Being an expat kind of sucks. Sometimes. Like when:

1. people come and go
2. people complain
3. small pool of people

So you can see the theme here is: the people. People make expat-ing awesome or awe-ful. For me the number one sad situation is making friends and then they go bye bye. When my friend Mia left I actually pouted. In other words, I didn’t want to make new friends in the teachers room because it hurt to have a good friend leave.

I did blame Mia, of course, for leaving Chiang Mai and me and took it very personally. Prior to that I blamed Julia. These girls were those rare 20somethings who knew how to act like an adult. And they made my life richer. And yeah, they laughed at my jokes. 10 points.

When the ex- left I didn’t blame him though (see #3 small community). I just felt like maybe I can get some action around this town now (*rubs hands*). Of course, the action was not forthcoming. I think maybe the action is shy and taking its sweet Jesus time sauntering through the market or something, possibly delayed because of the rain or trapped under a rock…

OH and then my friend Sara left (yes, yes, Lauren you too). You know I have only been here a year too. I remember when a friend told me that he didn’t want to make new friends or be social because he was only going to be here for another 6 months. I thought that was crazy talk. But now. I get it. Saying goodbye suckth.

#2 and 3 aren’t really reasons. They are minor players under the key player of #1 which really should be the main point of this post. But to rub upon this dusty lamp for a bit I will say you have to be careful about not getting mixed up with the whingers.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the word: whinge. Thank you Snap for introducing me to this new “Australian” vocabulary.

Sure we all enjoy a good whinge with our wine and cheese from time to time (your reading it) but there are those (expats) folks who do it for a living. They live to whinge. Without it they would have to sit silent and that would probably make their som tum unbearably nasty hot and their watermelon explode.

And in an expat community I feel like you feel these kinds of things more intensely. Everything feels more intense. I’m not entirely sure why. I really don’t know what to say when expats complain about the Thais or when they complain about other expats (see NGO workers). I suppose whingers are whingers no matter what planet they are on.

But as far as intensity, well, it seems odd to say because Thailand is so chill. How can a place be intense and sabai sabai all at the same same time? It’s a conduntrum but here I go again talking about how much I like Thailand and how much it intrigues me. This post is supposed to be a complaint, damn it!

Okay, must make friends who will no longer leave. Yes, I must keep them forever. They can’t ever go and I will find my ways, through black magic, maybe. Or I shall love them less, so it doesn’t hurt as much, and become apathetic and unfeeling like Stonewall Jackson. Or! I will embrace the fact that as old friends leave, they make room for new (and improved) ones.

I’ll figure this out…

9 replies on “Being an expat kind of sucks

  1. Hi Lani, I've seen so many people come in go over the years. I don't really have much contact with the ex-community offline so maybe that makes things easier. Almost every week at Muay Thai there is a brand new bunch of people to train with. It gets kinda annoying sometimes – if I’m honest about it. It is like Groundhog Day where I keep on having the exact same conversation every time.


  2. My good friend Janet left and I was sad to see her go. I thought it was forever but she either a) could not find enough people to form a community here, or b) missed her people back in the US too much. All the rest leave just because they've only come for a visit. Carlos went back to Spain before we really got to know each other. My students leave but they move on. Lots of the Buddhist expats in Bangkok stay until they die. They're are impermanent lot!


  3. The only time it’s acceptable to whinge, is when you’re whinging about whingers ;)There might come a time when an expat has earned the right to whinge, if they’re so inclined. If they’ve lived that country for many years, can speak the language (pretty near perfect) and have genuine friends, who aren’t expats.I totally agree that Thailand is chill. Especially for those of us who have a non-whinging personality, cannot speak the language very well, hence can’t listen to the news or pick up what’s being said on the street…makes for a nice chill bubble.I only have 2 months left here and am not making a conscious effort to make new friends. Yes, I’m selfish. Doesn’t mean I’m not meeting new people, just that I’m not pursuing them. Speaking of stalking, your room downstairs could make a nice place to keep a captive audience, I mean, have a friend stay over…555PS. I'll miss you 😦


  4. @Colin: Okay 😛 Send me an email and we'll figure something out.@Paul: Yeah! The gym! I bet it is like Groundhog's Day, enough to drive you boing boing bonkers. I hope you at least meet interesting people!@Dr Will: “An impermanent lot” – excellent choice of words, I agree!@Snap: Good point about the bubble. Me likes. And I've been meaning to email you!!!!!!!!! Sorry na ka!


  5. Ah, people come, and people go…our lives are richer, then poorer…it's our own personal country song, playing aloud.You certainly feel it more acutely, living in a fairly isolated community. The good pals, the helpful colleagues, your closest best friends…when they leave, it's a big deal, a real change in your day-to-day life. Even with all the modern communications options, distance will cause most relationships to fade. So, goodbye to Mia, and we'll miss Julia; farewell to Sara (likewise, to you, Lauren).Your memories [though we hold them close!] give way to new experiences.Regards from Ken C.


  6. @Ken or Harold or ??? :)Well said. Yes, my own country song and me driving my big rig through the superhighway of life, eh?


  7. 1. people come and go- This part is great. It means you get to meet lots more people and the ones you don't like will often just go away on their own!2. people complain- Farangs are a whiny lot and it'd be too much work to have all of their tongues removed. 3. small pool of people- It's not so small anymore. The secret is not so secret these days. Finding quality people on the other hand is a challenge. Generally, if you get seriously run-down you should just take a trip somewhere. It's good to get away now and then and it's good to come back.


  8. @LTFAWG: I'm beginning to realize that by others leaving, this makes room for the new ones to come in. So it is good! I just feel melancholic sometimes. Sigh. Must be the changeable weather.Good point about taking a little vaca! Yes! Must…leave…!Removing of tongues…so old school, and so…appealing 😛


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