So the smile blogs petered out a bit. It’s not like there haven’t been things to smile about, but other events kind of took over. I’ve been doing some serious thinking the last few weeks and ultimately have made a big decision. I’m coming home. I wasn’t expecting life out here to be perfect, I knew it would be hard work, that it would take time to meet people etc but I wasn’t prepared to have compromised as much as I did and ultimately I’m not happy.
The idea was to live somewhere small, in dreamland it would have been by a beach, but honestly anywhere with open spaces, a chance to to be outside and somewhere to swim was going to suit me. Living in an apartment block by a busy road and paying £3 a time to use the pool at the local hotel was not the plan. Joining the commuting rat race on a packed sky train every day certainly wasn’t on the cards I had laid out either! In my head I was going to be teaching in a small school, I didn’t really mind what age, but I certainly didn’t envision having over 200 students on my books alone, and close to 6000 in the school over all. I have been teaching the same 3 hours, 8 times a week…not only is that like groundhog day it’s also mind numbingly dull. I hoped teaching would stretch me and provide a challenge. The only challenge sadly was not killing my co-teachers. They did nothing but moan!! Our office was filled with mostly middle aged ex pats who had moved to Thailand, married a Thai girl and were now stuck out here doing one of the only jobs possible for people in that situation. They hated the country, the people and the city. For most of them the main perk of their job was that it required no effort at all, the very thing that for me was a nightmare, who can do nothing for 8 hours a day and stay sane?! The one exception to this rule was the head teacher. This man genuinely loves his job, students and family life in Thailand. He was a breath of fresh air, always perky and full of enthusiasm. Naturally this meant the rest of the office bitched about him. I’ve had a job where you’re called a ‘try hard’ for being in a good mood, I’ve worked places where you are disliked for making an effort, within a week I knew this office and I were not going to get along. It wasn’t the young persons, work hard, play hard life I expected. In fact the one like minded person I met lives and works over 40 minutes away. Things weren’t looking great.
Then there’s Bangkok. It’s huge, metropolitan and just doesn’t feel like Thailand. Honestly a city is a city and by the time you’ve past your 10th McDonalds and 5th Boots you could be anywhere. After almost a month here I am getting used to it, even starting to like some aspects. It’s nice to be able to get any food you fancy at pretty much any hour, have shops, bars and restaurants a stones throw away and you can never be bored with cinemas, bowling alleys, markets and water parks…but living in a city has never been on my to do list. Also, in Bristol or London or Cardiff on a nice day, people head outside. The same happens in New York, LA, Sydney, people bask in the sun and enjoy the warmth. In Thailand dark skin is ugly, so sunbathing in the park? Nu uh! I spoke to someone who lived on a beach for a while, but couldn’t go and sunbathe because it was disrespectful to the locals. In a place with lots of ferrang (foreigners) it’s more acceptable, but off the tourist trail it doesn’t happen so much. Sad times and not the life for me.
I did consider going somewhere else, seeing if I could find somewhere more akin to what I was expecting. Maybe it’s not a great reason but it was so much hard work getting it this wrong the first time that the idea of picking everything up, heading somewhere else and trying again, with just as much possibility that I wouldn’t like it was just exhausting. If I had loved teaching maybe I’d have been more open to the idea, but spending more money and time to discover that I still didn’t like it just doesn’t seem sensible.
So, I’m UK bound, this weekend in fact! Heading straight to Kent for a house party, then back to Wales. I don’t know if it’s the ‘right thing’, but staying here at the moment doesn’t feel right either and being unhappy this far away isn’t the best environment to decide on future plans.
I will miss Thailand, but not Bangkok. I’ll miss street food, soi dogs, tuk tuks and motorbike taxis. I’ll miss seeing monks buying laptops, Thai health and safety and language exchange convos with my security guard. I’ll miss the heat, cheap spa sessions and standing for the Kings song. I’ll be sorry to leave without learning more Thai, taking a cookery course or seeing an infamous ping pong show (for the second time in Thailand!!). I’m sure when I see Keelys photos of weekends away in beautifully picturesque places I’ll feel more than a little green. I’m sorry the adventure has come to an end so soon, but not sorry I tried. Onwards and upwards, start planning the next one!
Thai Health and Safety