Exactly one year ago I left my best friend and adopted family in Seattle and ended up alone in an unfamiliar place with no friends, no job, and no idea what I was doing. I was terrified. But 12 months later I have found myself in love with this place I now call home. I have a good (albeit sometimes challenging) job, a gang of incredible friends, bandmates to play music with, and an amazing guy I’m lucky enough to share my time with these days.
It hasn’t always been easy. There were months when I was barely making enough money to get by. There were motorbike accidents, and unemployment, and broken relationships, and the relentless battles with depression and anxiety. But on the whole, this year has been overwhelmingly good.
One of the things that marks life as an expat in Thailand so distinctly is the impermanence of it all. The one guarantee that nothing is guaranteed. Chiang Mai is so often a place of transition for people, here for a few months or a few years, and then drifting on to new places and new people. The goodbyes are as prevalent as the hellos in a city with an ever-shifting population. At first I wondered why I should bother to take the time to make new friends when they would just leave a few months later. And in some cases, it wasn’t worth it to invest in those short term relationships. But sometimes I have found that the most profound impacts in my life have been made by people I’ve known just a short time. One week traveling in the islands. A few days passing through Chiang Mai. A night, a month, a year. I am so grateful for the people who have passed through my life here, even the ones who are already gone from it.
I am learning, difficultly and stubbornly, to appreciate the life I have right now. Not the one I hope I will have in months to come. Living here necessitates living in the moment, however unnaturally that comes to me, and I am trying hard to embrace it. The people I am lucky enough to have in my life now may not be in it next year. And so, as ever, I try to to appreciate how endlessly incredible this life is, despite its changes and difficulties. As I look back on the past year living in Thailand, I am struck by how truly lucky I am to have gotten to live my life in this beautiful place.
2016, it’s been real. 2017, you’ve got a lot to live up to ❤️