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My move to Bangkok; What I couldn't prepare for pt 1 - By Liza Valon

My move to Bangkok; What I couldn’t prepare for pt 1

Now after some time of being away from home there are a few fundamental, things I learned. This is part 1 where I will share what I learned about the culture difference when i moved to Thailand.

When at the end of June I knew I would be in Thailand for 6 months I had time to prepare. 4 months to organize all the practical stuff like resign, luckily it wasn’t my dreamjob. Cancel and clean out my apartment and figuring out and planning for everything that had to do with starting my own business.
And I used this time to prepare for the mental part of leaving. Like collecting all of my favorite things to bring to Thailand like books to read, notebooks to write down all my thoughts and learnings and my watercolor stuff. All to be with my creative self. These upcoming months would be me myself and I living happily ever after enjoying the alone time in a foreign country where I could completely indulge in a new culture.

Becoming part of a culture is a choice

Now I must say living in Bangkok; this is a pretty big city. And it is nothing compared to the big cities I’ve ever been traveling to (Jakarta is close but even that is so different). So this may not apply for the thai culture in general. But I find It hard to connect with the people and culture here.
I heard from thai citizens that outside of Bangkok it is different. When I travelled to islands or small villages in Thailand, the scenery and vibe is indeed different. But still, the language (they don’t speak english well), and distant and strict behaviour of the people sometimes made it hard for me to even want to get to know the culture better.
So why is it a choice? I believe If I would go to a school or have a job here and speak a bit of the language it would be easier to connect. The reason why I’m here is not because of school or a job. And learning the language doesn’t seem beneficial to me in the long run. Learning a language is always a great part of a culture and therefore the feeling you have being connected with the culture yes or no .

My way to become part of this culture

So I figured out a way to become part of this culture within my wanting and capabilities.
What I did choose was to live in a 100% thai neighbourhood, a bit outside of the center of Bangkok, with just some tourists and expats here and there. Also the gym where I train is owned by a thai family and the gym is located right in the middle of their living space in a square in the middle surrounded by their houses where the whole family and friends live. I join yoga classes where I would often be the only western person. The different yoga trainers often don’t speak english, so I learned some thai words there. And of course the food, that for me was easy to become familiar with and incorporate in my new cultural habits. I love soup, curry and spicy food. So yea every day I would eat at least 1 thai meal.

With these learnings I’m ready for my new adventure. You guessed it, i’ll probably not move back ‘home’ anytime soon, or ever. My upcoming plans are to return to the Netherlands for a month or less. Staying at a friends house. Preparing for my Yoga Teacher Training in India starting in may. And figuring out what country will be my next home. I also learned home is where you make it. It’s a mindset. A mindset I’m not yet done cultivating.