I am in disbelief that it is nearly September already and that my time in Bangkok is rapidly coming to an end. I won’t lie. I’m excited to go home, but that doesn’t mean I am not still enjoying my life here. A common issue that many people face is not being fully present and in the moment. This is something that I have been grappling with myself as the ‘what’s next’ has a tendency to take over the ‘now.’ As I eat lunch quietly while my coworkers chat in Thai, I find my mind wandering to the anticipation of getting home and eating my partner’s delicious cooking, my friends’ delightful baking, and ordering my favourite takeout. I have to actively remind myself in these moments that that will come and that not far from now will be a time when I will be missing all the food that I am eating here, it really is incredible. One of my new friends will tell me once in a while that I have an outstanding face. I have recently come to understand that what she means is that my face is full of expression, especially when I’m happy, and especially when I’m pleased with a meal that she has ordered for me. She is a ‘foodie’ and I believe that my ‘outstanding face’ in these moments gives her a lot of joy. My goal for the rest of my time here in Bangkok is to be fully present. One way I have been tackling this is to eat slower and really savour each meal, even if I am sweating and want to rush back to the offices AC.
Lunch at Pnings is always sooo good
Mango sticky rice
Morning glory and glass noodle salad
Khao Soi (with vegan ‘pork’)
During the exact halfway point of my internship, I was hiking Mount Fuji! My visa run to Japan was incredible and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to take a trip like this. As I headed to the airport, however, I started to feel a bit down. Instead of flying back to Canada to join a multi-day camping/hiking trip that was starting the same day of my flight, I was headed back to Bangkok. Once I was on the plane that feeling dissipated, however, and I started to feel anticipation to get back to the life that I have created here and excitement for all that’s still to come. I decided that I would “jump back in with both feet” and try to make the last few months as full of new experiences and adventures as the first few. This included immediately booking a getaway for the following weekend (which was a long weekend due to Thai Mothers’ Day) to Koh Samet, an island covered with beautiful beaches. I was not aware of how much I missed the ocean and watching the sunset and listening to the waves made me feel right at home. It was a lovely weekend of swimming and pushing myself out of my comfort zone by renting a motorbike to get around with. On my first night there, I spent the entire evening with a Thai couple who did not speak English. After offering me a ride (before I rented my own bike), we watched the sunset together, then headed to a different beach for dinner and drinks, and then went to a bar/nightclub. I am generally more comfortable alone, so this started off as an introverted nightmare, especially as we sat in silence at the dinner table, but they were very kind and we had a pleasant evening. I had told myself at the beginning of this internship to say yes to every experience that comes my way, especially the ones that push me out of my comfort zone.
Left: Koh Samet sunset.
Top right: Me on the bike I rented.
Bottom right: Sunrise from Mount Fuji!
This week at work we had a two-day mid year review meeting, followed by a staff birthday lunch the next day. This meant a very social and food filled week that made me fully appreciate being back in Bangkok again. The mid year review consisted of each staff member sharing a presentation on the work that they have done so far, as well as one for the work they have planned for the remainder of the year. My job was to take notes and, even though I still feel quite shy, I also contributed to some of the discussions as well. I thought it was ironic and appropriate that this review session/reflection period occurred at approximately the same time as this halfway point blog, or my own “mid internship review.” Working with GAATW and living in Southeast Asia continues to be a dream come true. I am learning and experiencing so much, both about myself and about the world around me. Sometimes I have this feeling like the “magic” is lost, and things have become a bit regular or mundane. It is moments like this when I miss my life and people back home the most. However, the following day, or hour, I’ll experience something that will spark that “magical” feeling again. I can truly say that I feel like a stronger, more resilient person now and that an experience I worried would be hard for my mental health, has actually been so good for it. I feel more at peace within myself than I possibly ever have before.
Setting up a super yummy Vietnamese staff lunch.
So many tasty snacks during the 2 day meeting.
A visitor from Pakistan (2nd left) thanks for the treats!
My friends P’noon and Or!
Having fun at yoga (3x a week)