Well today officially marks 1 year of being back in the great state of Texas. So why am I still here in this traffic infested, mosquito the size of golf balls, hot state & not back in Thailand like I had intended to be…
Well the story goes like this:
The school year in Thailand ends in March & starts back up in June. With a little over 2 months off, I was planning to head home at the end of March (as my contract had been fulfilled). However, I was asked to stay through to the end of April so I could help with summer school I & II. I was a little hesitant at first because I really wanted to get home to see my family – My intentions were to go back for my 30th birthday and my brothers high school graduation and come back to Thailand at the end of June to start the new school term. Wellllll, lets just say things didn’t exactly go as planned.
Before I dish out the scoop, I have added some fun photos.
My first term in Thailand was tough, I was new and trying to get adjusted to life on an island, so making friends was a tad difficult. The teachers during my term were very friendly, but I didn’t really have a buddy buddy connection with them. So at the end of the school term, I was asked to help with the summer session because they were short teachers. I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure how things would pan out, but something inside kept urging me to to say yes, so I followed my gut and made the commitment. After all it was just an additional 30ish days, plus the extra money would be nice to have for when we arrived home.
Let me just say, after summer session I didn’t want to leave. I LOVED the new teachers! I finally felt a sense of belonging and didnt want to let that feeling go.
Below are the wonderful new teachers we made friends with.
During the summer session Frank and I were going out more, drinking more and laughing A LOT more. These people were amazing and the best part was their mindsets were the same as ours – living life free and easy. There were many late night karaoke sessions, speeding tickets, lounging in Gerhard’s bad-ass infinity pool that overlooked the ocean, deep sea swimming, chatting about our future dreams with a cold beer in the ocean, joining friends for musical sessions around a fire on a dark moonlit night, ALOT of fun people watching on Patong Road, getting soaked at Sokran, learning to drive a scooter & falling off many times. Ahhh, yes! Those were the days.
But, like all great things – our time was coming to an end. May was slowly creeping up and we knew we’d be departing back to the good ol USA soon.
On our final day in Thailand, we celebrated the night at our favorite local restaurant in Phuket Town, The Cafe, with our new found friends. About 25 people showed up and we merrily drank, shared jokes, memories of our first encounters to the island, hopes, dreams, fears, leaving the beautiful island behind and the hope of coming back within the next two months. It wasn’t goodbye, it was see ya later for now.
After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel, where we packed our luggage for the last time and called Bank (our taxi driver we always used). After a small mix up with the cab – our driver finally showed up around midnight. We made our 45 min drive up to the airport, grabbed our HEAVY ass suitcases and made our way to the immigration line to board the plane. After what felt like 2 hours of standing in line, we finally approached the counter, handed over our visas and were ready to sit down on the plane. My visa was stamped and I grabbed my bag and waited for Frank. However, after I turned around I noticed the counter man talking to an immigration officer, questioning Frank on his visa. After a minute, they grabbed us both and walked us to an office marked “IMMIGRATION” in big red letters. We sat down in the chairs and they began questioning us on why we were in Thailand. I kept thinking this must be a huge misunderstanding because they kept telling us we overstayed our welcome and Frank’s visa was 166 days overdue. I was scared and nervous because I had no idea what they would do and our plane was departing in roughly 30 minutes. After about 10 minutes of interrogation, they decided we could leave after paying 1200 baht (roughly 600 US dollars) and banned Frank from Thailand for 1 full year. Apparently, when we first came to Thailand they mis-stamped Franks passport – he was on an O Visa which allowed him 1 full year to be with me, since I was on a working Visa. A lot of confusion later, we were released and boarded our plane.
We made our plane with literally a few minutes to spare. It was dark outside and this saddened me because I really wanted to fly off in good spirits about leaving Thailand. However, the whole immigration ordeal disrupted all my happy thoughts and I was glad to be heading home. However, we got a final laugh when Frank was stared down by a Thai man. He definitely had an “eye” on Frank the majority of the flight.
Needless to say, it has been a year since that whole debacle and we still talk about going back! I miss the beautiful beaches, the delicious Thai food, the friendly people and the Thai coffee & tea. We named so many people out there…we had the “egg lady” the “meat man” the “soup lady” and the “coffee lady.” They always knew our order and were very pleased to see us on the daily when we popped in.
One final note:
Thailand left me with many wonderful memories. The one thing I really learned was finding inner peace; something I didnt have before my year spent there.
I find that I talk less, listen more and appreciate life around me. Thailand is like that, it changes you…life is so beautiful and peaceful there, its hard to get caught up in stress or drama. Returning to the US was an eye opener…I realized we live in a world full of noise, chaos, traffic and stress.
I definitely walk slower, appreciate nature more and tune out the noise – which I have found is surprisingly easy.
I miss Thailand, but I know that it was an experience Frank and I will always have together and a place we will eventually visit again!
So like the Thais say: SAWATDEEKAH