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As some of you may have guessed already, this born and bred Canadian chica has flown her butt across the ocean to the ever sunny and hot Bangkok. I’m here to work full time with a company expanding in Southeast Asia and it’s been wicked so far. I’m not here to party my flip flops off or gawk at all the amazing street food because been there, done that. Ok, I’m still staring at everyone’s food but I’ve come here to learn and grow something BIG.
The decision to move across the world and become a “hipster” expat was made in less than two weeks time. I dropped the bomb on my mum during the ride to Christmas dinner and I told my brother while he was still groggy with sleep. Clearly, this was not at all planned in any logical way but everyone took it into stride…somewhat. I think they were just as dumbfounded as I was.
I’m currently writing this post sitting in a beanbag chair decked out in a slip dress and Birkenstocks while nibbling on a papaya salad. Take that Canadian winter! Here are the whimsical steps leading up to this moment in time:
1. Stay in denial for at least seven days
When the offer letter surfaced from the holiday HR craze, I immediately went into denial. I kept this secret from everyone apart from a couple of friends until I was sure I was going. Working in Bangkok seemed so close yet at the same time, crazy far and such a scandalous decision. You can imagine how twisty my brain got trying to absorb the repercussions of my choice.
I say stay in this phase for only seven days because you do actually need time to kick into high gear and plan, plan, plan. I had three days. Don’t end up broke and starving in another country yo.
2. Book your plane ticket ASAP!
One of the reasons I couldn’t shake off my denial was because I hadn’t booked my ticket until two weeks after accepting my offer letter. Once the Expedia transaction for a one-way ticket was complete, I sat and stared at my screen for a solid 15 minutes before picking up the phone and informing everyone that this was truly happening.
3. Say good-bye to the 416
Cancel your phone, just do it. Don’t be like me and think you’ll come back for the number you’ve had for six years. It’s not worth paying for a service you aren’t even using especially when $30 in Thailand can get you a weekend getaway to a nearby island. I had to beg my BFF to harass my phone company to finally bid my precious 416 number goodbye.
4. Have as many going away dinners as possible.
I’m extremely apologetic that I wasn’t able to meet with everyone I hoped to because I was running around trying to sort out life. I’m extremely thankful my friends made grabbing a meal with me a priority so we could joke one more time before my bon voyage. I also received sentimental but characteristically sarcastic letters to laugh at on the plane so for that I #loveyoulongtime even more 12,000km from home.
5. Raid Costco
Although I did procrastinate, I packed like a pro. I didn’t need to purchase anything the first week apart from food thanks to my loaded stash of sunscreen, MAC lipstick, and shampoo. BAM, I stayed clean, well-rested and organized. Top essentials: sunscreen, a hat, sneakers, a backpack, toothbrush/toothpaste and many, many pairs of fresh underwear.
6. Don’t leave anyone hanging
If you’re running from a problem and think an ocean’s distance will make you forget, it won’t. Email conversations aren’t going to mend broken relationships and convey your emotions properly so please don’t make the same mistake I did and solve your problems before leaving.
My first two weeks in Bangkok were exhilarating yet at the same time, a solid emotional kick in the gut. I would be relishing the thrill of walking down the bumpy road and passing temples and yet feel close to tears knowing the fact that my friends were no longer an agonizing TTC bus ride away. I’m slowly learning that #BKKlife humbles me, challenges me and keeps my mind in constant motion and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Keep calm and eat mango sticky rice,