I Moved to Thailand?!!!!!

Have you ever had a moment where you knew you needed some type of a chance to get you out of a funk or bad habit?

This was me back in February.

After the hurricanes, life changed and almost everything on the island became a challenge. Work was harder: more children to see, more schools to drive to, and lack of internet to be able to access files (thankfully, we did have hard copies). Driving was life or death on every road due to little to no stop lights/stop signs. Even obtaining basic necessities could take a full day if not a couple days. So by February, my mind knew it needed a change…the challenge was the “Where and What” factor.

When I first started thinking, Arizona became the first thought. After all, it is where my family lives and it is where I spent majority of my life. I could…but when I truly started putting my heart and my head together, the pull to Arizona just wasn’t there. So it was back to the drawing board…

It took two days before an old roommate’s story came to mind. When our house in Seattle decided to each go out separate way, one of my roommates took the opportunity to move abroad to Thailand to teach English. I started doing my own research and reached out to her for more information. It didn’t take me any time before my heart and my head started lining up and I knew this was it. This was the change I needed.

The opportunity to travel, learn to speak a new language, put myself in difficult situations, and experience a new type of career, being a teacher…SOLD. My heart, soul, mind, everything lined up. This was it.

I immediately went online too apply for the position. I decided to use a recruitment type company called Greenheart Travel, a non-profit organization to run an extensive amount of programs for people of all ages. These programs include but not limited to homestays, exchanges, teach/work abroad, and volunteering.

Choosing to go through a teach abroad program vs. independently moving abroad and finding a job wasn’t a difficult decision for me. I liked the idea that I’d have endless amount of support in obtaining the necessary visas and work documents,  setting up accommodations, completing and obtaining the appropriate TESOL certification, setting up a bank account, setting up a phone number, AND even help find teaching jobs and placement into schools.

Don’t get me wrong, it probably is cheaper to find a job by simplying moving to Thailand, but I personally LOVED having someone assist me and knowing I had a guaranteed job as an English Teacher takes a LOT of the stress out of moving to a new country.

From the start of the application process in February, to interviewing in March, to paying off the program cost in June,  and purchasing the plane ticket in July, the adventurous spirit inside me slowly began growing again.

I was sad to be ending my time on St Thomas and leaving the children I truly adored and cared for and leaving behind an amazing group of lifelong friends, but a new adventure was waiting for me and I was ready to pack up my life and move to Thailand.

So here I am writing to you in Chiang Mai, Thailand about my “WHY” and my “HOW” I made the leap into moving to Thailand! It has only been 12 days  and I’m in love. Stay tuned for “My First Week In Thailand” blog.

When a Job Lands at Your Feet

I quite honestly don’t know where to begin. It’s hard to say how I landed my next job assignment, but I know it came at the right time.

If you read one of my recent post, then you know I was laid off in May and worked my last day as a full time Speech Language Pathologist on June 1st. Many of you might think, “I thought they were in high demand?!” And you might be right…when it comes to the school systems, but for me, I was dead set on the adult population. And well, um, this population, the demand is…less in demand. With the constant changes with Medicare, insurances, and billing requirements, skilled nursing rehabilitation is changing. This has been my primary setting and primary focus for the last 4 1/2 years. It’s what I’m skilled in; it’s what I enjoy doing; it’s where I thought my heart and passion belonged.

However, as usual, God had another plan for me.

I spend a good solid portion of the first two weeks in June, APPLYING. Applying to any type  of adult or medical position I found on every type of job board that is out there. I posted my resume on Indeed.com, where I’ve been blessed with excellent outcomes. I prayed and prayed that someone would lead to a call back, to an interview, to ANYTHING.

Two weeks went by and nothing. Feeling defeated, frustrated, and scared don’t really give you a good idea of my emotional status. Then came the email. The life altering, life change email. This particular email was from a staffing agency for a school system (not my preference), but what caught my eye was the location in which they were hiring SLPs…

St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands.

“Um…WAIT. You mean you are reaching out to me for placement in the VIRGIN ISLANDS?” These words actually went through my head and like any grown adult female, I forwarded the email to my mom and dad. I don’t make decisions lightly nor without my parents approval (mom and dad really do know what’s best). Here were their responses

Dad: “Wow, lot to absorb.”

Mom: “I think you should continue the process, fill out paperwork ect.  Your not accepting and might be dead end but it is very interesting.”

I did what my mom advised me to do and I honestly did not think for one second I had a shot. I haven’t been a school SLP since graduation and it’s been since probably 2010 since I last worked with a child, but I took a chance. How often does a job opportunity like this land at your feet?!!  I could mentally prepare myself for the school systems. I mean, I grew up thinking and believing I’d work with children. I always did love children. At least, that’s what I kept saying to myself.

The time between the interview and acceptance of the job was a little more than a week and I’ve been in a whirlwind ever since.

I got the job that landed at my feet without believe in myself that I’d even get offered the position. (confidence booster and reality check when people see something in me that I couldn’t see myself)

I took the job that’s going to have me move, yet again, out of my known environment and requiring me to sell most of my belongings. (starting fresh, not starting over)

I took the job that is out of my comfort and safety zone in my career in hopes for further growth. (growth is good for the soul)

I took the job that God has given me and opened the door to guide me into a new unknown.  (learning experiences and God’s guided path)

I took the job that is going to teach me more about myself as a person and as a clinician.

I took the job that I’m going to put every ounce of my heart and soul into because I was hired to make a difference in those children’s lives.

I might not have started this summer as a school SLP, but I sure am now! Life doesn’t always take you down a straight path or even a path you are hoping for, but God sure knows how to guide you down the right detour to lead you to a better outcome 🙂

ROAD TRIP!!!!

I left Phoenix, Arizona Thursday, March 1, 2012 and began my road trip ALONE, up to my new home of Aberdeen, Washington!!  It took me two and a half day and approximately 22 hours behind the wheel of my Chevy Cruze Eco to make the journey. Let’s just say it was a long two and a half days but thank goodness for XM and my iPod!!!

The drive to LA went by really quick…it was the mountains after LA that slowed me down a bit. I was trying hard not to stop and purchase an energy drink until at least Friday, but the altitude change in the mountains had another plan. Of course, for those of you who know me, know that I am really not an energy drink fan. LUCKILY…Monster has one that is an ARNOLD PALMER + Energy drink, which tastes amazing! It helped me go an extra 8 hours for a total of 13 hours behind the wheel in 1 day, making it all the way past Sacramento!

The next day wasn’t as long, but it was still a good 9 hours. I journeyed from northern California all the way through Oregon. I was a little worried because a few days before, the mountain ranges in N. Cali and S. Oregon, got hit with a snow storm, and traveling along snowy roads with a small car isn’t plausible or even possible without chains. Thank goodness for 50 and sunny weather! Although perfectly clear skies, the drive was still not my favorite, mostly because driving a manual up a mountain causes you to shift up and down quite frequently! Once through the mountains, the remaining drive through OR was BORING…and then Portland/Vancouver. I was not ready for rush-hour traffic or crazy OR/WA drivers. Goodness gracious, I was scared for my poor little Misty. We both survived without a scratch and made it to stop #2. It was only a two hours outside of Aberdeen, but I didn’t want to show up to my new apartment when it was dark (and raining) out.

Saturday came and went like a flash. One minute, I was waking up, the next minute I was falling asleep. Between was just a bunch of unloading. And boy was there a lot to unpack. I cannot believe how much I was able to fit into little Misty!

Let’s clarify though…this is just some of what I have. I am still missing 3 medium size boxes, plus 3 tubs (mostly scrapbooking stuff). Everything was easy to unload from Misty to my apartment…it was/ is the organization aspect that is taking FOREVER (okay like 3 days). I’m not doing to much major shopping until my momma gets here, because shopping alone isn’t as much fun as shopping with your momma! Stay tuned for photos of the semi-finished apartment.

 

© Nicole L. and Mapless Adventures, [2009-Present]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicole L. and Mapless Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

New Job, New Location, New Adventures

Well friends and family, it’s official!
I have accepted a position as a Clinical Fellow-Speech Language Pathologist!!!! The position is in a skilled nursing facility located in Aberdeen, Washington. If you don’t know much about Aberdeen (as I don’t really), the first thing I will tell you is that’s it is famous for being the hometown of none-other-than the famous Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, both from Nirvana. Yes, that’s right, Nirvana members…maybe I’ll fall in love with the next famous rock stars.

It’s a town located in Grey’s Harbor located on the Olympic Peninsula roughly 2 hours outside Seattle and only 20-25 minutes away from the pacific ocean!! It’s going to be a change living that close to the beach. Though I don’t think you’ll ever hear me complain.

The weather has beautiful so far. Tuesday= raining & 50, wednesday= 50 & partly cloud, and today was sunny, windy & 50. Yes, I know that Washington is known for rain, but even with the rain, it can be 50 degrees outside. It will take getting use to but all in all I don’t think the weather is going to bother me.

Aberdeen is pretty much a lumber industry location, but recently, it’s became the home to the Pontoon Project (as people here refer to it as). Basically, people moved to town to help rebuild the pontoon boats that hold up the floating freeway in Seattle. It’s only temporary but I’ve been told its good for the town.

One of my favorite aspects of this location (besides the ocean) is the fact that’s it’s so outdoors-y. Everyone goes fishing, hiking, clam digging, kayaking, and hunting. I’m looking forward to having so much open land around me and so much unknown surrounds. Between the Washington coast, Olympic National Park, Mt. Saint Helen, Mt. Rainer, plus more, my weekends are going to be packed full with adventure. I’m already starting a list of things I need to see/do while living here. Don’t worry though, I will make sure to keep you updated on all my adventures.

Today, was especially exciting for me because I have found a place to live. I guess the move is official now because theres no going back on signing the contract and a lease (haven’t really done either yet but I pretty much am going to).

I know I have bombarded everyone with a ton of information, but I’m extremely happy about my future here in the beautiful evergreen state. 

© Nicole L. and Mapless Adventures, [2009-Present]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicole L. and Mapless Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.