After a mare of an evening i’m feeling inspired to write this blog. This is about something everyone will struggle with at some point of other whilst being an expat; homesickness. No matter how strong you are, or how natural you find moving abroad, or how much you love it – at some point or other everyone will feel this way, even if just a little bit.
The main thing I have struggled to adjust to is the food. Thailand has a reputation for amazing street food; phad thai, green thai curry, papaya salad, morning glory- I could go on. Now don’t get me wrong, these foods, and more, live up to the amazing reputation! And when you find an amazing street food place that charges you 60 baht (less then £1) for a meal you know your on the money. The issue is finding these places; they are more common along the BTS line but not so much when you venture further out (not farang friendly anyway – you at least need photo references!).
It may sound silly but my current homesickness was triggered by a rubbish evening trying to find some good food: After Rob suggested we get some street food for dinner I agreed to go to a market he discovered near us, despite being super tired, wanting to get in my pj’s and do absolutely nothing. On the bike we got and headed out but it took us a while to find the market and when we did it wasn’t very farang friendly (as I said earlier, you need photo references!). After venturing up the street we decided to head over to Bangkapi market as there’s lots of food markets there too. As we were venturing through the market there were lots of hot pot places (where you are given a broth and you cook & add the ingredients you want) but not what we were looking for (I just wanted a phad thai!). We finally decided on a little street food restaurant along the side of the road, which annoyingly did not serve phad thai – instead I ordered a “mango salad with crispy fish” which sounds nice and relatively normal, I was picturing something along the lines of battered fish. But what turned up was not what I expected; at first all seemed normal. That was until I tried it; after asking for little spice, it was still overpoweringly spicy and what was supposed to be “crispy fish” was actually just dry fish skin. Both the smell and the flavour were so overpowered by the fish it makes me feel sick just thinking about it! Very quickly we decided to ask for the bill (Check bin ka!!!!!). With the staff looking very offended that we hadn’t eaten any (Thais really really love their food) we made a quick escape and swung by Mcdonalds on the way home. This is a good time to add that I am so sick of Mcdonalds! I have eaten more since moving here then I have in my whole life, and on top of that I have started drinking beer and I seem to live of pizza and rice. I am trying to go to the gym to balance it out, but I cant help but feel sluggish from my rather poor diet at the moment!
The lunches at school are free, so I shouldn’t complain but I cant help but feel that sometimes I’m not eating what they say I’m eating. Every day you have an option of rice, noodle, more rice, soup, some sort of meat (if your lucky it will have vej mixed in) and a very basic salad.. Sometimes it’s surprisingly nice but I cant help but feel that I have probably eaten dog at some point that’s been passed off as ‘pig’ or ‘chicken’ (everything is minced so you would never know). Your better off not thinking about what your eating, but for someone who doesn’t like to eat too much meat and would consider giving up meat its not very easy.
The biggest thing I struggle with is cooking. I love to cook and I miss it! Cooking healthy English food is so hard in Bangkok; the kitchens are small, you usually only have 1 or 2 hobs, no oven, and buying western food is expensive! So all in all it’s a whole lot of expensive faff. Not to mention the fact that it’s hard to find normal western food such as salt & vinegar crisps (anyone who knows me will know I really, really love my crisps), the sausages are made of chicken and they don’t farm beef or lamb in Thailand! They love adding sugar into bread, on top of toast and annoyingly on top of fruit (isn’t is sweet enough!?).
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Thai food and I love living here – generally I am very happy. But after a day at work, when your tired and drained from trying to get 2 year olds to listen to you all day and behave, you just want to get in, put on your pj’s and cook some good comfort food! Sometimes It’s a struggle.