5 things I didn’t know I would miss in Thailand
When I moved to Thailand I knew there would be a lot of things I would miss from home and about living in the United States. For instance, I knew that cheese would be a rarity and I would suffer greatly from the lack of it. I also was prepared for the inevitability of missing my friends and family. However, now that I am here there are some things I never would have imagined that I would have missed so much. So if you’re thinking about moving to Thailand here are a few things you might want to prepare for as well.
Snow can be one of those things that we hate when it’s there and we hate when it’s not there. As a university student, it served the function of potentially giving us a snow day and made for some fun times, but more often than not it was just a hassle that meant cold weather, limited productivity, shoveling and, eventually, mud. So when I decided on Thailand I didn’t really think much about having a winter without snow or cold weather. Now, with snow blanketing my hometown and college town, I find myself longing that immaculate scene of a fresh snowfall and the crisp air that comes with it. Of course this longing is only escalated by the fact that last week in my current hometown averaged 90 degrees.
You know when you’re walking around a city and you finish drinking the bottle of water or the snack that you bought with you and you are left holding a bit of trash. In many cities, you can likely unburden yourself at the next corner. In Thailand, you’d better have a place to put your trash in the meantime because you will likely be holding it until the next time you sit down somewhere. It’s not in just a few places that I’ve noticed this. So far, every city I’ve visited, with the partial exception of Bangkok, has an auspicious lack of trash cans. It’s not a big deal of course, but it’s a need encountered just often enough to make the issue noticeable.
Never in my life would I ever have expected to miss having the occasional burger since, you know, I’m a vegetarian and all. In my last semester of college I began to explore the thrilling world of vegetarian burgers and began eating them once or twice a week. Over the summer, I largely forgot about burgers and indeed for the first few months in Thailand I didn’t think much of the general lack of burgers available. But then on my trip to Mae Sot a few weeks ago, I ate a veggie burger so good, that I have since been planning a trip back just to have another burger. Since then, I’ve been reminiscing about burger nights in college with my good friend and dreaming about the burgers I will make when I back home.
Songs that aren’t covers
So it turns out in Thailand that they will occasionally play songs hailing from the west. However, and this is no exaggeration, maybe 95 percent of those songs I heard are covers. And I don’t mean covers like the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ cover of “Higher Ground.” I mean some no-name with a guitar or piano takes a song, slows it down and sings it terribly. Yet these are the versions of western songs that are blaring throughout Thailand. The worst offender: my local steak restaurant, which I frequent due to their convenient location, air-conditioner and free Wifi. They play the same barebones piano covers of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, “The Girl from Ipanema”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” and other such classics which I will likely never be able to listen to again no matter what version. This phenomena of popular covers is one of the stranger parts of living in Thailand.
I don’t necessarily miss the everyday conversations that are frequent in a country where you speak the language. But I am beginning to really, really miss having real, thoughtful discussions with someone else that has opinions. I am, luckily, watching from afar as Donald Trump threatens to
ruin everything become president, and turmoil continues in the Middle East. And though I’m not the most opinionated person, current events are something I know to be important and care about. But in my small Thailand community, discussing these issues is impossible for two reasons. The first of course being the insurmountable language barrier and the second being that people here just don’t really care. So if anyone wants to Skype for a few hours and trade opinions about really anything, don’t hesitate to reach out.