After only three days of being back in England, I already felt painfully homesick for Thailand – worse so than my homesickness for England in reverse. When I arrived back at London Heathrow airport, I reveled in the cockney accents and the feeling of ‘fitting in’ with my brethren… But my excitement to be home was short-lived from there on out.
If I can sum up my return to England in three words, it would be: underwhelming, depressing and dull. For the first couple of months anyway… the grey winters of England have a hard time living up to the glitz of Bangkok.
Homesick for Thailand
But! Moving on from my depressing pining for Thailand – until my future return, let’s focus on the things I love about the most amazing country – my true spiritual home – in the world:
- Firstly, the weather: In Thailand it’s always warm and sunny – you can sit outside whenever you want, take a walk whenever you want, or go see friends whenever you want. The warm weather allows people to be much more sociable and flexible in their lives, whereas the weather in many European countries can completely limit people and affects their moods. The permanent greyness and rain really do make you feel caged up and trapped inside your own home.
- Creativity and quirkiness: The Thais are so creative! Now, I’m not talking about music or movies, I’m talking about the little things in daily life. Thai people make so much effort to add a little humour and colour to their homes, stalls, shops etc: Hanging beer can decorations, potted plants, ferry lights, and general clutter make every single street in Bangkok charming and interesting. I returned home to England at Christmas, greeted by a dull slap in the face of poxy, lazy Christmas lights hanging sorrily in the city centre. I mean, really England? Bangkok isn’t even a Christian country yet it’s decorations wiped the floor with the drab, dark streets of Bristol. Somebody in Bristol needs to get fired me thinks.
: Bangkok is modern, young, fresh and creative – I came to the realization that the west evolved/ modernised a little sooner than Asia but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Thailand is just about coming into bloom with all it’s cool new restaurants, sleek bars, colourful office spaces and spectacular sky scrapers. I think this contributes towards Thais exercising a lot more creativity too – ferris wheels at festivals, cheeky mascot characters in office spaces
, and intricate vintage themes in bars. Bangkok is definitely a city for young people. Unsurprisingly, Bangkok has been recently ranked as the number 1 city for expats to live in due to it’s great social life.
- Toilet hygiene: The Thais really do rule the world when it comes to toilet hygiene! I mean, you do not get any cleaner than the toilet’s best friend, the ‘bum gun’ as it is so affectionately called by Thai expats. Coming back to England, I can’t believe we don’t have bum guns in the west… Seriously, I feel like some kind of neanderthal returning to the stone ages… Tissue paper? Really?! (Of course, let’s just ignore the squat toilets in Thailand for now because I really really hate those)
- Thai people: I miss Thai hipsters and their awesome styles; the little pyjama grannies brightening up the backstreets; the cheerful street vendors easily impressed by a farang’s rubbish Thai skills; and I miss the cheeky little ‘krap poms’ I used to hear every now and then (FYI: translates to ‘yes sir!’). Not only do I miss all the colourful characters of Thailand, I also miss that all important attitude that characterizes the Thai race so proudly around the world: The ‘Mai Ben Rai’ attitude. All the petty little things in life – Thai people’s answer is to rationally react with a charming smile… because it just doesn’t matter! Sometimes when you think with clarity and peace of mind, you realise that life’s too short for stupid little quarrels and qualms. But Thai’s think like this all the time – there’s no petty road rage, no over-worrying… nothing matters. That is Mai Ben Rai. When you step in front of a moped without thinking, and brace yourself for some sweary anger, you are pleasantly rewarded with a lovely, warm smile…
- ASBO Free: I think ASBOs are solely an English thing. ASBO = Anti-Social Behaviour Order. This is what we call all the naughty kids and teenagers in England. ASBOs have a tendency to loiter outside corner shops looking ugly and antagonising their elders. But in Thailand… the kids are so well behaved! Awww! Not to mention kids in general are much more quiet and unnoticeable – it’s all about the adults in Thailand, oh yeah!
- The Language barrier: Language barriers can actually sometimes be a good thing – overhearing ‘interactions’ between douchebags in your home country can be pretty depressing. I’m sure there are plenty of douches in Thailand too, but hey, what you can’t see can’t hurt you. I can’t tell when people are being douches in Thailand because I can’t understand what they’re saying. Ignorance is bliss…
- Dignified dressing: In England, as soon as the sun comes out, the streets become a shameless strip show, a nationwide flesh-fest. Generally, people cover up much more of their body in Thailand. Whether this is for humble reasons or because of fear of tanning – to me, it’s all a lot more graceful and dignified. No nude sunbathing, no eyefuls of skin… it’s all just left to the imagination.
- Movie edits and cuts: This one will probably have people shaking their heads in disagreement, but I loved the movie edits when I’d watch Fox movies and HBO in Thailand. With the Thai edits, you end up missing out on the fked up rape scenes and torture scenes in horror films. Watching movies is all a whole lot more pleasant in the protective bubble of Thai TV editing =] (Bring on the happy Disney films any day)
- Food EVERYWHERE: You’re never hungry in Thailand! There’s always a street vendor hiding around the corner somewhere, selling some kind of Thai snack or treat – bags of fruit, meat skewers with chili sauce, sticky rice and cheap Thai meals. Not to mention all the MSG makes everything so damn tasty! Nothing is better than a plate of Khao Man Gai from a street vendor at 3am in the morning after a late evening in the pub.
So for all those of you going through a hard time of homesickness – be strong and stick with it, because Thailand really is a special place =]