Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.-Dalai Lama
It’s my favorite time of year back in the U.S. Summer at the Jersey shore means there’s always something to do. The weather is beautiful. People are happy and active, and there is always something to see, somewhere to take your bike for a ride. It also means that music festivals are happening all up and down the East Coast, where I’ve had many of my best memories as an adult. For someone as fest-obsessed as I am, seeing these going on all over social media is giving me a big case of homesickness. There aren’t many things in life that make me happier to be alive than going a music festival or a weekend of Phish shows. Not only are you experiencing a ridiculous amount of music jam-packed (pun definitely intended) into one weekend, you see old friends and make new ones, camp out in a dusty field somewhere in the middle of nowhere, party like the world is coming to an end, and you can dress like a skunk without judgment. To add to the little bout of blues I am dealing with, Fourth of July came and went, disguised as any other Thursday. It was spent with us American teachers sitting in a work permit office for most of the day (Imagine sitting in the DMV but no one speaks English)… definitely not ideal.
Being so far away from my friends during this time of year is pretty hard, but I’m trying to find outlets for these feelings to turn them positive. I’ve registered on meetup.com with various groups around Bangkok to meet some new people and fully enjoy what this giant city has to offer. One of the groups brought me to discover Bangkok Farmers Market, which I am planning on volunteering at later this month. I would love to meet people who are interested in food and health and can show me how to survive and thrive in this land of rice and mystery meats.Speaking of food, (which I do pretty much constantly, my friends here were quick to point out) Bangkok is hosting a free food festival this coming Sunday. You get to taste bites of various vendors concoctions for FREE, with all donations go to charity. Sounding much more like my beloved NYC, I’m pretty excited about this being that there will be international food served and the proud chefs standing by to chat with. I hope both the food festival and the farmers market bring me closer to the food community out here.
My focus during my time here is to remain healthy and happy while working and traveling. Food is synonymous with Thailand, but it’s very different from in the US and it can be hard to always have balanced nutrition here. Thais love sugar and it comes with or on everything. The (instant) coffee is really only made with 11% coffee; 56% of each serving is pure sugar. Fresh fruit is easy to find here from a street stall but it usually comes with a tiny bag of sugar and salt for dipping. 7-11’s are the most popular convenience store in the country, making it way too convenient to grab chips or candy or soda, consuming mire sugar and avoiding all nutrients whatsoever. It’s been a struggle for me to make sure I’m having fruit, vegetables and protein, especially since I don’t eat meat. Luckily, 7-11 stores sell “All You Need” juice similar Naked Juices back in the States. They’re delicious and all natural. My organs are thanking me right now.
Regardless of all these tiny obstacles, it all comes down to just making smart choices for myself. I’m most definitely not complaining, but I am aware that any life is not perfect.
Even some of the most beautiful places in the world still have rainy days.
Hell, it’s the rainy days that make the sunny ones that much better. Exercising and staying positive for me is the key, and a huge life change like this can easily distract you from staying on top of that. I’m fearing my “honeymoon” phase of living in Thailand is coming to a gradual end, and real life is hitting me in the face. I’m thousands of miles from anything I know to be comfortable, and life here is sometimes stressful and confusing. But at the end of the day, which it is currently, I am still so happy with everything I’ve been offered in my 25 years. I chose to move to Thailand and that choice was thankfully available to me; something I know not everyone can say for themselves. I have found really great friends who I can be myself with and who will listen to me vent, and then drag me to 7-11 for an ice cream and some laughter along the way.
I live in a beautifully strange country where I always am laughing and smiling at my job.
I work with my mind’s eye always on Friday when I head out to a jungle or beach or temple, or just stay home and explore one of the world’s most popular cities. Life is really good; and it’s always better when you feel healthy and are surrounded by great friends.. and sometimes all it takes to take your blues away is a Thai teacher (who I love and refers to me as her second daughter) bringing in ripe mango when it’s not even mango season.