I realize I talk a lot of shit about Thailand. I complain about the heat, the bugs, the drunk men, the paradoxes in the culture, the lazy attitudes, the ridiculousness, the obvious solutions that no one wants to hear or implement. My friend told me awhile back ‘it just doesn’t seem like you’re very happy there.’ All that grumbling and whining, who could come to a different conclusion?
The adventure and discovery part of my life is over here. It was so much fun in the beginning, the new food, learning the language, the easy laughter, and the consistent new and enjoyable experiences. The hope and optimism for my service was fresh and exciting. It was all so fantastic until it all came crashing down around me. Then the sniveling, critical side came out.
The thing I realized though, I’ve fallen out of the travel lust that is so encapsulating in the beginning and into love with this place. That’s the difference between spending a few months somewhere versus a ‘long term.’ I see the problems, the oddities, and the eccentricities, but I accept Thailand anyway, as is. I want to challenge Thailand where it needs it, but am conscious when to push and when to pull back. I know its limitations and hope it realizes its potential. I’m willing to put its needs and happiness above my own because I know how I’ll feel in the long run when I see Thailand succeed. When I see my students succeed.
I kind of see Thailand as the younger sibling that I never had. I make fun of it relentlessly and it drives me up a wall, but no one else can say shit about it without hearing from me. I’ll explore its faults and tell you about it, but know this: I love this country and my job here unconditionally. And I want nothing but the best for it.