Surprising myself

April 27, 2016 | Mehr, DVM, United Nations Association of Canada, Thailand, UNODC in Bangkok

It’s been almost a month here in Bangkok, and somehow I’ve kept it together, not a tear has been shed since the day of my flight, ladies and gentlemen. I know that sounds dramatic, but I don’t think I’ve been so terrified of anything in my life. I spent the day before my flight sobbing and packing, finding things to stress about and trying to convince my mom I wouldn’t be able to handle my time away, that I’m not independent enough. She knows me better than I know myself though, apparently, because ever since I left, I’ve been surprising myself.

During my first few days here, I was incredibly lucky to have a family friend and the other interns at work to help me find my apartment, figure out my walk to work, the rules of getting a cab in Bangkok, what to eat (which is honestly everything, even the ice is fine). I still hang out with those interns, and so many more, but I can can get around the city easily on my own now, I took the sky train yesterday alone, walked around an unfamiliar part of Bangkok to find a friend’s place, I’ve taken motorcycle taxis and explored markets and temples.I paid my rent yesterday, I know that seems silly, and last week I did my own laundry for the first time (I know, I’m embarrassed, you’re allowed to laugh), and I’ve been buying groceries and just, living independently. I’ve gotten home on my own late at night, safely, budgeting for myself, figuring things out without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Work wise, I expected to feel inept, inadequate for the work they would give me, I thought they’d realize quickly that I didn’t deserve an internship with the UN. I’ve been lucky though, my supervisor is fantastic, very supportive and understanding. He actually was an intern with the agency once upon a time, so I think he really gets it. The rest of the small team I work with is great as well, very kind and willing to answer all of my questions, big and small. I’ve met interns from all over the world, some Canadian, some European, a few Thai, some from the Americas, other countries in Asia. Back to the actual work. Turns out, I haven’t felt inadequate at all, the work I’ve been given has been challenging, but having the right resources has made the challenges fun and interesting, and support from other interns in the office, and my team has been invaluable.

Essentially, life in Bangkok has been exactly the opposite of what I thought it would be. I have been the opposite of what I thought I would be. I’ve been happier here than I thought possible. I know that that’s also because the whole experience is new and exciting and different, but I’m just thankful, I think, not to have been holed up in my room every night, waiting for March 31st anxiously, because that’s genuinely how I thought these three months would go until I moved into my apartment. I wrote this in hopes that you’re having similar experiences, surprising yourselves with your own strength, maybe in small ways, maybe in even bigger ways, but also just because I’m really proud of myself for having more emotional and mental strength than I thought I did. For being more capable than I thought I was.

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