Living in Bangkok has opened my eyes to many things. I’ve learned to just take things slow and not be too restricted by time. I’ve also learned that even in a relatively peaceful country, underhanded activities such as prostitution and mafias do exist. It just reminded me that in life you will always encounter good and bad situations. Whether you’re happy or sad will very much depend on what you focus on. These are the things I focus on that put a smile on my face everyday.
- I live in an apartment which is considered middle class. The setup is a bachelors. The furniture is very basic and it’s stuff that I use everyday. We have a pool, sauna and a gym. Yet the rent is much less than I’d pay back home for a similar apartment. And the treatment from the staff is certainly much more than I’d get back home. What stands out for me the most is how the security guards will often stand up and greet the tenants as they walk in and out. That was so amusing to me when I moved in. I tried to get them to stop but they wouldn’t hear of it. The poor men must get so exhausted by the end of the day. I reckon they don’t even need the gym. Anyway, what this has taught me is that it’s possible to survive on much less in life. We really don’t need all the extra stuff. My life has become much more simple materially. And that has made me much happier.
- I love going to the colourful markets or floating markets to buy some cheap clothing. In fact, it’s not all about buying but just to experience walking around and looking, while eating some delicious coconut ice cream or other street food.
- It’s relatively safe. When I walk around at night, I don’t have to constantly look over my shoulder to check if a gun wielding gangster is out to get me. I must admit though, that they stray dogs do make me quite nervous. I mean it’s not easy encountering a dog in another country. You can’t just chase it away by saying ‘voetsek’ like we do back home. Thankfully, I haven’t had any issues with the dogs.
- I take delight in going to the market everyday to buy some fresh and delicious produce at a very cheap rate. The local vendors are always smiling and they really appreciate it when you speak try to them in Thai.
- The staff at 7/11 will always greet you and welcome you every time you go there. I’ve never felt so welcome going to a local store. Speaking of feeling welcome, I feel the same when I go to a restroom in a big mall. The cleaners will greet you and welcome you as you walk in. To my surprise, I found that they also thank you when you leave. It’s as if you’ve done something that’s worthy of commendation.
- I absolutely love the fact that there’s always an exotic destination just a stone throw away, that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. I’ve had the pleasure of going on many excursions here in Thailand, and yet I feel there’s still so much more to do.
- I love going to my local street food vendors. I have my favourite dishes which cost a lot less than restaurant food and sometimes taste better. A smile goes a long way with the vendors and in return, they treat you very well.
- I love the general vibe that I can’t explain in words. I’m not sure if it’s the eclectic nature of the city, where there is a lovely mix of modern and sophisticated buildings and some ancient and more rustic buildings, not to mention the beautiful temples that are scattered about. Or is it the way the people interact with each other, from the vendors who chatter among themselves in such a manner that you wish you knew what they were talking about, to the motorcycle drivers who stand in street corners, looking cool and ready for action. Maybe it’s the contagious smile of the people that leaves me feeling happy and forces me to be a ‘full glass’ kind of girl.
I could write more but I think I’ll stop right here. All I can say is that living in Bangkok has given me a new perspective on life and for that I’ll be forever grateful.