What’s next?

7
Powerful murals. (Penang, Malaysia)

Today is the last day of the first quarter of 2018. I became dormant in updating this page while a shit ton LOT of things happened in the past 5 months.. the same time frame since I left my beloved Chiang Mai and my life became a mess.

Before the Thai school year comes to a close last March 2017, I decided to spend a month-long vacation back home in Manila to rejuvenate and spend some time with family. It was during this time when the thought of leaving Thailand for Vietnam tickled my brain. When I returned to Chiang Mai around May, I made up my mind and decided to finish the 1st semester in school and leave for a “beach life” Da Nang has to offer by October.

I had 5 months to prepare for the risky move but it only took 5 sucky days in Vietnam to change the whole ball game around. All the preparations I did vanished in thin air as getting a job there was tougher than I thought, finding a reasonably priced room/apartment was scarce, and navigating around the coastal town was a warzone. Classic case of expectation vs reality. I thought I’d be more at peace near salt water but when I got there, even the beach breeze didn’t come at par the peace I had in Doi Saket, my little sanctuary in Chiang Mai.

4
Cafe walls. (Da Nang, Vietnam)

Short of saying: my plans were shattered and it didn’t help that along the process I got my heart equally broken, too.

I was so vulnerable of people coming in to make you believe the human heart still feels, then waltzing out the very second you’ve given in. I thought I’ve learned in the past but I found myself in that complicated situation again. This time, distance wasn’t the only issue I had to conquer.. I tried bringing life to someone’s heart whose heart died along with the sudden passing of the long-term extension of his existence.

6
Where to? (Bali, Indonesia)

It’s like finding a rock to hit your head with multiple times. I knew it would just go downhill but I kept fighting and promised to fight til it’s still worth fighting for. After almost a year now, I already lost both arms and legs. I’m done. I’m raising the white flag. I deserve better than fighting alone and waiting for an indefinite time for a reload. The scars are too deep, and like the old saying goes “only divine timing heal all wounds”.

I questioned myself a lot and I shed dam of tears after I got home home. I ran out of happy hormones, I’m emotionally drained, and I’m confined again in the place I consistently have an itch on leaving.

From teaching little monsters in Chiang Mai, I now find myself working in the digital world to which I have a 40% love – 60% hate relationship with. Even if the salary I receive now is way below compared to what I used to get in an office set-up job, I won’t trade my sanity and precious time for the city demons: crazy traffic, high gas prices, unstable mass transit, and the general corporate jengga. Returning to this densely populated city is already suffocating so the thought of going back to corporate bureaucracy again is suicide.

I admit, I’m still under a certain curve of what they call the “reverse culture shock”. I got so used to being independent. I fell in-love in a greeny mountainous area away from any major city stressors. I started bridging what I really want in life.. but I guess I have to go through this phase to fully recover or uncover, while surrounded by the only people I can draw unconditional support from–my family.

After, what’s next?

I’m dedicating all my energy to launching my newest passion project and re-awakening sleeping passion projects (this blog included, among a couple other things). I’m in the middle of creating all the prototypes and researching on other facets of online retail business. It’s good to be armed with technical and theoretical knowledge but nothing will teach you better than getting your feet wet. Like Mark Manson said, “just do something, anything really.”

I got tired of broken promises, of giving and being taken for granted, of waiting, of self-doubting, of complaining why I’m here instead of somewhere else. We go through all these struggles to gauge our strength in overcoming humps and understanding what serves our real purpose.

Honestly, I’m not okay but I will be and because I acknowledge this painstakingly hard transition, it’s enough for now. I have to tune myself back in the beauty of the continuous challenge of reality. I need to let go completely of what doesn’t feed my soul. I should always remember that I can never control the waves but I can always learn how to surf.

I have already placed my clothes back to where it once were, now the emotional and mental unpacking follows.

2
Clear skies. Palm trees. (Biliran Island, Philippines)

Tomorrow holds a lot of significance: the first day of another month, the day after a Blue Moon, Easter celebration, and the beginning of my detachment.

Every firsts of the month is like sunrise, it’s a great metaphor for a reset. The expression “once in a Blue Moon” isn’t coined for nothing, it opens up a very special opportunity, and like what Easter observance reminds us, we will rise from the ashes and resurrect for brighter days.

To sunny days ahead,

Charlene

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