All posts by Bohemia Chronicles

Those dang quizzes.

I love personality tests. When I was younger that’s how I spent most of my time on the internet. Now I’m older and all those tests probably attributed to my interest in Psychology. But what I’ve always enjoyed is the confirmation that these quizzes would give me about myself. So here’s the run down of me.

I am a Type A, ISTJ, and in Hamilton terms I’m Jefferson. (That’s a reference for my sister as Broadway is her passion and Hamilton is my go-to inspiration)

Dive in deeper to what each one means and if you know me you’d say each quiz was right. I am an introverted, observant, thoughtful, judgmental person, who values autonomy, honoring my duties, and in need of constant improvement. I am also a jack of all trades and pride myself in being so. On the downside, at times I am cold and seemingly robotic. People could misjudge my desire to work, create and enforce order as obsessiveness. Being Type A as well would exacerbate this. Time management is key and the end goal of any Type A is to attain a status, be known for someone who did something people call glorious.

In the states my loving mother would often criticize my personality saying I could be unfeeling at times and forget the bonds of family. That would hurt. Everything I do is for my family, present and future, I want to be able to rise up and create a life for myself, my mother and sister, and whatever future children I have. My family is full blooded Latino, so they are as emotional as it gets. Being raised with them I saw telenovelas with crying women and hot headed men, making brash decisions and essentially ruining everything. I am not like that. There is no such thing as a “on the fly” decision for me. I require time to sit down, look at the facts, think of every possibility and outcome then and only then will I make a decision.

How does my personality help me in the Peace Corps? Peace Corps to me is about finding order where there is none, it’s about grasping at straws and finding they won’t work for you. It’s about turning the emotions off and observing and finding solutions. So here I am. At my site it took me so long to determine why they had put me with my counterparts, they were attentive to the children, they have an amazing rapport with them all, and they play games with them all the time. So where was I to come in? I found out when I asked for a school calendar and was told there was none. Fine, what about what days do students have off for national holidays? No one knew. Well then what does the daily schedule look like? We don’t know yet. Of course, my luck is they were telling me this a solid two weeks before school started. So now I know why I am here.

As my students are now beginning to speak more English I am building more order for them. They understand a list of directions, and know the more time I have to stand waiting for them to get ready the less time they have to play. Now I am no dictator, this order helps me connect with them. They know I am reliable. They sit and wait for me to show up at 7:20 every morning to chat with them, that my order keeps the rotation of books going in strong, and that after class I will be sitting in my room ready to get the Netflix up and running so we can watch Magic School Bus or an hours worth of baby shark.

My reliability and stubbornness is my grit. Something we are told we need to survive in Peace Corps. I have no regrets on my own personality and while there should always be room for improvement I think I’ll hold on to my Type A, ISTJ, anal retentive self. One of my favorite lyrics will always be “I am the one thing in life I can control” and while it helps me understand that I can’t control everything I sure will try to control what I can.

Be like a child

I am not great with kids. When people ask me why did you become a teacher my response is nothing but sarcastic. “Because there’s too many stupid people in the world who piss me off and if I can stop the next generation from being dumb then so be it.” But I appreciate kids. They are so curious and at ease with the world. There’s a lot of qualities in kids that I wish I had. Thanks Dad, I grew up way too fast. My dad pressured me to perfection, to feel nothing, and to be the winner after all “Second place is just the first loser”. Now I am 24, anxious as all hell, anal retentive, and can’t say not one sentence without a mocking tone. But I think about what life would be like had my father not screwed me over.

I think I see it quite often in my neighbors daughter. She’s fast. The first time I’ll see her in the day I recognize her by her puff of hair passing by my window. She’s got this wild curly hair and stunning dark skin. She reminds me a lot of the Morenos of Puerto Rico. I hope for her sake her family likes her appearance because it is so unique and against the grain for Thai Culture. She’s nervous about getting to close to me and that’s fair, I was raised in the Stranger Danger Era. Anyway, I see her on her bike riding through the dirt, out-peddling the dogs and her cousin. But when her cousin catches her, he pushes her down into the dirt and steals her bike. She’s smart though. Cousin peddles around the house a couple of times and she won’t chase him. She waits patiently and cleans off the dirt, then as Cousin is taking another lap she steps out of hiding and gives him a taste of his own medicine. But she never continues riding. She just exacts her revenge and then goes home. She’s got spunk.

Later in the day I’ll watch Cousin play with the red ant hills in front of my house. He pokes at them and is amused when I spray bug killer at my door to stop them from retreating into my house and he laughs at my muttering some choice words in Spanish. Then like clock-work Negrito and Papito Chulo(my names for two of the stray dogs) come around hoping for some dinner scraps. Cousin is scared of Papito, with reason he’s a large lab with some battle scars. But Negrito is smaller, nervous and agile. Cousin goes up to Negrito and starts petting him then it quickly turns to hitting for no apparent reason. I look at Cousin disapprovingly and say “No” he looks at me with confused eyes, and I say it again. He’ll laugh and run away and again I’ll mutter in Spanish about the ants and how the kid just ran away.

One thing I appreciate about the children of Thailand is they demand no reasons. Every day I am asked something about me personally. Including but not limited to: “Why do you look like this?” “Why do you wrap your hair?” “Why do you have curly hair?” “Why are you this size?” The kids, they don’t care. They look at me with amusement as if I was a cartoon character. I love it. I love feeling them play with my hair or touch my skin when they accidentally find a tattoo. Given my height a lot of children will have to look up to me, and given the added height of my bun they look even higher. Always with amusement and I know they want to ask but I’m happy they don’t they just accept me as me.

I’m not good with kids. But I like them enough.

You spell it A-R-T

I am no connoisseur of the arts and I don’t pretend to be. But I enjoy art in all it’s forms. There’s something wonderful about being able to take a blank canvas, a lump of clay, or sounds and make a piece that will give someone so many emotions, and furthermore nourishes the mind.

I would like to say that I am talented in any form of art, however I am not. I think that my talents mostly lie in the kitchen. Granted it does take some sense to recognize a variety of ingredients and put them through the fire accordingly to make a meal, they do call it the culinary arts for a reason. But I am no chef, nor sous chef, nor anything to deal with a kitchen. I find much enjoyment in cooking knowing that I can nourish my body and bring joy to the people I share a meal with. I thank my old coworker and longtime friend Shella for showing me the basics of cooking and I hope to cook for her one day. I have had others tell me my talent is in writing, as I am able to take various words from my lexicon and tell a story without any vocal assistance; for you as the reader can’t hear my voice and you likely have no familiarity with my tones and inflections, nor do you recognize my sarcasm, and I’m sure you aren’t familiar with my sense of humor.

I have always enjoyed painting. I see it very much as writing with no words. A good piece can tell a story. I love the visual arts in all of it’s forms, from graffiti to pieces that have found their way to the Louvre. When I try however the strokes don’t all come together. It takes talent to take the colors of this world and control them and have them bend to your will until they show the image you want.

My sister on the other hand is divine in the arts, musically. She has the ability to pluck sounds from the air and create. She has the voice to inflict feeling unto her audience and she has a sense of being that allows her to perform exquisitely. Now, based on exposure to culture, I was the lucky child between the two of us. I have seen plenty of Broadway shows and continue to do so. I was given numerous opportunities to dance, and sing, and learn an instrument. But the musical arts never fully embraced me and so I walked away from them. Again I still appreciate them and envy those with musical talent, those who can feel rhythm in their soul, and can hit every beat, and who can sing and belt notes loud and long enough to have an audience enraptured and in awe.

The pleasant thing about my fairly solitary life in Thailand is that I have the chance to sit with my thoughts, something that would’ve scared me in the states. I wake up some nights and write whatever it was that I was dreaming about, especially if it was bright and unique. But then at work I see certain happenings and certain angles that I typically wouldn’t think twice on. I hope to get back into painting. Perhaps through finding the balance and control I needed in my life I can find a balance between all the colors and the strokes.