Yesterday at sunset, I was going to the store on the back of a motorbike taxi. I was holding on with only one hand on the back and my legs were bumping into other motorbikes and taxis as we weaved our way through traffic and in between car’s side mirrors. As the hot and humid Thailand air swept over me, I looked up. And at that very moment I realized that five months ago I moved to Bangkok.
It was a strange, almost out-of-body feeling, where I didn’t quite believe it. If you had told me three years ago, —or maybe even a year ago— that I would be here today, I would have never believed it. But, there is, in fact, a term for this emotion. And that is this:
And it means:
the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore—that although you thought you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong in the same genre—which requires you to go back and reread the chapters you had originally skimmed to get to the good parts, only to learn that all along you were supposed to choose your own adventure.
So as I looked up at the sunset and the tall Bangkok buildings, I had a jolting realization that I really did this… that this was real and that maybe it didn’t make sense but at the same time it made all the sense in the world… That I really was choosing my own adventure and that I didn’t need to live up to any kind of set expectation of what life is supposed to be like.
There were times in Thailand that it seemed like time was going very slowly, and there were times that I was homesick, and there were times that were challenging; but overall, the past few months here went so fast. And it was an incredible adventure… teaching, traveling, meeting new people, trying new foods, going to completely foreign places and forcing myself to go completely beyond my comfort zone. I learned so much here in Thailand, and I will forever cherish every second of this experience.
Yesterday was my last day of work and it was also surreal. In fact, my entire experience of teaching in Thailand was somewhat surreal, and that too kind of only hit me in the last few weeks. For one of my last days of class, I was watching Simon’s Cat videos on YouTube and I was having my students write sentences in English about the videos. They huddled around the front, and some cozied next to me at the computer. I watched their faces as they gazed up at the screen and I watched them laugh and I immediately felt tears come to my eyes. I completely fell in love with my students. They are all so sweet and kind and funny, and I will remember them forever. I learned so much from them and from this experience. There is no doubt I will miss them and the people I met here in Thailand more than anything.
So, to keep this blog post short and sweet, I won’t overdo the sappiness. But I will say that this experience really did change my life and my perspective of what life should be about.
I love you Thailand… the people, the beaches, the food, the coconuts, the taxis, the hot weather, the peace, and the chaos. Thank you for changing my life in the best ways possible. Thank you for making this part of my “choose your own adventure” story my favorite part yet.
Now, on to the next adventure.