Got an email from a former student thanking me for my time teaching her. Painted my classroom, with my new students. Had my supportive new boss thank me for my work with the students and parents. Listened to live music that was awesome. Life is good. I am a Phoenix rising. My wings are strong. I will lead heroes. Watch me soar.
Sitting at a cafe, trying to stay warm, I think about all kinds of stuff.
One thing I’m thinking of today… Before I left the States, someone said, “I hope you find what you’re looking for out there.”
It’s weird. Maybe, I’m weird. But, I’m not looking for anything out here, except what is out here. I just want to be part of the world.
It’s weird, I suppose, because I have met quite a few expats running from things, running to things, looking for something or someone, trying to forget someone or something. But, I’m not. I didn’t set out here to find anything, not even myself. I had already found myself before leaving the States the very first time.
I just want to see the world. Plain and simple. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, for a long time. But, I’ve wanted to see the world since I was a little girl. I dreamed of visiting sites I learned about in History classes or read about in magazines. Traveling has been a dream for as long as I can remember.
And I finally found a viable way to do it. A way that makes me happy. A way that helps me feel like I’m contributing to the world I want to see and be part of. Teaching. I love teaching. I love traveling. Therefore, I completely love my life.
Are there people that don’t get it? Sure. Of course. That’s ok. They don’t have to get it. It’s my life, and I completely get it, so they don’t need to.
There are a few who are worried for me. Some that think I’m crazy. There are even a few that are mad at me because I have chosen to live the way I’ve always wanted to. Frankly, I say, that’s on them.
It’s the little, every day moments that I love out here. It’s the smile on the barista’s face when she sees me because she gets to practice her English when I order. It’s the drive through a little village and seeing the people driving a few head of cattle across the street with motorcycles and cars trying to go around. It’s looking up at beautiful mountains dusted in snow. It’s seeing a Chinese man walk across the street and feel pangs of missing a place I called home for a while. It’s the little things that make me feel part of the Global community that keep me loving it so much.
I know a few people who have goals to see x amount of places before such and such a time, or step foot on every continent, or other really awesome goals. My goal from day one, has been to teach around the world, so that I can be part of it. I want to learn from it.
I am learning from the world. I am teaching in the world. I am being in the world. I am happy.
Recently I’ve told a couple people a bit of my life stories. It used to make me sad afterwards. But one incredibly great thing that came from the ugliness of my time on Ilha, is that I can truly feel my own strength. I have been through the baseness that mankind has to offer and not let it harden me. I have learned how to be a better, stronger, kinder, more understanding and compassionate person because of what I’ve been through. That’s apparently a lot more rare than I understood before.
I’m freaking proud of me.
One of my students asked me yesterday if there was anything I would change if I could go back in time. I didn’t even hesitate to say no. I like who I am and I wouldn’t be the me I am, if it weren’t for the things that shaped me into me. So, no, I wouldn’t change anything.
Do I wish that I could have learned a few life lessons without the pain? Sure, but both are necessary to recognize either, so…… I’ll be happy just being the me I am, with the stories I have.
Mostly, I tell my stories in order to let it not hurt me any more. But I also tell them because I hope other people can learn from them without having to actually experience them. I started traveling again so soon because I didn’t want to let fear get the upper hand. The longer I held off, the harder it was becoming to believe I could again. SO, I told fear to fuck off.
And here I am.
Walking around a beautiful city every day. Teaching amazing students from all over the world. Working with supportive, caring people. Making friends with other amazing teachers. Sitting at cafe’s and pondering the little things that make my life happy.
My peace is tangible. My joy surrounds me like a beautiful sparkly cloud of awesome. I am happy just being out here in the world. I’m not looking for anything; every day brings me something new to wonder at.
#Lovelife. #Noregrets. #TeachPeace. #Notallwhowanderarelost
It’s been almost 3 weeks. I’ve made it through Christmas and now the New Year is on the horizon!
Here are a few photos of my time so far. First weekend was a lot of fun meeting new people and seeing the night life scene!
My first sight-seeing trip introduced me to the beautiful mountains I’m surrounded by. Loved it!
A day out with my new co-workers, a birthday celebration, and some fun seeing the new school I’ll be working at.
I’m helping some new friends to start their own bar. My first New Year here will be at their Grand Opening! So glad to be part of this new adventure among all my other new adventures.
A few random shots from around the city.
Christmas dinner was delicious and I am glad to have shared it with some great people.
It’s coming together. I’m lesson planning like a mad woman along with all the wonderful other things that are going on here. I’m feeling so grateful.
I made the big “mistake”, if you can call it that exactly, of challenging the New Year, last year. I will not be doing that again this year. This time, for 2016, I am asking for some time to continue learning and growing, with gentleness and ease, from the lessons I’ve already had.
2016 I’m glad you are here. Let’s be good to each other, shall we?
Life as an expat means that often you are in new places for the Holiday Season.
I’ve spent the last 4 Christmases abroad; Taiwan, Turkey, and now again, I am overseas for this Home for the Holiday time. Though I miss the people and love to remember the great Christmas’s of years past, I relish being able to see how other cultures and peoples celebrate the many different celebrations that happen at the end of each year.
It is comforting to my “What the hell has happened to humanity?!”, to walk down the street and see a Christmas tree up in the middle of the roundabout, facing a mosque, and watching people take pictures of themselves and their loved ones with both. Often at the same time.
Maybe because I arrived as the Holidays began to be in full swing, but I like to think that the people here are just naturally friendly, I have seen nothing but the helpful, friendly, contagious laughter-ly side of people since my first day.
Home is where the heart is.
So home for the holidays is a mere matter of remembering the people in my heart. I have been able to reach out, using the wonderful technology of our age, to people around the world to wish them everything wonderful, talk about past antics, and hear about what is happening with them. What a great tool the internet can be! I have been able to send messages and to Skype with loved ones to wish them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
It makes being Home for the Holidays that much easier to see the face and hear the voice of a dear friend or family member. But even without that, home is a quiet place in my heart where I can see those I love and greet and honor them for a while. It’s the quiet meditation where even those who have passed can be felt for a little while.
This year I am using my Shaman path to create a spiritual home for all of my loved ones, friends, and mentors to be with me for a Christmas moment.
If during your day, you think of me, it is probably because I have hugged you in my “home”.
Peace is something we create. It is the most precious gift to others. I am working diligently on creating peace everywhere I am. Within my peace, my joy is abundant. My cup runneth over.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Las Posadas, Beautiful Greetings for Eid-Al-Adha, Happy Diwali, Happy Yule, and if I missed some, Merry, Happy, Beautiful days ahead to you!
May 2016 bring us all closer to the love in our souls and bring us together in understanding, compassion, and Peace!
A new adventure!
I’m always amazed when I first get to a new country. There are so many things to learn, look at, eat, and know. Once I arrived, I knew I had found a place I could stay a while.
Along with a few ESL classes, I am the new Science teacher at an International School. I’m spending my Winter Break creating science units and lessons for grades 3-8. It’s So, So, SO much fun! That is not sarcastic. I’m really enjoying it.
My classes are truly international, with students from Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans, Asia, and the Americas. I’ve been welcomed in from the first day and have met many other expats as well. What a fun place I’m living in!
Dancing on the weekends never disappoints! And, I have a new puppy, Zoe. Technically, she’s not mine, my bestie rescued her, but I get to claim her while I live here :) Zoe’s about 7 months old and had been hit by a car when very young. She’s got a funny little gait, but she keeps up on our walks. Getting to know how to be a good doggie second mommy has had its ups and downs, but mostly ups! Yeah for conquering fears a little more every day.
I’m grateful for a good job, in a good city, with good people. It’s the season to show our love for humanity. And so, I will also be doing some volunteer work at the local orphanage hospital. Holding and comforting tiny newborns and infants sounds like a pretty sweet way to celebrate the Season well. I will let you know how that goes, because I expect pure, exuberant awesomeness to come from those days.
I need to get back to planning for a semester of science, but I wanted to check in with everyone and say Hi! Go be awesome.
Tell ’em Ms. McKahsum told you to!
During the time that John Goosen was assaulting me, I found one thing very strange. He would hiss insults at me as he twisted my wrists and shoulders, wrench me into wrestling submission moves. Growl threats while throwing me around. Spit in my face with his quiet words meant to tell me how much pain he was going to inflict on me, as he kneed me and held me down. And then, after I would cry out for him to let me go; he would shout, “I’ll let you go as soon as you calm down!”. That happened 5 or 6 times. I would reply that I was calm. “I am calm. I’m completely calm. Just let me go and we’ll talk about it in the morning.”
It didn’t make any sense to me at the time. Even in the state of things, I was at odds with myself at how calm I was. Part of my mind kept insisting that I needed to fight back, to get out, to shout for help. But something kept me from doing any of that. There was a calmness that I could not comprehend, but that kept telling me I couldn’t give him any reason to feel justified with what he was doing. So why did he keep shouting for me to calm down?
It wasn’t until the last minutes, where he was choking me and banging my head against the walls, that I couldn’t stay calm. The survival instinct was louder than the calm voice for just those last few minutes. And even then, once I decided to stop fighting and let him kill me, I was crying for my children, for their loss. I was crying, but I was not hysterical until I heard the knock on the door.
I remember thinking that the only thing he was truly shouting was for me to calm down. It didn’t make any sense.
Immediately after I was assaulted, I went to the local police station. They told me to go to the hospital and get checked out.
So I did.
As I left the hospital, with Caroline, John Goosen drove up. He started shouting at me from the vehicle that I had to listen to him. He had more to say to me. He got out of the vehicle and took a few steps towards us, still shouting profanities, insults, and demanding that I listen to him.
I ignored him. We kept walking back to the Police Station.
He got back in his vehicle and drove off. He had parked at Louis and Caroline’s house, halfway between the hospital and the police station. He was standing on the side walk, in the shadows of an already dark street. Then as we got closer he started in again.
I kept walking. Kept on ignoring. Gave my report.
The next morning, I found out that during the time I had gone to the police station and then to the hospital, John Goosen had called my mama.
In that call he told her, in his best concerned voice, that he was so worried about me because I had been acting like I was possessed and that he’d had to restrain me to keep me from hurting myself or him. What could she do to help him help me?
He spread rumors that I had been drunk and he had needed to calm me down. Police went to ask others who had been with us that night, how I’d been behaving, what they thought had happened.
He knew before he even locked me in the room, how to play the crowd, so that he could avoid any consequences for what he planned to do. He flipped his whole persona, put it all into place, acting the concerned citizen, immediately after he attacked me.
And then flipped back and continued to harass me afterward. He tried to get me to react. Tried to find a way to make me do something to look the way he was trying to paint me.
He knew exactly what he was doing. He wasn’t acting crazy. He didn’t “have a moment”. He didn’t just snap. He planned it out.
His “calm down” shouts, were his alibi. His call to Jean was an attempt to deflect anything I said to her afterwards.
John Goosen knew exactly what he was doing the whole time. It was a premeditated act of violence by someone who had done this enough times to know how to premeditate it. He knew where to hit to not leave visible bruises. He knew the twists and holds that inflict pain and injury without leaving marks. He knew to say some things loud and everything else soft. He knew exactly what he was doing.
I keep writing because I want his name to come up on Google. I want someone else trying to find out if he’s OK to visit, to know that he’s not. I couldn’t put him in jail where he belongs. But I have to do something, to do my part in protecting his next potential victim. How I wish that whoever else he has assaulted had written something I could find. He had no concerns at all in telling me to look him up. He knew nothing was out there. He doesn’t now.
I know he reads this blog. Now he knows his name and what he’s done is out there. I will continue to put his name out there for the world to see. This is the only way I have to try and inform, to protect.