OK....writing out the pro & con list was beneficial. For one it reminded me of the good things about living here which improved my mood and helped my perspective. But it also highlighted how much I don't like about living in Rayong and how I should probably start formulating an exit strategy. I'm just going to brainstorm and get some ideas out there, you are most encouraged to comment!
Step one: Short term thoughts
- I signed a one year contract at my school.
- If I break my contract I have to pay 10,000 baht (not quite $300) for my work permit
- There are other branches of my school in Thailand, most notably in Bangkok
- While I have 10,000 baht in the bank, I certainly don't have much more than that
----- OK - when I write it all out like this it really seems like the most logical thing to do is to just move to Bangkok to finish out my contract, assuming such a thing is possible, and financially feasible, BKK is expensive.------
Step two - long term ideas
I don't think Thailand is a good landing spot for me. I love the beaches here, and it has been a hugely educational experience. But certain aspects of the lifestyle just get to me, namely the foreign man / Thai woman dynamic, and having to see it repeated over and over and over is more than a little depressing.
So if I leave, where should I go?
- The US, as homesick as I get sometimes, I don't think I'm quite ready to head back there yet. Even with our new president, things just seem messed up to me. The culture makes people fat and afraid. I've only absorbed enough Thai culture to really notice that, not enough to combat it should I go back. So... probably not yet.
- South America, maybe Argentina or Brazil. Both of these countries would be warm and beach-friendly. From what little I know of the cultures, they are in general more laid back and open than the US. Bonus, if I go to a Spanish speaking country I'll have that much more marketability back in the state.
- Eastern Europe, maybe the Czech Republic. The pros would include the food, westernized culture and proximity to Western Europe, I could potentially visit France (Hi B!), Germany, Italy, Spain, etc... all those places I want to visit "someday". But the cons are that it can be difficult if not impossible to get a work permit without an EU passport, and I probably wouldn't make enough money to actually do the traveling that I'd like to.
- Stay in Asia, go to South Korea. The main attraction of South Korea is that this is, theoretically, where you can make a lot of money. The pay is nearly what I was making in the states, but the cost of living is substantially cheaper. Of course, this is what people say, the reality could be different. The other pro is that there are a crap-load of English teachers there so it shouldn't be too hard to find a community there. Japan would be interesting, but it's also extremely expensive.
- Africa, either Northern like Tunisia and Morocco or Western Africa, not sure which countries yet. The main upside here is that I am told I would be treated like a goddess for my expansive hips and chubby thighs. I could really use a few months... or years... of being treated like a goddess. Plus, if I went to Northern Africa, again I would be relatively close to Western Europe, and all the places I'd love to visit.
- Um... yeah, Europe. While I'd love to go to Europe on an extended vacation, I don't think working there would be feasible. First, you need an EU passport, or a specialty skill to get a work permit, cost of living is expensive, and I think my lack of language skills would be less tolerated there. I'm not sure where I've formed this opinion.
I'm still just tossing ideas around here, if you have personal knowledge of any of these regions, or even a totally irrational and biased opinion - please share your opinions, and let me know where you think I should go next and why. =) Also, if you know of any bloggers who are currently abroad in any of these areas, please send me a link... information from 'on the ground' is always more helpful than what you find in guidebooks.
Thanks in advance.
TAG: Code Watermelon