bangkok, thailand: reflection
This was my 3rd time to Thailand. Outside of the US and Canada, this is the country I have been to the most times and given how far away it is, I am so grateful for each opportunity I have had to visit. As I've mentioned, I came in 2013 with a month-long study abroad program during university and I came in 2015 with Unilever for the One Young World Summit that year. I'm hoping this two-year pattern of visiting Bangkok continues as I just love this country so much :).
Several thoughts come to mind when I think about the concept of visiting a city more than once. First, I find it amazing because when you are leaving the first time, you never know if and when or what will bring you back there. Additionally, even though it is the same city, so much has changed with the city and with you since you last visited. I think of the person I was in 2013, 2015 and then now, and think of how I have changed and how that has given me a different perspective on the same city. I think of the feelings of nostalgia and admiration that come thinking of the memories and people in past visits and how they have shaped you into who you are today. I think of the pure joy that comes when you are so grateful to see some of the amazing people you met again.
In 2013, I met Kookai, my tour guide during study abroad. She ignites and lights up a room with her presence, happiness and energy. She is the absolute sweetest and holds my hand whenever we walk anywhere. She has taught me so much about Thailand and I know she'd always be there to help me- wherever, whatever, whenever! It had been 4 years since I last seen her so I was overcome when I got to see her for lunch!!
In 2015, I met Nont at One Young World as he also was working for Unilever. Turns out just a few months after that he would join the team in the UK that I was on at the time- small world!! Nont is full of kindness and has the biggest heart ever!! He is so creative and makes you infinitely happier being around him. Nont, my friend Matt and I had the best time Friday night at dinner and drinks. We had the deepest, most meaningful conversations about all walks of life. I so appreciate his realness and openness.
In 2013, I met Matt but not in Bangkok. I moved to Minneapolis for work the summer of 2013 and was introduced to Matt via a friend. Aside from once in New York City, I had not seen him in sooo long. I was so happy to be reunited and we could not believe that it was on the other side of the world!! Matt let me stay with him the whole weekend, which was so nice and generous. I loved our heart to hearts and he helped shed so much fresh perspective for me. He moved to Bangkok 6 months ago after never having been to Asia. His leap of faith and embracing of Thai culture was so inspiring!!! It was great to meet his friends and hear about his experience with the local culture, too.
Given that I had already been to Bangkok, it was nice to take it easy over the weekend, see friends, etc. With big thanks to Kookai, Nont and Matt (and Matt for letting me stay), I truly felt like a local! It blows my mind how quickly I can feel like I live somewhere. I love it! I know I will be back to Bangkok again (soon!!). My heart always pulls me there, anyways <3.
1. The Hive- great co-working spot in Thonglor! I spent my whole first day here feeling so inspired! They have a spa and restaurant on site too, which makes for the best day! 2. My first night, Matt and I went to a local neighborhood place for $1 Pad Thai dinner (I missed it!!) and then to this famous dessert place, After You, for toast/ice cream: amazing deliciousness. 3. Rooftop Bar at the Marriott in Thonglor watching the storm on the other side of Bangkok! 4-6. My first Muay Thai boxing class!!! I LOVED it SO much! And can't wait to make it more a part of my routine. Such an amazing workout and I felt so empowered! I even got to be coached by the owner of the gym, Jitti!! He was SO great! 7-9. Matt, Kookai and I. 10-11. Matt, Nont and I. 12. My friend Ivy was recently in Bangkok and stayed in a hostel in Thonglor. She said to go say hi for her and sure enough I passed it, went up and found her friend!! SOOO cool to know she had been there previously too!