Where did it all begin? I don’t know. This story has no beginning or end. I could start from the time I left my home to go across the globe and started studying at a university in America, five years ago. An even better starting point could be the summer of 2002, when my fascination with Thailand began through a brief acquaintance with Thai researchers from Chiang Mai University. Have you ever met Thai people? If you have, you know that unique feeling that I felt at that time. Their loving, caring nature, coupled with incredible humbleness and respectful conduct, along with their strong work ethic, all made a lasting impression in me.
After they went back home, I feverishly began my studies. The ideal was to know everything ever recorded about Thailand. Being in America, books, newspapers and the Internet all were easily available to me, and I used them extensively. I guess I wanted to confirm what I already knew in my heart – that Thailand is the place I was looking for since my childhood. The result? I am writing from the Land of Smiles now.
To be honest, there was another factor that played a major role in my decision: an increasing distaste towards the American way of life. It had to: who would give up such a life without good reason? I was on my way to a Ph.D. in the subject I love, with a generous salary, at a Northeast American public Ivy League university. Many people only dream about what I threw away just to come here, I know. But I also realize that no career, however bright it may be, is worth the unhappiness I was going through there.
You know, one can acquire money, fame and fortune at any stage of life, but once acquired, what good do they do? None of those things are able to get back the happiness lost on the way. Thus I chose the other path. A Ph.D. from a Thai university holds perhaps less international appeal than one from the US, but at least I can live the rest of my life with no regrets.
There is only one small obstacle in the way: mastering the Thai language, as microbiology on this level is taught only in Thai. It will take some time, but it is doable. I had to do the same thing with English a few years ago, because it is not my native language. Now I use this third language to learn a fourth one… sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
So this is me right now: a full-time student of Thai language, history, culture, and life. The classroom: Thailand. Having more than sixty million helpful instructors makes a nice learning environment, don’t you think?
I invite you to accompany me on this journey. Let my story open a window to the land of this wonderful people. Witness as my dream unfolds into reality. Laugh with me, learn from my mistakes, or just enjoy!
I hope that this story will inspire some, as others’ stories did inspire me.
Now it is getting late tonight, and the noise of the constant rainfall makes me sleepy. Goodnight, and see you next time!