I haven’t lived with my parents for more than a summer since I was 17, but for the past week or two, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, completely disoriented, thinking that I’m in my childhood bedroom. It takes me a few minutes to realize that I’m in Bangkok and that those lights outside the window are buildings, not stars, and then it takes me a few more minutes to settle back into uneasy sleep.
My bedroom at my parents’ house is tiny. It’s literally the width of two twin beds, with enough space at the end for a dresser and a bookshelf. The wallpaper, which I picked out when I was 10, is little-girl pink, has little flowers all over it, and is pretty hideous, let’s be honest. The sun comes blaring in full-blast in the mornings, warming the room up and making it impossible to sleep late. My mom bought a day bed for me when the room was transformed from her sewing room to my bedroom, and now I always bang my head or smash my face on the railing when I turn over in my sleep. It’s a cozy room, to be sure, but not exactly comfortable.
And now I’m crying. Because when I dream about being back in that bedroom, it means I’m so homesick that it’s crept into my sub consciousness, that it’s invaded my brain so deeply that the only way it can come out is at night, when I can’t block it out.
Denial, people. It’s not just a river in Egypt.
Why I’m really crying, though, is because I know it’s time for me to leave Bangkok, to leave Thailand.
Not for a visit.
For what I’m calling “an indefinite trial period back home” because that makes it easier to deal with.
It’s been a long time since I cried about leaving a place. I lived in Japan for a year and a half and when I left, I was like—“See ya, suckers!” When I left Maryland again after having been there for five years (eight years total, including my previous time there), I felt relieved. And this may sound heartless, but it’s been years since I cried about leaving my family. I’ve come and gone enough that it’s gotten less difficult to handle, relatively (ahahaha! Relatively! Ahem).
So why am I leaving Thailand, if it upsets me so much?
Ugh, that’s not an easy question. All I can say is that it feels like it’s time to leave. I didn’t come here with the intention of staying long-term. “Neither did I!” protest my friends who have been here for years and years. “You can stay forever, too!”
Yeah, I could, but when I see myself six months or a year in the future, it’s hard to see myself here. It’s hard to see myself not here, too, though. Gah.
The thing is, this has been one of the best years of my life, by far. Maybe even the best. I’ve had some incredible ups and downs (and I learned to use clichés for good, not evil!). I spent some time wallowing in the mud and being depressed and miserable and hating life, and I spent some time being happier than I can ever remember being. That’s okay; that’s how life goes. I mean, you take the good…you take the bad…and then if you take them both, there you have the facts of life.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known, grown closer to two of the best men I already knew, and had a year of mostly being a lady of leisure who lunches.
I originally came here because I needed a break. Or something. Basically, I wanted to live abroad again, and Brock and Josh were coming to Bangkok, so I joined in on the fun. I had no particular interest in Thailand, really. I would have moved to, I don’t know, Somalia, if that’s where my best buds were going, but I am thankful that they have more sense than that.
Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, is one of those places that gets to you, in both the positive and negative way. I love being here. What’s not to love?
3. “This woman (Note from Megan: That’s ME!) certainly has every right to exist, even exist in Thailand, where she is predictably ignored by all males, farang and Thai (and it drives her NUTS!)…And bitches like this (she’s not even hot by any stretch of the imagination, so I can only imagine the gross creatures who would actually hit on her…but still…) wonder why normal guys flee their Western countries for Thailand, so they can actually meet women and DO something with them…??” –Excerpt of a comment from a loving anonymous commenter on a loving anonymous Thai forum (Dear Sir: You are right–I do personally wonder WHY you couldn’t get laid back in your home country! Clearly you have a sparkling personality!)
Erm. Okay, okay, clearly the nostalgia has already set in. Obviously, there are plenty of things not to love, but I’m trying to be positive! It’s the new and improved Megan!
What it comes down to is, for now, I feel like I’m ready to be back in the United States for a bit. Maybe I’ll be back in Thailand in a few months. Maybe I’ll write everybody and say, sheepishly, “Oh, uh, hey guys, remember me? It’s Megan…yeah…I’m coming back…” And Melanie and Eric, who have been my gracious hosts for the past couple of months, will be like, “OH CRAP. Um, our second bedroom is full! Of…uh…cheese…or…and our Netflix is…broken…wow, look at the time! Gotta run!”
It could happen. Really. Not the part about Melanie and Eric (I wouldn’t believe they would allow Netflix to be broken, for one). The part about me coming back. What if I get home and hate it? Wah!
In any case, as I said, I’m calling this “an indefinite trial period back home” because if I tell myself I’m leaving Thailand FOREVER, I will have a serious freak out. If I think how I have been living in the same city as Brock and Josh for 8 years (more or less), and how I will soon be very, very, very far away from them, I start to feel the need to curl up in the fetal position and whimper my way through the afternoon. I got over leaving my family in Missouri a long time ago, but Brock and Josh have been my family-away-from-family for a long time. Now I’m going to have to leave them, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Well, by plane, clearly, although a cruise ship could have been a fun alternative, now that I think about it. What I’m really concerned about is how I’m going to leave them and maintain my sanity. (SHUT IT!)
But I’m leaving. I’m really doing it. Does that sound like I’m trying to convince myself? I think I still am.
When I told my buddy Dwight that I was leaving, he said, “Yeah…you’re going to have to start practicing talking about this like it’s not a death sentence.”
So: Oh my god! Ponies and unicorns! Hooray! I cannot wait to get back to the Land of the Free!
I reserve the right to return to Thailand at any point, though, and I also reserve the right to leave the US and go somewhere else, at any point. You have been warned.
Also, I’m preemptively apologizing to everybody back home, because there will be some point when, despite myself, I go to a Thai restaurant and say, “YOU WANT ME TO PAY HOW MUCH FOR THIS?!” And then I will mutter under my breath, “This isn’t even authentic. Bunch of crap.” And then it’s entirely possible I will try, like a total dbag, to speak to the waiter in Thai, and will then find out the waiter is Korean. And then you will all hate me for being pretentious and obnoxious. I’m sorry! If it makes you feel any better, I will also be hating myself.
It’s kind of unclear what I’m going to do with this blog. Since I’m not going to be in Bangkok, it might be odd if I were to continue writing about, you know, being in Bangkok. I’ll be writing on this site for at least another month, though, as I still have incredibly important things to say and stories to tell. I might end up rolling everything over into another blog, but I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure you’ll lose sleep over it in the meantime.
In case you were wondering, my plane leaves here in the wee hours of the morning on August 17. There will be a see-you-later party (NOT a goodbye party) at some point, and if you ever wanted to meet me out for a drink and tell me how awesome/horrible I am, now’s your chance! Lunch? Coffee? Let me know!
When I leave here, I’m flying first to San Francisco to visit some cheese one of my best, most awesomest friends (you can’t have her–she’s mine!), then flying home to Missouri the day before my birthday! East Coasters, I’m planning on heading your way in early September.
My final plan is to settle in Denver, where my sister, brother-in-law, and a couple of my best friends from college are. I’ve been wanting to live out there for a long time, and I might as well give something new a try. Again.