100 Days Living in Thailand

100 Days Living in Thailand

100 days.  I have been living in Thailand for 100 days.  It feels like I have been here forever, but at the same time time has flown.  All sense of time has diminished since I have been here.  Back at home in Minnesota time is measured by the changing of seasons.  In Minnesota autumn has turned into winter, but here it has been a constant 90+ degrees every day only briefly dipping to a cool 85 on a couple of days.

100 days.  These 100 days have been the most defining days of my nearly 33 years.  These 100 days have changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  These 100 days have been the wildest emotional roller coaster I have ever been on.  Some days I have felt like I am in the front car of Raging Bull at Six Flags plunging down the 202 foot drop at 73 miles per hour without being able to see the bottom.  Other days I am gently floating through the sky on the hot air balloon ride.  I have had the highest highs and lowest lows during these 100 days.  The highs definitely outweighing the lows.

During these 100 days I have learned to eat food so spicy that it would make most Minnesotans sweat just thinking about it, I have realized I would rather have spiders and geckos living in my apartment than deal with mosquitoes and I no longer freak out when there are whole fish with their heads still on at the lunch table.

Within 100 days I have embraced the Thai phrase “Mai Pen Rai” meaning “don’t worry about it” or “it’s no big deal.”  In the Thai school system (well Thailand in general) things frequently come up on a moments notice.  You may be told on Thursday afternoon that on Friday we have scouting day and you have to plan a program for groups of 90 kids.  Or that you have to come up with a 200 baht gift in 30 minutes for the staff holiday party.  Or that you have to create four 20 question exams by the next afternoon so they can be copied in time for midterm week.  When these things occur you can handle them in two ways, freak out or you can shrug your shoulders and say “mai pen rai” and just do it.  Nothing good comes out of freaking out and really in the grand scheme of life do those things really matter.  The concept of mai pen rai is one I will take back with me to America and work hard to influence as many people I can.  My wish is that everyone can experience the laid back Thai lifestyle for at least a week in their lives, it will change you forever and you will finally realize what your top priorities should be.  Family and good health.

By far my biggest accomplishment, within 100 days of living in Thailand I no longer take meds for anxiety disorder.  I have taken celexa since I have been 18 years old.  For the past 14 plus years I have been dependent on a drug to help subdue my anxious personality and help me maintain a general presence of sanity in public, but since I have settled in to my town of Phayakkaphum Phisai I no longer need the artificial assistance.  It is hard to explain the overwhelming sense of calm I feel here.  I don’t think I have words for it.  Back in America I always felt a strain on me to perform a certain way.  As good as I was at my job and as much time as I put into it, I never felt it was good enough or that I was meeting everyone’s expectations.  My mind was always consumed and I was constantly questioning if I handled situations correctly.  I was always trying to make as many people as I could happy, but I forgetting about one person…me.  My life was filled with social pressures surrounded by people following societal norms.  All my friends were getting married, having a child, having another child and then maybe another child.  Meanwhile I was living alone, just me and Barley, in the lovely suburb of Eagan, Minnesota letting my life pass me by.  I was getting more and more depressed as I was alone and others were pursuing what I thought I wanted in life.  I always thought all there was to life was having a stable job, a husband, kids and a house in the suburbs.  Then I moved to Thailand…

In Thailand I realized what my true dream was and all the pressures I had from home melted away.  My true dream was to live life for me just for once and the truth is I don’t know what I want from life right now and in Thailand that seems ok.   For the first time in my life I am experiencing a happiness I have never quite experienced before; it is like I am floating through the clouds.  I don’t feel the constant daily pressures here to be someone I am not and don’t feel the need to strive for things in my life that are the ideals of others.  I am completely me in Thailand and it is good enough for everyone.  It ok here to be a single 32 year old, nobody questions where I have been or what is coming next in my life. I don’t know if I want to be married or have kids or live the “traditional” American dream.  I have a passion for traveling and teaching and seeing the world.  I am finally learning how to live in the moment and not constantly wondering what society expects me to do next.  I come to work each day with a smile on my face greeted by excited students and gracious co-workers.  I have 54 students I teach every day and I am going to put it on the record and say I am a good teacher and finally valued for my hard work.  For the first time in my life I am constantly smiling and feel good about who I am.

Of course, I still remain anxious about my beloved mother, but I can’t expect every issue in my life to be cured!  It does help that with technology she is still only a phone call away.  I do miss my family and close friends dearly, but I am ok.

I am happy.


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