As I look around my little Thai apartment I am filled with gratitude for this remarkable experience, my first experience living as an expat. It seems like a very long time ago when I was taking the TESOL course in Bangkok. (They used our class photo as advertisement.)
I was lucky to be part of that class. I was lucky to be part of an international crowd of truly great individuals that made me laugh. I loved how my English as a Second Language colleagues taught me and the other Americans the less finer points of verb tenses and grammar without pain of death or judgment.
On my first day, before class officially started, I sat across two beautiful women, one from India and the other from Cambodia. To my right was a handsome devil from Mexico who upon learning I was from Hawaii told me he enjoyed Iz’s music. Thereupon earning my respect which would only grow as the course went on because he turned out to be my partner in sarcasm bliss.
Also in that fabled class I met one of those third culture kids you hear about. Our instructors were from Australia, South Africa and Romania. A Belgium, a Frenchman, American Thais and hapas rounded out the class, all with their uniqueness and good looks that it made me wonder why I hadn’t done this sooner.
Because I would tell those who are filled with uncertainty and fear over travelling abroad, moving abroad, and taking the kind of risk that makes your heart beat race, that there are many amazing people out there to meet. Your world shrinks as it expands. The more you travel or the longer you travel, the more you learn about yourself.
I don’t know why we bonded so well but I told Debbie that if someone from the future had told me that we’d be hanging out like this I wouldn’t believe it. What did I have in common with a woman from Cambodia? Apparently more than just shopping.
With certificate in backpack I returned to Chiang Mai. But since that teaching job never surfaced I decided to take a Thai language class. There I’d met more great people from Canada, the States, the UK, France and Japan. And while we are not best friends combing each other’s hair at night, the point is we met. And I’m a better person for it.
Maybe meeting people of quality gave me the courage to approach a complete stranger at JJ Market. I don’t know. I just know I wanted to talk to her. She turned out to be my sanity inside the moat. Now I have a very good friend in Julia who has educated me in all things Canadian. Thanks Julia! I will miss you most of all (Scarecrow).
It is a sweet and sour moment. I’ll be back Thailand. I love it here but I also want to experience other parts of the world. I’m not like my more road-hardy counterparts, I haven’t travelled much. In fact, I’ve tasted very little. My appetite grows. With fork and spoon, I step on the plane.