April 4, 2014

22 signs you have spent too much time in Thailand

Recently Huffington Post had an article circulating through my Facebook feed titled "21 Signs you have spent too much time in Thailand." After reading it became apparent this person meant "travelling in Thailand too long" but being an expat living in Thailand (coming up on 3 years!) is a very different story. It is well known I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with this country, yet somehow I am still here. I have found it difficult to write about my life in Thailand lately as I am quite settled and no one wants to hear about my teaching woes or dinner plans. But I always love a good remake and since I have decided to leave Thailand next year, from here on out it is all nostalgic feelings and remembering to enjoy it all before I head out onto my next adventure.

Since I have an affinity for lists to describe my feelings about a place when words are difficult to find, here is my version of 22 signs you have lived in Thailand too long.

  1. You can spot a tourist from a mile away. 
  2. You never eat Pad Thai and know that real Thai food is somtum and fried pork.
  3. You are prepared for anything - Floods, violent protests and miltary coups, toxic smoke, you name it. 
  4. You know how much a motorbike taxi should actually cost. 
  5. You have eaten at Pizza hut/Mcdonalds/Dunkin Donuts/Sizzler more than in your whole life. 
  6. In fact, you have spent many weekends and evening at some mega mall, escaping the heat without the electricity bill.
  7. You get your skin products shipped from back home to avoid becoming any whiter.
  8. You almost don't notice all the temples and spirit houses everywhere except when you stop to wai. 
  9. You speak with a weird accent and take out more articles in the English language than you should. 
  10. You can spot a lady boy with ease and without gawking. 
  11. Your beer is always better with ice and your red wine is chilled.
  12. You have been to Koh Samet or Koh Chang multiple times. (Or any island, really, I have been to some more than 3 times!)
  13. The 'mai pen rai' attitude is (has to be) part of your lifestyle. 
  14. You know that Bangkok is a different place than the rest of the country, yet still stay in Bangkok far too much.
  15. Can barely think of 22 things because it all seems so normal now, only outsiders make you remember how bizarre it all is.
  16. You still sweat like a buffalo during hot season, that never changes.
  17. It can be quite the small world and you know friends of friends everywhere and always have random ones stopping through this travel hub of SE Asia.
  18. You know all the best areas to eat, drink and party. (soi 38, soi 4 and soi 11 respectively.)
  19. Never have to haggle for goods unless you are in a tourist spot. My area has normal and fair prices thankfully because I hate bartering. 
  20. You buy cheap flights on Air Asia or travel by train because there is no way you are sleeping on a fucking bus in Thailand again. 
  21. You really do know that 7 eleven is the best thing in your life and the most convenient place in this country, (mostly because you can pay your bills and buy airline tickets there) but you also know the shelves by heart and only eat toasties at 6am.  
  22. Regardless of everything, you love this country and find new and amazing places to discover all the time. You may never leave….
I am also aware that a 3 year stint in Bangkok is a novice experience, as the more seasoned vets always tell me, but even though the years have flown by, 3 years here has changed me. Traveling here is one thing, but having a life here is a totally different experience that I wouldn't change one bit. While Thailand will not be my home forever (and some days I wonder why I still live here) it will always have a special place in my heart. I will still being sweating it out in Bangkok for a while longer but I am ready to move on and find a new place to call home. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

Expats and other lifers, do you have any to add to the list? Please leave them in the comments below!

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