Challenge: Not Losing It

As so many things do, it all started with a muffin.

So unassuming. So delicious. **

**Not technically muffins, but you get the idea.

Good Buddy Josh was already having a close-to-losing it moment. He was at the Phuket airport several hours before his scheduled flight back to Bangkok. He was tired, he was run-down, and all he wanted was to be home.

Air Asia would allow him to change his flight to the earlier one, but only for a fee, even though there were seats available. That wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back, though.

That’s where the muffin comes in.

Josh is walking through the airport, feeling out of sorts and on the downside of that cursed culture shock curve, when he sees a bakery-type shop. He sees bread—ok—and cookies—ok—and…muffins. In wrappers. Which are not like the wrappers at home.

And in his head, this is the point when he loses it. He gets seriously pissed off and starts to turn all green and his clothes kind of rip because his muscles are bulging out and he thinks, THAT IS NOT HOW MUFFINS GOOOOOOOOOOO! ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

Luckily, Josh was self-aware enough to pretty much immediately start laughing at himself and realize the ridiculousness of freaking out about a muffin wrapper. He went back to his normal color and went on with his life in Thailand and lived happily ever after.

This is probably more what it looked like: protesting civilly and politely.

As freak-outs go, that one was pretty mild.

And clearly I’m just trying to make myself feel better here, because I have mini freak-outs all the time, but I think that it’s normal to have freak-outs when you’re new to a country. (Hell, it’s normal even when you’re not new to a country—have you ever been in rush hour traffic in the Washington, D.C. area? Or tried to teach in a public school? If you don’t freak out because of either of those, you are super-human. Period.)

About two weeks ago, I could tell my freak-out time was coming. I could just feel it, because little things were starting to bother me that weren’t a problem for me before. I was becoming, mostly in my head—I hope—the dreaded expat whiner.

I could list everything that was getting on my nerves, but it would probably be easier to list what wasn’t getting on my nerves.


  • · Potato chips Nope, just wanted some cheddar and sour cream, which are impossible to find in this country.
  • · Dairy Queen. Nope. Every time I went, they were out of what I wanted. Plus, no Georgia Mud Fudge, which is the best Blizzard flavor ever.
  • · The BTS. Damn you, people, learn how to hold the pole without gluing your entire body to it! Gah.
  • · The lovely weather. It was November. I do not want to be wearing shorts in November. I want to be wearing jackets and boots and frolicking in fallen leaves in November, not sweating my ass off from walking around the corner.

Yeah, so there was pretty much nothing that wasn’t getting under my skin, but I was holding it together pretty well. This was right before our trip to Vietnam, and I figured that a trip outside of Thailand would only help to alleviate some of the stress I was feeling.


I mean: Bwahahahahaha! Because Vietnam? It’s what I imagine Thailand was like before they had, you know, things. And any sort of even pretend traffic laws. Traffic laws in Thailand seem to be kind of like a general idea that people may or may not follow, but in Vietnam the idea of traffic laws is even more general, and the general idea is: Every motorcycle in the world must come together in the exact intersection you want to cross and then not stop, no matter what, especially not for pedestrians, a red light or other oncoming traffic.


So we’re walking around Vietnam our second day there and I’m having a great time. Vietnam is awesome! So vibrant! And the people are nice! And the food is delicious! And the coffee is—words cannot describe! And the bread! The cheese!

Then I get tired and hungry, and you do not want to know me when I’m tired and hungry, believe me.

I’m walking down the sidewalk—oh, excuse me, I mean, I’m trying to walk down the sidewalk. At first, I thought it was charming that the sidewalks were taken up by all sorts of things spilling out from the shops, so you have to walk out on the street.

Then, all of a sudden I snapped, and in my head, I turn into the Hulk and I’m like, RESTAURANTS DO NOT GO IN THE MIDDLE OF SIDEWAAAAAAAAALKS!!!!!!! ARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH! WHY LIKE THIS, VIETNAM? WHY. LIKE. THIS?!

But you make such delicious food!


After my little outburst, I had to take a break from being in the world and sit in the quiet, air-conditioned hotel room for a little while to read. I was okay after that, and I went back to finding everything (mainly) charming.

So, coming back to Thailand ended up being quite a relief, because while the sidewalks are a mess, at least in my neighborhood, you can usually get by the restaurants pretty easily.

Also, Thailand has so many 7-11’s, it’s not even funny. Blessed, blessed 7-11, where you can get whatever you want whenever you want it!

Final Score:

Not Losing It: 1   Megan: 0

People, sometimes you need a breakdown, or a freak-out, or whatever, to get yourself through the day. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!



Filed under Daily Challenge, Living Abroad, Thailand, Trips

10 responses to “Challenge: Not Losing It

  1. Yeah for not losing it!
    Your muffin story reminded me of this German guy that I worked for in Malaysia who had a tantrum in the aisle of the supermarket because they didn’t have the muesli he wanted… oh, and they had failed to correctly label the bottles of water with the right price. Seriously. Screaming. And shaking his fist. And running his cart around all crazy. This went on for at least 20 minutes.
    Meanwhile I was cowering behind a display of apples.
    Crazy expats.

    • Ha! Oh lord, that had me giggling like crazy…and then wincing a little because I have definitely felt like doing that before. Sigh.

      Crazy expats, indeed.

  2. I once attacked a taxi driver in Sofia, Bulgaria with a rolled up street map because he not only drove us far far away to a neighbourhood with the same name as the nearby street I’d shown him on my map, but also took my 20 leva not and chortlingly refused to give me the 12 leva change. I distinctly recall my skin taking on a greenish hue and I tore a really nice shirt when I started to explode and roar. I smacked him across the cheek with the map from the backseat, then got out of the taxi, opened the front door and smacked him again. Yeah, definitely lost it. Poor Doug was waiting for me on the hostel steps, hoping to god the driver wasn’t mafia (because, like… Bulgaria, you know?).

    I also nearly lost it in Romania on a swelteringly hot non-AC train when a family kept crossing the aisle to slam our window shut, scowling at me for potentially leading to their imminent death from draught. Again, poor Doug had to look on as I turned green and waved a large paperback novel menacingly at the patriarchal figure.

    Yay for your post!

    • Oh wow! I think taxi drivers in any country can make you lose it. I once told a taxi driver in DC who refused to take me home, “I wish you very bad luck!” And then I was like–uhhhh? Did I just wish a curse on a man? What the hell?

      Also–hot trains. I think if you don’t lose it on those, you qualify for sainthood or something.

  3. BWAHAHAHA!!! I just found your blog and absolutely love it. I have tears in my eyes from laughing at the fact someone other than myself (I live in BKK too) has noticed that people glue themselves to the entire pole on the skytrain. It takes every ounce of my being to be calm when I step onto the BTS and see that the only viable spot is a pole with an entire person already leaning his/her whole body against it.

  4. Ah, good times, good times.

    I lost it at Hua Hin. So now my ex- thinks I go crazy near large bodies of water. Whatever. Men are stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Oh sorry, that’s another post.

    Thinking of you sweetie ~ hang tough, hugs, lc

  5. arbitraryelephant

    brilliant. i’ve been in bangkok for 3 days and feel always that i will lose it at any moment. or perhaps, silently i have lost it. all the advice is how not to piss off the locals. but i want to complain! i don’t want to insult their king! and i want a cup of tea. and some space. and electrolytes.
    anyway, thanks, it helped.

    • Well, I think it’s okay to complain. It’s not okay to insult the king, of course, as you already said. But…I mean, we’re people, right? We have problems. It’s okay to want a cup of tea and space and electrolytes! Bangkok is a hot, crowded place!

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