I know many of you may have a look of surprise on your face, but if you know me, then you know my free spirited, nomadic self. LOL! You'll be nodding with a smile and a "I could totally see her doing this!" After all, I moved to Cali without having ever visited, and only knowing four people in the state! I built a fruitful life, made lifelong friends, made nice money and stayed eight years! Well, the time has come. I turned 40 in June and it's simply time!
So, first up is Chiang Mai, Thailand October 29!
For those who do not know me, my name is Rogjett Peterson and I'm from the Detroit-Metro area in Michigan!
I have researched this thoroughly, prayed about it and am excited about the opportunity to teach English over there! https://greenhearttravel.org/program/adult/work/teach-in-thailand
I have applied and everything is in motion. I have begun selling everything and have been networking there through social media groups of people who have done similarly. I would love your support, if you're willing. My aim is to teach children and adults, while sticking to my purpose of tearing down stereotypes that exist cross-culturally. Of course, the latter will be documented, as I will likely work on some form of documentary (or music related project) on issues and perspectives living abroad, and the stereotypes that precede certain ethnic groups traveling. My artistic work will counter media portrayals directly as I get to know and invest in the Thai community. Of course I'll be writing and blogging about the experience while I'm there. This is just the beginning!
How did I get here?
2011 and 2012 afforded me wonderful opportunities to spend time abroad in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Beirut, Lebanon (two times). Neither of those trips were for leisure, rather missions in difficult environments. We had a couple of bookend days to spend at the beach and a nice restaurant, and the rest of the time was spent serving the local community in various ways.
I returned to Southern California with a feeling of emptiness and heaviness. I learned quickly that it was a blend of having experienced such great contrasts, coupled with my passion and love for learning about and investing in various cultures.
Time in Haiti was spent primarily rebuilding a local church devastated by the 2010 earthquake, while Lebanon's mission was less physically laborious. When not lifting rocks and clearing dirt, my time was spent teaching kids around the worksite english phrases, teaching them how to play Uno while practicing my own french and suffering heat exhaustion jumping rope, kicking water bottles (soccer game) and playing basketball with the kids in 100 degree heat. I watched an armed mob chase a man down on the side of the road and start beating him (while we were driving away in the back of a Tap Tap). Every morning I was awakened by roosters and acapella singing from various villages nearby.
Lebanon came with full ministry efforts within the community. These experiences were absolutely life changing. I sat and talked with Syrian refugees at the beginning of the Assad terror and civil war. I had conversations with an Armenian woman whose leg was blown off in the 80's civil war there. We sang on the spot, in the Presidential Palace with our worship team, got lost in the mountains in Hezbollah territory and nearly crashed our boat in the Jeita Grotto when the lights in the cave went out. Stepped into the home of a man (over semi automatic weapons) whose daughter was battling children's diabetes. I got to pray for her and the family. I saw beer at Starbucks and hiked in a forest of the Cedars of Lebanon! I slept on the floor one night praying like crazy because car bombs were about 15 miles away, and I heard someone on a megaphone in the middle of the night rambling off in Arabic. "I watch too much TV." Nothing happened. Naturally, I have plenty of stories. I gained a few friends in Haiti and certainly gained family in Lebanon! They have my heart.
Once I returned, I knew I'd go abroad again in a service capacity and longer term. About four years ago, I started researching expat life and communicating with those in the communities abroad. It was just going to be a matter of time. I moved back to Michigan nearly three years ago to make sure my dad (parents) were ok, after his health scare, and I've decided that it's time to get another few passport stamps on my way to living and working abroad.
The U.S. is going through a lot right now. This will be a good mental health break for me as well, to take a moment to just breathe, recalibrate while working, serve and produce content that I know will be impactful. Of course, I will keep you in the loop! I struggled with sharing this with so many at this time. I'm not one who asks for money unless it is fundraising for an organization or greater cause. I am as transparent as they come. This trip is personal...to educate students abroad and perhaps be the beginnings of my own expat life. I'd gone back and forth with NC or Thailand. Two weeks ago, I made the decision to live the dream I've always wanted instead of moving down south. I would love your help to get this in further motion.
I am going through Greenheart Travel--a reputable agency focused on teaching english abroad, and I am working directly with the program manager who handles the following. Please take a look at the link, as it outlines the entire program.
I am asking for support of the following:
*Teaching Placement = $1570 ($600 deposit in before August 30th)
*One-way flight to Chiang Mai ~ $750-$1400
(Range obviously contigent on how soon I secure the flight and with what airlines).
*All money needs to be in six weeks before the program begins.
Thank you. I hope you strongly consider!
Peace, blessings and love!