I’ve had itchy feet for as long as I can remember. From road trips around the west coast to flights from Hawaii to the mainland to visit family, I’ve been traveling almost on a somewhat annual basis. It’s no wonder now that I have itchy feet when I stay in one place for too long but I think my penchant to travel has taken me on a new journey even I didn’t anticipate.
Here is my home:
Lovely, isn’t it?
You may ask why I decided to leave everyone’s definition of ‘paradise’ and I could simply reply, “itchy feet” but I know it’s a bit deeper than that. I had my first taste of international living when I studied abroad in Japan back in 2008 – another great place to live – and I still say I left a piece of my heart there even till this day. I don’t think I was as ready as I thought I would be to take that leap outside of my comfort zone, so I had my fill of Japan after my year was complete.
Fast forward to 2015, an opportunity arose after a rather challenging year and my husband and I jumped for a chance to live in Thailand for a change of pace. When I finally arrived in Thailand in December 23, 2015, I didn’t have an “a ha!” or “eureka” moment proclaiming Bangkok to be my home but my first few days there was my testing-the-water-out phase. I was fortunate in that I had people ease me into my new life here and I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel at all. In fact, I spent the first days venturing with my husband and best friend and then we went on a week long road trip to Northern Thailand for vacation.
When we returned, everyone had a routine but me but I started to learn about my new home through baby steps. One of the things I had a hard time adjusting to is the really humid and hot weather in Salaya. Even though we are centrally located near the market front with food vendors, I still had a hard time getting over the heat and just making my way to get food or supplies. My next challenge was communicating what I wanted and picking up simple phrases to help me get by. I had to relearn to count and say greetings like “hello” etc. Not only that, Thai language is really tonal like Chinese so I had to really pay attention to get the tones right and repeat things in my head because I’d forget what I learned very easily.
It was tough at first, but having the mindset of, “I’m going to be here for a while, so I have to learn it eventually,” was always in the back of my mind. It’s not like Japan where I had an end date and also had previous experience learning Japanese – I earned my B.A. in Japanese Studies, so it wasn’t quite starting from scratch. Here in Thailand, I barely knew how to talk but the realization that I’m absolutely illiterate really dawned on me and was a definite barrier to picking up the language faster. Now that I’ve been here a solid three months and I’m still learning, I still take baby steps to get ahead and if I, at least, learn something new that I didn’t know the previous week, I’m solid. Yes, I’ve encountered some complications along the way but I would have no matter where I go or if I had stayed home. I figure, in a new location, I may still struggle one way or another, but at least it’s on my terms and I can explore a new country and learn something that I would never have picked up back at home.
Find us on social media outlets and get to know the Holoholo Girls better!