It’s not a blog without a list post, after all. Anyway, I really do have five things to mention!
1. You can actually be really upset on moving to new country, and wonder if you made a mistake
You know, when I first found out that I was actually going to be coming to Bangkok, I was jumping up and down with joy. New adventures, lots of challenges… it was going to be great. I live for this kind of thing.
Cut to me crying as I put my luggage in my car that morning. Cut to me crying as I said bye to my boyfriend and my brother at the airport. Cut to me crying all the way through security. And so on and so on. Seriously though, the actual leaving of your home country is HARD. Cut to my drained self looking out at the scenery as the driver who met me at the airport took me to Cooper’s house and wondering, “Wait, why did I think this was a great idea again?” Which is SO strange, because what do I really have to be sad about? I’m sitting in this nice unconditioned car sent by my orchestra that I do not have to drive and having an existential crisis. (“What does it all meaaaaaaaaan?”) All of the first world problems. It’s embarrassing even to talk about all of this. Why am I blogging about this? Anyway, this wore off after about a week. Just be warned though, this could happen to you, especially if you’re leaving behind people you care about.
2. You cling on like a five year-old to anyone who can help you
I arrived in Bangkok thinking that it wasn’t gonna be THAT rough of a transition. And then a week passed and I still barely could figure out how to get back to Cooper’s place from school. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I relied on Cooper and Namju for the first few weeks for apartment hunting, getting photocopies, grocery shopping, human contact, getting change for my 1000 baht bills, transportation… It’s astounding how many minute little tasks you have to relearn how to do. Also, when you make your first new friend from said country, you ask them about everythingggggg.
This gives me a lot of perspective on my experience as the host sister of a foreign exchange student back in high school. She had to ask me about things like how to open her locker (numerous times), about where to go to do this or that, about what our biology teacher was talking about… At the time I frequently found myself annoyed–sorry Sam!–but at least I was there with her and I would give a lot to have a host sister here who could, for instance, show me where the awesome street food is at. (Oh Ma Lin, how I miss you…)
3. Feeding yourself may be difficult
Speaking of street food, just food in general is difficult, especially as a vegetarian/occasional pescetarian. Although an entirely different food climate can be really fun, when it comes down to the day-to-day nourishment of your body, it can exhausting to navigate all of this food when you haven’t spent years fine-tuning what you like and what you don’t like as you have in your home country. The other day, I went to the doctor for some tests for my work permit, and they weighed me and I was 5 pounds under what I used to weigh when I was FOURTEEN. Then I ate three meals that afternoon and was okay. I just forget about feeding myself sometimes. But if you ever move to another country, you may encounter similar issues.
4. You will have an emotional breakdown.
Mine happened at about week three. I was playing first oboe and thus was in the hot seat, where I was having some adjustment issues. I was thinking way too much about my life, what it is I should be doing with my future, and how I’m supposed to make a meaningful life in the face of my inevitable, irreversible death. And it was my first week living in my new apartment where I was living by myself again. I was not having a good time. I’ll just not talk about me crying anymore and end this section by saying that everything was resolved and all was well. Just a crappy day compounded by the whole living-in-another-country thing.
5. You will accept any social interaction you can get
If you asked me what my social life is like, I’d tell you this: I talk to my boyfriend a lot, I play video games with Cooper, I ask my Thai friend questions on Kik, there are a few people I regularly chat with during breaks at orchestra (my kindle buddy, the principal bassoonist, a scattering of the other expats and the Thai people who are willing to associate with us). Oh, and I talk to the taxi drivers. I tell them left and right and straight and stop. That’s a very important part of my day.