Yesterday, I bought a “Hello Kitty” toaster. It wasn’t an easy decision. Not because it was inanely silly but, because up until now, all of our purchases have been made with the intent of bringing said item home to the states. But I can’t use this toaster in the U.S – wrong voltage, it won’t work. Until yesterday, I have psychologically been a visitor to Thailand. Well, I am not visiting. I live in Thailand. And frankly, all the craziness and loneliness, excitement and exhaustion is growing on me. I love being in the moment of our simple life.
For me, entering into another culture has been nothing short of mind-blowing. And while my first blogs have humerously expressed my shock and humiliation, there is so much that is amazing and wonderful about this experience. Here’s what makes me happy in Thailand.
I am becoming a fan of Heineken. I know, I know. This is blasphemy from a NW girl where beers like Wicked Cousin or Bodice Ripper are the norm. But, it’s nice to go simple. And, in comparison to our local selection of Leo, Chang and Singha – Heineken is truly the king of beers.
No car. Need I say more? O.K., I will. No driving, no gas, no parking, no repairs. Sigh.
No scooter. We had one and took it back. Thank GOD! We had to end the madness. It’s not just going fast on scary crazy busy streets, it’s also going SUPER slow through a market and trying to keep the scooter from tipping over. Enough.
If not a car or scooter, then what? I ride my bike to work everyday. Rick rides his bike for errands around our neighborhood. Longer distances? Took a 4 hour train to Hua Hin for about $6 each. One hour cab ride into downtown Bangkok for about $9. Same distance on the water taxi is 50 cents and it’s about a dollar on the Sky Train. Plus, you can take a scooter taxi or a tuk tuk or bus thingy. Just walk along and stick out your hand (palm down of course – otherwise it’s somehow offensive) and you will eventually get a ride. Bonus: someone else is driving.
No T.V. Don’t misunderstand. We can GET T.V. – we choose not to. We get our news when we want it. LOVE THIS. And, we access a variety of internet news services from the US, Thailand, UK, Hong Kong – interesting to see the world from different perspectives. Yes, we watched the debates… on Youtube. Sick of hearing about the emails? Fast forward. Sick of the converation about groping? Fast forward. Simple.
Cash-based society. Day to day stuff is found in street markets that spring up everywhere. You can buy ANYTHING at a market. Food, clothes, household goods, extension cords, fans, potted plants, pets, car parts, computer gear, toys. We pay our bills at 7-11 in cash. The only time we use our debit card is to take cash out of the ATM machine. I can’t tell you how much simplier our financial life has become. We just subtract our ATM cash withdrawals from our balance and Voila! We know how much money we have. Simple.
Letting go. For those of you who know me, this is kinda big. Thailand is a place where our lack of control is starkly evident. For me, I know this intellectually. I know I can’t really control everything in my environment or the outcome of events. But, being the human I am, I valiantly continue to try. Here, laws that have offered a sense of control are non-existent. You spill hot coffee on yourself and get a burn? Bad luck. Can I help you get to the doctor? Taxi driver take you to the wrong place? So sorry. Big smile. But, what do you do? Mai Pen Rai. No need to blame. Let it go.
Boredom. The simple nature of our Thai life has offered a chance to do nothing. Many of the distractions of our US life have been slowly peeled away. My sister Karen once said that being bored is a good thing because it allows us a chance to find and do what we really want to do. I would add that it also offers a chance for self-reflection. If you’re open and allow the reflection to occur, this can be powerful and sometimes painful. The good, the bad, the ugly. So far, I’ve seen a little of each. And, it’s all o.k.
Thank you Thailand. It’s as simple as that.