Lessons on Faith, Vol. 1: Wanting to Go but Hearing "No"

Lessons on Faith, Vol 1 - MELODY ON THE MOVE

Before i had even arrived back home, I was planning my escape.

I mean, they don't call me Melody on the Move for nothing! Granted it is a moniker of my own creation, but still! I got an imagine to uphold here (lol). I was physically heading back to Florida, but my mind was full of thoughts about adventures in new countries and immersing myself in an unfamiliar culture all over again.

To understand how i got here, we have to rewind back to June 2016 in Korea.

I turned the big two-five and ended up reconnecting with my on-again, off-again boyfriend. While we were (back) together and after we broke up (again) a few months later, a part of me that craved a more permanent lifestyle was sparked. I'd daydream about having a real place to call "home" and about decorating this place in shades of white, green, and brown. I wanted to have a car again. I wanted to feel grounded - something I didn't often feel in Korea with friends constantly coming and going. These desires for permanency stayed with me until my move back to America became more real. By February 2017, the month I was set to leave Korea forever, the idea "settling down" no longer appealed to me like it once did. Instead, I had new countries to move to on my brain; specifically a place where getting around via scooter was the norm and street food was not only bomb but cheap too!

And then, one cold Korean winter day - it came to me: Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Thailand-loving, circa August 2015

A "luxury" apartment is only $400 a month, I had a friend who moved there for 6 months and loved it, the best way to get around is on a scooter (#HECKYEAH), and when I visited Thailand in 2015, I loved it. By all accounts, it was a clear match made in heaven.

March arrived and I said goodbye to Korea. As I was making my way back to Florida through India and California, I was still marinating on this idea of moving to Chiang Mai. I had only told a few friends about it, as though to protect this precious new plan but strangely enough, while the move never left my mind, I experienced wavering emotions about it. One second, I'd be so excited and gung-ho for the new adventure and the next second, I'd be overcome with anxiousness and stress - negative emotions I didn't experience when I moved to South Korea in 2015

What is a girl to do when she's conflicted about making another move across the globe? Bring it to God, of course! Throughout the month(s) of chewing on the idea of Chiang Mai, I never once heard God say "yeah, go for it". It always felt more like He was saying, "you decide" - not in a patronizing way but in a Father trusting his child enough to give them free will kind of way. So when I brought the move to Him once again and heard *crickets*, the anxious feelings of uncertainty only grew.

I had to get real with myself, zero in on my motives, and make a decision.

It was April at this point and the options were 1) go through with the move to Chiang Mai at the end of May despite my shaky feelings or 2) don't leave right away and instead wait for God's direction and timing. In my heart of hearts, deep down in my spirit, I knew what the right answer for me was. So, I sat down and made this video to share the conclusion I had came to with the 'Tube. 

And here we are. I can see now, that before I could even take in my new, yet familiar surroundings (a.k.a Florida), I was planning my escape. I so badly wanted to go but He was whispering "no". And this is a huge lesson in faith for me. The "old me" would've forced the move to happen, yielding for nothing. But the more I grow in my relationship with the Lord, the more my desires change. I want what He wants in a way I never have before. This strange, interesting, no-name-for-it-yet season is teaching me faith, obedience, patience, and trust - among other things. He is doing some work in and on me here; I can feel it in my bones everyday. And that's the best part.

I'm excited for what is to come but I'm not in a rush to get there anymore.

His timing is best, always. 


Have you ever brought a big decision to God? Did He give you a clear answer or *crickets*? Through what ways does He usually communicate with you? Drop me a comment below - I'd love to know.


Stay awesome. Stay Inspired. 

- Melody -

My First Week with VIPKID

My First Week With VIPKID

If you read last week's post, you'll know that ya girl got a job! Woo, woo! I am now a teacher with VIPKID, which is an online teaching company that caters to Chinese students ages 5 to 12. I started the application process in the middle of April and it went pretty quickly. I applied on a Monday, scheduled the Skype interview/ mock lesson for that Thursday, and the following Tuesday (after another mock class with a VIPKID mentor pretending to be a 5 year old student) I was hired! 

It's been a week and so far, I'm really impressed. Coming from teaching in Korea, where everything is told to you at the last possible second, it's really nice to work with a company that has so much structure and support readily available. Beyond that, I'm loving having complete control over my teaching schedule! 

The biggest difficulty that new hires face is filling up their schedule. We're told it takes about a month and it's proving to be true. Slowly but surely I'm being scheduled for more classes and it's exciting to watch it happen. VIPKID allows the Chinese students (their parents really) to chose teachers by browsing the 10,000+ profiles. Once you get a student to teach, you want to convert them into a regular - meaning you want the student to choose you as their "main" teacher each week. I've found that the best way to get regulars is 1) have an awesome 25 minute class and 2) write the most wonderfully detailed feedback paragraph for the student's parents.

the highs

My teacher profile picture. I was going for yes-I'm-the-perfect-teacher-for-your-child mixed with professional. #nailedit

My teacher profile picture. I was going for yes-I'm-the-perfect-teacher-for-your-child mixed with professional. #nailedit

  • Getting a student named Melody! I think they chose me as her teacher because we have the same name and I'm so glad they did. She is this absolutely precious 4 year old with the most infectious smile. For being only 4 years old, her English skills are so impressive. I'm convinced that she's a literal angel because of how much of a joy she is to teach and the best part is - she is now my first "regular". Yay! 
  • Finally downloading the VIPKID teacher app and being able to see and adjust my schedule as well as review lessons for future classes. I love technology.
  • Because the kids I teach live in China, majority of my teaching hours are from 7:00AM to 9:00AM, which is perfect. It's been so nice to get up early and start my day. I feel so much more productive and getting my "work" out the way early in the morning is great too. 
  • Teaching again. I didn't realize how much I missed interacting with kids and being in teacher mode. 

the lows

  • I accidentally missed a class, which is the worst thing you can do as a VIPKID teacher. I didn't pay enough attention to my schedule the night before and ended up sleeping through a 7:00AM class. Not only did I receive a pay deduction of $10, but now parents can see that I was a no-show. Insert sad face. 
  • Trying to get through 25 plus slides in 25 minutes. This is proving to be a whole new level of time management skills! 
  • Out of the 14 classes I've taught so far, 3 of them have had technical difficulties. It's frustrating for both me and the student and it makes it even more difficult to get through all the material. 

Overall, I'm really happy with my new gig! It feels really good to be back in the classroom and most of all, to have complete control of my schedule.  Freedom is really important to me right now and this job gives me just that. 


Would you ever think about becoming a VIPKID teacher? If so, here is my referral link! If you've got any questions, drop me a comment below. 


Stay awesome. Stay Inspired.

- Melody - 

Life Lately: April

Life Lately: April - Melody on the Move

Life Lately is a monthly series where I share what's been going on in my life, lately - the good, the bad, the mundane, and the out of the ordinary.

It has almost been a year since my last Life Lately post and I'm excited to start making these a common feature on the new blog! As most of you may now, I've been back in Florida for the entirety of April, so there's lots to get into!

LOVING: The freedom that not having a 9-5 gives me. Just last week, I got a new job teaching English online, which I'm excited about because I get to make my own schedule and work from anywhere. It's so nice to plan my day as I please and to choose when and from where I work.

PULLING INSPIRATION FROM: Melyssa Griffin. Have you heard of her? She's this awesome business owner/ blogger that I've been keeping up with for years and watching her brand blow up into a millionaire dollar empire is so inspirational! Especially because she also used to teach English abroad (she taught in Japan). It just gives me hope that it's all possible.

Life Lately: April - Melody on the Move

 LEARNING: How hear God's voice more clearly. I'm in such a transitionary phase right now, I literally can do a million different things but I want to do what He wants me to do. The only problem is, I don't know what that is! This just means more quiet time seeking Him and becoming more familiar with His voice. Hello, patience, in the meantime. 

LOATHING: The struggle of finding the perfect concealer! Seriously, it shouldn't be this hard. First I tried Tarte's Shape Tape and it just didn't wear well throughout the day and then it was NARS radiant concealer and the color isn't right. Le sigh, I'll find the perfect shade for these dark under eyes soon. 

APPRECIATING: The friends that I can pick back up right where we left off like no time has passed it all. I'm so grateful for them.

WONDERING: About so many things. Like the state of the world for example because this whole Trump is the president of the United States is still surreal to me. 

ANTICIPATING: Whatever is next for me (figuratively and literally).

EATING: Chipotle. The obsession is back, alive, and well! #nomz

LISTENING TO: That new Kendrick of course, Elevation Worship's new album called There Is a Cloud, as well Khalid's new joint American Teen. Loving it all. 

My first spring in Korea. Oh the memories.

My first spring in Korea. Oh the memories.

MISSING: My life in Korea. Some of my students (lol). My apartment. The weekend trips to Seoul and Daegu. The weekly dinners with my girls. I miss what was. 

STRUGGLING WITH: Editing videos. I have so much content backed up that I haven't uploaded because I'm slacking on the editing process - but we gon' get there! I did upload vlog #1 and vlog #2 from India, so we can count that as a win.

EXCELLING AT: To be honest, I can't think of anything that I'm 100% killing right now. Perhaps it's the perfectionist in me or maybe it's just my current reality. 

 

 

 

 

What's been happening in your life lately? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Stay awesome + stay inspired,

 

- Melody -

 

 

 

The Art of Returning Home After 2 Years Abroad

Returning Home - Melody on the Move

The reality of my new life hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday afternoon. 

It was my second "family dinner" since I've been back. The first one, a few days after I touched down on Floridian soil, was incredible. The laughs, the jokes, the overall joy that we (my mom, brother, sister, and I) felt was undeniable. But just 2 weeks later, it's almost like the routine of it all has set in. Granted, my family has a life and a busy one at that - my brother being in graduate school, my sister being in college, and my mom working full time. And in comparison, my days are spent a bit more leisurely, so I'll give everyone a pass on the seemingly lack of excitement but in that moment, the concept of being home suddenly felt so... anticlimactic. 

I've read tons of articles about the tornados of emotions and adjustments that ensue when expats return to their home country and up until yesterday, I felt none of it. But now I can say, I get it.

If you find yourself unsure of what to expect when moving back home after living abroad, know this:

 

life has gone on without you. Don't forget.

The people that once depended on you learned how to get by without you. It was the only option they had. Now that you're back, don't expect them to need you like the once did. The dynamic of your relationship has forever changed. Not in a bad way, in a it's-undeniably-different way.

 

you don't have to have your life figured out as soon as you arrive.

I was the master of swerving the ever-present "so what's next, Mel?" question. But after a month of the vague, round-a-bout, elusive responses, I'm realizing that it's best (and easier) to just own where I currently am. If you don't have a clue what's next, own that. If you've got an idea and the person inquiring is worthy of a response, share what new idea is on your mind. 

 

save that money, honey! 

Unless you found a job immediately (which if that is the case, I salute you), try to save as much of the money you made while abroad now that you're back. That probably means cutting back on the nights downtown with friends and definitely no more eating out everyday like you're used to. 

 

above all else: there's no right or wrong next move.

This is what I'm telling myself the most right now. Since coming back, there are so many options and different paths I can walk down. Part of the reason I haven't made a concrete decision as to what I will do next is because I'm afraid of choosing the "wrong" one. The pressure that society puts on people my age (I'm almost 26) often gets me feeling like OKAY, TIME TO GET IT TOGETHER. But even that word "together" is so subjective. So you know what? As long I don't decide to rob banks or become a professional scammer like Joanne, there's really no right or wrong move right now.


 And this is the reality of my life back in America: everything is very up in the air. And that's perfectly okay. 

Because, you know what?

Baby steps to greatness. 

 

Until next time, stay awesome,

- Melody -