Archive for December, 2015

Mae Hong Son on my mind

December 30th, 2015

What I would have written for a BA writing competition, had I qualified.


I decided to write something for the competition called cities even though I didn’t qualify. I was there a year ago and miss my friends and the place (and Chiang Mai and Pai) dearly. What would you write about?


The Shan City of Mae Hong Son, Thailand


Muang Mae Hong Son is an gateway, full of local charm. As a gateway, it receives refugees and visitors from Myanmar on a regular basis. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) has an official office there and, of course, works with various non-profit organizations, especially the Border Consortium, to help the incoming refugees to be processed and cared for. You can find it right near the airport, just around the corner from the nearest seven-eleven.


Visitors travelling via local ground transport from the southern Shan State in Myanmar are allowed to stay and visit the hospital in Mae Hong Son with a special permit. The Thai government sees this provision as part of its humanitarian effort to help those on the other side of the border who have little access to health care.


The city of Mae Hong Son itself is as Shan as the other side of border in Myanmar.   One can get a truck to Myanmar at the market. Usually, it is the Shan and the Karen peoples who use this cross-border ground travel. Although it is commonly known that Burmese insurgents live just on the other side of the border, it is not a dangerous city at all. The insurgents also make use the hospital and shopping in Mae Hong Son and they run some of the informal travel between the two parts of the Shan-kin network, as well as a few of the border check-points. The rest of the border controls are under the Burmese military or the police.


Thus, one can say that Mae Hong Son is pretty Shan in culture. If you don’t know what that is, Google it. I have a friend who recently published a book, From Princes to Persecuted, by Shona Goodman, PhD, for the more curious. Mae Hong Son sports a lake (called a pond in the local language) surrounded by Buddhist temples, one of them being of Shan architecture. The Wat on the local mountain is not Thai, but also Burmese and Shan inspired in its making. The food in the market, although it can also be ethnic Thai, much is Shan and one can taste such delicacies such as the dark-colored sticky rice called kao phuk. My favorite Shan food is the savory breakfast porridge made up of chick pea flour. I can say it is only for the adventurous, but it’s probably even gluten free.


For the rather adventurous types, you might want to try and meet up with some of the Free Burma Rangers. There are people at the night market and in the restaurants that know other people who know people. Just ask, or they may approach you as happened to me. Also, you can be sure to enjoy the parade of nations at the night market. The city has, at any time of the year, visitors from all over the world. The people watching is at its best, because these are not the typical travellers you find in Bangkok, but those who prefer the off the beaten track type of holiday, as I do.

Christmas Greetings for 2015!

December 14th, 2015


The time of annual Christmas letters and cards is upon us. I haven’t quite figured out how much to put in this blog, as the family prefers to remain anonymous, and quite understandably so. This year has had its ups and downs, as I am sure most of you have had, too.


+My own business

To focus on the ups for a moment, I have started a legally registered business in Switzerland. This is a rather big deal for me, as I did it all by myself with no help from consultants, or the government. I am quite proud of my accomplishment, and feel that it is also helpful for my clients and future clients, since I have walked the same road as they have.


+More training and new horizons

I also underwent more training with Nobel Manhattan so I am a certified Regional Director of The Alpha Group (.biz). We are starting board meetings in the New Year and I am quite excited about the whole endeavor. The prospect of helping SMEs double their business is exciting, but it also supports the local economy in ways that multinationals cannot.


+I am still writing

I haven’t stopped and, although one project is on ice for the moment, a second is still going (60,000 words and counting), and I do like writing these blogs, too!


+I still love teaching business communications

It’s amazing that I have stayed with one job so long and that means something: I love it! This year has been no different and I look forward to next semester, and the following school year with great anticipation.


+I am teaching a short two-day course on coaching to expats

The course is to look at expat start-ups in Switzerland (and elsewhere) and how to coach those brave people. This is an exciting new adventure for me!


Yet not everything is easy

But there have been hard times, as well.


Some of my regular readers know that some dear neighbors have passed away this year, as has my mother, just last month. The grief continues to work its way out with me, as it does with the spouses and loved ones of my neighbors. I saw a really perfect visual on the grieving process recently and I think it is correct to say that the feelings of loss and sadness do not go away completely, but the times of happiness return and we experience both the happy and sad. Sometimes the sadness is still like a sharp pain, but other times, I am able to remember all the fun times together without that pain. My mom and I had many great times together, after all.


Finally, I look forward to this holiday season, where I can step back, take a breath, reflect on the good and the hard, and anticipate a great 2016 to come!

May you and yours be blessed this season and throughout 2016!

patricia Jehle


The weather outside may be frightful, but I am doing well

December 6th, 2015

The Advent Season (and the month of December) is well into swing and though the weather outside may be frightful, my home and mood have been quite delightful. Here are some reasons why:


I am downsizing my expectations


Good enough is really good enough for me this December. I don’t know about you, but I often have too high of expectations- on my self, on others and on what this season should/could/would bring.


My expectations have had to re-adjust over the years as job, family situation, and physical abilities have changed. When our babies were little I arose very early and wrote Christmas cards and used their nap times for baking cookies. As my working hours increased, I was less able to bake and the focus became more the children’s school programs (and there were lots of those shows, markets, and concerts) Now I notice that I have less available energy at this time of year and I must be careful with what I promise to myself and others.


I am focusing on the positive, despite the negatives


I am working on my hope level this season, lighting that first advent candle of hope most days, and now the second candle of peace has been lit, too. I hope for many things this season: peace on Earth is still the number one, but there are many more personal hopes, too: for loved ones to enjoy the season, though someone else is now “missing” in their lives, for my kids to do well on semester exams that are soon starting, for safe travels for all I know this coming holiday season.


Also, I choose to see the positive in all people this Advent and Christmas season. There may be shootings and terrorist attacks, but this month, I will think of everyone as a “potential friend” and not as an enemy, despite their seeming differences of philosophy, politics, race, creed, etc. I choose to see every person as a fellow human with the potential to change and grow and succeed positively for the good of all.


I am also choosing positive things to do that I enjoy and feel good about.


Today in Switzerland is St. Nicholas Day. I really like this day for a couple of reasons: it keeps Christmas focused on the real Gift of the holiday and it keeps Christmas less commercial. But even more t hat, December 6th is a day for all of us in Switzerland to eat bread people (Griitibänz), drink hot chocolate, eat mandarins and enjoy one another’s company. So, to celebrate, I’ve made a couple of kilos of bread-people dough and baked some people, but also rolls to give out at a couple of Advent events our family is involved in this weekend. I didn’t have to do this; nobody expects it and so I get to do it for fun.


I also volunteered this past Thursday at the annual senior dinner in town. Not only do I get to serve my delightful neighbors a great meal, but I get to chat with some of them and enjoy the program prepared for them. This event has become a highlight of my December activities since moving into the Swiss countryside. I don’t ever have to do it, but I choose to do it and enjoy every minute of the service.


Finally, I am making my list and getting it done


Making sure that enough is my goal, my list is much shorter and I am getting it done. This, in turn, makes me feel like I can accomplish everything and I don’t lie under a heavy “to do before Dec. 24 list”. I feel freer and happier because of it, which leads to thankfulness and so I am thankful for all the days I have to do the things I want and choose to do.


What about you? Are you shortening and accomplishing your lists, focusing on the positives, doing things that make you happy and being grateful for each day? I hope so!


For more about me, you can visit: www.jehle-coacing.comIMG_1332

Dealing with the Darkness

December 1st, 2015


How do you deal with darkness?


This morning at 7:30 it was still dark and I have to admit that I had the kind of confusion I usually don’t experience unless I am jet-lagged. I was really surprised it was still dark and “so late” in the morning. I wonder how one deals with this in Iceland. I must ask my friend, Inga sometime.


Even if it is dark from the time you leave for work until after you leave for home in the afternoon, there is hope: December 21st is coming. With the 21st, everything changes again and we start having longer days. Normally I don’t have a real problem with dark, but today it hit me.


How about you? What do you do to get over those dark days?


One of the things I do is look forward, and there is a lot to look forward to at the moment for me:


Another trip “home”


New Year

My first Alpha Group is starting in a month



I am happy to go home again, and very soon. I will be able to see family and “old” friends and eat food that one can only get there. As an expat going home is part of the benefits, something we look forward to and use as a “pick-me-up” on those dreary days. It has been rather dreary in Switzerland of late, mind you. Yet, as an expat, home is a mixed bag. I have two homes, now. I feel rather at ease in both, and sometimes in neither. That’s part of the life, too.



This Christmas will be the first spent in the air in a while. I look forward to the flight staff party-ing. As happened the last time I flew. I find the flight attendants generally very pleasant on such flights. Who knows how many Santa hats they will be wearing. I am seriously considering getting one, myself, as I am flying alone and my family won’t be embarrassed by my silliness.


New Year

My kids play in a band and will be leading music at a cool midnight service our church has. Friends started the idea a few years ago, as they come from a “watch-night service” tradition and wanted to bring it to our church in Zürich. I am looking forward to the whole experience. In Switzerland one lets off fireworks for New Years Eve, as in the Philippines. That will be fun, too!


The Alpha Group

The new Zürich (and, coming soon, Baden) Alpha Group is starting

I just saw a post by a colleague in the UK on how well her Alpha Group is going ( )and that motivates me even more to work hard to get my groups going. I am still looking for a few exceptional entrepreneurs to join my groups in Zürich (starting on January 14th) and Baden (starting in February).

So what are you looking forward to in these next weeks? What keeps you charged up?


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