Wanting Less

At the floating market in Amphawa on my last days in Thailand

So I’m finally back in the West. I have actually been back in Canada for about a month now but the adjustment has taken time for a girl. The first week it was dealing with the time change. How did that go? Let’s just say I had a very early bedtime every evening. But after a week I was fine. It was the psychological part of the adjustment that has taken a bit longer.

The truth is, you don’t know how somewhere has changed you until you go back to where you were before. I was told I would have reverse culture shock. But no one told me it would come at me at the most random moments and in the strangest forms. Like my disgust at the amount of time I have to spend getting from one place to another; or my disdain at the excessive amount of ‘things’ in my home. It’s funny, when I was in Thailand, I met so many people who wanted to come to Canada. But now that I am back in Canada, there are moments when all I want to do is go back to the simplicity of my life in Thailand. It has been like seeing my Western life through new eyes and wondering what the big deal was anyway.

I guess it is similar to the experience of coming to know God. A lot of things get tossed off as you walk closer to Him, and sometimes you stop on the road and look back at the things that were so hard to let go of and wonder what the big deal was anyway. Personally, I am learning to appreciate this feeling of wanting less. I hope it never goes away.

Things your mother didn’t teach you

I love my mother dearly – but I have found there are a few things she neglected to teach me growing up. Like how to ride a bicycle in a skirt. I can’t fault her for this. Its not the kind of thing you find in a ‘Growing Up Baby’ book, but it is definitely a skill worth having here in Ubon, Thailand. Especially, if like me, your main mode of transport has two wheels, a chain and pedals.

It has taken quite a bit of trial and error to figure out how to get from my apartment to the school without flashing the Thai people along the way. There is bit of riding against the wind, pedalling gingerly and holding the skirt with one hand involved. Sounds complicated but so far it has been working.

Just riding a bicycle on a Thai road is an adventure in itself. Last week I bravely took my bicycle up Chiangun Road (think Eglinton Ave in Toronto) to Tesco Lotus (think Walmart anywhere). In the 40 minute bike ride there and back I nearly became road kill for several motorbikes and a SUV. Thankfully I got to my destination and home without major mishap (although I did almost fall off at one point. I would have been embarrassed but most Thai people probably think foreigners are a little crazy anyway.)

I am pretty impressed however at how fast I’ve been able to ride, seeing that I haven’t been on one of these things in at least ten years. It seems like the memory really does stay with you. It really is like…riding a bicycle.

Dear diary: My client dumped me!

dumped.gifLast week I got dumped.

That’s right, dumped, shown the door, given the boot, kicked to the curb. Pick your expression.

I suppose I should have seen it coming. All the classic signs were there, long periods without communication, not replying to emails, indecision about what they wanted to do, and frequently changing their mind. Still it came as a surprise. And after all the time and effort I put in, it truly felt like a betrayal.

What hurt the most was the way it happened. Just a simple email saying, ‘we have decided to cancel our event’. Not even a phone call. With a simple electronic message, all the time and research I put into the media plan became void. Don’t you just hate that?

It’s okay though. I will live to compose a media list again. In fact I have already found a new client who wants me to help them do promotion for another event. There are organizations out there who want to use my skills. Fortunately it was only a volunteer position, but what would happen if it wasn’t? I wonder how PR agencies and consultants handle clients who cancel on them halfway through a project or last minute? Isn’t the time and effort worth something even if the work is not utilized?