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balance (2): March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

quick update

things are a whirlwind of activity in my life right now... i will do a proper update soon... but today i moved out of my apartment in bangkok, tomorrow i fly to chiang mai to spend 3 weeks (including the very crazy thai new year) there with my boyfriend of sorts, and then the last week of april i have decided to take a contract in boulder, colorado! it is 3 months, with the potential to go longer, which really depends on how i handle the reverse culture shock of going back to the states after so long, i guess. i am queasy at the thought of it, and at the thought of waking with an alarm clock and going into an office and having to socialize... but going back does have a few benefits as well, and i think if i try to be positive it might not be bad at all to spend the summer in my old hometown.... eep! letting it flow!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


this whole idea of just letting things flow is working quite well for me... although you do have to give life a nudge in some direction to get things flowing in the first place, i've realized. in any case, i have had an amazing past few weeks. it helps to get out of bangkok, which is one of the most anti-me places i have ever lived. it's not so bad though when i am only there a few days out of every couple of weeks!

i went to koh chang first, my happy island home of yore. 6(!) years later it has undergone a complete transformation into a tourist trap of sorts, though an inoffensive and relatively peaceful one. i visited my pretty canadian friend 's' and her scraggly thai boyfriend, who have opened a new restaurant near the beach. for some reason i was feeling horrifically depressed on the sweaty bus and boat trip there- the kind of depression where you catch yourself designing elaborate suicide scenarios in your head (using the fishing rope on the ferry to hang myself by the neck down over the lower berth so the tourist families could watch through the portholes my eyes pop out of my head and take pictures while i choke slowly to death?!) and actually consider whether or not you are capable of pulling them off (i am not, thank the stars for my cowardice). but the couple of sublime warm nights that followed, just drinking wine, chatting, and playing a fun gambling game that i lost loads of baht on at my friend's cozy bar helped a lot to dispell those thoughts. as did watching old movies in my nice bungalow with moonlight peering in through the glass walls, under clean sheets; a self-imposed ban on the internet; drinking fresh squeezed juices with the friendly people who run the herbal sauna in the jungle; and listening to european hippies splash in the pool while i savored enchiladas made by a real mexican chef, a huge rarity in thailand.... sigh.... i left koh chang with only one regret- that i did not take a whirlwind motorbike trip around the island as i used to love to do... but with the invasion of a lot more traffic and absence of my caretaker ('o'), it was my cowardice again that came into play.

koh chang road

my next trip was decided last minute and was only intended to be a weekend trip, but it became so excruciatingly lovely and just what i needed at the time, that i extended it 3 more days at the risk of losing all my work. my german friend 'n' returned to thailand (she was here this time last year) and asked me to meet her in the northern city of chiang mai. i flew up and we had the time of our lives. we ate local specialties like khao soy and spicy pork sausage, listening to cute cover bands jamming in the outdoor market. we got long luxurious massages. we shopped until our feet were killing us at the sunday market- most definitely the best market in thailand, which is full of amusing buskers and excellent wares which i was glad i couldn't fit into my bags as i would have come home a lot poorer. in the evenings we went out and met some amazing people- one of those groups of people you meet travelling that are so special that you are irreparably heartbroken when they leave even after knowing them only a few days. there were 2 dutch guys- one who was an information architect like me! the only other one i have ever met outside the US! he was very smart and cultured and took me and 'n' once to one of the best italian meals i have ever had in my life, where he explained to me about the liquor called 'grappa' and fed us pecorino and salami while we divulged our life stories. the other dutch guy was very debonaire and funny, and got very very drunk and affectionate, danced a lot, and made the thais laugh.

me, n, and w

there was my old goofy german friend klaus, who has a strange habit of always popping up unexpected in my life, and into whom we ran coincidentally at the temple, where we had coffee and watched hill tribe children dance for coins. in the evening his hippie girlfriend danced alone in the corner, smilingly oblivious to the crowd.

hill tribe child

there were two indian men, jewelry exporters who tried desperately to pick up both 'n' and i when they weren't being sketchy and trying to scam us into using our passports to help them ship packages overseas, but they still managed to be cool and chatty even when we dissuaded them at every turn. there was a group of tattooed, pierced, and smiling thai guys, all of whom i distrusted immediately and all of whom i ended up liking immensely. we spent a couple of dark, ecstatically fun nights in clubs dancing to the cute dj's dark, electronic dance tunes (so rare to find in thailand!). and there was 'j', an american, and (in his words) my "parallel life partner". he grew up in the same area of the states i did and has been floundering somewhat lost in thailand for about the same amount of time i have. he runs an adventure sports company here and has a gorgeous 3 year old half-thai boy with a thai ex-wife. he took us to a delicious organic cafe and his fresh openness made me homesick for boulder, colorado and nice, intellectual, earthy men like him... but he is off to the states in a few days and i am hoping that is where the parallel-ness of our lives ends (since i am not too keen on following).... and finally, there was 'b', the above-mentioned cute dj- a gorgeous (young) (thai) lad with my exact same taste in just about everything, whom i found myself kissing madly at the end of the evenings, and with whom i ended up going back to his comfortable shoebox of a room in the wee hours of the morning, where i ran my hands over him while we watched obscure independent films and smoked. i know i should be hitting myself for that one, and believe me i had my share of "cougar" and "boy toy" jokes flung at me this week, but i can't resist a good connection and i needed a little injection of carefree happiness into my life. surprisingly enough (or not), we are still calling each other "darling" in disgustingly sweet phone calls where we promise to visit each other as soon as possible. i like him.

beautiful 'b'

so with fond and very sad backward glances, 'n' and i forced ourselves at last onto a plane and back to bangkok, where i left her tearful and got right on another plane to singapore, to visit my sister-friend 'y' on her birthday. another stamp in my passport at last- it's been a long dry spell!

me and 'y'

singapore offended me from the minute i got off the plane. i don't do well with conservativism, or with rules tacked up everywhere, or with pretentious cars and men in suits. it is a very money-oriented place and as i have said before, i don't care about money beyond being able to travel. but i was there to see 'y', whom i love and am closer to than my own sisters, even if we disagree on just about everything that exists. we wandered around the malls. bought bottles of wine and got drunk in her garden, which backs up onto the botanical gardens (one thing in singapore's favor is it is amazingly lush and green).

'y's backyard

we loitered in the art museum for a couple of hours, but i was pretty disappointed in it... i can honestly say it was the worst art museum i have ever been to, which was a surprise as singapore is relatively cosmopolitan.

at the singapore art museum

the rest of the time we spent dodging silly dramas with y's roommate, a 40-something millionaire with exemplary taste in home decor but a very petty streak, who laid guilt trips upon us the entire time i was there because he apparently felt i was invading his space. i thus decided to leave a day early back to thailand, but with no hard feelings. and i even threw singapore a fond backward glance as i hopped on the sterile MRT to the airport.

back in bangkok, everything is up in the air! i was hoping to move out of my apartment by the end of this month, but that leaves me very little time to do a lot of things i need to do! most pressing of which is deciding where i will move to! i have narrowed it down from about 20 to 3 solid options-- either i will move to chiang mai (and get a nice cheap house on the edge of town where i can have a dog, a vespa, and my sexy little boyfriend). or i will move back to the states- i am talking to a pretty good job in boulder, colorado, and i actually think i could cheerfully handle a dose of american life for about 6 months. OR i will stay in bangkok and work for 2 companies from here- one in hong kong and one in singapore. both very good opportunities. things will fall into place soon, but in the meantime i am in limbo- a familiar state which is always rather frustrating! but i have some distractions coming by, including one of the loves of my life, my japanese boy taka, on his way to visit me this coming weekend (!!!) it is kind of exhilirating to be at this crossroads, like being in a "choose your own adventure" book, and to imagine which adventurous path i will be led down. i am going to "let it flow" and any one of them is really okay with me. for the first time in awhile i am truly happy with my life and whatever comes. :)

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