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By Inspire Guest Writer
When I first stepped out of Suwarnabhumi airport into the sweltering heat of a Thursday afternoon in August I had no idea what to make of my new home. After two highly enjoyable years in China I fancied a change; and Bangkok certainly provided that. Everything was so bright, colourful and in your face. I loved it. Everything was available and possible here. All those home comforts not available in China were on my doorstep. I was in heaven and for my first few months everything was wonderful.
Was Bangkok too much for me?
Three months in and the niggles started to appear. BTS queues, never-ending traffic, less than helpful taxi drivers. Small things, but things that were beginning to mount. I was starting to think that there was something wrong with me. I had a nice central apartment, job that I enjoyed and enough salary to have fun. Compared to my friends in the UK I had an amazing life so why wasn’t I content? I soon realised that even though I was living and working in Thailand I felt as if I could have been anywhere. I was surrounded by mega malls full of western brands. 7-11, Starbucks, KFC, McDonalds. Sure, I ate a lot of Thai food and had Thai friends that I hung out with but it still felt… shallow, empty. I didn’t like this at all and after another few months I’d made up my mind to leave and return to Europe. I felt like a failure, I’d made it through a few years of struggling to understand culture in China and was giving up on Thailand after six months of luxury.
…But then everything ‘clicked’
Then everything changed. I changed jobs and moved out of centre into a muban near the airport. Thailand seemed to suddenly click for me. Take away the endless mall strips and condo blocks, replace them with local restaurants and tree lined lakes and I quickly felt at home. Then I blinked and two years passed. One thing that Thailand is extremely good at doing is making you lazy. I’ve yet to find a place that makes everything quite so convenient for you. As I’m writing this I am preparing to leave Thailand again and I am going to miss the place terribly. I’ll miss the friendliness of the people and I really do not know how I will cope without Thai food. This is a country of great divides and great contradictions. When I arrived I wasn’t sure what to make of this strawling, centreless city and while I’m not sure I get it any better now I have learned to love it for what it is. Goodbye Bangkok, I’ll never forget you.