When you date someone for 3 months, it’s time to have “the talk.” What are we? Where is this going? Are we exclusive?
Chiang Mai and I have been on and off for almost 3 months now and it was time to have that talk. I’ve been back and forth on my feelings for this city. Somedays I feel like I could live here forever, and sometimes I am looking at the soonest possible flight back home.
It is hard to decide what my mindset should be when I don’t know how long I’m going to be here. Should I start really investing in learning Thai if I’m going to live here longterm? Or should I start researching other countries and opportunities elsewhere?
This past weekend, my friend Macie came up to visit from Phetchaburi for a couple of days. It was amazing to observe someone seeing Chiang Mai for the first time. It was her first time in Northern Thailand and first time seeing the mountains and cooler weather and hippie culture. We had an amazing time doing some nature exploring, checking out local restaurants and just talking and relaxing.
Up until now, I haven’t quite committed to Chiang Mai. My teaching position and lease on my apartment require me to stay for at least a little while, regardless of whether or not I give the city a promise ring, but my heart hasn’t been fully invested.
Maybe it’s just the cooler weather, or the massive influx of tourists making everything seem more lively, but lately, I have fallen in love with Chiang Mai. I love that I drive to work along a moat with fountains and mountain scenery in the background. I love that ice cream on toast is a more than common dessert. I love that I can hike and swim and eat extraordinary meals for under a dollar. Chiang Mai is such a great mix of eastern and western culture, that it’s really hard not to flirt with the city at all times.
Some might say that CM is losing its charm as more and more westerners migrate here and turn everything into a coffee shop or organic market. But for now, this city is exactly what I need at this point in my life and I am more than happy to start a serious and meaningful relationship.
The last day that Macie was here, we went out to breakfast and met an amazing woman from New York who, at 76, is traveling the world, practicing meditation, and learning Thai.
“I was in Vietnam and someone asked me what the Grand Canyon was like and I said I didn’t know because I’d never been there. So when I got back to the States, I hopped in my car and went to go see it,” this was a quote from Bonnie, our new life mentor/adoptive grandmother.
Bonnie reminded me that there is so much to see. In this city alone, I have a running list of restaurants to try and areas to discover. Sometimes I think, why didn’t I do this in Cleveland? There is so much good food in that city and so many great artists and activities to explore back home. Living abroad is making me realize that that should always be the mindset of everywhere you live: try as many things as possible. Sure, it’s much less expensive to do so here, but life is meant to be explored and I intend to do just that, no matter where I live.
For now, Chiang Mai is my one and only. I’m committing to making new friendships and putting my best effort forward at work, no matter what other cities and countries are booty calling me.
Get ready, Chiang Mai, your nagging wife is here to stay.