A new beginning

When I reflect upon the past five months–and somehow it has already been more than five months!–it has been a real rollercoaster here in Thailand. Many empowering moments along with a few disempowering ones as well. But that’s just life, right? The last few years,  in fact, has been a series of highs and lows and every time I think that I have passed ‘my formative years’, I find myself confronted with even more ‘formative’ experiences. Argh! I guess learning about life and gaining experiences never really ends. Plus I’m still in my 20s and everyone tells me that once you pass your 20s, things change. Of course I am fully cognisant of the fact that there will always be challenges in life, but perhaps I will handle things better in future and with a lot more grace.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the burglary and I am mostly over it. Mostly, but not fully. At the time it felt like one of the worst things that had ever happened to me but since the shock wore off I can see it within a much broader context of Bad Things That Have Happened To Me. All of the experiences I have had to work hard on resolving in the past (and I still haven’t gotten over some of them, like losing Sarah), still far outrank being burgled by some nameless crooks. I lost a couple of thousand dollars worth of stuff and although that’s a lot, it’s hardly the end of the world. And it was my fault for not backing up my files more often! It’s true that the burglary could have happened to anyone and anywhere, and not just Thailand, so it really wasn’t personal. I mean, Josh was similarly burgled in Sydney last year while we were travelling in the US so he’s actually been through this before.

But it’s hard to deny that this experience has changed me. My perceptions of security are different and now I am more willing to give in to feelings of ‘paranoia’, which I refused to do in the past. The days of me blithely leaving the house without checking whether every single window was locked has now passed. It seems sad that it has to be this way, but I accept it now. Having said that however, I don’t really need to be quite as security conscious for the rest of the time we’re here in Thailand because…we have a new home! Yay!

We decided to move in even earlier than 1 September, and moved in on the weekend instead. Saturday was an overcast monsoonal kind of day, and over a simple lunch at a local Thai eatery, Josh and I were discussing how great it would be if we were moving in today rather than mid-week. Then we thought, why not?

A few phone calls later and it was a done deal.

The view from our apartment
The view from our apartment

So now we are living on one of the top floors of a high-rise condo with excellent security. (By the way, there’s no 13th floor in our building, and instead there’s 12A. Is that the same with all apartments in the West?) Even before we were burgled we were already keen to move out and move into the new place when we saw it a month ago. The photos of this place on the website looked awful, but the real estate agent insisted we take a look…and as soon as we walked through the door, we both loved it. The furniture is a bit daggy but we’ll decorate it over the coming months to suit our tastes.

So what we now have is a large kitchen/dining/living area with a balcony; and to the side two bathrooms, a guest bedroom (so yes, room for visitors!) and the main bedroom with another balcony off it. Having a view with crisp, cool air and soft light has made a big difference to the both of us, burglary aside. Oh, and did I mention a gorgeous saltwater pool in the complex? We could never live so luxuriously back home and one positive effect of the burglary is that I am more determined than ever to really focus on enjoying myself more while I’m here.

This apartment definitely marks a new beginning for us, I already feel so different having a new home. It’s made such a difference to my headspace, and calmed me down immensely. I’m even more confident speaking Thai, and my Thai teacher thinks that it’s probably because I’m just happier about being here in Thailand now.

The last month, even before we got burgled, I had somehow become very stressed about Thailand, my job and my general life direction. My blog post about feeling restless was just the start of it all. I mean, I even had another drama last week in the midst of all this — in short, my Bangkok work trip last week ended with a terse conversation with my boss that ended up with me in tears telling him almost everything, and about how I wasn’t happy with various aspects of the job. Afterwards, I felt very weird and exposed — but also lighter as well. So now we understand each other better and have reached an even more honest place in our relationship.  Without a doubt, we have great rapport, but it’s a little intense working so close together in what is essentially a small business. I’m used to working in organisations and the space it provides. But since that conversation, the job has also improved a lot somehow.

Check out Bangkok's rush hour traffic!

So things had gotten to a head lately: feeling tired after a few intense days in Malaysia, wanting to move into a new home, being burgled, my frustrations with not writing (and feeling doubtful that even if I did give it a decent stab, I may turn up with little), and not being sure whether international public health is for me…and I’m still not sure about any of these things. But now I’m feeling more relaxed to just sit with things for a little while and see how it all goes. I’m feeling more confident that things will ultimately be resolved properly.

It feels like the Phase 2 of my Thailand experience has now ended, and now we’re onto Phase 3. And what comes next is a new beginning for the both of us.


4 thoughts on “A new beginning

  1. What a whirlwind time it’s been, can’t believe it’s already been 5 months! Missing you so much! I think it’s really true, the challenges never stop, but we become more resilient at dealing with them, and it sounds like in many ways it’s been a steep curve over the past few months. I look forward to hearing how phase 3 goes – with a new (awesome) view and confidence in things. Many hugs xxx

    1. You’re totally right babe, it is about resilience. I’m getting there, learning to develop a thicker skin. Will have to a chat with you soon xx

  2. Hi Sheila!

    You blog is amazing! I’m heading to chiang mai in late december – I was thinking about doing a border run just for fun to burma. would you recommend it?

    from NZL

    1. Hi Kirsty, thanks for your comment! Look me up when you come to Chiang Mai. You can do a border run to Burma but it takes quite a few hours to get there from here and unless you had to do it for visa reasons, I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s only one part of the border you can go to from here – the Mai Sai District. I think if you’re here just for a holiday, fill your time with the many other great things you can do here. : )

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