The Reasons Why I’m Going Home

Okay guys, I have been doing some serious soul-searching lately on what to do when my English teaching contract ends in April. Should I stay, should I go, what I will do if I go, where will I go next if I stay?
I came to the conclusion to go home, and here are some of the reasons why:

1. Thailand is known for not being the best place to save money, and it’s true, I’m way better at saving money in Canada.
2. I’m reluctant to live in another Asian country for another year after my current contract is over. I’m sure I could do it, but it’s not what I want right now, to my own surprise. I expected to want to go somewhere else.
3. There is more opportunity for me to contribute in the ways that I want to, in my own country. I’m personally finding it to be quite expensive to volunteer for causes I’m passionate about, all the while not making much money on the side teaching. Having to return to the high cost of living in Canada looms over me.
4. My goal to teach ESL is not dead if I go home. My goal was always to eventually return to Canada with enough experience to teach ESL to adults in Edmonton or Vancouver, where many refugees and immigrants seek settlement and support. I can find work in Edmonton and volunteer to teach ESL and use that to gain employment in the future.
5. I miss my community. I love Thailand and its people, but I miss my own as well.
6. I have nothing to lose by going home, and as long as I’m healthy and set up right, I can go overseas again to explore and/or to teach English, making more money this time. My current time frame does not adhere to the amount of time it takes to get to Japan or Korea. I considered teaching in China because it takes less processing time to get there, but for some reason the more I think about it, the less I want to live there. I would love to visit though.
7. I feel a pull to go home and be closer to the people I love. Home, or family, is more important to me than ever. Thailand is a very family oriented place and I’m seeing for the first time that it’s okay to let go of a need to be 100% independent from your parents. Before I moved here, I admit that I judged others even if unintentionally, for living with their family as young adults. I now see this differently, and value the benefits of family support for overall well being in a different, better way.
8. I’m curious as to the opportunities that await me in Canada after having gone through extensive personal growth.
9.  I think I’ve been away just long enough that I should be able to handle the reverse culture shock of going home relatively well.
10. I have noticed that among the teachers I have met and spent time with in Thailand, they seemingly have something in common; home isn’t their home country anymore. I love Canada, but I do feel that the longer I stay away the more distant I feel with what I consider to be my home or what it means to be home.


To any travellers or people who work away from home, have you ever struggled with the decision of whether or not to go back home? Has the meaning of home changed for you throughout your life at all? While you were away? I would love to hear your thoughts or stories.

It’s My Way or The Thai Way

I’m sorry for the terrible blog post title, but the pun made me chuckle enough to publish 😂.

Thailand is an interesting, beautiful, disorganised and at times very frustrating country to work and live in. And yet, after three months of being here, I’ve noticed myself adapting and changing in ways I was not expecting to.

For instance:

  1. I no longer think about speed limits. I just drive the speed I’m comfortable with. In fact, the speedometer on my motorbike doesn’t even work.
  2. I expect people to cut me off and no longer get angry when it happens. Back in Canada someone cutting me off could ruin a good mood or make a bad one significantly worse.
  3. I forget to put my seat belt on in cars. NOBODY wears a seat belt, even small children. Unless… the car infuriatingly beeps until  you put it on. Sometimes I snap myself back into safety mode and buckle up, but not as often as I used to.
  4. Driving on the left hand side of the road is a no-brainer.
  5. Sitting on the back of a motorcycle with two other people barely makes me nervous any more. But it still really burns my thighs. My legs are long and have to dangle without my feet touching the ground! I can compare it to feeling like you’ve been downhill skiing and your legs are ready to give-out half way down a steep hill.
  6. Ice cream at 10 in the morning isn’t that weird. Kids even eat it for breakfast on a regular basis. Rotten teeth are also the norm (not for me! I brush!).
  7. Frequent last minute class cancellations used to bother me. The longer I’m here, the better I am at shrugging it off. 🙂
  8. I no longer get annoyed with people staring at me.  I just ignore or smile back and it works every time.
  9. Cooked vegetables in any kind of sauce make me incredibly happy. They’re hard to find.
  10. I shower every day and wash my hair every day. Call me gross but I didn’t find this to be entirely necessary on a daily basis back in Canada.
  11. My spicy food tolerance is much better!  I prefer spicy food now, actually.
  12. I think more often in Baht than Dollars when making every-day purchases.
  13. I don’t walk anywhere I don’t have to (It’s so damn hot). I use my motorcycle to go just down the street because I can.
  14. I’m curious about foreigners I don’t recognise!!!! I get it now! That’s what people think of me!!
  15. I’m a pro at carrying hand sanitizer and tissue paper almost wherever I go. There’s never any toilet paper or soap in bathrooms. Ever.
  16. I now shiver in 20 degrees Celsius
  17. 3 in 1 crap coffee is my go-to and I used to think it was disgusting (because it is, what’s happening to me?)
  18. I expect appointments and anything involving standing in a line other than in a grocery store to take hours.Because it does.

There you have it, some things that I’ve noticed myself doing almost automatically now. I think it’s pretty interesting, funny, and I’m curious to see what effect this will have when I eventually go home or some other place. 😉

The Little Things

I’m still working on my confidence to write longer posts. So for now, they might be limited to lists and photos.

With that aside, I want to briefly talk about the little things. They have always mattered to me and I’m very aware of them. Living abroad has a lot of challenges but here are some little things that make me happy and grateful on almost a daily basis.

Such as..

1. The constant, incredible sunrises and sunsets.
2. My free time. I have a lot of valuable time to myself that I cherish to be able to reflect and remain productive and creative
3. Finding Scooby-Doo or Looney-Toons on Thai cable TV and watching it anyway despite not understanding the words

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Thai Looney-Tunes

4. When another teacher gives me candy because they bought a bunch for their students
5. Having my neighbours ask me to sit down and hang out with them. It’s not always easy to connect with people with such a heavy language barrier.

Friday Night Hangout.
The neighbours feeidng me! 🙂

6. Finding food under 100 baht that I actually want to eat. I’m still adapting to Thai food and western food is triple in price

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Spicy fried chicken. Delicious and 30 baht. SCORE!

7. Finding mango and sticky rice from a street vendor
8. Devouring such mango and sticky rice
9. Having some other, usually Thai person, cut the mango for me, as I am truly inept with a sharp knife
10. Coming home once a week to my apartment having been cleaned by the landlady
11. Noticing that my own cleaning is paying off, as there are less ants crawling around my apartment. (They used to be in my bed).
12. Being told last minute that it’s a long weekend. This happens quite often, there are many holidays in Thailand.

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Long weekend adventures in Loei with some new friends

13. Seeing my students in a grocery store and having them say hi to me excitedly 
14. Checking myself for strange rashes and realising there are none! (I had a skin infection for over a month, it was f*cking terrible)
15. Feeling like a champ when I do something new in class and it works. There are just as many if not more times where the opposite happens!
16. Kids hugging me to the point of almost suffocation. 🙂

What little things brighten your day?

P.s -> Random titbit:

My friends that were born and raised in Thailand told me that when they were children, there was a story that parents and teachers would tell them about the moon. The story was about a rabbit because in Thailand, the dark spots that are seen on the moon look like a rabbit. The neat part of this is that the moon in Canada, where I’m from, is seen from a different angle, so the moon has never had a rabbit on it for me!

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Rabbit Moon in Thailand
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Moon seen from Canada

 

 

 

10 Things I like About Living in Northern Thailand

1. I enjoy the simplicity of my mornings. I get up at 6:00 am. I slowly wake up and make my coffee to the birds chirping and the roosters..roosting? I watch the sun rise over the mountains as I get ready for my work day, or any other day.

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2. I love zippin’ around town on my motorbike. Despite the safety risks, I find it to be a very efficient and fast way to travel around my city and it’s cheap on gas. For longer trips, there’s always the bus.

3. The bus system! I can book a ticket whenever I want to go wherever I want in Thailand for a pretty reasonable price. The bus seats are comfortable, makes stops every few hours, and they give you snacks. Oh, and everyone is really quiet as well, which I appreciate.

4. In the specific area that I’m living in, Phetchabun, yes, it gets very hot, but the mornings are quite cool. I know that it’s probably tough on my immune system to constantly adjust to temperatures, but I enjoy waking up to cool air and easing my way into a scorching heat by the afternoon. By nightfall it’s cool again.

5. The cheap beer. Thai beer is also unregulated so sometimes you get a little more tipsy than anticipated.

6. The quietness of my location. There isn’t much hustle or bustle here aside from the odd long weekend traffic or festival and I’m very much okay with that.

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7. That 99% of the time, Thai people are quite friendly and very helpful.

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8. The opportunity to always be immersed in a new culture and language that I have to adapt to. I love the learning process.

9. Mountains, waterfalls and National Parks are everywhere and not too touristy.

10. There are very few foreigners here, as the city I live in is quite low-key.