An English Teacher Shares Her Inspiring Travel Diaries And Experiences On Teaching English in a Foreign Land – An Interview with Kristin Sewell – Blogwithgokul (GV’s Talk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk, Kristin!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. 

Where have you spent teaching the most in your life?

Kristin – So far I’ve spent the most time teaching in Kerala, nine months! It’s been the best and most challenging experience of my life and I loved the whole crazy ride lol.

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While on a stroll through the streets of Kenya.

what would you suggest to those who aspire to be an English language teacher before
they step out into a foreign land to hunt for jobs?

Kristin – For new English language teacher, such as myself, I think the best thing is to just do your research and make sure the jobs you apply for / accept are legit and good quality workplaces. Lots of companies/programs have Facebook pages where you can read others’ reviews. Also, during interviews, I always ask the interviewer’s opinion of the company, which is a fun way to make them feel as nervous as you are and maybe even get an honest answer from them haha…

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Gazing at the sunrise in Ireland.

How can you make yourself qualified has an English teacher?

Kristin – The most important factor in becoming qualified to teach English as a language is getting your TEFL/TESOL certification from a reputable institution. Having a bachelor’s degree (usually in any field of study) qualifies you for better positions than those without a university degree. It’s always good to open as many doors as possible for your future paths in life, so having that college degree just gives you more opportunities!

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A snap from the land of castles  – Czech Republic (Charles Bridge on the backdrop)

The most intriguing part of teaching English to foreign students?

Kristin – The most intriguing aspect of getting to teach ESL is opening up the lines of communication between myself and people I never would’ve gotten to know if they hadn’t learned my language! I love getting to learn about people’s lives and making friends, so it’s awesome when someone is able to express themselves in a language that is foreign to them and we can get to know each other.

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Dreamy Icelandic landscapes.

Your Instagram handle seems to have some amazing clicks! Looks like your cutting
down your bucket list one by one. How many countries have you been to so far?

Kristin – It’s crazy to add them all up and realize I’ve been to 23 countries…I want to go everywhere and eat everything and meet everyone lol, so I’ve still got like 170 countries left on the list haha. There are so many cities to explore and traditional dishes to try, so I’m always looking forward to the next adventure. But I’m back in the phase of work work work now in order to be able to start another phase of wandering.

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Having fun in the turquoise waters of Mexico.

 

Travelling solo especially being a girl in India is a huge deal. What do you have to tell parents about letting their daughters fly free and pursue their dreams?

Kristin – I mean…my parents were as scared as any parents would be…super hesitant to let their daughter fly away into the unknown totally alone, even though I was 29 when I left for India. But I think the saying is true that you’re supposed to “give your children roots and wings” and it’s especially true for girls because, despite all the horrors that happen all the time around the world, females need to be bold and follow our calling to roam. I think that the only time we get a chance to be brave is when we’re scared…so we have to take every opportunity to walk through that fear when we know something worth pursuing is on the other side. As far as parents preparing their daughters to travel solo…maybe take a self-defence class, and I constantly remember my dad’s words “always be aware of your surroundings.”

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An American road trip through the Hawaiian islands.

How can you stay safe on the go? Some tips to young girls out there?

Kristin – It’s DESPICABLE that females have to have this innate instinct to fear men, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pay attention to who’s around you, never walk alone in the dark, pay the money for a taxi, always have emergency money in your secret pocket haha aka bra. Take care of yourself and remove yourself from dangerous situations, stay sober, don’t be too shy to ask for help if you need directions, dress and behave appropriately for the country you’re visiting, etc. Overall there are more good people in the world than bad people, so hope for the best but plan for the worst and appreciate every experience. Fear kills more dreams than actual failure ever will so just get up and go live your best life.

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Flavours of spices from India.

The craziest thing ever happened on your trip?

Kristin – One of the craziest things that have happened to me while traveling was getting stung by a sea urchin while snorkeling in Kenya, I had to lay on the sand while some local guys sliced the sea urchin barns out of my foot with a razor blade 😅 Other crazy experiences were getting to hug a real live penguin while visiting Dubai in a Middle Eastern desert, being in a motorcycle accident in India, getting assaulted by a man while visiting a mosque in Morocco, abseiling down waterfalls in Ecuador, and surviving jumping off the roof of a boat into the Red Sea in Egypt.

Your dream destination to visit?

Kristin – My big dream come true has been living in India. Kerala is now a home to me and it’s got everything I look for in a place to go adventuring. All the incredible food, luscious nature, and beautiful souls one could ever hope to encounter. As far as the next country I hope to explore…I’ve been thinking about Georgia and Azerbaijan a lot, the cities of Tbilisi and Baku are calling my name lol.

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Blissful green tea plantations captured from the hills of Sri Lanka.

Spending most of your time in India for the past couple of months. What do you have to say about your great Indian adventures?

Kristin – Living in India has been the biggest adventure of my life. The thing about This country is that when you come from such a Western place as the US, literally every day in India is an adventure. Buying groceries, taking the bus, teaching a class lol legit everything is new and different every day. Alappuzha and Munnar are stunning but some of my favorite moments were just taking sunset motorbike rides through pineapple groves and paddy fields, looking up at the moon through coconut and banana trees, listening to the frogs on hot evenings, the music playing on private buses, I just love and miss Kerala and all the elements that combine to make it such an overwhelming experience to live there.

One last question. What do you have to say to people who want to explore more but
can’t manage a work-life balance?

Kristin – Gokul listen, Those people need to prioritize. I know what I want in life, I want to explore. Every little choice you make in life leads you in a certain direction. I knew that working and saving my money by living at home with my family (like normal people do all over the world except for the West) was the best way to be able to afford to travel. I plan and plan and plan, figure out different combinations of cities and planes and trains and hostels to figure out how I can accomplish my goal as cost-effectively as possible. The amount of money people waste on rent is the price of a trip to the other side of the world. But, when you want something badly enough that passion drives you. So it’s really up to the passionate people to decide how hard they’re willing to work and how bright they wanna be about saving their money for what’s important in their lives.

Thank you so much for having your time Kristin. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

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You can follow Kristin’s Instagram handle.

Instagram: kristinsewell


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

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The Love Bond #6

Chapter- 7

    The Love Bond
Henchman

Lara kept walking and then running for a while consciously without getting into the sights of the German troops.

Her skirts where held high with one hand and the other holds the black umbrella, she did not wanted to get tripped. In a blurred vision on the opposite side of the road she saw the lights of a vehicle approaching her. She immediately sheltered herself in high bushes and waited impatiently for the vehicle to pass by. She threw her umbrella not to get noticed. The vehicle came closer and closer. At a point it passed by and moved forward. She pulled her skirt up again and started to move and then she realised that the vehicle had stopped at a distance. She stood still and looked back. The reverse light of the vehicle glowed as shivers of fear ran down through her body. It was an army vehicle and it came closer to her and stopped. A tough young man in his boots with thick mustache got down the car and looked at her fiercely with his eyebrows raised.

He said ” Get into the car now!, you are going nowhere! ” in his masculine tone.
Lara shook with fear and pleaded ” Please! Don’t take me away! I am not Jewish and I am no harm to your nation. Please let me go. Please I beg you” tears came through her eyes as she said.

” Lady! We shall discuss that at the camp. Now I say, get in the car or else……” said the young German soldier with a higher tone.

” Please listen to me, I swear to god I am not lying to you. My mistress she is about to give birth and I am on my way to call the Mid wife who lives downhill. Please let me go…. ” Begged Lara.
All of a sudden his heart began to melt in her words. He felt sympathetic, there is a very peculiar reason for this. A year back he lost his beloved on her delivery due to complications, leaving behind a a smart young boy with him, she left to eternity.

He felt for her ” Stop crying and listen to me. I shall take you to the midwife, sacrificing my life I understand your situation because I have lost my wife in a similar situation” he said.
” No Sir, just let me go that would be the kindest thing you could do” she said.
” Are you scared of me ? Don’t you trust me? ” said he.
” Sir please, what if I am guiding you to a Jewish house? You shall take them to the concentration camps? That would be the cruellest thing that I am doing to that family, I can’t do that for gods sake” she said in shattered voice.

” Don’t be so judgemental mistress ! All Germans are not nazist, we have hearts too. I am working for them to feed my family. I have to obey them, I have no other go but I will give you my word, I shall not harm you or your Mid-wife’s family. I would take you safe downhill anyhow you have no guarantee that you will reach their by foot” He said.

Lara trusted his loyalty and accepted his offer to take her to the Mid-wife’s house. She got into the jeep and hid herself under the seat.
They drove towards the midwives house in a hurry. They got down the jeep. Lara rushed to ring the doorbell. She rang the bell continuously but no one came out.

They kept hidden them self in the basement f the house fearing the German invaders. The doorbell made them feel terrible and their hearts kept pounding as they heart the voice of the door banging.
Lara shouted ” Madeline! It’s me Lara please come out no ones here, I need your help!”
Please come out!!

The knob of the door tilted and then came out Madeline.Her face reflected her inner fear.
” Don’t worry Madeline, This men helped me to come over here. Mistress Sylvia is in need of you, the pain has started, please do come with us to the mansion.” said Lara.

She immediately went inside and asked her husband to take care of her kids and told him that she will be back very soon.

They got into the jeep and the army men drove them uphill. They reached home.
As they walked into the house,Sylvia’s voice was clearly heard outside. She cried in pain. Madeline immediately rushed and asked Lara to bring a basin of warm water and pieces of cloths along with some candle sticks.

Lara bought all the things that she told and got into the bedroom and then closed the door.
Peter waited outside with so much of anxiety. Simon and Samo woke up from their sleep hearing the cry of Sylvia.

Simon and Samo are twins.They turned five last month.
Simon asked ” Dada… why is mom crying? ”
” You are going to have a little baby brother or sister very soon” said Peter.
All of a sudden they heard the voice of the baby crying. After a while Madeline came out of the room with the baby wrapped in a soft towel.
She said “Both are fine, It’s a girl”
Tears of joy ran from Peter’s eyes.

He took the baby from Madeline and showed it to the happy little twin brothers
“It’s a little sister for both of you! ” he said with joy.

“Sweet she is, I will call her dolly.She is like a doll” said the big brother Samo with excitement.
Simon, the calm one among the twins kept looking at his little sister.

“Well my boys we will call her Sofia, Sofia Reznik Hornik” said Peter.
“Sofia, the princess woooaow” the boys agreed to the name.
She was red like a strawberry, soft and beautiful. Born with a smile on her face.

Meantime Peter handed over the baby back to Madeline and went downstairs to thank the German soldier.

“I really don’t know how to thank you. You reached them here on time, please let me know what help I can do to you? ” Said Peter.
“Absolutely nothing, I understand the situation you went through because I had gone through the same a year ago….but..but god loved her so much that he did not give her back” tears fell from his eyes as he said.

” Brother, why is all these things happening around us. Why are these people fighting for ? When will all this come to an end ? Your are such a good soul, a messenger from god who came in boots. Please don’t feel sad about your past. I am sure you and your boy will do great in your life” said Peter from his heart.

“I am assigned duties, I must leave. Take care and don’t leave home unless everything calms down” warned the Army men.
” What is your Name? I forgot to ask you” said Peter.
“Sergeant Carl Benedict” he said.

“Carl please feel free to come over anytime here, You are always welcome. Please visit us once these calamities are over.”

He smiled and got onto his jeep and drove away. Peter thanked god for sending him to help him with this situation. He realised that not all men are bad nor everybody have the same intentions it’s there circumstances which leads them to do the job that they don’t like. Good souls did lived under their skin.

He kept staring at the Vehicle unless it vanished from his eye sight.

To be continued…
Thanks for reading,

Copyright by Gokul Vijayan

The Love Bond #4

Chapter-5

The Love Bond
The Beginning

They arrived at Mr James apartment that night. He welcomed them with hot cup of chocolate to get rid of the cold.
Mervin left immediately after a while telling James that he would arrive to pick Ayush to Krishna Inn as he is invited to have breakfast.
James showed Ayush his room. All Ayush can remember was him getting undressed and lying on to the bed, he was dead tired.
The chirping of the birds from the trees, the sun rose late across the horizon of the mist filled atmosphere.
Ayush woke up by the knock of the door. He opened the door and fond James with a cup of coffee .He took a long sip to get himself comfortable in the cold morning.
” why don’t you have a walk to the nearby gardens? It’s beautiful” said James.
“Yes, I think I give a stroll in the gardens before Mervins arrives to take me the Restaurant for breakfast, need to get some Slovakian air” replied Ayush.
Ayush unpacked his bags and took his sweaters out and made himself ready for the morning walk. He took the stairs and came down towards the entrance of the building and opened the door. Beautiful looked the morning seen. The architectures of the buildings amazed him. Rich and elegant in style. He did not go around much indeed he has to get ready before Mervin arrives and it’s his day to join the Midway school for work.
He got back to his apartment and freshened up and soon he heard the calling bell ringing aloud. James had already left for work. It was Mervin arrived sharp at 9:00 am. They both drove to Krishna Inn just after. As they parked there car in the parking lot the old lady Mrs Sofia came out from the restaurant.
” Come in my son’s, did you get a good sleep Ayush? ” asked her in a greater voice.
“Yes, very well” said Ayush.
” Have your breakfast, do you want idli and sambar or chappathis?, whatever you want want have it” said Sofia.
A young girl who looked in her twenties to him, very beautiful but a little bit obese came from the room inside with tears in her eyes came and sat in one of the tables. Mervin immediately walked towards her and asked her something. Ayush was noticing all these while having his breakfast. Then what he saw was the girl was crying and Mervin was comforting her by wiping her tears and hugging her. Their interactions actually created a sense of discomfort to Ayush eyes thinking why should Mervin be so close to someone who is so grown up that too a lady.
After a few minutes of comforting that young lady Ayush saw him taking a some tablets from a box and asking Sofia to have it on time and giving out some advice for her regarding her health. Some words were in english which helped Ayush to understand a little bit. It was later when Ayush realised that the young girl who he saw was the grand daughter of Sofia Reznik her name is Leah. That she was so upset to go to school that day because some of her friends made fun of her due to her over weight and she was just 15 years old, which made Ayush realise that the girls in Europe looked much older compared to the girls in India who are fifteen.
Ayush was comforting her and was giving mental strength to believe in oneself and let go all the unwanted comments and see the world with positively and head to school.
Ayush had a splendid breakfast and thanked Sofia for the invite and told that he must leave immediately to reach school on time to begin his duty as a teacher. On their way to school Ayush was so curious to know about Sophia and the reason for the good relation that Mervin and other staff show towards her and her family after all they are foreigners to him. About the bond of love that holds them.
And finally he asks about it to Mervin.
Mervin laughs mildly and says ” Love and affection do not have nationality or religion, it’s just an emotional attachment between two souls”
“The old lady who Invited you today, My boss Sofia Reznik her story will give you the answer to you curiosity” said Mervin.
Then Mervin begin telling the story as they car cruised through snow covered roads of Slovakia heading to the Midway Elementary School in Bratislava.
The story dates back into the 1940’s when Slovakia was Czechoslovakia, the time communism was wide spread across the city and was a part of the soviet union.

To be continued……

Copyright by Gokul Vijayan

Thanks for Reading.