This morning we nervously made the trip to NZ immigration to pick up yammies passport which has now got his visa stamped in it. I must say it was a huge relief to finally see it and confirm that we had finally got the green light. We could now start the organization for jumping on the plane on Friday.
The first job was to re confirm our flights - first to hong kong then on to NZ three days later. The next was to organize to meet our landlord for a final inspection - this we do tomorrow. Next on the list was a tidy up of my beard and what little hair I have at a local barber who did an outstanding job if I do say so myself. Then on to buy a new big bag as I have collected a few extra clothes and a few nic nacs. Then on to the post office to send a box of stuff home by sea.
I have also booked us in to a really nice hotel here for our last two nights. Although 5 star, we got a super hot special for one night and for the second we are using our gift voucher we got from them during our last visit their which is one free night. Hopefully it will work out well because they can then ferry us out to the airport on Friday.
I've also got to do a few practical things for at home like get the power turned back on and phone. I also want to organize a bit of a party :)
We were very lucky to return to bangkok on Friday as the flooding up north has worsened with many of the main roads cut off and flooded. Millions of people have been affected with loss of farmland and homes and businesses flooded. It is a shocker that's for sure.
I am filled with a huge amount of excitement about taking Yammie back to New Zealand and obviously seeing my friends and family after a few months. I am also filled with a great deal of sadness as I have grown to really love Thailand and the people. I could actually happily live here if I found an appropriate job but that is maybe for the future. The focus now is enjoying my last few days "on the road"', helping Yammie get accustomed to a new country and culture and somehow get re accustomed with the idea of work!!
I am truly a different person to the one that left nearly six months ago and I wouldn't change a single experience, but I will wait to do a greater amount of reflection until I am back in New Zealand.
Things that used to stress me out seem somewhat irrelevant now that I have experienced new cultures and got first hand experience of hardships that people face, and one of the most awesome things I have recaptured, is the joy to laugh at life and myself. This is something that is quite magical in Thailand, and i think one thing that is misunderstood. We in the western world are obsessed with "things" but here, if you have friends and very little else, you can share a meal, have a hell of a good time and laugh about life. I really love that.
The generosity that I have been shown by those that I have met in my travels has been something I will forever treasure. I have been fortunate - yes, I've done and been to some "tourist spots" but I have had so many more enriching experiences wandering down the back roads here in Bangkok, or meeting communities through Yammie - experiences that to me beat any coach trip, or tourist day trip hands down.
Last night we went and had some dinner down the road at a road side stall - I nicknamed them "our friends" because I have loved their food - prawns, squid and Tom yum - authentic, not "falangafied" - and all for just a few dollars. I am really really going to miss the food and the propensity for Thai people to eat, and eat, and eat. I will miss the copious food stalls with questionable hygiene where I have never once got sick, I will miss the way people smile with genuine happiness when you try speaking Thai. I will miss people's genuine kindness with me and Yammie and their joy of celebrating a happy, loving relationship.
I have had the exact life experiences that I wanted, and after all, I didn't come to Thailand to eat steak and mashed potatos - I can do that at home. I came to experience new cultures, to understand how people live and to really experience the countries I have been through. I do believe I have achieved this..... Plus, I have managed to drink and eat my way through my travels, sometimes to excess, and still managed to lose 12 kg's.! ... Yay!
My life in a number of ways has and is not the most conventional you will come across - and that's how I like it.
Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.