Beginning of an Expat Life

I’M BACK!!

This, admittedly, won’t be a super riveting or fascinating post.  Just wanted to post a quick message about what I’ve been up to on my first 10 days back in Bangkok…

When we last left this blog in June, I had just returned to Seattle for the summer, with the goal of figuring out a way to return to Thailand in the fall on a more permanent basis.  I won’t go into all the details here, but suffice it to say that things fell into place such that I was able to put all of my furniture etc. into storage, lease out my Seattle house, and return to Bangkok on November 1st.  The month of October was pretty much a blur to me, trying to figure out all the things I needed to do to move half way around the world, but that’s behind me now and it feels so good to be back here in the Land of Smiles!

I mentioned in an early post on the blog about the Thai people’s uncanny trait of remembering people.  When I walked into the apartment building I’m staying at, the girls at the front desk all giggled and remembered me, the girl at the little market next door said “oh, you’re back!”, and the bartender at a bar that I occasionally go to not only remembered me, but remembered that I usually start with a vodka-Red Bull (and I honestly don’t go there that often).   Those kinds of things really help make it feel like “home” here for me.

It’s the “cool season” in Bangkok during November/December.  They take quite a bit of liberty in using the word “cool”, as it simply means the temperatures are generally in the low-90’s (F) during the day, and the humidity isn’t quite as high as the rest of the year.  Believe me, it’s still plenty hot and humid here.  Although I do see a fair number of Thais wearing jackets and sweaters at night (when it cools down to the mid-80s…).  That frankly boggles my mind sometimes, as I am sitting in a pool of my own sweat.

I’ve met up with several of the expats that I met here last year (expat = “expatriate” = person living/working in a foreign country, which is what I am now!), as well as met several new ones.  They’ve all been incredibly helpful in giving me advice and info on all aspects of getting situated and living here.  There’s no shortage of new stuff to learn, so getting help from people who have already gone thru a lot of the learning pains is a great benefit that I’m very thankful for.

I have not yet spent a lot of time looking for work.  I want to get a few “administrative” things taken care of first, like getting local health insurance, getting a permanent apartment, etc. done so that I can then focus my attention on the job market.  Getting a job here often comes from networking and thru mutual connections, as opposed to sending out resumes.  So I’ve started getting involved in some networking activities, joining the American Chamber of Commerce here that does various social and networking events, looking into other technology-related “meet-ups”, and meeting other expats and spreading the word about what I’m looking for.  I’m only a week into it, and it’s been very eye-opening to see and hear about all the opportunities to socialize and meet new people.

I enrolled in a Thai language class and have had my first lesson so far!  There are a fair number of language schools here, but I decided to go with one that was recommended by an expat friend where they offer 1-on-1 lessons as opposed to a classroom of students.  So I have my own teacher, and we meet as often as I want, either in person at the school or online via Skype.  I learned more in the first session than I probably have on all of my trips here over the past 12 years, so I’m really, really looking forward to the rest of the classes.  While I’m not yet working, I plan to spend a fair amount of time each week on my Thai lessons, as I’m sure it will be harder to find the time for them once I start working.

Next weekend on the 18th of November is the annual Bangkok Marathon.  I can’t possibly imagine what it would be like to run 26.2 miles in this kind of heat and humidity, but they do it.  There is one twist on it, however:  The marathon starts at 3:00 in the morning!  It doesn’t cool off all that much at night here, but I guess even a few degrees difference is well worth it, so it makes sense that they run it in the wee hours of the morning.  They have shorter-distance runs that same night, from half-marathon all the way down to 1.5km.  I’m not much of a runner, but I’m kind of thinking about doing the 1.5km run just for the sake of the experience.  If nothing else, it could make for some interesting material for the next blog post! 

Image

A small slice of my big new city

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