I finished my Teaching position in Chiang Kham March 14th. I left Thailand on May 1st. I returned to Philadelphia May 15th and promptly moved back to Cape May. I start my position as a City Year Corps Member on August 11. Time has never before been such an enigma to me.

After coming back to Cape May, I felt that it would be a step backwards to keep doing the same old things. I’d spent so much time outside of my comfort zone and doing so much personal growth I could fathom the idea of going back to the old. So instead of going back to my same comfortable job, I found a new one.

Coming home, a lot if people asked me if I was feeling “reverse culture shock.” I didn’t think I did. At least not at first. And I’m not sure what I felt had anything to do with culture as much as it did unmet expectations. I came home so excited to be home with family and friends. Surprisingly, I didn’t get that much time with friends or family. I’ve been home for 2 months and still haven’t seen so many of the people I was looking forward to seeing.

I started working 10hour shifts in a restaurant that left me too exhausted to go out and that started too early (6:30 am!) to have the social life I was craving. As much as I loved my time in Thailand, I spent a lot of it alone. I thought coming home would be different. Instead, I was home and just as alone. To top it off I went from being in charge of educating children and doing something I felt was really valuable and meaningful to getting berated for entering a table number incorrectly (one of many ridiculous examples)
while serving people their overpriced food.

So I got in a funk. I gained 10lbs, I stopped doing yoga and running and I was cranky and short tempered and crying all the time. It felt like I wasn’t me at all.

While traveling, I got so caught up in the idea that growth can only happen when you’re outside of your comfort zone that I kept wanting to be in that new, uncomfortable, growth forcing place. But I’ve come to realize that maybe after a lot of growing, some good old fashioned comfort and time for reflection might be best.

I’ve also remembered that when you’re unhappy, you have the power to change it. I had to remember that I am the same person who had the gall to apply to teach abroad and get on a plane to Thailand by myself because it was the change I wanted. I always thought of quitting in the most negative terms and I’ve never done it before. But tomorrow I’ll be doing just that. However, I don’t feel like I’m simply “quitting” my job. Instead, I’m making the change that will make me happy and feel much better about being home. So back to that old comfortable place I go…

Yesterday, my friend Gary and I hiked up steep steep stairs for about 30minutes before starting an intense 40 minute uphill hike and rock climb to the top of a karst rock formation. At the top there was a Buddhist pagoda and the most amazing 360 degree view. Dripping in sweat and utterly exhausted, I heard Gary say, “the juice is always worth the squeeze.” He was right, of course.