I came to Mueang Boran on an overcast afternoon. It was quiet, almost empty. Every ticket purchase includes a bicycle. I picked one with a basket and rode around the beautiful outdoor museum until it was dark. The historical structures in this park are either replicas of the original structure or reconstructed originals. My personal favorite is “The Churning of the Ocean” from Sukhothai.
In one month’s time in Thailand I have become 10 shades darker. This is the most noticeable difference about me, externally at least. I do like this new tan me because most of the time I am “whiter than a toilet” and look sickly. Now, I look like someone who drinks kombucha and does yoga at the beach but really I’ve just been eating street food during the middle of the day under the scorching sun. I also want to add that tropical strength DEET is a great substitute for tanning oil, for those of you that tan. That was a nice surprise. I think the tan is what makes my skin and lung burning Daily-DEET-Regimen (DDR) seem worthwhile. That and not getting malaria or dengue fever.
Internally, however, I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I currently teach English at a vocational high school in Bangkok and it certainly is no picnic. The lack of morale is pervasive in both staff and students. It seems like no one wants to be there. I want to cry a lot of the time.
“Just who the hell do you think you are?” I want to yell at a boy who talks on his phone during class every day. He has four lonely hairs on his chin. “You can’t even grow a beard!” But I have to remain professional and he wouldn’t know what I’m saying anyway. I am aware that I can take his phone away. But he is taller than me and he smokes cigarettes so what am I going to do? I don’t want him to give me a swirlie after school.
On the flipside, the support from my Thai co-workers has been invaluable. They reassure me that I’m doing fine. “Don’t worry, they actually don’t care about any of their classes. It’s not you.” Oh, um, okay. One of my co-workers, Por, reminds me a lot of my dad. I imagine they could be friends. Maybe they were friends in another life. He has a quiet intelligence about him and is incredibly perceptive. I like to ask him questions because he always has answers. It’s only been a few weeks and he’s already taught me about why there are caged birds at temples, the mystical belief in Kuman Thong and necromancing, and the gentrification that is occurring in some of Thailand’s rapidly urbanizing areas. He is wise like an owl with a graduation cap.
I suppose I haven’t found my footing at this new job. I enjoyed working with elementary school students in Santa Cruz. That came quickly and naturally because I know the crap out of six-year-olds. We like to color and talk about cartoons and make believe. Vocational school teenagers in Thailand. Even a Thai Mr. Feeny wouldn’t have been able to prepare me for them. I don’t understand their color contacts and K-pop obsession. Why do they go to the bathroom and never come back? What are they saying behind my back? I don’t know. Maybe it will get better in a few weeks. But for now I’m just gonna talk to some street food about my feelings until everything is okay and then roll myself to bed.
I know I said I would post more often. I lied. Immediately after my last entry, I broke my laptop. No, I don’t know what my problem is. Clearly, I have demonstrated that I deserve all the nicest things in life. Thankfully, my roommate is
crazy an angel and is letting me use her Macbook. She is far too kind. I am being so careful right now. Like more careful than I’d be handling a newborn.
Anyway, here are a few updates about my life in Thailand:
1. I am melting. You think you know what hot is, and then you come to Thailand. 96 degrees with 100% humidity basically means you’re drowning. In your own sweat. My morning starts at 7:30 AM when I open the door and take a leisurely swim to get to class. There is no dewy glow for me. I am dripping, it’s very attractive. I’ve learned to accept it but if someone forced me to choose between air conditioning or food right now, I’d choose air conditioning. And if you know anything about me, I always choose food.
2. Thai people are my kind of people. You can play sweet or sour here and you will only get sweet. I smile, they smile, we all smile. I wai, they wai, we all wai. This is my favorite aspect of Thai culture. I have only been here for two weeks but I’ve already had dozens of encounters with Thai strangers who go out of their way to help me. I think it’s because they understand that it feels really fucking good to put a smile on someone else’s face. It’s the best. This alone makes me never want to leave.
3. Just roll with it. I always need to come up with a game plan. For every situation, I play out what the possible outcomes are in my head. Yes, it is important to plan, but I take it to a whole new level. I am a crazy person; it’s quite exhausting. I realized I needed to change. In Thailand, I have no idea what is going on. I don’t know what people are saying, I can’t read any of the signs, and I don’t know anyone. I can’t make a plan when I have no clue what’s happening around me. This is new, but I am learning to just roll with it. I like it.
Hello, everyone! I am Veronica.
I have spent the last six years in Santa Cruz, California, a laid-back beach town mostly known for being a surfer’s paradise. During my time here I was a college student, a waitress, and an after-school teacher. This is where I made a real home for myself after high school. I’ve grown so much since I first moved here as an idiotic 17-year-old mistake-making machine. I laughed. I cried. I succeeded. I failed. I made friends that I know I’ll want to have around for the rest of my life. Most importantly, I have gotten my bearings. I feel calibrated.
Lately, however, I have been feeling restless. Things have fallen into a humdrum routine and the days seem to melt and disappear into one endless, mundane day. I do appreciate my life in Santa Cruz, but I realized there are no more challenges left for me here. I’ve collected all the memories, encounters, and lessons I have experienced in this town and filed them away. Everything feels too familiar. I am ready to move on. There is a whole world out there that I haven’t seen!
So I bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok! Was that an impulsive response to intermittent bouts of antsiness? Probably. But whatever, I’m 24. That means I can do stuff like this, right?
Don’t worry though, I haven’t completely lost my mind. I have a game plan. I’ll be teaching English in Thailand for a semester and then I’ll be backpacking through Southeast Asia afterwards.
And I will be documenting my journey here!
I wanted to start a blog so I could:
Reflect and write. It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life. Wow, that sounded pompous and disingenuous. But honestly, I tend to forget a lot of things that I should be remembering. I think it would be good for me to write things down. Plus, I bet it will be hilarious looking back at this a decade from now.
Live more mindfully. I know this phrase is very chichi and touted by every self-help book. But I love it. My mind is usually all over the place. Sometimes I have no idea what’s going on. I want to change that. I want to live presently. It’s exhausting and overwhelming to worry about things that I have no reason to worry about. If I write down my thoughts and read over them, it will keep me in check. I hope.
Keep in touch with you. Maybe you’re a friend from home, or maybe you’re a friend I haven’t met yet. Either way, this is a perfect way to touch base or to start a conversation. I want to hear from you! I want to know your life!