What I liked about Prague / What Scares me about Hanoi

Our graduating class from TEFL Worldwide Prague

Our graduating class from TEFL Worldwide Prague

On my last afternoon in Prague I'm sitting with classmates from my TEFL course in Anonymous Coffee. They had interviews for teaching jobs all morning. We are settling in for the afternoon to read and plan lessons. My last walking meditation this morning was through Prague 2. I saw two wiener dogs.

I've have been reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. My favourite insight is that FEAR IS BORING. 

"Around the age of 15, I somehow figured out that my fear had no variety to it, no depth, no substance, no texture. I noticed that my fear never changed, never delighted, never offered a surprise twist or an unexpected ending. My fear was a song with only one note - one word actually - and that word was "STOP!" My fear never had anything more interesting or subtle to offer than one emphatic word word, repeated at full volume on an endless loop: "STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!"

Two weeks of walking around Prague

"There's nothing particularly compelling about that. Do you see what i mean? You don't get any special credit for knowing how to be afraid of the unknown. Fear is a deeply ancient instinct, in other words, and an evolutionarily vital one... but it ain't especially smart. "

On the plane from Victoria I wrote a list of fears for Prague and the TEFL program. Today I am starting the cycle over. I don't believe my life is at risk of being driven by fear. In an effort to cultivate the opposite I work to make space for the reality of my fears. The buddha inviting Mara in for tea. Looking at judgements, discernments, anxieties and fear and sorting through which ones are useful to me. My fear of being killed on a motorcycle in Vietnam is useful, but won't necessarily stop me from riding one. It will just be incentive to drive bravely and safely. On the other hand, my fear of having dumb hair in the humidity is mostly useless. 

THINGS I LOVED IN PRAGUE:

  • Everything looks like a dollhouse
  • My brave co-teachers. Very cool women.
  • Watching my fear become my competency
  • the smallness of living and working on the same block for a whole month
  • Hearing students proudly use words and grammar I taught them
  • Lesson planning getting easier
  • Teaching a bad lesson and owning it
  • Czech beer
  • our incredible trainers (Who worked 9am-7pm every damn day)
  • working towards a common goal with Jon

THINGS I AM SCARED OF:

  • Scooter accidents in Hanoi
  • Not being a good enough teacher for APAX
  • Not impressing my new boss
  • Not handling culture shock like a boss
  • Being sweaty and frizzy all the time forever
  • Being perceived as a dumb, spoiled foreigner
  • Cockroaches
  • Kids not liking me/not being fun
  • Crossing busy streets
  • Not being able to communicate easily with my landlord/bank/doctor/phone company