I feel good.
However, if you’d have told me what my life would be like if I moved back to Thailand before I did it, I’m not sure I would have returned.
I know now why we can’t see in to our future – doing so prevents us from ever meeting up with it.
Let me explain. Back in December, I thought my life was going to go down another trajectory. I thought we were leaving SE Asia behind for a life back in the States. I was so so wrong.
Then when we decided we were going to Thailand, I thought we’d end up in Chiang Mai where we had previously lived, where I have many friends, where I could land as softly as possible. Wrong again.
Instead, my former boss (and great friend) extended his hand out and said, “I’ve got a job for you in Chiang Rai if you want it.” We took his hand and allowed him to help us up.
Another friend in the Rai secured us a place to live. And when we thanked him profusely for all that he and his wife had done, lending us things and picking us up from the bus station, he said, “You helped us a lot when we first moved here. And J is grateful for all the teaching stuff you’ve taught her.”
I sat in the front seat of their new used car blinking back tears.
It’s been an intense 2018 so far, filled with changes that have been costly mentally and physically so that every act of kindness from my friends in Hawaii to Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai has humbled me again and again.
Despite all this, the idea of building my life up again in my mid-forties did not excite me. I tried to be enthusiastic about it, but honestly I tried not to think about what a failure I was, the choices I made and the climb ahead. But now that I’ve bagged my closest peak, I’ve got to say standing on top, taking in the view and feeling the wind in my hair feels great.
Teaching is not like a regular desk job. It’s much more physical than others might not realize. There are a lot of unpaid hours, too. And I’ve just completed a month-long slog of non-stop teaching. It wasn’t pretty, even had one of those month-long Chinese colds, and I don’t want to ever do a repeat performance. I started to entertain dark thoughts towards the end of it. I’m not a busy-body so this stint didn’t suit my constitution or personality. But it’s done! Done!
And the reward was making purchases that helped get our lives back on straight. We’d marvel at each one and the difference it made in our lives. We took it slow because we had to, but I’m glad we had to.
The BF stared at the shoe rack we bought. “Wow. That thing really makes a difference, doesn’t it?”
We exhausted ourselves one evening after work trying to decide what bed sheets to buy because the apartment next door opened up. This allowed him to move out of our studio. We’ve been sharing the same places for months and even under the best circumstances, we missed having personal space. We need alone time.
But with all these home purchases, we’ve become a better purchasing team. He’d inevitably point out the compromise. And now I can look at our growing supply of basics and feel pretty damn good about them.
We admire them. I can’t tell you the last time we did this, unless it was plants. I suppose because we’ve been uprooted and now that we’re establishing roots again, we appreciate the details we’re putting back in our lives.
I was originally depressed when we moved into our new apartment because it didn’t have a kitchen which is very typical in Asia. But I like to cook. Looking for new places didn’t produce any good results either and we began to realize that we didn’t have the time or the transportation to look for something we really wanted, so we settled. I know American expats who have bought burners and make it work, but I didn’t want to do that.
Then I got the bright idea of looking up, “cooking without a kitchen”.
So now, I’m thrilled to have: a microwave, toaster, water kettle, rice cooker and a crock pot. For as much as Thai food is cheap and delicious, eating out all the time for the past several months has gotten exhausting. Slow cookers also suit me because I’m a planner. I’d often cook soups, stews and Western food anyway. And what’s this about baking desserts in slow cookers? OMG. I can’t wait!
Now, there’s still much we need to do. We’re still trying to establish ourselves, but things are looking up.
Thanks for following along. And Happy Thai New Year.