The grass is always greener; whether it be on the other side of the world or the other side of your street, you always want what you can’t have. I’m finding that is the painful truth having moved to work abroad.
It’s not that we don’t appreciate the things we do have, but you don’t realize what it is you are going to miss the most until you are here, living without it. You will be sensing the absences of things as if they were a part of your body—as if they actually mattered. In most cases, they don’t.
After I spent the afternoon poolside, I found myself suddenly bursting into tears over the thought of snow.
For example, I found myself drying off after a cool shower and suddenly bursting into tears over the thought of snow. Meanwhile, I had spent the afternoon poolside, finishing up a book I wouldn’t recommend to even the most eager reader, and here I was, tears mixing with the dampness of my hair over the thought of crunching boots trudging through winter’s first white blanket. Many of my friends back home would be disappointed at my inability to appreciate wholeheartedly the idea of laying out in the brutal sun in February, but what can I do?
I’m not here to scare you away from the idea of working abroad over something as simple as an absence of a particular season you are fond of, but rather warn you of the seemingly mundane things you will miss while working abroad.
The things I would do to lay on my floor and have my two dogs hover over me, saliva absentmindedly falling from their mouths, of which I swear are smiling.
Nellie and Olive are their names. I find myself missing their humdrum company all the time. This could possibly be explained by the horrible street dog problem Thailand has. There are strays everywhere, balls that need snipping swinging without rhythm back and forth, as they search for food, shelter and a comfortable place to doze.
Whether it’s a cat, dog or an extremely witty beta fish, you will find yourself oddly missing your pets, so be sure to give them one last big hug before you jet off to change the world. (Except the fish. Don’t hug the fish.)
As I said before, bursting into tears over a lack of snowfall isn’t something I would normally do if snow were to overlook Kansas for one change of season. There’s something about knowing it will not snow here in Thailand no matter what. . .I just want it to. I can’t explain it.
That being said, wherever it is around the world you find yourself, try not to dwell on the season your country misses out on. Whether it’s too rainy, too dry or too cold for that matter, appreciate it. Never did I think I would be burnt in the month of February, yet here I am, gently applying aloe to my peeling shoulders.
I find myself missing transportation, the simplicity of it, back in Kansas. I am from the suburbs, had my own car and any place around town that was over a 30-minute drive was considered a trek. Having moved to the city of Bangkok, I now realize I must allot myself about two hours to get anywhere (that is, if I want to be on time). Maybe some of you will have the opposite effect and will move from a large city to a rural town in the middle of nowhere. Either way, transportation is one thing I definitely took for granted back home.
I sound selfish when I dwell on things I am missing. Most of the people I work with will never own a car; poverty takes away something many of us don’t even realize is a privilege in the first place. I only point out the things you may miss so that you can acknowledge them, say your goodbyes and embark on a journey where you will find yourself immersed in many new things you never realized you wanted until you work abroad.
I took a job teaching because I wanted to change the world, but I learned how much I truly enjoy the company of children. I would have never discovered this about myself until I settled down to have my own, which will not be any time soon.
When I think of the future and returning home—wherever and whenever that may be—I realize how many things I will long for after leaving Thailand. It is easier to remember and mope about the things back home that I miss, because I know I will be there again. As for my home in Thailand, I cannot begin to fathom to say my goodbyes to the many things I have grown to love while working here, from the people, to my school and everything in-between.Add this article to your reading list