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Formerly a Spanish teacher in Wisconsin & Illinois, I moved to Bangkok with my husband in July 2011 to teach IT at a new American International School.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Yup, you read that right. MIE... "Missing in Europe"  Well, someone had to break outta Bkk and go see about some wintry weather for the holidays. So we jetted (literally) on outta here on a 777 and Thai Airways landed us in blistery Frankfurt, Germany. So I went missing in Frankfurt, Nuremburg, Munich, Basel, and Paris for the holiday season. Not so fast, though. I did manage to make it back to the Big MANGO (sorry New York) for an incredible New Year's Eve celebration and yours' truly birthday. Yes, it is apparent that I am now 20 years older than my oldest group of students at my school. Sweetness. You know you are getting old when the Facebooker former students are all congratulating you on getting another year older and reminding you about the good ol' days when they were sitting in your class instead of some college lecture auditorium...

So not to dwell on things. The cold weather did me in, and did me some good. I got to return to my city in one piece and don my sports bra for my first run at my favorite park. So here's to the Big Mango for making me realize why I found it in my heart to miss you just a little bit, despite the fact that I spent Christmas in PARIS this year.

Here's my Top 10 Reasons I had to return to Bangkok:
10. To see if they had magically restored my Coke Zero bottles to their homes, AKA, the shelves of 7-Eleven.
No, they didn't. BIG sigh. Aaannnddd, another sigh.
Wait, there's that caffeinated light at the end of the soft drink tunnel...
But I have managed to seek out cans of them, cleverly disguised by the Mission Impossible advertisement on the side of the can. The hunt for Coke Zero pleasure is still on Bkk. The floods have passed, so get your act together and give the girl her skinny Coke in lieu of 2 Liter FAT COKE!

9. To find out whether or not we are still flood-stricken, or if the Thai had finally removed their sandbag barriers from their local business door openings. Well, most are gone! To my surprise, even those shop owners near my soi have even gone to far as to knock a hole in their recently erected 1/2 meter high cement and brick barriers blocking the floods that were never. Where did all the sandbags go? Oh,  now I sound like that Paula Cole song about the cowboys...getting memories of Dawson's Creek. Ew...

8. Onwards...The number 8 reason to return to Bangkok is to feel stupid being the only chick running in the sports bra, with her iPod on when the Thai national anthem is playing on the loudspeaker, and she is too into her tunes to notice until the last verse. I am such an idiot. I missed hearing it at 6 p.m. the last few weeks. Obviously, I had completely forgotten about it. So note to self--New Year's Resolution is to respect thy culture and pay more attention whilst runnin'.

7. Number 7, ah, yes, lucky number 7...Well, the 7-Eleven of course! I missed my foot-long cheese sausage (really a hot dog, it ain't no German wurst!) AND my Katoey (???) asking, "Madame, no jog today?" But instead, I get "Madame, you no here. Where been?" I just smile because I suddenly remember ZERO Thai since being in Germany, Switz and Paris. But I am here! I am back! Jog Girl is BACK!

6. While we are talking about good ol' peeps in Thailand, I gotta give it to my moto taxi guy that has mysteriously taken up leisure time on our soi... He is usually hunched over his moto on soi 28, waiting to say "Sawasdee Krup" to me after school or even better, the good ol' nod of the head while perched over thy bike, when I am on my way running to the park. However, I have noticed him out of place...he is now hanging out conveniently on soi 30, popping up in places I am not used to. I gotta admit, the guy is friendly as all heck, and maybe one of these days, I'll just hop on board the moto and take a joy ride up and down Sukhumvit and give him a nice tip, all 30 baht. Just kidding! I am not that cheap. For real...

5. Gettin' close here! Okay, so you know that saying, "don't know what 'cha got til it's gone"? Soi dogs, this one's just for you. I was warned of dog poop all over Paris streets by a nice man I had met here in Bkk while watching Packer games at The Sport Corner. He is actually from Wisco (Neenah to be exact) and anthro-man Eric will be returning to Europe (lucky dude...) in about a week. So, he warned us. But honestly, Eric was right and wrong. See, even with all the cold weather in Europe, and a bit of snow, rain, etc. to add in to the holiday mix of things, I saw some of the most cute doggies I have ever seen. But to go along with that, some of the most bizarre doggie apparel to sport the season of coldness. So, the art of making out breeds of dogs on the streets of Bangkok, to figuring out where they are gonna poop and pee next or who they even belong to, for that matter, made me miss these scrawny little dirty dogs after all. Heck, after what I saw post-run past the Emporium with two felines hissing at each other, one darting off in a different direction made me almost appreciate cats. I SAID ALMOST! So if you ever get a chance to come to Bangkok, please don't pity the Soi dogs (my students refer to them as welfare dogs...), but throw them a wing or a leg of chix from a fellow street vendor, and watch him relish in the fact that this is his meal for the next few days. Okay, well, maybe not that long. They are pretty well-loved here, hence the term welfare dogs.

4. Guess I am a sucker for dogs. But on to #4...Duh! The pollution and smog of course! Come on. It grows on ya, folks. Josh and I gotta be a couple shades darker than when we departed Green Bay, and not from all that sun we get here. Nah, this city grabs hold of you tight and slaps its smog all over ya and puts its mark on you, no lie. Josh will disagree with me on this one if you ask him about the Parisians. No way. I give the smog award to Bkk anyday, especially because of the Thai govt's proposal for tax cuts on buying vehicles. Yeah, because more clunkers on the streets is just what we need here.

3. Sahm...This one is all about the #s! Only because Sahm is one of the only numbers I know how to say. To get to my house in a taxi, I have to say "Soi Sahm Sip" which is soi 30 in Thai. Getting on the Thai Airways plane in Paris was a wake up call to drop the "Oui" for "Chai" and the "Danke" for "Korp Kun Ka" in Thai. Total brain fart on my part for forgetting how to even communicate the simplest of things, like where I live! But even Josh admitted, we both missed hearing the language. I think languages are more beautiful when you have NO idea what they are saying around you. You can just laugh and go about your own business because you haven't got a clue. I never thought I would appreciate feeling stupid and out of it, but TIT, This is Thailand, where you are never likely to learn the language or the Thai script it is written in. I don't care what any of you say. You give me one expat that has mastered this difficult language and I will have it out with them. Just find out for yourself...Go have a look on the ol' Internet and investigate why the real name for Bangkok makes the Guiness World Book of Records... Then you will see why I have all but given up on learning Thai. I do have to give props to the non-Thai students at my school, who have managed to  learn the beautiful Thai national anthem and can sing it by  heart. I gave up almost instantaneously. There's no hope for me...

2. Life in Bkk wouldn't be if it weren't for my circle of friends here. Not getting mushy, but the celebrations and festivities here in The Big Mango wouldn't be what they are without you guys. I get off the plane, power on my phone, and I have oodles of texts and FB messages on "Welcome Back! Wanna go out tonight?" Gotta love the girl power in this town. Hubby doesn't like it, but it's all in good taste and my friends take good care of me til, 'er, 6 a.m.   So, coupled with friends, going out, celebrations, this is where I once again squeeze in my VW BUS! Oh yes, it was waiting for me parked up the road on Soi 11 on New Year's Eve, after a spectacular Lush rooftop party. And Mrs. Pink Lady and I had our time together at the VW Bus, ringing in the New Year with some of the best friends this girl's got (you know who you are readers!), not to be confused with the sly Mystery Machine parked a little further up the soi. And if you don't recall my reference, you haven't been doing your reading on my blog. I swear they love their buses here...

1. And the #1 reason to skate on back to Bkk this holiday season? Well, it is quite something selfish you see. I just wanted to run in my sports bra, shorts, get my fix of fresh pineapple on the street while drenched in sweat and realize that all my laundry will be taken care of by Jean, and I don't have to worry about a home-cooked meal or doing the dishes. I know, selfish and rude, etc. But I gotta give it to The Big Mango. You are cheap beyond belief, which is probably why I am always so broke, huh? I know, another item up for discussion with my Joshua... But I need to look back and realize that some things in life are just worth paying for--that freshly cut pineapple for a mere 15 Baht (sometimes 10 Baht if I go to the vendor up the road a bit or the one in the park by the Emporium) and they know just how you like it cut up, and they sometimes have it cut up for you because they know you are coming. And Jean. She cooks, cleans, does all the laundry, all with a smile. Don't worry--I give her cake, and I pay her extra and tell her to leave and go home if it is past quitting time. I take care of her because she does her best to take care of us.

So there you have it. Why I didn't get rescued by some strange cult in Paris or Germany to avoid returning to life in 2012, the year it all goes down. Well, I got news for you...Josh and I escaped 2012 all together and we live in the future here in Thailand, the country that celebrates the New Year 3 times (Western New Year, Chinese New Year and Thai New Year). See what you Westerners are missing? And guess what? We are light years ahead and living it up in 2554! So want to know what's in store??? Just keep reading Big Mango Beginnings...

Cheers to you, cheers to me and a big CHEERS to The Big Mango for providing me the inspiration I need to stop fighting the smog and just take it all in...

P.S. Sorry no pictures. I feel this one deserves the written word and your imagination. Besides, my Facebook friends are still drooling over my countless European Christmas Vacation photo albums I uploaded.
Xoxo... Toodles

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