Ahh, the inevitable has happened, and I’ve started to neglect the blog that I promised I wouldn’t.
I have two weeks left in Phuket. It is just as bittersweet leaving here as it was coming here. On Saturday afternoon I went to the weekend market. The markets of Thailand have to be one of my absolute favorite parts. I was only planning to snag a few souvenirs and head out, but I wound up staying for about three and a half hours, and I nearly ate myself sick. This time I’m not talking about the ‘sick’ that comes from the room temperature chicken and rat-kittens in the kitchen. I absolutely gorged myself.
As I walked down the endless aisles of the market, I realized that I’m seriously going to miss everything about Thai food. The convenience, the price, the spice, the flavor… It’s no wonder that after 6 months here, the only real conversation I can have with any Thai person is about how much I love spicy Thai food. I’m obsessed. I bought skewers, sticky rice, taro milk, passion fruit, and everything else that I wanted to cling so tightly to. Let’s be honest about it, I was eating my feelings. With only two weeks left, I suddenly felt like it’s a mistake that I’m leaving. To add insult to injury, driving home from the market I witnessed the most beautiful sunset behind the silhouettes of palm trees.
What am I doing?!
It’s times like those that perfectly capture the roller coaster of emotions that come with living abroad. Moments like those make me want to stay in paradise forever. Unfortunately, the sunset isn’t always perfect. I’m not always on a beach with a cocktail in my hand. I decided to move on because I know that it’s time. The roller coaster comes with both highs and lows, and I’ve had my fair share of each.
For the last couple of months I’ve been working through some guilt about leaving Thailand after “only seven months.” This probably sounds ridiculous, so I’ll explain a little bit. Thailand (Phuket especially) has an outrageously high number of expats. It’s an attractive location for gap-year kids (like me), retirees, and families alike. There are people from all over the world who have lived on this island for anywhere from 2 months to 10+ years. There are 17 English teachers in the English Department at my school, and only three of us have lived here for less than a year. I’ve had quite a few expats say, “Wow, you’re leaving after only 7 months?! You didn’t last long!” I start to feel like there’s something wrong with me for not wanting to stay here forever.
Meh. I’m so tired of that guilt. Living in Thailand long term is not for everyone. I’ve given teaching in Thailand a chance. Seven months is the longest time I’ve spent living out of the country, and I’m going to choose to be proud of that.
If you couldn’t tell, the thought of leaving has had me in a pretty heavy state of reflection. The other day I drove around a roundabout in the neighborhood where I spent my first month in Phuket. I remember walking across the street near the roundabout for the first time, and how much I dreaded the intersection. I refused to get on a motorbike taxi. I was convinced that I would spend the entire time in Thailand without even attempting to drive a motorbike. I let numerous taxi drivers convince me that $10 was a fair price to drive me 1 kilometer. I said I would never teach at a British school. I was certain I would find an apartment on the beach. I was determined to become as fluent as I possibly could in Thai.
I can’t possibly begin to describe the amount of change that has occurred in the time that I’ve been here. I have learned so much and grown as a person, and this six months has been more than I could’ve ever asked for.
Oh man, I feel like I’m breaking up with a boyfriend. I’m going to stop being so emotional now.
My last two weeks in Phuket are being spent teaching an orientation for the incoming kindergarten class. They only stay until 11:30, so after teaching for 3 hours I am free for the day. It’s really nice! Especially because it’s becoming pretty real that in just 14 days I begin my journey of 10 flights and 6 countries in 5 weeks with 20lbs of luggage, and I have hardly planned at all. I’m procrastinating to the point where I’ve chosen to write a blog post over planning my itinerary. It’s that bad.
Without a doubt, I am going to be sad to leave Phuket, but the emotions are going to be like taking a toy away from a kid and replacing it with an equally cool toy. I’ll probably cry for a minute, and then be like, “WOW, LOOK AT ANKOR WAT!!! THIS IS AMAZING!”
I know I’ll be reinvigorated with loads to talk about, and hopefully I’ll be motivated enough spill it all out into an occasional blog post.
Until then, thanks for keeping up with my shenanigans! The blog is not dead yet!