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balance (2): March 2005

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

ko samet

after months of having far too much time on my hands i suddenly have none at all. so many little projects (mostly web stuff) have started to pile up, faster than i can do them... which is good because it means i can support myself here, but bad because from my home "office" it is sometimes hard to get motivated to do them.

my first research trip for 't' went really well, even though ko samet is not one of my favorite places in thailand. the trudging in the glaring sun from apathetic guesthouse receptionist to apathetic guesthouse receptionist was not as glamorous as one might think... but the free time in the evenings was lovely, and a change of scenery (especially on a white sand beach sipping coconuts and getting massages) is always the best medicine for anything i might have wrong with me. i took 'o' for the help translating and motorbiking, though it was a spur of the moment decision. he had never seen ko samet and i think he enjoyed it- except for the fact that i more or less ditched him for my friends. figures that every time i have gone to samet recently it has been devoid of all friendly people, but when i go with 'o', they are all there waiting for me. muscle-y king and baby-faced yachtti are the first friends i ever made in thailand, probably the reason i initially fell in love with this country, and i haven't seen them in over 5 years. it was great running into them and hearing about their gigolo exploits and plans to make millions with their pig farm.


ot at 'ban ploy samed'- coolest place on ko samet

back now, i am scrambling to finish various things i have started, and waiting on my next big assignment. i turned down a 43000 baht teaching job today (yikes!), so someone else better pay me soon to justify it!

my roommate left suddenly today to go travelling more, so once again i am on my own, and am happy to have the peace. 'o' is living 3 hours away with his family, and won't plague me unless i call for him. given recent experiences with so called "friends", i am swearing off people indefinitely... i plan to get serious about doing what i want to do and if someone falls into step with that, cool, but i won't be looking for it. and so it goes.

sorry for the dry entry- you're lucky to get one at all! i am so busy i can't think!

Monday, March 21, 2005

???

my ex boyfriend, x, has cut himself off completely. he blocked my mails, password protected his site so i can not read it, and moved away.

what in bloody hell prompts someone to suddenly cut someone off to the extent that he has? if i had done something wrong to him it would make sense, but his excuses were simply that he was bored, that i am too simple for him....everything was fine as far as i could tell! 8 years down the drain with no backward glance and no real explanation? what a cold motherfucker. he is blocking the only person who has ever really given a shit about him and who put up with things that no other girl in her right mind would put up with. people never fail to mystify me.

good luck finding yourself, 'x' - you seem to have a lot of work to do.

oh yeah, i forgot to mention he has everything i own. rrrg.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

crazy

things are a little rushed today so excuse my brevity. (is that the right word?)

to sum up, ot returned (with an officially changed name and a new chopped, rather orange haircut, but a lot of apologetic affection), i took him back though he is not going to be living with me, and i ended my fun but meaningless affair.

meanwhile, i was offered a job as a researcher for a travel website. so i get all expenses paid travel all over thailand, cambodia, and laos- gathering information about the places. hard work but really, pretty much what i do anyway. i am giving it a trial run tonight, and will be gone for the next four or five days researching ban phe and ko samet. i am deliriously happy to get out of bangkok.

so, stay tuned until next episode... and be good.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

what choo looking at willis

my neighbors look at me looking at them hanging their sarongs and lighting the oil for cooking, and i feel for once like too much of a voyeur. i chug down a whole bottle of water and rub my sore spot, light rose-scented incense and bury myself under the sleeping bag that still smells of ‘o’... away from the window, the sun and irritating birds and cats, and lingering, faintly shocked traces of last night.

“last night” is always a very different concept in bangkok than it is in new york or colorado for example. it is inevitably something weird. you have to detox yourself in every way after one of them.

stuck in a nauseating neurotic circle early on (prompted by my missing child and a cutesy thai love story called ‘monrak transistor’), i went out for a breath of much needed though not so fresh air. dong dea moon’s- a large wooden platform bar looking over wat chanasongkran, where i often drink clumsily amongst a good quantity, if not a good quality, of friends. i had dutifully acknowledged and dismissed my old pals, and had listened on the balcony to most of a two-for-a-dollar conversation amongst a group of dark, fashionable british lads, who hit me every time they moved for their beers, had deflected a horrid come on statement from an awkward and stupid guy from somewhere in europe... and the entire street had cleared out from under me with the nightly police sweep (but had already started setting back up).... when i noticed ‘p’ shyly making his way towards me.

okay i invited him. he is big, muscular, much bigger than a regular thai guy (and certainly not as small and sweet as ‘o’) ...but what the hey. if my boyfriend left and cut contact because he thought i was with another man, i might as well justify it. especially since this lust is long since conceived... and no strings attached is a-ok with me right now! i drank cheerfully.

a bit later when we found ourselves alone on bar stools, ‘p’ and i traded innuendos, chucked rocks at the temple strays (who always attack me), and stayed amused by the occasional randomly passing, nonsense spewing “friends”- most of them thai and already cooking up the gossip and snapping shots in their heads. ‘p’ is completely lacking in any personality, at least at first, but it’s ok, i am not interested in him anyway. (it’s funny how things suddenly become so clear). i gave him a hand massage and told him i felt sorry for his girlfriend (which i do), and we followed pui and yok to pui’s condominium, the furnishings of which included exactly a bed. (and some horrible flourescent overhead lights). i sat with several thai guys (always the one girl) on the floor, drawing tattoo ideas together on tracing paper, while yok picked the scabs from his last one, and listening to the thai ska band ‘t-bone’. someone brought out a bong and 'p', his friend, and i suddenly left (though reluctantly), not knowing who in the room might be one of taksin’s evil minions (and of course deriding those horrible criminal pot smokers).

the friend dropped off politely and i pushed ‘p’ up into his room, found myself in ecstatic pleasure throes between snips of guilt and shame, and fell asleep in a bearhold under a down comforter and frigid airconditioning. woke to kissing in the night, fell back to sleep moving rhythmically, woke finally in shock at too late an hour, and hurriedly grabbed a taxi back to banglamphu, where we parted ways with a mutual nod and no plans.

someone wrote me and said i need to stop thinking about me so much. in fact it’s quite the opposite- i should think about me and my life more and less about stupid guys. but part of what i have been thinking is i will definitely not disallow myself of fun any longer. :)

.....my roommate moved in today(!). she’s british. don’t know how the heck that happened... i should really think next time before i say “yeah, sure you can stay with me”. she’s ok... she smells different than 'o', and my room really isn’t big enough for the both of us... but she might help me keep occupied for the next month before she leaves. and 'o' will have a hell of a surprise when he returns.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

month o' love

you know what is good about a journal is that you can go back and take an obvious look at yourself. me- i am definitely narcissistic (that's different from vain you know), but part of it is that the theme of my blog is me. so you get all the introspective writing. just so you know..... lately my site has more than once been referred to as "a soap opera".... but i guess i am totally asking for it. :) ya got something better to read, read it.

anyway it's time for )))(((YOU ON ME)))((( , especially those that know thailand. you know me (handshake, how ya doin') already if you have been reading this blog. you have picked up on my rhythm.

what should i do?... because i am baffled. given the tone of my writing on the subject, i never liked 'o' that much, i was still getting over the real love of my life leaving me suddenly. and then, a few months later, i was telling him to get a damn job and feeling used. and yet, he left. and i am reeling in shock. suddenly i feel like i really loved him.

are cultural differences insurmountable? did i just get unlucky twice or am i in a very weird energy spot in my life- in my head perhaps?

so, i have analyzed myself to death a million times over while frantically dialing 'o's unfriendily blocked phone. i push away that which i love. eh? i make them leave because i am so hung up on my version of honesty and reality and they can't take it.

OR is it just that i feel rejected and i wanted to do at least 50% of the rejecting...and i am in thailand with no thai people.

i can't tell. :)

both 'o' and 'x' are gone gone gone. and i have spent far too much time worrying about men who don't worry back. right? sooooo....i am now officially a lesbian.

urgh. can't do that. thai boys are so, ahem, cute. okay i'll just have lots and lots of safe sex until i become labeled the greatest farang slut ever. hmmmm?

or... maybe i will just forget about love and nice people and friendships and all that swirly girly stuff and become a robot drone with no feelings, hopes, dreams, or passions.

you tell me.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

...

no i don't.

...

yes i do.

...

i give up.

ot

i stumbled upon ot's name in a (brilliant) thai dictionary online. the definition is:

òt-
abstain ; avoid ; refrain
bear ; endure ; tolerate ; stand
miss ; fail to ; not get a chance to

somehow that seems so appropriate. :) the kid has been missing for over a week now. i assume he ran home to mommy- it could be another girl but i don't really think so, he has spent too much time with me in the past couple of months to have time for that. i find this behavior horridly childish and pathetic, but according to a couple of thai people i have spoken to (ot's best friends in fact, with whom i ended up drinking two nights ago), it is a common reaction amongst thais to run away and hide when they lose face. argh. believe me, i wanted him to leave, and get his own life so we could balance out a bit... but i don't want him gone completely from my life! that's a totally different story.... i suppose i embarassed him by pointing out that i have supported him for way too long and it was time for him to grow up and get a job. besides the fact that i am fanatically honest and admitted kissing his friend (stupid, i guess). i suppose it is for the best, it has been a nice week! and the cultural differences are really a huge obstacle that i don't think we will ever overcome. neither of us trust each other and it is hard to have a relationship based on little trust.

anyway, on a brighter note, i suddenly have a plethora of upcoming job opportunities here. right now i am making enough with little projects to sustain myself, and hopefully the bigger projects will be materializing shortly. for now i am working from home with my high speed internet, with the doors and windows open. i can hear birds chirping, the occasional alley cat screeching, the thai ladies sweeping out their shacks, their children laughing and singing as they play badminton in the lot, the breeze pushing through the trees. i have a fridge full of leo beer that i am making my way through, and vh-1 is playing old 80s music videos... not too bad!

Monday, March 07, 2005

...

roller coaster

there are stages that an expat goes through in adjusting to a different culture. i don’t know them exactly but as far as i remember it goes like this: for a while when you first move in and are living day to day amongst everything that is different, you are infatuated with it all. you love the people, are fascinated by everything they do, and will defend them vigorously. the language is silly and endearing. the food is strange, new, and undeniably delicious, and you are voracious for it. the sex, your conversations with service workers, the weird, cheesy tv shows and music, the crazy traffic, the styles of dress, the little quirks all make you marvel deliriously. you spend more waking time out exploring than in relaxing. i went through this phase the first few years of travelling to thailand.

the second stage is when you have been burned once or twice, as of course this being real life you will. you start to realize everyone around you is human, that “they” lie to you quite possibly more than they tell the truth. that you are an alien and will never be accepted as one of them, that the sex isn’t so great and the food has gotten boring and the way they do business is stupid and corrupt, that their priorities are nonexistent along with their morals, that they’re filthy and unsophisticated and the cities are disorganized and laws make no sense, and everything is unsafe or misrepresented. You start to look for others like you and commiserate together that the country is in short full of subhumans and you wish you could change everything but now you are stuck, having made a commitment. i have been in this stage for quite awhile (though as you can see from my last post it hasn’t changed the basic fact that i am happy here), and my relationship with thais can from here on only be guarded because of it.

the next stage i am anticipating is acceptance, when you have settled in more comfortably and start to give the people a break. you realize the place is full of contradictions and surprises and welcome them, you start to understand the language, you eat the food interspersed with your own, you have dropped some of your acquaintances and start making real friends. you know how to get around the laws, have gotten a decent job, and stopped using air conditioning and hot water religiously. you actually watch the tv shows and can hum along to the music. you go to locals spots instead of tourist bars to feel relaxed, and are irritated when you run into people of your own ilk, who just don’t seem to get it yet. you find a lover whom you don’t take too seriously but nevertheless like a lot, and the sex is good. you circumnavigate the traffic via secret routes which you have discovered, and can spot or negotiate the good bargains. you can’t imagine leaving....

we’ll see how long it takes...

what brought this up is the fact that someone sent me a free e-book written by a farang writer in thailand- 'private dancer', by stephen leather. it's the story of a british man who falls in love with a thai bargirl, who takes him for all he is worth, and is a great (if jaded) commentary on thai culture vs. our culture, and dealing with it as an expat (well, sexpat really). if you are interested in reading it, you can download it for free here (right click and 'save target as'). i read it all in one sitting.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

ahhhhh

'god' i love thailand.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

huh

so,'o' has officially disappeared... i mean isn't three days official? the weird thing is he didn't say he was going anywhere, he didn't take anything ie. clothes, i know he didn't have any money, his friends have no idea where he is and are starting to worry also, and his phone is disconnected. he didn't show up for a massage class he was registered for either.

if he decided just to leave, i understand and am really sort of relieved. if he is hurt or dead, i would feel horrible. unfortunately, i have no idea who to contact- i don't even have his family's numbers... so i suppose i just have to hope he comes staggering back drunk some night.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

help!

why hello again signpost, didn't i see you last time around this circle, the one i am going round and round in? what's that you say? out of my mind, am i? sigh... i fear it's true. this trying to eek a living out of a country that is trying to eek a living out of me is sort of foolish... but somehow i can't quite give it up yet. i started an intensive TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) class today, so i can have a certificate to fall back on. which means i can make about $700 a month here- yippee! enough to pay my rent, work way too many hours, slurp noodles every night, and maybe have a beer once a week. but hey! i am where i want to be- right? nevermind that my skillset and thus my real career will fall by the wayside, and there will be a huge gap in my resume. nevermind that i am way too shy to teach classes (today i learned it entails a lot of theatrics), or that i can only take so much of children (not to mention thais) before i start to feel murderous, or that the islands and jungles i love dearly are nowhere within reach.... i am an expat now right? rrrrg.

when i am chugging down the canals in the morning in my klong boat, being assailed by the tropical heat, the smell of fried pork, the laughter of children hanging from vines on the bank beside me, the 'luk thung' music floating on the breeze ... i feel at home. but when i consider my standard of living, my hopes for the future, my having to come home at night to a tiresome man who is blatantly using me and refuses to leave... the inescapable fact that i am a farang and a farang i will stay... well it's just hard is all. i can either give it a try and see if i surprise myself, or i can get while the getting is good (i have been looking up tickets to san francisco lately).

i have picked up more projects- editing documents for businesses for about 1200 baht per. writing for a travel website (haven't started yet due to an unwillingness to distract from my own). still selling stuff on eBay though they have cancelled most of my auctions due to copyright infringement (oops). and yes, i can teach, and yes, it might be fulfilling for a time. but i can also go back, get a job within a couple of months as an information architect, and have in 5 months the same money i might make in 5 years here. and be legal.

fark.

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