Thailand and me… for an introduction

Sawat-dii kha! I’m glad to be back in Thailand – well, at least virtually, for the time being. I stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago, now I’m spending my evenings reading the archives, and…. maybe I have a few interesting stories to tell or ideas to share….

I’m a 29-year-old Hungarian, at the moment living in my country of birth, hesitating between trying to get settled back to my old life as a teacher of English in Budapest, and flying back to Asia…. and it’s harder than I thought it would be.

My journey started four years ago…. or maybe way back. I have always felt like an alien here. From my early childhood, I kept saying to my mum, “I wanna go home, I wanna go home” – even when we were actually at home. Stupid as it may sound…. but now I have the feeling that I wasn’t initially meant to be a European, just something got horribly mixed up when I was born…. I first had a chance to go to Thailand four years ago. I had absolutely no time to prepare or read anything about what I was going to experience, and it turned out to be the shock of my life: finally I was at home. Well, I couldn’t escape the usual pitfalls for newcomers, being taken on tuktuk rides to fancy shops and having my money stolen during an overnight bus trip…. but I was learning quickly. The six-week holiday was over in about three days I guess, and I found myself crying onboard a plane back home to cold and unfriendly Europe.

I spent the next nine months trying to get back, but it just wasn’t meant to be, all I managed to find was a teaching job in Taiwan. But at least it was in the right direction, just a few hours away, it can’t be that different, after all, it’s Asia…. well, sort of, it turned out. The next year and a half working with Chinese preschoolers was an eye-opener, it changed my view of the world, of culture, of languages, I had a chance to find out who I was, who I wanted to be.

(That’s me and my little “monkey” Regie)

I loved teaching and my students like I had never done before. I wanted to make a difference…. do something meaningful…. make friends with people…. live life to the full, with all the joy, all the sorrow that is on my path…. that was the lesson (sounds cheesy, but…. only back here, I guess). I quit my PhD studies, I had had enough of theoretical stuff, meaningless research, and teaching dull undergraduates back home in the previous years, instead I got out my backpack, and spent some more time travelling around Thailand and Laos on my own, trying to find a job underway, in the meantime, hoping to be able to settle down somewhere for one more year. I didn’t mean to return to Europe for good, I was absolutely sure that if I ever have kids of my own, I want them to grow up in a Thai community. But lightning struck in the form of an online love affair, for a twist, and I returned home.

A German guesthouse owner in Chiang Mai had warned me: “if you have managed for over a year in this part of the world, and you have liked it, you’ll never be able to fit back in Europe”, that’s what he said. I had culture shocks day in, day out for sure. It’s absolutely in vain to try to convince my boyfriend to fly to Thailand, even for a holiday, he’s afraid, he needs stability. I’m torn between love for Thailand and love for a man…. something I would never have imagined was possible at all. He came up with a plan: he decided to take a job somewhere upcountry for a while, and urged me to return to Thailand in the meantime on my own, to learn Thai massage in Chiang Mai or to get a short-term teaching job or volunteer to take part in rebuilding Ko Phi Phi, whatever, so that I can calm down and make a decision about the future.

That’s where I’m stuck at the moment. Who knows if I will have the courage to leave everything behind once again and plunge into life in Thailand…. but I have lots of memories and stories and experiences and opinions anyway to fill a blog or two here, bits and pieces of the journeys taken in the past four years, journeys of the heart, journeys of the mind…. I hope I can fit in here, I hope I can share a few ideas and stories of interest in the near future.

That’s for an introduction now. Sorry about the long post…. I’ll try to keep it shorter next time.

Greetings to all from Central Europe

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