I love Thailand, and there are aspects of it I am going to miss so much- which I have written about here.
However, there are some things I will really not miss. Thailand is a magical place, especially when you are traveling through it.
When you are just traveling and passing through a place, it’s like you are casually dating- you are in the honeymoon phase. When you live somewhere, you are marrying it, and the bad comes with the good.
All the little things that mildly caught your interest in the dating phase now have the power to become seriously annoying. I don’t want this post to any way come off as negative towards Thailand, as it is beautiful country filled with lovely people. I would definitely return to visit, however a year of living here has been enough for me.
1. The Pollution
I am writing this in March, when the pollution is at a very high point in Chiang Mai. It’s technically burning season here, and the thick smoggy haze that hangs over the air is proof of that. My throat is constantly sore, and my nose is stuffy. Not fun. Luckily though, the worst of it should be gone by Songkran in April.
2. Stomach Problems
I have gotten sick a lot in Thailand. I probably get mildly sick (if you know what I mean) once per month, and have been seriously, violently ill three times (and going to a foreign hospital is the absolute worse.) My stomach is always a little off here, which is probably because I eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies. But hey, at least I’ll basically have an iron stomach when I return home!
3. The Constant Feeling of ‘Otherness’
For me, I miss the simplicity of doing things in a place that is familiar. Things like paying bills or finding something at the store can turn into multiple hour-long ordeals. I remember trying to find stickers for my students. At home, I would just hop on over to Target, but it turned out to be much harder than that in Thailand. First, I headed to the mall, an obvious choice. I went into my first stationery store feeling confident. No stickers there. Went to the Thai equivalent of a dollar store. No stickers there. Asking for stickers got me confused looks and frustration from people who had no idea what I was saying. I even looked up the Thai word for ‘sticker’, but apparently my pronunciation was too ghastly to convey the meaning.
After the mall, I went to the market and kept walking around in the heat and asking,until I finally mimicked putting a sticker on a man. His face lit up and he said “Oh! Steeeeeckers!” and led me to a shop.
4. The Clothing
Chiang Mai shopping is great for funky jewelry, household decorations, ect, but clothing has been a challenge for me. I am pretty petite girl by Western standards, but I have trouble finding flattering clothing at the marketplaces. I will never forget the time my butt split the seams of a pencil skirt I bought at Warorot Market. I had to walk with a notebook covering it until I could change.
5. The Traffic
I know that I’ve been here too long because I catch myself looking both ways down a one way street. Drivers slightly terrify me in Thailand. There seems to be no unwritten rule that it is polite to let people merge. People don’t even let ambulances pass.
The other day I was in my teacher uniform, at a cross walk on campus, and parent drivers still seemed to be unwilling to let me cross. It was terrifying. I finally had to just pretend I was playing a game of human Frogger and make a quick, ungainly dash across the street.
Anyways, those are some things I will not miss about living in Thailand. However, negative things come with living in any country and the good have outweighed the bad. I am excited to be home for a couple of months before I begin my next big adventure, partly because being home always makes you appreciate travel that much more.