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Anna: Bangkok Girl

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Bangkok makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Bangkok, etc.

I am a 32 year old lawyer from the UK. I was born in Liverpool, raised in Cumbria and moved to Leeds when I was 22. I moved to Bangkok towards the end of June 2012 when my boyfriend’s job was relocated here. When we heard about the opportunity, we thought about it for about five minutes and then realised we would be mad to say no!

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

Bangkok is an amazing city and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to live here. I try and make the most of every moment to get out and see new things and try new places. I decided to start blogging about my experiences in the hope it will inspire others, both expats and tourists, to visit the same places, eat at the restaurants or visit the bars I go to.

I think blogging about the things I have seen also makes me think more about the places I see more and to appreciate everything that Bangkok has to offer.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

My blog is still relatively new, but my favourite post is the one I wrote about The Bangkok Tree House. I was sitting with a friend one day, looking at Nancy Chandler’s map of all there is to do in Bangkok, and we decided out of the blue to visit there the following week, and we had a great time.

It pretty much sums up the ethos of my blog: get out and explore!

Tell us about the ways your new life in Bangkok differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

I was so excited about moving here, I didn’t stop to think about how much life would change until about a week or so before we got on the plane. That’s when it really started to hit home. Even so, I still wasn’t really prepared for how much of a culture shock I would have once actually here, and just how different life would be. It’s very different living somewhere to just visiting on holiday. Rather naively, it hadn’t occurred to me that some people wouldn’t be able to speak English and just how difficult it would be to learn and understand Thai. I am used to picking up many words and phrases during European holidays and I thought I would be chattering away in no time but of course it’s much easier to pick up there as they use the same alphabet as the UK. The symbols used here remain very much a mystery! I am slowly conforming to life here, although I am sure there will never be a time that I don’t grimace at the sight of chicken’s feet for sale at the supermarket!

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Bangkok? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

In no shape or form was I prepared for life in Bangkok, but I do not necessarily think that’s a bad thing. In some ways I do wish I had researched how difficult it is for expats to work in Thailand unless it’s through relocation or teaching, but at the same time that might have dissuaded me from moving here, and that is something I have no regrets about. I spent a lot of time worrying and stressing in the UK about things I had little or no control of, and here I am trying more to just go with the flow. I think so many people waste their life by thinking about doing things and then talking themselves out of it because of what might go wrong, rather than just trying something different.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

We went to a local Korean restaurant one evening. We had recently been to a Japanese BBQ and had a great time cooking our own food. When the hot plate arrived at our table we presumed it was the same thing, and so started to cook our prawns and beef. One by one, more of the staff came and watched us laughing and taking pictures on their phones! We couldn’t think what was wrong, until one of the waiters came over, took the cooking utensils off us and began cooking the food for us himself! But hey, it’s always nice to make people laugh!

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Bangkok?

  • We arrived with four suitcases and the rest came by shipping. I wish I had given more thought to what I packed. I filled my suitcases with clothes and flip flops, but in hindsight photographs and home comforts might have made my first few weeks easier and our apartment feel more homely.
  • Start reading as many blogs and expat forums as you can - they are a great source of information and they can also be a good way of meeting people.
  • Take the time to think about where you want to live. If possible, visit before actually moving out here. We picked somewhere close to where my boyfriend works and near a BTS station – trust me, you do not want to have far to walk in this heat!

How is the expat community in Bangkok? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community is pretty much what you choose to make of it. Initially I felt very lonely and unsettled. I vaguely “knew” two people (a friend of a friend of a friend and a girl I started talking to through her own blog) who lived here. I realised if I wanted to make friends that I needed to put the effort in and I slowly began to meet people. This was easier said than done, as I am naturally a very shy girl (though when you get to know me I am actually quite the chatterbox) but once I put my fears aside it was easier to start emailing friends of people and suggest meeting up. You quickly get used to going on “blind dates” with people you meet on the internet!

How would you summarize your expat life in Bangkok in a single, catchy sentence?

An amazing adventure!

Martin Beck

"I've been looking for a shop where to buy German food here in Bangkok. Fellow expats on InterNations finally told me how to find the right stores."

Helen Laidboe

"It' such a a pity that we have to leave Bangkok soon. I'll miss the InterNations expat community so much, especially the great events!"

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