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
Betti

12 responses to “Thailand and me… for an introduction

  1. What is it with Thailand? I was smitten on my first visit 17 years ago, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about some aspect of Thailand. These thoughts–sometimes just blips of almost nothing–come to me almost any time of the day out of nowhere. And I have not found many people here in Minnesota who can understand this attraction. But when I read your entry today, Betti, I found myself agreeing with your feelings. Thailand is a haunting place. If you are hooked on it, you will never shake it loose.

    Boyfriend vs Thailand? I’ve not met your boyfriend, but I have met Thailand; I say go with Thailand if your finances and other encumbrances allow it. If your boyfriend wants to be with you, he will accompany you. If not, you just may find another lover in Thailand. [As you already know, Betti, you will not find another Thailand in Hungary.]

    Choke dee.

    Brad.

  2. Sawatdee kha Betti. Welcome to Thai-Blogs. I think you’ll fit in here! You’re under the ‘Thai spell’ which will make you drop what you’re doing and go stay in Thailand, LOL. As do most of us. Keep posting.

  3. Thank you Jen for the nice welcome. I’m just hoping I’ll have time to put down my cat and my laptop, both of them on my lap at the moment, before I decide to drop everything and run for it πŸ˜€

  4. Welcome, Betti, a kindred spirit,

    I totally knew where you are coming from when you wrote about crying on the plane on your way back to “cold and unfriendly Europe”. Nothing quite compares to wanting a happy life in Thailand; just knowing in your heart that you’re missing out on something spectacular, as you slog day to day in a country and a life you just aren’t meant to be in. Take heart (and comfort) and we’ll help see ya through.
    Keep bloggin’.

  5. Szia Betti,

    Welcome to Thai-blogs! πŸ™‚
    It’s a small world… such a pleasant surprise to see a fellow Central European falling in love with Thailand and choosing the same site to blog about it! I’m definitely looking forward to reading more about your experiences and your perspective of life.

    Hogy mennek a dolgok otthon? Talan nem idevalo kerdes, de nem hiszem, hogy a tobbiek megorrolnanak erte, foleg hogy nem is ertik. Meg aztan mar tobb mint hat eve nem voltam odahaza, azert a kivancsisag.

    En is hasonlokeppen jottem ide ahogy Te, a PhD tanulmanyaimat megszakitva, csak en Amerikabol. Ugy erzem, megerte, es most latom, ezzel nem vagyok egyedul. πŸ™‚

    Az elso blogodat olvasva leginkabb az ragadott meg, hogy Te is ugy erzed, “tevedesbol” szulettel Europaban, hogy mashol a helyed.

    Az meg valoszinuleg a jovo titka, hogy a szerelem kepes-e Magyarorszagot igazi otthonodda varazsolni, vagy esetleg O is ugy erez ahogy Te, es mindketten idejottok Thaifoldre lakni. Akarhogy is lesz, remelem hogy minden a legjobban alakul. πŸ˜€

    At any rate, I hope you will be staying with us and will give us an insight into your life. More long stories please! ^_^

    Best of luck,

    SiamJai

  6. Great to see a whole variety of different people from all around the world writing for thaiblogs.

  7. Dear SiamJai, nem is tudom, miert ereztem az irasaidbol, hogy te is magyar vagy πŸ™‚ csak tudtam es kesz, de nem mertem kerdezni, mert mintha titkoltad volna. vigyazz magadra ott Chiang Mai-ban πŸ™‚ take care.

  8. thank you for your support EJ and Steve πŸ™‚

  9. Dear Brad,
    I know this feeling of isolation quite well – that you’re trying to explain Thailand, and why it’s so special, and nobody, I mean nobody understands you. they think you’re completely nuts and fallen for a hopeless dream. but then I decided to ask my family to pack up and come for a holiday with me – and now at least my brother understands completely. he’s so hooked he’s about to start attending the Buddhist College here in Budapest. our mum is mad at this nonsense. she’s afraid of losing the two of us to Thailand….
    as for a lover in Thailand – I’ll come back to that later πŸ™‚
    have a nice day

  10. Sawadee kha Betti,

    I just got a chance to visit the Thai-blogs today after a long absence. While scanning for my favorite bloggers, I accidentally spotted your blog, actually your picture with the lil monkey you mentioned. πŸ™‚ I was curious what your blog was going to be so I reluctantly read it. Usually, I don’t like to read a long post. It always turns out dull eventually. But your blog is not like that. It’s very interesting!

    To tell you the truth, after finding out you’re a Hungarian, I was just wondering if your English would be different from us as non-native English speakers and if I would understand what you were trying to say. hehehe…I didn’t mean to pick on your language. Don’t get me wrong. Your English is superb! No wonder why you’re an English teacher.

    I really enjoy reading your blog and also Jen’s. Ladies, I’m a faminist! Keep writing, Betti. You’ve peaked my curiousity what your life’s going to be. I’ll look forward to reading your furture blogs.

    Goodluck! Choke dee naka!

  11. nem is tudom, miert ereztem az irasaidbol, hogy te is magyar vagy πŸ™‚ csak tudtam es kesz, de nem mertem kerdezni, mert mintha titkoltad volna.

    Hat igen, eleinte ez volt a szandekom. Nem szegyenbol, hiszen mindenki aki a valo eletben ismer, tudja, hogy honnan jottem. Azert dontottem igy, mert lattam a “karon a varjut”. πŸ™‚

    Szep Thaifold, szep, de koztudott, hogy szokimondo embereket itt konnyen er ‘baleset’, vagy csak ‘eltunnek’ egyik naprol a masikra, es senki sem kerdezi, hogyan, miert.

    Tudom magamrol, hogy en is ilyen vagyok: ami a szivemen, az a szamon. Hat ugy gondoltam, ha csak egy farang vagyok a sok kozul, konnyebb beleolvadnom az internet-tomegbe, mig magyarkent meglehetosen kilognek a Chiang mai-i expatok kozul.

    Mostanara mar nem erdekel kulonosebben, mert egy ev utan mar latom, hogy a kormany-cenzorok csak a nagy halakra vadasznak. Mar nem csinalok titkot a szarmazasombol, de nem is reklamozom. Aki akarja, konnyen kitalalhatja…

    Ahogy mar irtam, orulok, hogy talalkozhattam Veled. Ezelott nem is vettem eszre a rejtett erzest, de mar latom hogy egy kicsit maganyos volt, hogy senki ittenivel nem tudtam megosztani a gondolataimat, csak angolul es csak Thaifoldrol.

    Milyen sokat jelent a magyar szo, ha evekig nem hasznaljuk! Szeretem a magyar blogodat olvasni; folyekony es olyan kozvetlen hangulatu, ahogy az angol nyelv sose tud lenni.

    Viszlat, Betti, es sok szerencset… πŸ™‚

  12. Kati & Andras

    SZia Betti!

    Mi is magyarok vagyunk es most itt elunk Thaifoldon. Andras angolt fog tanitani. Szivesen talalkoznank veled ha neked is van kedved.
    Irj: golszi@yahoo.com

    Kati & Andras