Monday, May 21, 2012

Stayin' Alive!

“Hello there! What do you want? A book to read, a game to play, a movie to watch? A dress to buy? A whopping big burger? Food that is familiar to your palate? Some shoes perhaps? A house? A job? Some chocolates, just for  a badly needed high? Kicks, maybe. And perhaps some friends? …”
Now maybe you think I have come to the punchline of the advertisement, which will say something like…..”Why worry? We are there for you. Trust us. Yours truly.”
And to mind will come a visual of a robot holding Aladdin’s lamp! Imagine!
Isn’t this what you are looking for? A robot with Aladdin’s lamp?

Loaded with memories of home, I kept asking myself these questions about what I want, and how to get them, as I came in and tried to settle in a new country in a service apartment, and tried to order my breakfast and figure out where to buy that book from. Friends would come later; once that physical and intellectual craving was taken care of, I would sure go out and make friends.

And the robot with Aladdin’s lamp was so elusive, believe me. He would peer at me from behind the windows and then run away… just when I thought I had him to sort out all my woes, I would hear him chuckle, and hide.

Right then, I just wanted to stay alive. Didn’t want to be hidden behind piles of curtains and heaps of cushions. And rows of plates and boxes of cutlery, stickered black and yellow. Wanted to open my eyes and appreciate the freshly painted apartment we were going to hire and move into, once our cargo arrived. I just love the smell of a freshly painted house. Have always loved it.

And figure out where I could keep the marble top wrought iron table or the heritage sandstone artefact, and where to hide the shoe rack. Considering that we had shipped very basic stuff for the house, and that we would be looking for a bigg-ish apartment, I knew it would take time to fill it up and make it look as cluttered as homes usually do! Comfortably cluttered…. I am not the kind who believes in a house done up in five-star style with not a hair out of place. So I could go mad about shopping because there would be so much space to put all that into.

All the rambling made me confused. What did I really want? I knew what I did not want: I did not want to be doing mindless things. I did not want to just hang around doing nothing. Its in the mind, you fool! Screamed my head. Stick your neck out and see- this is the land of smiles where the warmth envelopes you. There is so much to do! As my head screamed, I was already feeling better; more like I belonged. More like I should really stick my neck out and listen, read, learn, imbibe. And do.

So where do I begin? I searched for a clue- for two days I read the papers, end to end, sitting in that service apartment and had myriad mugs of coffee, both black and latte. No clue. Asked the service desk, the concierge, the taxi driver, the tuk tuk man. Everyone tried to help. I had so much of information and again I asked myself: “Where do I begin?” Was clueless.

A long weekend was drawing near so my husband and I went out for a trip nearby; a small non commercial beach village called Cha Am with Hua Hin, a bigger, better beach town, in close proximity. Saturday was a really lazy afternoon, we had had enough of beer in the October sun, so sitting in one of the shacks which proudly proclaimed free wi-fi for its customers, my MacBook Pro beckoned. The famous apple glowed and looked irresistible. Sat and began typing random words in the search engine. Top of mind were words like expat, new country, job, housing, holiday, places, shopping…… the search threw up some astronomical number of links- I was too ‘beered’ to read each one. A link on the first page of the search took me to I was pleasantly surprised to read that whatever I had shyly written on my blog was all here too, by so many different people in so many different parts of the world. How close I felt that day to each one who had shared their hearts and mind on the blog!

I turned to my husband to tell him about this treasure house of empathetic emotions and proof of our sanity, but I found him taking a power nap. He looked so cute…. I realized I hadn’t felt this light for a long time. Maybe I was too full of the pressures of relocation. Maybe I felt I was all wrong? But now, I sure felt good! I am glad we came for this weekend break. I am glad I surfed. I am glad there are so many people in this world going through a similar experience. This is a lovely place and we are going to enjoy ourselves! I know it.

Having worked all my life, I wanted to see what I could do here to make it worth my while. Would I go on being a trailing spouse? Or was there a way to productivity. So back to, where I could understand what it takes for an expat to work in Thailand…The rules, the documentation, the opportunities.

I was sure I wanted to have my own blog listed here. I would be so happy if everyone who read my blog would feel as good as I did, when I read theirs! Was easy! I did it!

And then, when we got back to Bangkok, it seemed much smarter, easier to manouevre. I began learning the language and loved it. I am still learning the tonality though, with each passing day,  and it is difficult for me with my deadpan cultivated voice which is the requirement for debates, elocution, lecturing, training. But I am sure I will learn.

The robot with Aladdin’s lamp is not so elusive anymore and gets my work done. In fact, I have had many house guests and the robot has been kind!

The house is big and I am still shopping. Though sometimes I do wish I had stayed on in the service apartment- their bruschettas were amazing and I can eat them all my life and not      grow tired of them. I used to have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner. And they only have it in the room service menu. So am seriously thinking of spending a weekend in the service    apartment! Only for the bruschettas. Oops! did I spell it right? The 'bruschettas', I mean?