquaintance keep on asking me what I do and I am a bit tired of repeating stories again and again.

 

Sandra: It is quite normal to outgrow your friends especially if you are hitting refresh and they are not. And even sometimes if we don’t hit refresh we outgrow the people around us. It is an evolution. However, the second part is on you to decide if you want to be a hermit or you want to make friends. It is normal when you meet new people to try to find commonalities which includes what you do, how you came to be in a place, etc. It is just part of meeting new people and connecting with them. People are going to ask questions.

 

Cepee Tabibian: Great advice Sandra! Danica, I’ve felt like that too. When I moved to Madrid it took about 2.5 years to find my tribe again. I found I really had to work at making friends and finding the people who “get me.” I realized the effort was my responsibility to create my community. I spent a lot of time with acquaintances who weren’t the right fit and had to repeat my story over and over to new people. But that is just all part of meeting new people when you’ve moved somewhere new. People are curious of who you are and your story that led you to where you are. Best of luck! It does feel repetitive but if you keep at it the right people will come along. Where are you located right now?

 

Judy Lancaster Hey Danica, yes I think it’s normal for anyone. I moved to a new country with a new language and it was very strange and new and a bit scary. I’m a quiet person also so a bit shy and not always feeling up to reaching out to people. I’ve met so many great people though along the way, and a few now that are more special than the rest that I’ve become good friends with. I’ve grown so much from doing this.
But you have to make the effort to get out and if you are not good at just showing up alone at an event or restaurant or bar to meet people then I suggest you seek out hobbies you like to do and join clubs or courses. For example I went to yoga classes and met a great bunch of women there… All single and wonderful. I joined a women’s dinner get together with another lady that invited me and met even more like minded women. I did volunteer work every week teaching children English and met other wonderful volunteers.
And of course they are all curious about as I am about them. Try a short watered down version of your story so it’s not bothersome to you to repeat. You can always fill them in later as you become friends.
But I urge you to join groups or activities that you love and you will find friends that have similar interests. Good luck!

 

KC: I didn’t realize up until now that it’s normal !!.Wow such a relief. I assumed that I was the problem. Thanks for posting this.

 

Liane: Same here. If you evolve, I guess it means your people of interest evolves, whether or not that means they need to be different people, new people, people you knew you were not so close to… I super feel ya with the questioning, sometimes it’s an effort I don’t feel like going through and those days I just avoid to be with new potential friends

 

Lara: Only recently I realized (with help of my life coach) that you don’t have to be friends forever. Friends for a time is a thing, and is actually the norm. People come and go in your life, fulfill some purpose, and USUALLY leave.

 

Audrey: Just give them the short easy answer to their questions then ask questions about them. Most people love to talk about themselves and would appreciate a good listener. Of course, if you are now an introvert, you may just want to be alone for a spell.

Patrice: I learned in therapy training as we get older things change a lot with friends. We need less friends but higher quality friends so you are likely finding you are at that stage where past friendships don’t meet current needs

 

Jana: Yes. I can relate, and too have evolved more introvert. I find it’s not the asking of what I do, but the response people have because they work a traditional 9-5, and can’t see how someone could make money doing anything other than. And the judgment that comes with it. The experience is like you have to defend your choices, even though you not asking for any assistance from these people. It’s exhausting.

I’m sure you know you this, just seek to be in the company of people who are living similar to you and mix it up a bit periodically.

 

Macey: I never stay in one place long enough to make friends. I travel for work 1-30 days at a time then I’m off to the next place. I’m only home 1-2 days a month.

If it weren’t for Facebook I’d never have anyone to talk to?


Laurence:
Wow! Thank you for sharing SHR ladies. This makes me feel normal and not alone in this journey. As it had been said by many above. People can come into our life for a season and letting go of old friends does not make us bad friends

 

Robine: It’s not easy. Of course you will leave some people behind but hopefully not all. At first I found I was spending time with some with whom all I had in common was the English language and it does take time to find like-minded friends. Interestingly, I found people who aren’t interested in ‘my story’ and we share a new life and move forward rather than looking backwards. Not knowing what people did in past lives is great because we can’t categorize or judge. People’s lives just emerge over time and the parts that do are the really interesting bits! Keep going. It’s worth it.

 

Sherri Schultz Hmm. It does get tiring to say the same thing over & over. I’m hitting a domestic refresh (sold home, moved to different state, living in building of micro-studios with 43 college students). After a week or two here I began a doc called “How Many Reasons” that answers the #1 question I got from everyone when I arrived, “Why are you doing this?” (I’m up to about 20 reasons now.) I also wrote up a one-page summary of the last 30 years of my life that I can send people who are interested, because there’s never enough time. … Also, if you have a website or a blog or a Facebook business page, and a business card with the URL, you can use the About to tell more of your story and point people to it.

 

Lauren: Friendships take effort regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, hitting refresh or not. It’s never easy regardless. Nor should it be considered bothersome to have to repeat your story. Part of friendship regardless of the circumstances behind it is compromise. And work. Yes, it might be annoying, sure you might be afraid. But human beings, especially women are intrinsically social. We ask questions because we genuinely want to know. Yes, it might be awkward to go to a bar by myself in order to meet a new group of intriguing people. Yes, I may have to do that quintessential American thing called schmoozing and it may be awkward as hell for a few minutes. Or the alternative sitting alone in my flat, with a new city to explore, not pushing myself to get out there and take that chance. The hardest part of this equation my friends is hitting refresh. The rest of it is easy comparatively speaking. I have met some of my closest friends in that “bar”, laughing at myself and my awkwardness. In Lisbon once, no concept of Portuguese, jet lagged, trying to order a tea because of remnants of food poisoning from Asia. Could it have been more awkward trying to order peppermint tea? In my mind no. But, through the random kindness of strangers, meeting people by chance who were able to get me into a doctor that day, essentially saving my life? I digress…however, keep doing the things you love and that come easy to you. For me because I love to read, I always find the English bookstore and the movie theater that plays either dubbed American movies, or subtitles. You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve watched James Bond movies in Turkish. My point is it doesn’t have to be bothersome or stressful making friends. But, it is a necessary evil in the sense that you do have to put yourself out there at some point. Just do it on your terms.

 

Pam: I am increasingly less outgoing as I age. I miss the friendships that have become less forefront because of the changes in my life. I miss those friends. That connection.
I never had more than a couple of friends at any given time. And I know I’ll never have new friends that fill the void of the old.

But … I expect to have new friends who mesh with my new interests and involvements.

 

One thought about telling the same story over and over: Is it necessary? There’s nothing that says everyone needs the whole backstory from Page One. Give yourself permission to not tell all right away.

 

Beatrice: Yes! All my friends in London want to talk about is building a loft extension or moving from their 3 bedroom suburban home into a 4 bedroom home. I still love them and feel horrible saying this, but I totally relate

 

 

I got the answers that I was looking for and felt bad about not being able to revert with even just a little gratitude for the wisdom they gave me. I am slowly learning to open myself up and be more social again. Perhaps I haven’t found my tribe yet but it’s not that important anymore.

 

A man is rich not by what he owns but what he can do without.” — Immanuel Kant

 

What matters is that I have taken the first painful step in acknowledging that I have issues to face on my own and not everyone will understand especially the ones who saw how cheerful, playful, easy-going and obnoxious I was. There was a big black, hallow void I needed to fill and only me was able to resolve it. I might have lost friends but I’ve come into terms with myself and it’s actually better. Sure I still have friends but we are continents apart and time difference is quite hard to beat.

 

I realized it’s normal to learn, to grow and to improve and not everyone will be doing it with me. I shouldn’t put my life on hold. I shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to grow. It took a while to fully accept this but it’s worth it. In time for sure, the stars will align to bring me the friends I’m supposed to really have and keep for life. For now, I will continue to live in alignment with my truth.

 

(Disclaimer: The following are thoughts on Outgrowing Friends and why it’s okay. I have changed names to protect their privacy.)

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Special thanks to She Hit Refresh​ and to everyone who contributed for my enlightenment.

 

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How to Create Sweet Mornings That Guarantee Sweeter Days

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I am not a morning person. How can I make my days sweet? Well, at least that’s how it used to be until I trained myself to be a morning person. Yes. You read it right. This is something that can be learned. I found out that life can be more enjoyable because there are so many other things that can be done after work or school. I always wish that days aren’t just 24 hours because my list of how to enjoy life just won’t stop growing. This is when I decided to truly utilize my time.

 

When I was still a corporate slave, there’s schedule bidding. I made sure that I perform so well just so I’d be able to pick a good morning schedule. This attitude made me lose a lot of weight, ate better and found out my passion. I’d always choose starting to work early just to finish early. This way I didn’t have to be a part of a battle called rush hour. I mean because, what’s the rush about? While others are on the way to work, I am on my way to discover other new things.

 

Like when I was still in Malaysia. I would always choose to work at seven in the morning so I will finish at three. This meant that I could enjoy the nearly empty public transportation in the morning on my way to work and in the afternoon. I would then have time to go for a walk at the nearby Petronas Towers, watch the ever relaxing dancing fountain to the beat of Titanic’s My Heart Will Go On, run, swim or do my other sports. I still had the time to enjoy Malaysia’s countless bars, to-die for street food and Tiger beers before I crash and sleep like a baby at night.

 

Later on, I started teaching English to my Pakistani landlady’s kids and my Syrian neighbors. I could have chosen to continue watching my favorite series or relaxing at home but I wanted to save that when my joints couldn’t take the new activities I want to try in different parts of the world.

 

Though I retired at 29, I still wake up half an hour to an hour earlier than I should to start my daily ritual. Sure it was easier to wake up in the morning when I was still in Asia and it’s not freezing but there’s also a positive side in it. These days, I get to enjoy hiding under my soft blanket with my wool socks little longer and as long as I please. This makes me work with ease and grace the whole day and not feel rushed into doing anything. It’s not easy. I hear you growling and trust me. When you start seeing the benefits of waking up early, you will be amazed and maybe, you’ll get addicted to seeing progress and a little shift in how you view the coming days.

My daily morning routine are as follows and I do them in no particular order.

 

Breakfast

I don’t know about you but when I open my eyes in the morning, I want something warm and savory. Maybe it’s a Filipino thing but I’m not 100% me if I didn’t have a healthy breakfast. On days that I think I want something sweet for breakfast, I soak oatmeal and/or chia seeds in milk with a dash of cinnamon and throw in some sliced banana. The smell of cinnamon is scientifically proven to lighten up someone’s mood and I totally agree. Without fail, it plasters a smile on my face.

 

Coffee and Mugs

Just the sound of the coffee machine in the morning is more than enough to make me jump out of bed and forget about other things. The sight of cute mugs and the warmth it gives my hands promises a cozy day. Maybe this is why I always grab coffee any time of the day and no matter how strange, even before bed. Coffee is an addiction I will and can never quit. It’s an addiction that I am always willing to feed. Call me psycho but a day without coffee is just the day that I am not willing to witness. My happiness of course is not solely dependent to it but it gives happiness a whole lot better meaning and in a way that I haven’t even found the right words. One day I will and it will be simple.

 

 

Yoga and Stretching

Now don’t fret and nor give me a raised eyebrow on this. A plus-sized girl doing yoga? Well, why not? Normally I crawl to a downward dog in the morning for my blood to start flowing. I try as much as possible to do a child pose before I step out of bed. Doing them makes me feel that I have started my morning right and and nothing can go wrong anymore. If I couldn’t do them in bed, I do them while waiting for the water to get warm for my coffee. It doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t have to be really flexible but trust me, once you tried it, your body will crave for it. Just start practicing and you’ll see. You’ll have more energy and zest to jump from task to task.

 

 

 

Reading my affirmations or my Self-Help books.

Reading is a big part of my life and had I known this will show me the way to open my mind and change my life, I would have started reading earlier. Nothing is wrong with reading fiction books and I will agree that non-fiction books can sometimes be boring. I understand that that’s why I don’t think twice about investing on books that help me reach the most unexplored part of my brain which made me start experiencing a different kind of contentment and happiness. The kind of life I chose is not easy but with the help of these books, I am getting more and more at ease in understanding myself and accepting the fact that I am different and it’s totally okay.

 

Daily brain dumping and my Gratitude List

The grateful people are the happiest people. Now they are not my really words. I’m sure I read it somewhere but couldn’t really remember the exact words. I just wanted to say that it is true. A part of my morning ritual is doing a brain dump if I wasn’t able to write everything the night before. Even if I already did, I still will write every morning. I write what I am grateful for and what I need to do the whole day. I start the day by counting my blessings and it never fails to make me feel like a millionaire.

 

 

Daily devotion

I’m not religious, I am spiritual. Though I am Catholic, I can’t stand mass. I need a quiet time to talk to God and I can’t concentrate when I see any movement around me so I’d rather go to church and light some candles to say my grace. And now, instead of questioning, playing victim and wishing for so many things without really willing to do the part, I only say thanks, ask for guidance and for Him to let me be the person He designed me to be. I will leave feeling bliss knowing and trusting that He knows the desires of my heart. In the morning, I do my daily brain dumping with Hillsong in the background. 500 in what Oprah says Delicious meter.

 

I know waking up earlier than you are supposed to is not easy. The secret lies in planning to be able to enjoy the sweet little things. If you are secretly wishing to change the situation you are currently in, I strongly suggest to look at how to attack your mornings. Sweet mornings mean sweet days.

 

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Morning routine

 

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Minimalism: The Path that Lead me to Finding Myself

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Minimalism was as foreign as those exotic, far flung places I often daydream about and different cultures that I wanted to experience so bad.

 

For someone who called herself a shoe-addict for a very long time, minimalism never existed in my limited English vocabulary. My disease to collect different fashion magazines has compelled me to buy everything inside it. The more that I have, the happier and the cooler I felt. I never allowed a week to pass without me buying anything new as if I’m a Kardashian.

Moving to another country lead me to a begin a different story. Packing was the hardest thing I had to face. My emotional attachment to my shoe and dress collection made me feel a bit of remorse towards my mom’s friend, cousin and two of my village friends who were all waiting for whatever I will decide to leave behind.

Though my heart was breaking to see them touch my treasured collection, it was pointless. Something in me was sure that I will not be home a lot anymore so all of them need to go than perish in my closet. I needed to let go. I don’t know where moving to Malaysia will bring me but I just know that it is not back home soon yet.

 

That time I wished I was a centipede so I can bring all my shoes without having to worry about additional luggage expense. My shopping addiction didn’t stop there. Shopping in Malaysia is even crazier. Everything seemed cheaper. Most of the brands that I love in the Philippines almost never go on sale but in Malaysia it’s like they are giving them away. I hoarded them as if my life depended on it.

 

When I dated my Syrian ex-boyfriend, I was always secretly checking his closet out. It was so small. He’s been living in Malaysia for few years already but it seems like he never really bought anything new. I was judging him secretly too. Later on I learned that he lived in Qatar and Dubai too but it never occurred to me that he might be doing it intentionally because he knows that he might not be able to bring all of them again. I just accepted the fact that I was dating a guy who never invested on his outer appearance. His PhD was the main goal.

 

The second move was the worst for my closet. The same exact thing happened again but it has never occurred to me that my search for life’s meaning and purpose is slowly introducing me a totally different lifestyle. When I got accepted to teach in Ecuador and ready to move the third time, it dawned on me that I should stop buying things because later on, I will be forced to leave everything behind.

 

This is the time I started educating myself about possible concepts and principles that will guide me in getting more out of this short life. .

I bumped into the term minimalism. As I read further I learned simplicity from Japanese Zen Philosophy where it is incorporated with aesthetic and design elements to design buildings. Zen is about simplicity, freedom and essence of living.

 

I started practicing it until I no longer recognize my old self for the benefits it gave me.

 

Minimalism gave me so much time.

It made cleaning and tidying up faster. Getting dressed and getting ready is a breeze too. I no longer stare at my bursting closet and declare that I have nothing to wear. I now have a half-full and fully functional closet. I formulated a new set of rules for what goes and what stays. If I haven’t worn a piece for more than three months, it will go regardless of the season. I use the time to read and design the life that I want and proud to live.

 

Minimalism made me let go of the past.

As my de-cluterring skill improved, I got better at mastering the art of letting go and making room for new ones to come.  I gathered what I don’t need anymore and let them go. I took the boxes out. It is such a beautiful feeling to unload everything that doesn’t serve me any purpose anymore.

 

Minimalism stopped me from losing things.

When summer came and I needed my sunnies, I need not rummage my entire place to look for them because I only have one pair. I always know where I put it.

 

Minimalism made me spend less.

When I became a minimalist, I no longer find lingering near the shops useful because it is really tempting. I stopped browsing fashion magazines too. I’m happy to say that I am no longer a victim of consumerism. Big brands can create the demands to having more all they want but it will never have any effect on me. I only spend for things that make sense.

 

Minimalism has made me found myself in terms of what I am passionate about and what I am called to do in this life. When I stopped clinging to having more material things, I started loving what I am becoming. Being a minimalist made me discover my other talents. Having less stuff gave me more freedom. A clean space is just so inspiring to create more. It has cleansed my thoughts. A cluttered space only give me terrible headaches.

 

Minimalism has made me grateful for the things I have.

My stuff has more value to me than when I have a lot of them. I feel so much lighter. My life is simpler. If something is still working, I will not buy new ones. I am no longer defined by the clothes I wear or by the mobile phone I am using.

 

Minimalism has made me mindful.

It made me take a step backwards, look at any situation with a different angle and do what is really needed. Since I became a minimalist, I became more open minded. I have more time to understand things that I once skeptic about. Minimalism is allowing me to have the proper mindset to enjoy the life that I have now while working on getting the life that I want. It has made me embrace the art of living slowly and enjoying the simple life. Happiness doesn’t involve expensive material things. Happiness is the simple things and activities that make my heart sing.

 

Minimalism has lead me to live like a nomad everyday which makes me always ready to go. I don’t worry about other things. I don’t need much. After all, I couldn’t bring all the material things with me in my grave. I’m sure no one will include in their eulogy for me that I have a lot of killer heels, cute ballerina flats and empire cute dresses.

 

I still will credit my conversion to minimalism as a benefit of living abroad and wanting to experience more the beauty of everyday life. For this, I am willing to downsize everything. Because of this, I found myself.

 

 

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Walk Away. It’s Okay.

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Let me drive you home.” The mother of my Moroccan students offered.

 

Oh no but thank you so much. I ate so much I badly need to walk.” I sincerely refused in my broken German.

 

It is too dark and cold.” She is obviously worried.

 

Yeah but I will be fine. My house is not so far.” I said while putting on my winter jacket and scarf then headed to the door.

 

Thank you so much, Danica.” And gave me huge bear hug.

 

I stopped, smiled and hugged her back. “You are welcome.” And off to the dark, cold night I go.
As the fallen leaves crushed under my winter boots, I felt something else. I adjusted my scarf, vowed my head down and inserted my nearly frozen hands inside the pockets of my winter jacket. I keep on forgetting my gloves. It will take time before I get used to winter and the changing seasons. I took my time walking oblivious to the cold. How can 5:30 in the afternoon be this dark? My head is throbbing, signaling a migraine but that worried look on their mother’s face keeps on flashing in my head. She looked older than she really is. One of the girls will stay in the current school level if she will not pass all the subjects and for this reason, I spend most of my nights in their house helping her study. She isn’t dumb as the color of her hair suggests. She just doesn’t have interest in learning. I see my young self. I was the worst student there ever has been and had I known I’d want to be a teacher, I would’ve been a good student and maybe that same worried look would have been prevented occurring in my own mother’s face.

 

I actually didn’t introduce any lessons today. We didn’t study at all. Instead I took them out for dinner where the cool kids hang out. In Mcdonalds. It was a bit challenging to seek permission from the Burka- wearing mother to bring these teenagers out but I still tried my luck. Maybe being in their house almost every night made me worthy of her trust. Or maybe because I allow her to pay less than what private tutors should get. I just don’t know where to get the heart to charge them more when I already know how hard it is to make ends meet. We went to the Christmas Market too though I am aware that perhaps it doesn’t mean anything to their religion.

It was freezing but we were laughing the whole time that it felt like a normal sunny day. It’s amazing how three people who can barely express themselves can still have fun. I brought them to the gym where I go to work out. By the way these kids’ eyes light up when they talk and laugh, I can tell they just need a different approach in learning. These kids show that burn out from a young age exist.

 

 

Few nights ago, the mother cried and sobbed uncontrollably and hysterically. I can only hug her for consolation. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t see that coming. I don’t have answers to her questions as to what she needs to do with her kids. First, I’m now good friends with her daughters even if I tried not to. Even if I needed to keep a professional distance. I don’t want to give them that feeling that I can’t be trusted. Second, I don’t want to meddle with how she wants to raise her kids by telling her what she must do. I’m just thirty, single and childless. What could I possibly know? I’m pretty much convinced that telling her that communication between them is the issue was enough and she, as the mother, knows the best for her kids. Culture is clashing inside their house and no one seem to go out of their way to explain it in a democratic way. Third, I know I have been going out of my way to help. I feel there is a lesson I need to learn than I need to teach. I am doing my best. I am giving myself. My heart. My soul. When I need not to. I can’t help it. It’s hard not to. If I do something, I do it all out. These kids should learn not from the mistakes I made but from the wisdom I’ve acquired from the choices I’ve made. They must be able to enjoy youth so they wouldn’t want to strangle fairy godmother when adulthood was given to them without so much warning.

I arrived home and cleaned up. I tossed and turned in bed and counted sheep in all the languages I know but I still can’t sleep. I have been overthinking again. I’m dreading the time I need to go to their house. Not because the girls are naughty but because I can’t deal with the mother anymore. I am close to stop showing up. Why am I even worrying about their problem? Why do I feel so responsible? I can only teach. I can’t be their mother too.

 

 

Few days after…

 

 

Dear Diary,

 

I know I promised myself and not them that I will not give up on these kids but I had to for my peace of mind. I feel guilty. I’m a massive failure. I failed miserably because I suck at handling stress from too much complaining of their mother. I learned to walk away from situations that will make me feel that being happy is being selfish and I will not give this an exception. I need my peace back. Working for banks’ Complaints Department gave me a trauma I haven’t gotten rid of until now and no amount of money can cure it I’m sure. When money issues arise, I ask myself why I kissed the rat race goodbye. No matter how overwhelmed and giddy I am to be welcomed in a Moroccan household to learn and see how they do things, I still can’t shake the fear I feel knowing it’s not only the kids I will need to face. Learning isn’t a spell anyone can cast. Progress can’t be seen overnight and being too strict and b*tchy about it will not help. The more that the kids will lose zest for it. It took me nearly a year to be able to somehow pick up the German Language so it will also take some time for the kids to learn not just English but all other school subjects. To be a hired a private tutor is a big pressure. If the student showed no progress, it’s my reflection. It makes me a bad teacher which I don’t want to be known for. I can’t explore all the best ways of teaching when culture and religion are on the way. In order for me to learn, I need to remove all the limiting factors I have in myself. I needed to let go. I wish I can make the kids or my other students perfect English in one month or better, in a snap. I wish I’m from Hogwarts. I wish I have a spell for things lack of patience can’t cure. I will cure myself first for sure.

 

Diary, I am sorry that I am not sorry about walking away. I just can’t tolerate unhappiness. It’s not worth it.

 

 

 

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See the World. Teach English.

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See the world with English. Yes! Why not!

 

My hands and fingers are shaking as I type this.

 

I am so excited to share with you that MyTEFL.com is giving away three (3) 120 Hour TEFL courses. (($299 retail value each). And I can’t begin to tell you how my life changed since I took their course, started living abroad and taught English.

 

This contest is perfect for you if you love to travel, looking for ways on how to travel longer, travel in a more meaningful way, move abroad, fund your life on the road or fire your boss later to design your own life and even work from home.

 

Joining is very easy.

 

Just tag myTEFL_teachntravel and thisvillagegirl in your best travel shots in Instagram and you can tag us as many as you want. 

 

Contest is from the 1st November to 1st December 2018. Winners will be announced on the 10th December.

 

I already have the teaching certificate but I will still join. This means that if I win, I will give the prize to one of you my lovely readers.

Source:MyTEFL.com

 

 

But Dani, what is TEFL and how will it help me travel longer and in a meaningful way?

 

Wiki says that Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) refers to teaching the English language to students with differentfirst languages. TEFL can occur either within the state school system or more privately, at a language school or with a tutor. TEFL can also take place in an English-speaking country for people who have immigrated there (either temporarily for school or work, or permanently). TEFL teachers may be native or non-native speakers of English. Other acronyms for TEFL are TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language),TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and ESL (English as a second language, a term typically used in English-speaking countries, and more often referring to the learning than the teaching). This means that you can look for a job and stay a bit longer than you normally would in the country of your choice and have funds to do it. This means that you will be able to see and learn from the culture, how they cook and the language they speak. This is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. 

 

But Dani, I am not a native English speaker.

 

I hear you. So am I but I’m able to do it. Don’t be so worried about this. I was asked why I should be hired instead of the native speakers. I responded by saying that the mere fact that it is not my first language and that I learned to speak it this way, makes me more favorable than those who speak it since birth and might be the only language they speak. I have more advantage because it will be easier for me to adjust to the needs of my students since we both are not native English speakers. I have the techniques and the right amount of motivation to teach it. 

 

And Dani I have no UK, US, AU, NZ nor SA passport.

 

Your passport is not the only thing that will be taken into consideration when you want to apply for English teaching positions. Sure if you have these passports and you are “white”, chances are higher but again, but not the only factor schools consider. MyTEFL.com will be able to give you lists of schools and countries you can choose from. You can contact these schools to ask your questions and/or set interview schedule with them. Some of these schools will require physical appearance for you to be able to be scheduled for interview. I can give you a guarantee that these schools actually reply and are very helpful.If you decide to take your TEFL Certificate with  MyTEFL.com, they also offer Internship Programs so you don’t have to do it just by yourself and later on, once you get the hang of it or should I say, once you already got that addicting feeling. There are also tons of teaching opportunities online meaning you can teach at home or anywhere in the world. Secure the certificate first and your options will be endless. Start designing your life with MyTEFL.com.

 

 

 

 

 

The following Terms and Conditions apply when you join. (source:MyTEFL.com)

 

1.Photo must be owned/taken by contestant.

 

2.Contestant may tag us in as many photos as they like by 11:59 PM PST on November 30th.

 

3.Contestants must be active followers of the myTEFL (@myTEFL_teachntravel) Instagram page.Contestants must be minimum 18 years of age

 

4.Contestants agree to allow myTEFL to use their photo/name/Instagram tag for advertising purposes.

 

5.Winners will be contacted via Instagram direct message and have 72 hours to respond after which they forfeit their prize, which will go to a runner up.

 

6.The winners will also be publicly announced via other social media posts/channels.

 

7.The winners will have until 11:59 PM PST on the 20th of December to sign up and begin their course, after which they have not registered, they forfeit their prize.

 

8.Winners may choose to transfer their prize to a 3rd party, the same rules apply – they must be signed up by the 20th of December or forfeit the prize.

 

9.The prize is only the cost of tuition, any further expenses (extensions, hard copy certificates, notarization etc.) will be the responsibility of the contestant

 

10.Anyone may enter to win, but myTEFL is not responsible if contestant is unable to be directly placed with employment for any reason.

 

11.MyTEFL is not responsible for any injury or misfortune that may befall the contestant as a result of the contest or subsequent employment.

 

12.This contest is in no way endorsed, sponsored, administered or associated with Instagram.

 

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10 Things That Changed Since I lived Abroad

A Love Letter to my Favorite Student

 

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Jana Garcia on People and Untold Stories

 

It was 2010. Fresh out of University. Finally. After seven years, three different schools and three different fields of study. I almost lost faith that I will ever get a degree and so were my parents. I haven’t asked myself what to do with my life. I guess I have always been lost. This time, I still have a hangover from too much dependency but I wanted to be on my own so bad.

 

Not even a month after graduating, I found myself a job that required two weeks of night training.

In one of those two weeks of night training was when I found out that an angel fell from the sky. I met Jana. At quick glance I’d exclaimed, what a pretty little girl but when she belted out Heart’s Alone, I almost fell from my chair. Who sings this kind of song at three in the morning? All mouths in that training room were left open. We knew never to mess with Jana. But what was she doing in this company? Is this company an avenue where lost people meet? I asked myself number of times. A pretty face and that hair-raising voice. A very clear passport to stardom.

 

But we never seemed to dwell on it so much. Instead of finding who we really were and using our gifts, we found ourselves partying, drinking and karaoke bar hopping.

Fast forward to 2018, I found myself liking her Facebook Fan Page and couldn’t stop plaguing her with these questions and reminisce how we used to spend our carefree younger days. 

 

This Village Girl: It was 2012 when we last talked. I remember you giddily called me. I was in the bus that time. You were asking me if I wanted to try and be a back up singer too for this Destiny’s Child-like girl band but because I was sooooo insecured with all my flaws, I said no though my heart and soul were so thrilled. I remember your voice dropped a decibel before we hang up. Be, please tell me what happened after that phone call because the next thing I know after 6 years, I was liking your Facebook Fan Page and every photo from your gigs.

 

Jana Garcia: What happened after our conversation, I continued being a back up singer for the group. Also there were lots of opportunities that happened that came up. I was able to do back up singing with some renowned local and international artists.

After 2 years of being a back up singer, I decided to part ways from the girl group and I finally had the courage to perform my own (original) songs. I was signed as an artist but after a year, had to give up this career because I was struggling financially and needed a more stable job.

But music soon called upon me AGAIN. By this time, the cash flow was getting better. So I pursued a career as an “Independent Artist”, playing my compositions all around the metro.

TVG: What is your fondest musical memory that made you say, “this is my passion and calling! I will be a famous singer!”

Jana: For “this is my passion and calling!” – from an early age, I’ve always known that singing in front of a large crowd is what I am meant to do. And that calling, was further strengthened when I started being a worship leader.

For “I will be a famous singer” – being famous is not my goal as an Artist, I want to leave a legacy through my songs and performances.

TVG: Sino ang idolo ni Jana Garcia bukod kay Kitchie? Anong paboritong kanta ni Jana Garcia? (Who is Jana Garcia’s idol apart from Kitchie Nadal? What is Jana Garcia’s favorite song?)

Jana: Marami akong influences at ni-lolook up to, Ely Buendia, Ebe Dancel, Corrine Bailey Rae, to name a few. Ganun din sa songs, sobrang dami kong gustong kanta… Kaya di ko masabi kung ano talaga paborito ko. (I have a lot of influences and look up to a lot of artirts like Ely Buendia, Ebe Dancel, Corrine Bailey Rae to name a few. The same with songs, I love a lot of songs that’s why I can’t say what my favorite is.)

TVG: I know that your sister also bagged a recording stint.

Jana: Actually my sister was not signed as a recording artist, she was signed to be a future actress. But she did not continue the deal as her schooling became her priority.

 

TVG: Is your entire family into music?

Jana: Yes.

TVG: May comparison ba? (Is there a comparison?)

Jana: Wala (None)


TVG: Selos? (Jealousy?)

Jana: Wala (None)

 

TVG: Support?

Jana: They are very supportive.

 

TVG: Discouragement?

Jana: None, They always encourage me.

 

TVG: May creative process ba si Jana Garcia? (Does Jana Garcia have a creative process?)
Depende sa sitwasyon…pero, It is my trade secret hahaha (Depends on the situation but it is my trade secret. hahaha

TVG: I know you used to teach in Center for Pop, Be and that you play the guitar. Which music instruments do you play?

Jana: I play the Guitar and a little bit of keys.

When did you start playing and do you have formal lessons for singing and for all other instruments that you play? What was the first piece you learned and mastered?

Jana: I started playing the guitar when I was 8. BUT I didn’t take it seriously. When I was 9, I enrolled in YAMAHA School of Music and took voice lessons. First song that I mastered (singing while playing the guitar) was “leaving on a jet plane”

 

TVG: What was the most trouble you got into?

Jana: Naku, marami, pero pinaka trouble ko was I lost my identity as an artist, parang naligaw ako to the point na di ko na alam ang purpose ng mga ginagawa at mga kaya kong gawin. (A lot but the most trouble for me was when I lost my identity as an artist like I was lost to the point that I don’t know the purpose of what I am doing and what I can do.)

 

TVG: What are you most proud of?

Jana: Wala eh, alam ko kasi na lahat ng meron ako, or lahat ng mga kaya kong gawin, my talents, skills, gifts, lahat ‘to pinahiram lang ni Lord sa akin.. (None because I know that everything that I have and everything that I can do, my talents, skills, gifts, and all of these were only laoned to me by the Lord.)

TVG: How is the OPM scene nowadays be. 4 years na kong wala sa Pinas eh. (I’ve been away for four years)

Jana: sobrang buhay na buhay ang opm scene. Maraming naglalabasan na magagaling na banda, artists, at performers. Nakakatuwa kasi kahit younger generation sobrang mismo at magagaling. (OPM scene is so alive. There are so many good bands that are coming out and it’s fascinating because even the younger generation are so good.)

TVG: I look up to you be because I know passion brought you where you are. What will you tell someone like me who is skeptic or scared in starting to follow their dreams?
Jana: Our passion is bigger than our fear. Huwag sayangin kung anuman ang meron ka. Maiksi lang ang buhay. Gawing reality ang dream! (Don’t waste what you have. Life is short. Live your dreams.)

TVG: I was watching the official music video of Di Biro and I couldn’t help but cringe It is so beautiful. Where do you draw inspiration?

Jana: (bebe, di ba ang meaning ng cringe, nandiri? Hahaha) . (bebe, cringe means disgusted right? Hahaha. ) There are points in our lives when we fall madly in love. When it seems like madness for others, for us it’s just true love.

TVG: What is your favorite part about this line of work?

Jana: If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life

TVG: Your least favorite?

Jana: None Why? Lahat kasi ng nangyayari, pangit or maganda, oks saakin kasi, they are memories and lessons to treasure. (Everything that happens, ugly or beautiful, is okay with me.)

TVG: Ano na ang average day sa buhay ni Jana Garcia? Alam ko marami ng nagbago. (What is an average day in Jana Garcia’s life? I know a lot has changed.


Jana: Average day ko, pagkagising pa lang I always thank God for His Goodness! I do some quiet time alone with God. Since I got married, sa umaga nag aasikaso sa bahay at sa aking husband (bilang asawa hehe) (mornings are for chores and for my husband as a wife hahaha)

I also have a full-time job as a Social Media Strategist for a musical instruments manufacturer then, gig naman sa gabi. (gig at night) Sometimes, rehearsals and/or meetings.

 

TVG: Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?

 

Jana: Oo naman. And i think normal yun sa lahat. (Yes of course. I guess it;s normal for everybody.)

 

TVG: How do you deal with stage fright? It’s like I have never seen that you’re scared to perform. It’s like you belong up there. You always owned that stage.

Jana: I pray, and always depend on HIM. Nervousness, oo lagi! Di nawawala sa akin yung kabahan. Again, Normal yata talaga yun lalo na pag naeexcite magperform (Yes always. Nervousness is for me always there. Again, I think it’s normal especially when you’re excited to perform.


TVG: How often do you practice be?

Jana: At least twice a week. (well, should be everyday hahaha)

In the end, I was wrong. She’s no fallen angel. She’s a star and always belong up there to always shine. Keep shining Be. Keep inspiring. Remember, you have a fan in me and that you’ll always be my peg in making my dreams come true.

 

Stay tuned for her new single under Warner Music PH that will be released on November 30 and the official music video on December 1.

 

You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Jana Garcia Fan Page

 

You can also subscribe to her YouTube Channel

 

Please share if you liked it and let’s support Filipino Music.

 

 

 

Photo credits:

Shangrila Photography

 

100 Little Things That Make Me Happy

Wine with Drachenfels view

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100% happiness doesn’t exist someone very close to me told me. It was a hard pill to swallow but since I’m stubborn, I still went out of my way to find out for myself.

It’s the hardest task I’ve ever done and even Google failed to give me an answer. I thought playing clown to be liked will give me happiness. Or losing tons of weight or dating the hottest guys or a nice secured job or even endless traveling but I was wrong and it was a tiring search. It was tiring to follow what society says just to be happy and I found out that happiness already exist even before I started looking for it full time.

 

I stopped on my tracks, closed my eyes, think of the times when my heart swells and the list below came up.

  1. Opening the balcony door in the morning
  2. My gratitude journal
  3. The birds chirping as I write this
  4. The mood board that I myself painted
  5. Wool socks
  6. My arts and craft DIY basket
  7. Upbeat Spanish songs
  8. Browsing Pinterest for next DIY projects
  9. My Yoga mat
  10. Cleaning the house
  11. An empty sink
  12. Fresh clothes from the dryer
  13. Looking at the hill outside my kitchen window
  14. Strolling along the nearby river
  15. Sand between my toes
  16. My bare feet on the ground
  17. The crashing sound of the fallen leaves under my boots as I walk
  18. Wool turtleneck pullover
  19. Hot cup of chocolate
  20. Coffee
  21. The sound of coffee machine in the morning
  22. Cuddles
  23. Kisses
  24. Holding hands while walking
  25. Sweet text messages
  26. Clean sheets
  27. Fresh towels
  28. Clean bathroom
  29. My feet on the clean house floor
  30. Sitting in a deserted cafe while reading a good book
  31. Writing in my journal in a deserted cafe
  32. People watching as the cafe gets a bit crowded
  33. Candles
  34. A quick trip to the church to light candles up and say my graces
  35. Weekly grocery shopping
  36. My homemade bodyscrub
  37. Giving myself a mani and pedi
  38. Meditating
  39. Simple Yoga stretches
  40. Dry-brushing
  41. A long hot bath
  42. Watering my plants and removing dry leaves
  43. Harvesting tomatoes, chili and zucchini from my little edible balcony garden
  44. The rose plant on my worktable
  45. My pens
  46. My journals
  47. The smell of old pages of books
  48. A glass of wine after a long day
  49. Preparing simple vegetarian mealsthings that make me happy
  50. Thick and soft duvet
  51. Spanish songs
  52. Mowering the garden
  53. A trip to the bookstore though I still have a lot of unread books
  54. Reading
  55. Amazon book window shopping
  56. That Amazon package when I accidentally hit “Buy Now”
  57. Book markers
  58. Thrift shops and flea markets
  59. Cobble-stoned streets
  60. Misty glass windows after the rain
  61. The smell when it rains
  62. An empty laundry basket
  63. A new book
  64. Arts supply store
  65. Writing
  66. The crackle of fire in the furnace
  67. Burnt marshmallow
  68. Bonfire
  69. Lemon and ginger
  70. Zumba
  71. Afternoon naps
  72. Eavesdropping in the bus to accustom my ears in learning a new language
  73. Designing Pins and Graphics for my website
  74. Brainstorming for new articles
  75. Waking up before the alarm goes off
  76. Doing a simple daily morning routine
  77. Public libraries
  78. Finding money in bags or pockets that I have totally forgotten about
  79. Sending monthly support to my parents
  80. Cleaning
  81. Sorting my stuff
  82. My almost empty closet
  83. Thunderstorm
  84. Watching the sun set
  85. Unplugging and leaving the house without my mobile phone
  86. Sitting on a park bench and people watching
  87. Baking
  88. My name spelled correctly at Starbucks
  89. Candlelit dinner
  90. Sweat from a good workout
  91. Bubblebath
  92. Crickets singing
  93. Snow covered places
  94. Winter boots
  95. Daily devotion
  96. Publishing a new blog post
  97. A genuine smile from a stranger
  98. Singing
  99. Ratty shirts
  100. Mario

What about you? What makes you happy?

 

Please share if you liked 

 

things that make me happy

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Books to Read to Stay Sane, Inspired and Motivated

Books to read

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November 2018 Reading List. I looked and looked on it again and it still wouldn’t sink in. Is 2018 in a hurry? The last thing I remember, I was just deciding which gifts I should be giving out last Christmas and now I will be doing it again in a few days. What have I done differently this year? Is my 2018 the year I wanted to revisit and live again? Is 2018 a year I am proud of? Yes! And these books helped my 2018 bearable and a joy to live. When I couldn’t change the situation I am in, I tried to change my mindset and these books helped so much to keep me sane, inspired and motivated.

Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

“Your Boss is crazy!” One of the customers told me when he called to activate his card. I worked for Virgin Money Australia’s Customer Service outsourced in the Philippines and the first thing I’ve heard about Richard Branson was that he is crazy. That statement was full of admiration and was to be taken as a compliment. I didn’t know so much about him and working for him also didn’t make me so interested about his life and works. I was young, shallow and only cared about being pretty. When I challenged myself to read non fiction books and memoirs, I came across this and though it is so thick, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Richard Branson is not just crazy, he’s brilliant. No wonder how he got his riches and enjoyed every single second of doing it. This book is so raw and it bared Sir Richard’s soul. It was funny, inspiring, mind-opening and so touching. Who knew that I will look up to my previous Boss when I stopped working for him and will make me think like “what will Richard Branson do in such situation?” This is one of the best addition to my reading list. This has changed the way I approach every single aspect in my life which also lead me to crave for all his other books.

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

 

This was not intended for public consumption but only for himself and his self-improvement and the main reason why even if he has written few books, this one doesn’t have a title. Meditations was only assigned as the title to this collection. This is Marcus Aurelius’ journal that has been simplified to be understood better. Its words grabbed me and still one of my guiding principles. Though “forced” to become an emperor when he only wanted to be a humble student of Philosophy, he became to be one of the last of the Five Good Emperors. He poured his heart on this journal and told himself that it is okay not to be Plato which left me with a realization that humility and compassion should be something that I should carry with me no matter where in life I will be. This has made me close my mouth more, observe, learn and listen. I don’t need to be out there to prove myself nor compete. Like Marcus Aurelius, I now always tell myself whenever I want to be jealous of other people’s success that even Marcus Aurelius told himself that it’s okay not to be Plato. I should not compare myself to others. I am designed to be the unique me like how we all are. We should all cherish our own uniqueness and pick up profound wisdom from our journey no matter how ugly it may all seem. This book made me ask “what have I learned” instead of “why is it happening to me”.

Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle

Like The Meditations, it doesn’t haveto be read all at once. These two books made me read each passage and close my eyes to savor each word. Most of my life and mindset transformation should be credited to these two books. Eckhart Tolle is also the one who made me understand and enjoy the power of now. Silence and stillness used to make me feel awkward and uneasy but now (this explains my verbal diarrhea), it’s one of the things that I cherish and look forward to. It’s one of the times when I am at my best, when I can think and  do a brain dump on a paper. Silence has also allowed me to find myself and made me decide to pursue my passion. Silence is not to be dreaded. It’s meant to be treasured. It’s meant to help us connect to our spiritual self. Silence has made me take a few steps back, surrender all my sufferings, pains, reconnect to nature and take notes of all the profound lessons that I have picked up along the way. Silence has made me think better. Silence has made me a reasonable adult.

Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career and Life by Taking a Break

This is one of the best gifts I gave myself. The break and the book to fully understand why I did it. I couldn’t just say that I wanted and needed a break. I am also frustrated that I didn’t have enough words to fully express why. All I know is that I don’t like how my life was looking like despite a good paying job and all the material things it was giving me. There was no fulfillment. This book has proven that it isn’t a foreign thing to take a break but not so common where I am from. It’s like when I say that I am on a Sabbatical, I would often get a raised eyebrow as if saying that I don’t have the right to because I am from a poor country or simply because I am poor. Educated Americans would normally take a gap year or anyone from a first world country but a poor Filipino village girl? Duh?! Surprise Surprise! Anyone can do this. Give yourself the permission to take a break from the life you don’t like living so much and let this book be your guide no matter where you are from and where you are in life. Why stay the same and be bitter? You’ll learn and you’ll figure out how to fund it. (Shoot me an email at dani@thisvillagegirl.com and together, we will figure out what will work best for you.)

 

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November 2018 Books to read

 

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10 Books That Dramatically Changed My Life

Books That Will Make the Rest of Your 2018 More Awesome

 

 

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The Day my Favorite Flea Market Dress Got Featured

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This is at no cost to you but helps me to provide awesome content regularly. Thanks for your support!

 

Fashion has always been one of the many little things that light me up and make me feel good.

 

There has also been a phase where I became obsessed and addicted to shopping and collected every latest fashion must-haves.

 

As a teenager who used to collect Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Vogue and other fashion magazines, I would often daydream about one of their fashion editors approaching me on the streets and asking about where I got my outfit of the day, what’s inside my bag and where do I go to shop so I must always remember where I got my stuff. I always dreamed of working for biggest fashion brands though it is a very hard world to penetrate especially because it’s so hard to look for affordable pieces for plus size girls in the Philippines then. I developed my own style and worked harder to lose some weight and feel and look my best.

 

Being on the heavy side didn’t stop me from experimenting, being adventurous and bold not just in fashion but also in life.

 

I am such a YOLO advocate as everyone should be.

 

So when Lookvine wrote to me saying they would love to feature one of my favorite dresses that I got from a flea market in the Philippines for 1.50 Euros, I got so thrilled. This dress is a perfect country and continent-hopping company and survived summer (with gladiator sandals), spring (with a nice cardigan and brogues), winter (with thermal leggings, cardigan, winter jacket and boots) and fall (with stockings, and blazer).

 

 

blue flowy dress

 

 

 

Who knows where this dress will still go.

You can read full feature here.

 

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Vietnam and my Newfound Bravery

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My body is in Ho Chih Mihn. Inside a tour bus that would bring us to a tile factory of some sorts. It’s all blurred not because it has been two years. It’s blurred even before the plane touched Vietnam grounds. I noticed how I have always been planning little escapes. I mean, I’m happy. Am I not? I just wanted to explore. Life is short. You know, YOLO. I just don’t know where I got the guts to start doing it on my own.

 

A typical poor Filipino expat will be saving her money and not splurge for some luxurious foreign thing called travel but I couldn’t help it. Rather broke than bored. You know. Their combination is more lethal making depression and hopelessness sound a bit more enticing.

 

As I look through Ho Chih Mihn’s super busy streets plagued by motorbikes, my entire body felt numb. How I got from the airport to my hotel was still a wonder and how I crossed the street to buy food still remained a mystery. Sure the lousy traveler in me hailed a cab from the airport but the driver let me out across the hotel. That meant I had to figure out how to stay alive midst the throng of raging motorbikes. The hotel’s guard in front of the hotel saw my agony. He looked to his left and then to his right but when two guests stepped over the hotel’s threshold, his face showed that he couldn’t leave his post to come save the damsel-in-distress in me. He nodded and closed his eyes as if to show me to just close my eyes and walk towards the hotel.

I hesitated for a moment. For few seconds I stood there not knowing how to make the motorbikes stop.

I could be waiting there until my knight in shining armor shows up but I haven’t set Tinder up so he wouldn’t have a clue that I needed saving. When I felt that none of the motorbike drivers picked up the mental signals I am sending them, I took a brave step forward with a shaky leg and crossed while calling out on every saint they introduced me in the Catholic school where my mom sent me. I lived in Manila. I will survive this savagery.

 

A motorbike’s tire almost touched my right leg but the driver maneuvered his bike behind me as if it was the most normal thing to do. I was surprised that I was not screamed at. I noticed that the drivers were avoiding me so I could cross the street. It was amazing. I felt special.

 

Later on I tried crossing the street with my eyes closed. I made it. I’m still alive and now inside the tour bus waiting for other tourists outside their hotels.

 

As the other tourists started pouring inside the bus, I was just filling me eyes of the new place. Tiny table and low lying stools splattered on the sides of the streets made Vietnam to have that warm inviting feeling that makes other races want to see it and stay longer than they originally wanted to.

 

I never saw myself without a Nem Cuon, the famous spring rolls, Pho or Bánh mì.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have heard English Teaching is such an industry here. (Get certified to teach English here and use village35 code for 35% discount). Do I want to live here? This country looks like my country only we didn’t have these low lying tables sprawled on the sidewalks.


 

My train of murky thoughts was interrupted by a bump on my right hip. Someone sat beside me. A girl. She’s white and blonde. I smiled and she said hi confirming my guess that she might have been an American.

 

“If he will not propose, I will say yes to a two year Peace Corps post in Africa.” she exclaimed. How come she said that, I couldn’t remember anymore. It was not even five minutes into pleasantries. What did you ask Danica?

 

I was astonished by the bravery this girl is emitting. I only recalled asking her if is she’s traveling alone. She said that she is supposed to be doing this trip with his boyfriend but he didn’t come with her. I thought stories like this only happen on TV or in one of those romance books that I couldn’t take my hands off to. Some of the facts might have been inaccurate. My head swirled and only focused on what she will do in case her boyfriend will not propose.

 

What did she lose telling me? Nothing. What did she gain? A lighter feeling and a fan in me. Chances are our paths will never cross again. She’s an angel who delivered an important life message to me. I must admit that my life has not been the same since that day. I no longer sit to wait for things to happen and for people to show up. I no longer kill time realizing that time is actually all I have and it’s slowly killing me. Time will not pause for me. Now is the perfect time to enjoy what I always wanted to. Now is the perfect time to be alive. I can no longer be a slave to something that makes me put the life that I want to live on hold.

 

Our conversation was interrupted by a Filipino couple behind us asking if I am a Filipino. The four of us ended up being together during the trip and for some beers and some more Vietnamese food later.

 

Though I normally travel alone, I never was really alone. I keep on meeting people on the road that seemed like bearers of important life messages and Philosophy teachers in disguise. They might not know it but my thoughts are now shaped differently than how it was when I was still in the safe premises of my little comfort zone and that my goosebumps never stopped as we cruised the Mekong River that I only heard of in History class.

 

Normally I wouldn’t ask a fellow traveler’s Facebook account when I’m on the road but fate wanted it differently. I sensed that I will be needing it for some more inspiration.

 

Few months later, I saw the girl posting pictures on Facebook showing that she is already teaching in Africa. I gathered that her boyfriend didn’t propose and instead of hosting a sob party, she carved out a path where she can pursue her passion. If that is not bursting with so much courage and bravery, I don’t know what is. She might not remember me anymore but the impact she made in my life will always be a reminder of how Vietnam started changing the direction of the wind that blows my sail.

 

The bravery I found in Vietnam is the same bravery I will carry wherever the wind will bring me.

 

What about you? How do you define bravery and what’s the bravest thing you’ve seen?

Mekong River cruise

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About Us

 

Dani is a plus sized Filipina ADHD kid, recovering shopaholic, alcoholic and workaholic. She doesn’t take herself seriously. She has an insatiable wanderlust, out of this world food cravings and goof addiction. If she is not busy planning her next adventure, she will be spotted taking OOTDs and OOTNs. She took a break from the crazy corporate world to see the real one. This is not another travel blog. This is her journey to self discovery, embracing flaws and feeding her soul of what sets it on fire. She is out to prove that life begins at the end of the comfort zone.

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