Farangs on the loose: New year in Phuket

Happy new year!

After a turbulent Christmas period filled with emotional ups and downs, it was great to get away from school for a few days and let off some steam. I was able to relax and spend some time reflecting on the past year- all the goals I've accomplished and dreams I've fulfilled. I graduated uni with a first class degree, moved to Thailand and began teaching English, I committed myself to fitness and ran my first 10k, and I spent the year in a happy and loving relationship with my wonderful boyfriend. Things couldn't have been much better!

I saw in the new year on a beach in Phuket, dancing in the sea with some great friends, watching sky lanterns and fireworks light up the black night sky. It was certainly a magical way to see in 2015 and it was the best new year celebration I've ever had. 

Me on the beach, just after midnight

I also had the time to reflect on my goals for 2015. While I'm not one to make New Years resolutions, I have decided that I'm going to make a conscious effort to be kinder to myself. Rather than beating myself up about eating too many biscuits, that extra serving of rice or getting food after a night out, I'm going to actively try to forgive any unhealthy slip ups, and focus on showing myself some love. It's important to allow yourself mistakes in order to be true to who you are, and this year I want acknowledge that there's more to life than worrying about your figure. I aim to take inspiration from the Thai way of life by living in the present and enjoying the moment.

Bringing in the new year with my fellow teachers!

Waiting for our song taw (thai bus) at the infamous Patong beach

When I was in Phuket, I noticed a major difference in the way the thai people treated foreigners; instead of kind friendliness, I was faced with rude, money-driven interactions. I feel sorry for any people who only visit the tourist-heavy parts of Thailand. They do not get to experience the kind and hospitable nature of true thai culture. Instead they are faced with resentment and rudeness. It wasn't every single thai person of course; often when I spoke in thai to street vendors their faces softened, and occasionally their price came down. But the majority were clearly there only to earn money from foreigners.

Going away for New Year certainly made me appreciate even more the authentic experience of Thailand that I am having. The Thai people here in Surin are wonderful and generous. For example, when we stepped back off the bus, a local couple, Pong and Neng, who run a cafe we frequently eat in, welcomed us back with big joyous smiling faces and arms waving. Our landlady brought us over a mountain of Pad Thai on a plate to share; her children came over to say Hello. 

I am now halfway through the internship and my plans to travel South East Asia seem closer everyday. I am thoroughly enjoying every experience I'm having out here, and I cannot wait to explore more of this wonderful part of the world.

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