Last year was my first year of teaching and I honestly didn't expect it to be as hard as it was. Everyone tells you how difficult it is going to be -but I worked really hard at university and I thought it was just the lazy students who got a fright when they went into the real world. Boy, was I wrong!
I would spend the whole day in the classroom only to come home and work myself dead until late at night. I would stress so much about all the things I had to get done and work the entire weekend just so that I would be ready for the next week. My life was work and Megan completely vanished. No more yoga, no more running, all the activities I loved and enjoyed so much vanished. In the process I learned SO much about myself last year: I realised I'm a perfectionist and I'm extremely hard on myself, I learned to let go and how to prioritise. Most importantly, I learned that I'm an introvert. Being an introvert is different to being shy or quiet. It means that you enjoy being social and love getting together with people, but you need your quiet time alone to recharge. So basically you loose energy when you're actively engaging with others. I've always had plenty of alone time at school and university so I honestly had never thought about it until I was spending an entire day in a classroom talking and engaging with children. I obviously knew this is what my days would entail when I chose to become a teacher, but I never knew it would leave me feeling so completely drained. Last year I really doubted my decision to become a teacher and even reached a point of wondering if I should continue with this career. I felt so much pressure and I had to be alone for long periods of time to "recharge" because I was talking the whole day and forever giving, giving, giving. I was exhausted every single day and had no energy for the things I really enjoyed doing. My soul was suffering.
And then I moved to Bhutan.
I still haven't completely figured out why I feel so different in this Himalayan Kingdom. Is it because I have changed my attitude? Is it because my nightmare first year of teaching is over? Or is it because I have free periods between my classes so I have short breaks of silence to work? I now work a longer day and six days a week so it seems to balance out to the same about of work as last year. Instead of returning home every afternoon to quieten my mind and regain my senses, I am so busy being with the community. The children come knocking at my door every evening at 5pm to go running, I visit Madam Tshering for dinner or "refreshments", I help children with their homework and see friends. I am always interacting with the community and its never draining like it was back home. I've started doing yoga in the mornings and running and have time for cross fit. I cook dinner and finish my school work and watch movies every night. I have time and energy for everything. I have time for all the things that make me happy.
I still feel that I work really hard at school and have to put in extra effort because the children need even more input than when I taught in South Africa. I work when I come home and everyday life requires even more effort than back home. All of our clothes need to be hand washed, we need to boil water before we can use it for anything, we need to walk to get whatever we need. Everything takes time and I'm still able to fit in everything my soul needs. I even enjoy the slow pace of life here in Bhutan. I think that the biggest lesson I have learned in the past two years is that you need to MAKE time for what you want. We read this everywhere and everyone tells us this is important, but it really really is! You start hating life if you don't do the things that make you happy and you deserve to be happy ... trust me.