Natalie Cataldo
Natalie Cataldo
Thailand 2018 - 2019
Sawadee Ka! My name is Natalie Cataldo, and I am in Thailand serving as a grant writer for the Wildflower Home in Chiang Mai and the Good Shepherd Youth Center in Chiang Rai. The sister organizations provide free long-term housing, education, recovery programs, and legal assistance for young women and single mothers who have sought help from dishonorable treatment (i.e. racial discrimination, domestic violence, etc.). I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to work with these organizations! Read More About Natalie →

Going through the motions

Hi friends and fam!

I hope you are all doing well and felt the love this past Valentine’s Day. I sure did as two of my best friends from back home came to Thailand to be with me!! It  was so great getting to be with them, and I’m so grateful they made the long trek over here. We met in Bangkok, visited Phuket, and then spent the longest leg of the trip in Chiang Mai. Smoky season, a time where all of the farmers around Chiang Mai burn their land to renew the soil, is in full swing so the town can be a little bit stuffy at times. Doi Suthep, a mountain that CM resides next to, can disappear and reappear within a few hours because of all the smoke. Despite the atmosphere, Chiang Mai still looks beautiful and we all had a great time venturing around the city. 

Following my last post, I want to talk about how I’ve felt personally throughout all of this. Truthfully, I think I should keep this brief because processing my time here brings on a rollercoaster of emotions, tangents, and stories. In some way, either physically or mentally, you would need to buckle up. After thinking about, I believe it would be best for me to really open up emotionally at the end of my time here in Thailand (when I am looking back). Here’s what I can say about it all right now: I feel good about myself and my future. There have been many challenging moments here, and the majority of them revolved around my time with the WFH. My mission here changes multiple times within the hour some days: one moment my priority is to serve and love the women at the home, the next is to serve and honor the leadership, and then I’m reminded that my ultimate desire is to serve and follow God. Sometimes these missions/priorities/roles don’t go hand in hand, and the answer to my questions seem unable to check off all of those boxes (praying you’re able to follow this).  I’m not trying to complain – I hope this shows you how my point of you and my own perception about my time here is changing so often. I talk less here but my mind is never stagnant. My pursuit in understanding this complex situation is a humbling, draining, rewarding, and important one.

There are many things I need to shape up on, such as my social media skills (the WFH insta goes silent a little too long every now and then). There are things I have seen growth in, such as my public speaking skills. I feel this period of growth, and at the end of the day, that leaves me hopeful, expectant, and grateful. I’m fearful of living a life of ignorance and numbness in order to live casually and happy.  There have been a lot of interesting conversations that have shown me that I have what it takes to become a great professor, and that’s a job that gets harder the more you care. I’d like to return to this field in some way before becoming a professor, and knowing that excites me (but also makes me take deep breathes hah).

Before my friends visited, the home was in full swing with many  things to do. Sadly, multiple donors and friends of the home visited the WFH during the same week that I was gone. Although I was not able to meet with these people I have been communicating with, I am glad that I was able to help the leadership become prepared for meetings and visits.

Last thing – we received another grant! I’m enthusiastic  to say that the latest project for the WFH – the addition of a classroom to the daycare area on the property as well as an extended roof to create larger play area – is now fully funded. They will not start the construction until after I leave as they want the new mothers home to be finished first, so I won’t be able to see the transformation. This hasn’t discouraged my excitement though, and I can’t wait to see pictures of our children and more learning in the new classroom.

Thanks for reading and for caring!


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