Chiang Mai Thai

Ever wanted to learn Thai, in Chiang Mai? I did just that from November 2010, returning home in October 2011. If you don't want a headache, start HERE, it will explain the preceding posts. I'm Snap, Stray's other half. COOEE is our (other) travel blog.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Finding and losing friends

Living in Chiang Mai can be a little like moving through an alien transit station in the Fifth Element. I mean, there are all sorts; tourists, short stayers, long stayers, permanent expats, permanently lost expats and lets not forget the tolerant locals.

I am a hermit at heart. I've only ever needed a few good, true friends in life...and of course family. Stray's social butterflyism makes up for what my social life may be lacking. When I arrived here I thought I'd be content with my own company and various personal projects, as I was back home...but then I had a home, to clean, gardens to care for murder, family, employment, self employment...and that was enough to keep me more than busy. Back then I was often looking for a quiet place to curl up and hide in.

Here, I have Stray (who I'd be lost without) but far as friends go, I had none to call my own. Then I met a few expats and Thais and eventually a few of the became 'friends'. And, like any alien transit station, people transit. In five months, two have already moved on for various reasons no, it's not 'me', they've actually left the country for employment reasons. On the upside, I may have a couch waiting for me in Wixu, China, should I visit there one day.

And then there are my class mates and teacher. People from all different corners of the world who make my two classes a week enjoyable, entertaining and culturally enlightening. I won't even get into the discussion about 'what is a shallot?'

Two of my friends and I go out often for lunch and things! I feel a bit like one of the musketeers when we do. One of us is a bit grumpy at times and reclusive, one is quirky, intelligent and cute and the other is strong and diplomatic...but then again, the three of us are probably a mixture of all of these qualities of varying proportions and we just seem to *work* together. Just like Porthos, Athos and Aramis...but I couldn't tell you which one of is which.

There really isn't a point to this post, except that good friendships aren't always forever, but while you have them they are intellectually and emotionally enriching, and you should treasure them, even if they are short term. How else would I have learnt that a 'stitch unpicker' is also called a 'seam ripper'...or that not everyone knows that a 'sticky beak' is a 'busy body'...or that some of us 'pull their finger out' and some of us 'pull their thumb out'. And, 'boondoggle'????

Never mind about learning Thai, English isn't always English.

So, as they leave, as I eventually will, I'll keep making an effort to find good friends and miss those I have left behind.

Cheers! สเมป See what else we're up to at Cooee!


  1. Glad you've made friends. Interestingly, I've just started making friends -- as opposed to travellers who are in the same place as you that you hang out with -- here. It's a different set of rules of engagement. Did you hook up with any of the bloggers on the #teamcm hashtag?

  2. Snap, so many of my really good friends have left. My best of best of all time expat friend moved back to Canada several years back and I've been reluctant to go there again. And just in the last few months two moved to New Zealand, one to Vietnam, one to KL, one to Hawaii... gone.

    But I do understand where your heart is and I agree that potential friends should not be wasted. And I also agree that I need to get my butt off the sofa and get back out there. And I promise you that I'm working on it. Honest.

  3. I forgot about the #teamch, will check it out ASAP, thanks for the reminder. is a good meeting place too for expat women in Thailand.

    It is nice to get past that same old initial 'getting to know you' questions and answers period, to the 'lets go and have a good chat over a steak and wine...or chicken fried rice and tea' :) Just how long are you staying put this time? many friends gone :( To think my few close girlfriends back in Oz have been around for 20 years of more. This is a very different experience for me.

    Speaking of friends, thanks for being mine, even if it is virtual.

  4. Snap, and thanks for being mine as well :-) Online friendships have a different quality than offline but they are equally needed (IMHO). Especially for those of us who are hermits - it's like the internet was made for us!

    Twenty years... I too have long time friendships but we don't often meet up. And a number are just now getting in contact via FB. I found a very special friend (so close we could be sisters) from when my son was little and it's a thrill. Without the internet, she'd still be out there somewhere.

  5. Hi Snap, I know what you mean about the friends and I also can relate to balancing with your other half. My mister is very outgoing and literally the life of the party. I prefer to have one-on-one conversations, which is difficult when he is entertaining everyone haha. Luckily I've started to get along with his friends here. But I really do miss all of the friends I made in Cambodia. It's difficult in such a setting where so many are transient.

  6. @Swiss Yours and mine sound like two peas in a pod ;) I'm looking on the bright side and going with the 'I'll have friends based all over the world' theory.

  7. Snap, friends come and go which is an unfair fact of life but they each touch us in some leaving an imprint on our lives.

    I am a hermit at heart as well but make the effort here and there in Thailand for those few gems that come my way.


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