Somebody, let’s call him Peter, emailed me recently about wanting to know what life in Chiang Mai was like. He wants to retire here and make friends. So that got me thinking about other people who have contacted me and the kinds of questions they have asked.
If you are interested in teaching in Chiang Mai, I have a Teaching ESL category and a living in Chiang Mai category, too. Another category is Expat because that is what my blog is about!
Socially I find it easier to make friends here. It’s not like in the US, where everyone hangs out with the same friends they had in high school. Or they are less open to making new friends because they already have their niche or circle. The downside is friends come and go, and that has been the hardest thing for me.
For retirees, there’s Hugh’s blog: http://retire2thailand.wordpress.com/
CM also has an Expat’s Club. I’ve never been to a meeting but it can be good way to meet folks and get into an instant community. Older crowd…http://www.chiangmaiexpatsclub.com/
CMCC Ads, also known as the “Christian Newsletter,” is a very good weekly email of things for sale, places to rent, jobs, etc. (Recently they have been having problems with their email list, flooding inboxes with unnecessary emails, so I have unsubscribed. I’ll probably subscribe again in the future.) But you can become a new subscriber by sending a blank email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve met friends through Chicky Net which is a women’s only expat group for popular cities in Thailand. CM’s group is not as active as other cities like Bangkok or Phuket but I think this is because it’s easier to meet people here. Chiang Mai is a good mid-sized town with a lot things to do and you inevitably run into the same people again and again.
I’ve also met great people through taking Thai classes.
While making friends is an important part of enjoying a new place, especially in a foreign country, a lot of making CM work for you has to do with whether or not you LIKE it here. Everyone has a different story, my favorite being “I was traveling through and loved it here, and decided to stay” and like so much of life and living, you are just going to have to try it out.
Voyagers discover that the world can never be larger than the person that is in the world; but it is impossible to foresee this, it is impossible to be warned. -James Baldwin
It is a mistake to expect good work from expatriates for it is not what they do that matters but what they are not doing. -Cyril Connolly
You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés. -Ernest Hemingway
Ship me somewhere east of Suez, where the best is like the worst, Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst. -Rudyard Kipling
I dunno what my 23 infantile years in America signify. I left as soon as motion was autarchic—I mean my motion. -Ezra Pound
The realization that he is white in a black country, and respected for it, is the turning point in the expatriate’s career. He can either forget it, or capitalize on it. Most choose the latter. -Paul Theroux