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Isolation Never Leads To Assimilation

Now, repeat that three times until it becomes your mantra. I’ve had to do that a lot lately. It’s been really easy to isolate myself in the year since we moved to Thailand. I’ve been in the throes of writing, publishing and promoting my debut novel, while copy writing for clients and contributing regularly to other blogs and magazines.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to enjoy my own company and I love to write, so I don’t think it’s a sacrifice but my pale face and lack of social commitments would dictate otherwise. Not to mention that I have a reputation for adventure that I must uphold!Delving into the Community

The expat community here in Phuket is alive and thriving but it’s not ‘in your face’. You have to go looking for it, especially when you live in a combo locals/tourist community as we do.

Along with getting regular updates from Chicky Net on what’s going on around town with the ‘ladies’, I periodically scan the Phuket News and Phuket Gazette to see if there’s anything that grabs my attention. A couple weeks ago I saw a calendar listing for a launch party for a book called A History of Phuket. It was sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce and was to take place at the Royal Phuket Marina. So many things appealed to me about this event. My husband and I are sailors so being surrounded by boats was a great draw and a fellow author launching a book the same week I was launching mine was just too much to miss. So, I registered and when the night came, off we went!

Lemons to Lemonade

The event was a sell-out and the venue was not really adequate for the turnout. There was an area for networking and cocktails outside and then an inside conference room where the author was making his presentation. We arrived a little late (travel time is always difficult to gauge especially during rush hour), the presentation was underway and the room was packed. Even the standing room was taken so we couldn’t stand anywhere that we weren’t rudely blocking the view of someone who was seated.

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Disappointed, we retreated to the bar. Our disappointment turned around when we met a lovely couple who owned a boutique hotel near to where we live. We had a lively conversation with them, learned more about Phuket as she was a local and he had been living here for about 13 years. They also knew the author, Colin Mackay, personally and shared some of what he was covering in his presentation.

We did eventually manage to squeeze in just inside the door and caught the last part of Colin’s presentation and bought one of his books that he signed. I’ve read his preface and as I flipped through I could see it looked like an historical goldmine. I was tempted to stop at a few places in the middle, like the chapter on ‘Spices, Zealots and Adventurers’ but Colin warned in his preface not to jump ahead or you wouldn’t have the background necessary to understand the key players.

Not only am I looking forward to delving deeper into this book but also my motivation to delve deeper into my adopted community has been re-ignited. You never know where or when you’ll meet new and interesting people so you just have to get out there. So, I will start at page one and maybe next time; share some of my insights into Colin’s tome along with a new adventure from our life in Thailand.

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.

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