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Pros and Cons of Not Being on Facebook–as according to Samara

As my one year anniversary of Facebook sobriety came and passed, I have been spending a lot of time toying with the idea of reemerging into that community.

I have swung back and forth many times in my decision, which, inadvertantly, has led to complete indecision and therefore a lack of any sort of action.

So, in response to my own indecisiveness, I have compiled a list of pros and cons to help my decision making process and, in turn,  help you understand whatever decision I end up making.




(in no particular order…)

1.  When I was on Facebook I would often get annoyed with, what I deemed, ‘superficial relationships’; not being on Facebook alleviates this annoyance.

I felt like, if a person wouldn’t tell me the information they’re posting on Facebook in real life conversation, there is no reason I should know it because of Facebook.  Similarly, I didn’t necessarily want all of my Facebook friends to know things about me because of looking through my pictures and reading Facebook posts rather than having meaningful conversation with me.

(Side note:  I once met an old friend for coffee, we had been pretty close in the past, but hadn’t seen each other in a decent amount of time.  I was a little late and when I arrived I noticed that he had a list of things that we could talk about–each being the title of one of my Facebook albums, this really bothered me and I subsequently deactivated my Facebook account for the first time after that experience.)

Yes, I know that there are lots of ways to pick and chose which friends see what and you can now block people from your news feeds, but, if I’m going to chose to prevent certain people from seeing things and likewise prevent myself from seeing what they’re posting–what is the point of said ‘friendship’?  It comes down to complete social obligation.  Not being on Facebook gets me out of the social obligation to ‘friend’ someone I don’t really know and/or care about.

-A subtopic here is that my meaningful relationships back home have only gotten more meaningful as both parties take more time to keep the relationship going–be it through Skype dates, long emails or handwritten notes, the thoughtfulness of the relationships have increased.   I have more fulfilling relationships, just with much fewer people.


2.  Not being on Facebook helps me live life in Thailand.

Not having the escape of Facebook, keeps me here.  I don’t find myself thinking about home and dwelling on my past relationships and the fun things that I could be doing–rather I am given the opportunity to invest in the relationships here.


3.  Death to Comparison.

Lets be honest, there is a killer that sneaks around Facebook, whispering to us as we scroll down our news feeds

Well, maybe it’s just whispering to me, but that killer can convince me that these other people’s lives are much more exciting and fulfilling than the day to day life that I am currently living, or worse still, that I am not as pretty, cool, spiritual, educated, hip, ‘fill in the blank’, as such and such person over there.

Of course this killer of comparison doesn’t only live on Facebook and for those of us who deal with this, we need to keep our minds in check all of the time and be constantly renewing our identity in the Lord–but not having Facebook helps seriously limit comparison’s influence in my life.

4. The Stalker Bug.

This is another one of those ‘let’s be honest’ moments and this time I know that I’m not the only one…

Who hasn’t spent accidental hours in a whirlwind of stalker-esque activities while on Facebook?

While I am still able to go on a stalking binge if I feel the urge–not having a Facebook account easily available to me seriously decreases the urge.


5. Time Saved.

I laugh at this one.  It is a perk.  But the reality is that any time I do save not stalking people on Facebook is probably spent playing Words with Friends (or, in my case…Words with Strangers…as I don’t have any Facebook friends) or reading silly BuzzFeed articles.

BUT!  I could be more productive if I put my mind to it.


6. Freedom from Social Obligation.

This ties in almost completely to number 1; but it gets it’s own number because it is a big one to me.

Not having Facebook has elevated my guilt compulsion to say ‘Happy Birthday!’ or ‘Congratulations!’ to people I barely know, but has also caused me to be much more intentional in the relationships with the people that I do know and love.

If I remember your birthday, wedding day or that your child is being born sometime soon–it’s not because Facebook told me, it’s because I actually took note of it and have been thinking about you.  🙂

(Or…in the spirit of honesty, because someone else told me about it and I felt excited and wanted to connect!  Regardless, the connection is more personal.)


7. Not knowing (and thus, not really caring,) when a bad photo or a silly video (…uhhum…) of me is posted.

What I don’t know can’t hurt me.  Right?


8.  Not hearing about all the political stuff.

The reality is, (judge me if you will,) I don’t really care about politics.  BUT, if enough people that I deem ‘really awesome’ post about a certain topic, I will inevitably pretend that I do care and that I do have an opinion and then I will share my said opinion but completely un-educatedly.  No one wants that.


and now for the…

Screenshot 2014-05-21 11.49.23





1.  I don’t hear the news about some of my friends’ lives.

Yes, I realize I went on some decent rants in the pros section about not having to deal with superficial relationships.  And those feelings hold true, but there are other relationships that I’ve had in the past that are not superficial and I haven’t done a good job of keeping up with them.

There are plenty of people whom I’ve been very close to in the past and now they’re married with a baby on the way… and I missed it all. This makes me sad.


2.  Thai people use Facebook.

While, my not having Facebook helps keep me grounded here in Thailand, the reality is that 99% of the people I meet here use Facebook and expect that I do as well.

It can be difficult to take relationships past the initial meeting because I don’t ‘play Facebook’.  People are much more likely to send a Facebook message or write on your Facebook wall after a first meeting than they are to send an email or make a phone call.  I am included in this group of people.  I have to be incredibly intentional with the people I meet if I want to get to know them at all.


3.  I forget people’s birthdays, weddings and upcoming births…

…even when I’m trying really hard to remember, I forget.  Facebook is incredibly helpful with remembering special events.  So yes–if I remember your special occasion, you should feel really loved–but if I forget, it’s not because I don’t love you.


4. Events.

I am just not in the loop about things.  In Thailand, just like in America, community events are posted on Facebook.  I often find things out very last minute or not at all.

(Fortunately, my roommates use Facebook and are cooler than I am so they know what’s going on…)

*Similarly, I miss out on all the ‘cool spots’ people post about in Thailand and am again left relaying on my roommates’ coolness and have also just become settled with the fact that I’m not as hip as I once (thought) I was.


5.  I still find out when bad or embarrassing photos/videos are posted…

And I can’t do anything about it; no snarky comments or un-tagging can happen.


6.  I miss out on the blogs and videos that get posted and likewise am unable to post blogs or videos to share with you all.

It goes beyond blogs and silly videos… I mean, you all post awesome things on Facebook–songs, bands, teachings, educational materials… it’s not all politics and I miss out.


7. Keeping you all updated with my life.

A lot of you give me money so that I can live the life here in Thailand that I have grown to love.  While, I try to write blogs semi-often and send out email updates and paper updates to keep you in the loop, the reality is, if I was on Facebook I would be posting more pictures and sharing more tidbits of my life.

I think this is the hardest ‘con’ for me to come to terms with.



Screenshot 2014-05-21 16.36.13

As you can see, a lot of the pros have a con to contradict it, which has lead me to flip flop in my decision making many times.

Decision making is hard.

But, I have made a decision and for now, I am actively choosing not to reactivate my account.  (Actively choosing as opposed to simply not reactivating because I hadn’t made up my mind and status quo is easier than changing things up.)

This decision is primarily based off the fact that I came up with 8 pros and only 7 cons and that there are more pros that can’t be contradicted than there are cons.

There you have it.  It all comes down to simple math.

Thanks for walking through that mental processing nightmare with me.



Hopefully the next blog will be filled with pictures of the new little people I get to spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays with.


21/05/2014 · 01:02


Sometimes, as a teacher, I just fail.


Well, the reality is that sometimes I just fail period… but it’s amplified while I’m teaching because I have a constant crowd of witnesses.


Introducing, **BRAIN SPRAY**

(imagine a bunch of tingling chimes playing as you say **BRAIN SPRAY**)


**BRAIN SPRAY** is a magical concoction made of coconut oil, water and sprinkles.  **BRAIN SPRAY** has been specially formulated to help decrease student stress while taking tests and thus helping them to preform better.  Results are guaranteed.

I have been using this **BRAIN SPRAY** on my students whenever we have a big test, which, unfortunately, is much more frequent than it should be for first graders.



Well, the last week of school should be a time of fun and games, but at the School of Promise we have to take finals.

In e v e r y  s i n g l e subject.  Finals.

So, out comes the **BRAIN SPRAY**.

The kids know the drill and actually quite like getting sprayed by the magical concoction.  So, they line up, cover their eyes and let me spray their faces.

However, this particular day–my last teaching day of the year–things didn’t quite go as planned.  This time, instead of growing in confidence and wisdom, my students started falling on the floor, gagging.

I watched as the first couple students react like this, but thought they were being weird and dramatic so I just ignored them and proceeded to spray the

Soon I noticed all of my students on the floor, not just the dramatic ones and decide that something must be askew.

So, not thinking, I took a big whiff of the once aromatic **BRAIN SPRAY** and preceded to pass out myself.  {{Not really…but, if I had less body mass that probably would have been the effect.}}


Turns out that after about a year in the classroom, my bottle of **BRAIN SPRAY** turned rank.

I mean rank.  pungent.  fetid.  reeking.  noxious.

My **BRAIN SPRAY** was stankin’!

And I sprayed that rank, pungent, fetid, reeking, noxious, stankin’ **BRAIN SPRAY** on each of my students faces.


Once they arose from their odor induced coma, these were the kinds of faces I was greeted with:




Goodbye sweet, sweet students.

Miss Samara loves you!



10/04/2014 · 23:15

woodland creatures and other warm fuzzies

I love living in Thailand.  And quite honestly, there’s not much that seems all that ‘weird’ or ‘different’ to me at this point.  Adaptability is a prized strength of mine and I do my best to take full advantage of it.

But, every once in a while I have a, “I don’t live in America anymore” moment.

Rainy season has been filled with a series of those such moments.

I’ve never lived through a rainy season before; they definitely have their perks.

For one, the hot, hot heat of Thailand has really cooled itself down.  It’s now raining pretty much every night, which has led to wonderful sleep and fan-less night and consistent running water in our house, and well…

ok, it’s mostly just the cooling effect the rain has that I love.  But, I love it oh so much.

But, with the perks, there are also the downsides:

-drying laundry has become rather…difficult

-I hardly ever want to get out of bed when it’s time to go to school in the morning due to the rain

-motorbike riding in the rain is not my favorite thing

-and then there’s my afro-puff.

But, it’s neither of those that I want to talk about today.  No, no.  The biggest ‘downside’ of rainy season has most definitely been the woodland creatures that have taken refuge in our house.

Now, I say, woodland creatures, and one may picture something like this:


Those, however, are not the woodland creatures that I am speaking about–no deers or squirrels here.  Nope.  By woodland creatures I mean bugs.


bugs everywhere bugs.

For example:

The amount of mosquito bites currently on my body is record breaking.

I opened my laptop the other day and out crawls… a cockroach.  Tracy gets in the shower, and over her foot crawls… a cockroach.  I move my fan to the other room, out from underneath crawls… a cockroach.


my personal favorite

the flying termites that invade any and every night after a rain:

Image     Image

this is real life.

they get into our house and I do this:


I don’t mean to–but, I cower in fear because of these nasty, flying bugs.  I have this (maybe irrational) fear of them getting stuck in my hair and never being able to get them out again.

This fear causes me to look a little more like the Arab part of my family…

Then, there’s the woodman spiders.  Nasty ‘ole things.


These delightful things are found at the most wonderful times… like, coming out of the sink drain while brushing your teeth, on the bottom on the bottle of water that you just picked up, or just hanging out on the wall…you know whatever.

And it really doesn’t matter how ‘harmless’ I know they are and how they eat all the fore mentioned bugs that I hate so much and how they don’t want to eat mmeeeee, but I can’t keep my mind from going here:



(spider pictures from here)

But, oh… the woodland creatures inside our home don’t quite end here.

The newest addition to our home–a Tokay.

We’ve had a family of them living outside of our front door for sometime now, but as mating season has ended and their offspring are ‘grown’ now, the male and female have parted ways and one of them took up residence on the inside of our house.

tokay2 tokaytokay3


Honestly, this one bothered me the least…

During the day time we never saw him.

At night time…I would see him (the giant thing) if I got up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom—but I would just pray and go back to bed. The amount of small geckos in our house was gradually decreasing, along with appearances from the giant spiders.   It couldn’t be thaaaaaaaaat bad. (Of course, completely disregarding the fact that these ‘geckos’ are known to be vicious…but also having no idea what to do about it…)

That all changed today as the Tokay made an appearance in daylight.

We tried to capture the whole experience on video, but it’s mostly just shaking shots of the walls with Tracy, Geshem and I screaming as Caleb is forcing the Tokay out.

I write all this to say, I don’t live in America anymore and I’m a huge pansy when it comes to bugs and (apparently) lizards and I don’t know what in the world to do about it.

Lord help me.

the end.


I just went outside to turn on the well…because, apparently our ‘always running water’ wasn’t running…and was greeted by both a Tokay and a woodsman spider.  I thought it kind of humorous…in the ironic kind of way.



06/08/2013 · 04:15