Leaving Thailand – The Land of Smiles and Tears

Published | Updated February 28, 2020
Bangkok, Thailand: Wat Arun (Buddhist temple) viewed from the Chao Phraya river
IMAGE BY HELISSA GRUNDEMANN

Once again, I’m about to leave Thailand. I depart in a couple of hours. And departure always gives me these awkward sensations — my chest feels heavy, my stomach turns and trembles, my throat chokes, and I basically feel like crying.

You see, I have this strange love-hate relationship with Thailand. There are moments I just can’t stand it here — busy, loud, polluted, too much traffic, hygiene, language problems, money grabbing, spicy food, too much shops & shopping, and sometimes these unfriendly, disrespectful locals.

But I suppose I just don’t understand all the details of Thai life and Thai culture. It’s probably only logical — I am and I will stay an ignorant “Farang” (that’s Thai language for “Westerner”).

But then on the other hand — sure, really, I do adore Thailand and the Thai people.

I like the weather, the beaches and islands, the highlands, the tropics, the 7-11, and yes, the usually friendly and loving locals. I also appreciate that Thailand is still affordable, open, free in some sort of a way, cheerful, and disorderly in an orderly fashion.

But above all I like, I love Thai Massage. Whatever happens, whatever I’ll feel or do in the future, it’s Thai Massage that changed my life’s direction. It changed my outlook. It changed me. It gave me a profession which is no profession at all, but rather a vocation. And I’m grateful for that. I feel blessed.

So today, again my last day for now, I reminisce and write — with mixed feelings. But most of all with a feeling of sadness and melancholy. Because one never knows if one will be able to come back. To taste more, to see more — of Thai Massage and this incredible country.

I suppose Thailand will always have this special place in my heart. A bit like India does — same same, but different!

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