I've been in Thailand for almost 4 months now. Everything about it has been a wild experience (some great, and some not so great). Although I am supposed to go home next month, I have decided to push my return date back until (at least) April.
1) My students
First and foremost, my students are the reason that I am extending my stay here. They are the light of my life. There are few things that I enjoy more than walking into the classroom or to the cafeteria or even home for the day and seeing their smiling faces. I have begun to develop relationships and even inside jokes with a number of them. And yes, while they can be annoying and noisy at times, the times that they've made me laugh far outweigh the times they have made me angry.
The young men (and few young women) that I teach are my heart, my soul, and the number one reason I'm staying in Thailand.
2) The relaxed, "mai pen rai" lifestyle.
Being in Thailand has made me realize how far too often Americans worry about things that are unnecessary. We worry about things that are beyond our control or blow things out of proportion.
This lifestyle can be difficult to understand unless you experience it.
One night a few of us were getting dinner at the town next to us. While we were walking down the sidewalk, we saw a baby taking a bath in a little bucket on the sidewalk. It was an adorable sight. We started taking pictures. That's when the mother walked up and asked us about our lives, where we're from, what we're doing here, etc. When we went to leave, she leaned down next to her baby, grabbed his hand, and made a waving motion at us as if to say bye.
As we were walking away, we realized that no parent would EVER have let us say hi to their baby back home. We would've gotten the cops called on us. But here, the parents know when something is harmless and when something is a cause for concern.
**also the children here are out of this world cute
3) There's no rush in settling down.
Before I came here, I felt unfulfilled. Almost everyone I knew was getting prepared to start their full-time job and move to a city that they might never leave. Was I making a mistake not following suit? After being here, I have realized that there is plenty of time to get a job and settle down. What's the rush? This is the perfect time in my life to try a new adventure. Even if I found that it wasn't for me, it would've been a great learning experience.
4) I am constantly exploring new, beautiful, exciting places.
One weekend I'm exploring ancient ruins the next I'm climbing a mountain; the possibilities of this country are absolutely endless. Traveling around Thailand is so easy and offers so much more than any other country I've been to thus far. Thailand is such a diverse country with a deep cultural history. Whether it's near or far, there's always somewhere breathtaking to discover.
5) I've made amazing friends and have started to establish my life here.
My friends that I have made here are some of the best people I have ever met. We share a bond over this incredible adventure that we're all on together. But I've also been able to make some Thai friends. Friends that can show me around my town and give me a deeper insight into their culture.
Additionally, I have joined a gym, decorated my apartment, and have begun to make this town feel like home. At the end of the weekend, no matter where I am, I'm always eager to get back to my apartment. It may have a hard bed and no hot water, but it is my space. I have began to establish my life here.
Sometimes it is still hard to believe that this is my life. I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity and to have loved it as much as I have.
By staying here, I'm not putting off real life or running away from anything; I'm finding my purpose.
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