‘Tis that time of year again where many of us expats feel emotionally conflicted… torn between wanting to continue spending time with family and friends in our home country versus chomping at the bit to get back to what we loosely call ‘routine’ in the life of a global nomad. As I wrap up my visit in Canada, wipe the lone tear rolling down my face while simultaneously calming the excited fluttering in my stomach in anticipation of returning to my adopted home, I can’t help but start a list of the first things I will do upon my return (after the jet lag has passed):
5 things I miss most about Thailand:
1. Massages on the beach – this one I can actually do while still in the throes of the evil jet lag. I can envision the wooden platform on the beach with the faded umbrellas precariously perched on the sand, providing the much needed shade.I can see the broad smile of recognition of my regular massage girl as she sees me coming down the beach waving. And, I can feel the cool ocean breezes swirling around me and hear the waves lapping on the shore as I give in to the soothing strokes of her hands that glide effortlessly with the help of aromatic essential oils. Sigh!
2. Morning coffee on the balcony – I can already hear the melodious chorus of bird song that starts just before sunrise and feel a smile play on my lips. It’ll be back to the old ‘early to be early to rise’ but I don’t mind. I can picture myself inhaling the aroma of the indigenous Thai blooming trees along with the scent of freshly brewed coffee that floats into my olfactory senses as I wrap my hands around my steaming coffee mug, munch on a freshly cut hunk of watermelon and contemplate what the day will bring.
3. Uninterrupted writing time – the number one priority when I get back is to re-instate my regular writing schedule in order to finish my next novel. I’ve kept working while I’ve been traveling, however, it’s been sporadic, mostly keeping up with client copy writing and social media projects. The time in between has been happily allocated to catching up with family and friends (and promoting the launch of my first novel, Mental Pause). Now, the vacation is over and it’s time to return to semi-normal (most expats will attest to the fact that there’s not much that fits the essence of true normalcy in our lives but it’s our brand of normal for which we hunger).
4. Healthy eating – I mentioned the watermelon… which usually accompanies a cornucopia of other fruits daily for breakfast: dragon fruit, mangos, papaya, lychee, rambutan (looks frightening with furry green spikes covering it, but it’s delicious!), mangosteen and even bananas (which we get out of our own back yard). When in Thailand, we eat so much healthier. In two months in Canada, I have regained five pounds and the potbelly that had previously melted away and I’m looking forward to getting back to eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and smaller portions. Why is it in North America everything has to be ‘super-sized’? Oh, and also returning to a regular exercise routine. I’ve been trying to keep up my yoga but I’m afraid the Asanas have been few and far between!
5. Zorro, my muse – Finally, I can’t finish without mentioning my furry companion and trusty writing sidekick, our cat Zorro. My husband and I both miss him terribly when we’re away but we know he’s being well cared for and loved by good friends. He does tend to pine a little and drop a pound or two so I’ll be returning with several packages of his favourite kitty treats that we can’t get in Thailand, along with a replacement collar for the one he lost.
So, that’s my quick list of things I’ve missed. I’m sure in a few months I’ll be pining for Alexander Keith’s beer, chats at the kitchen table, lobster on the wharf and Celtic music, but for now only two more sleeps before the journey back to Thailand begins!
A published author and freelance writer, Anne O’Connell, has been an expat since 1993 when she and her husband escaped the cold of Toronto, Canada and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They enjoyed the sun and sand for 14 years, while she worked in the PR field, and then decided it was time for a new adventure. Heading for even more sun and sand, they moved to Dubai in late 2007 and then on to Thailand in 2011.
Anne has been working as a freelance copywriter and communications consultant since 2007, specializing in marketing, corporate communications, public relations, social media and website content. She and her husband have a passion for travel and that adventurous spirit has taken them all over the world. Anne grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has a bachelor of public relations from Mount St. Vincent University. You can visit her website at www.anne-oconnell.com or her blog at www.anne-writingjustbecause.blogspot.com.
Read more of Anne's Expat Focus articles here.