Since my trip to Thailand in March last year, I’ve nursed a longing for the serenity of the Thai countryside and a taste of home-cooked Thai curries. I impulsively decided to give in after a series of not-so-awesome events. When the rest of the world was toasting to 2014, I was standing in the visa-on-arrival queue at Bangkok airport!
I now pen this from my home and office on the countryside of northern Thailand. Instead of a television, I have the sweet chatter of birds for entertainment; they swoop down on the flooded rice paddies every now and then, watching curiously as the paddies become ready for the year’s first harvest. In the distance, gentle hills are painted green in contrast. This is my part of Chiang Rai; the home I’ve been longing for. And it’s here that I’m slowing down to work and earn, catch up on blogging, smell the fresh air, taste the goodness of fresh veggies, take a dip in the lake, go for a long walk, soak in the little joys.
I spend my afternoons cycling along quaint little tribal villages, watching people lounge lazily in their wooden homes. Glimpses of the Kok river keep me company, ornate temples lay surrounded by fields of maize, and women wearing big straw hats work hard on their farms. Passersby always slow down and smile at me, the famous Thai smile that is not yet extinct in these parts.
I don’t know how long I’ll stay. The last time I was here, I intended to stay a day and ended up staying five. This time, I have a fifteen day visa and a friend for company. I’m already getting used to waking up to the aroma of freshly baked breads and indulging in Thai curries over lunch; our Dutch-Thai hosts are the best cooks (and hosts) in the world.
So this is a blissful Sawadee Ka from Thailand! And a wish that 2014 takes us closer to the things we’ve always loved.