I was teaching an evening corporate class last night, and part of our lesson was about birthdays and anniversaries. The word anniversary triggered something in me... what month is it again? Then it hit me: today is the anniversary of my arrival in the Land of Smiles! Wow. The year has literally flown by.
A year ago, I never would have guessed that I would be "settled in" bustling Bangkok. Two years ago, I never would have imagined being here in the first place! But now, it seems odd to look back and realize that I'm not actually from here. Sure, I still speak less Thai than a 2-month old baby. And sure, I still find myself surprised from time to time about something I see or hear. But for the most part, I really can't figure out what took me so long to make the move!
A year in review... well, there's not much to say. I up-and-moved from the conservative South of the US straight to Pattaya, having no idea what I was getting myself into. I wanted to do a TEFL course in Thailand to get used to the country, and according to Google Maps, Pattaya was at the beach... so that was that. How's that for a rude awakening?
Two months later, I moved to Bangers into a college dorm (or jail cell, depending on who you ask). I did what many unfortunate rookie teachers in Thailand do and worked for a terrible agency for a semester, got fired (for absolutely no reason), kept working anyway, finally signed directly with the school I'm working at, moved again, started a second (and third) job, moved (again) into a nice pad, traveled a bit (not nearly enough), met some great people, had a few parties, and here I am: relatively settled into a routine. Never thought THAT would happen.
I've been told that the first few months in a new place are the hardest to adapt. But oddly, from the moment I stepped out into the sweltering heat at Suvarnabhumi Airport, I felt right at home. The people here are about as friendly as it gets, the food never gets old, I NEVER need to wear a jacket (well... except maybe on the BTS), most things are cheap compared to the US and Europe, and I'm surrounded by beautiful people and places. What more can you ask for?
So, that's a year down. Sure, there are many things I've seen and done in Thailand already, but they don't compare to all the things I hope to experience in the years to come. Land of Smiles, if it's not terribly inconvenient, might I stay forever?