It's official. Alan and I accepted job offers at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand. I just finished booking the last leg of our flights. It's a long way from Omaha to Chiang Rai.
|Famous White Temple in Chiang Rai|
I'm sitting here in our Turkish apartment, alternating gazes between our 11th story view of Mount Erciyes topped in clouds, government-run high rises in the foreground; and my computer screen, window to the infinite possibilities of the internet. My feet are touching our Turkish kilim rug with its bold colors and geometric print. I'm sipping black tea from a mug provided by my current university in Turkey. I'm living one iteration of the ex-pat dream while day-dreaming about another incarnation of the dream thousands of miles away.
It was a strange week. We had interviews and multiple offer letters to consider, we drank too much coffee during our down time at work. We drank too much whiskey and wine at our friends' house, so we spent the night on couches, snuggling their new puppy who was named after a co-worker who has already returned to the US. We spent an entire day with a white board, comparing and contrasting our job offers in Thailand. We recruited our American friends who lived in Thailand to help us sort things out. We committed to the offer we've been wanting since early April.
We met my former roommate in Cappadocia yesterday. She was playing tour guide for a professor and student from Flagstaff. Between me, Alan, my roommate, and the current student, we had 4 generations of students from the same graduate program. Oddly enough, though I was the youngest in the group, I was the first to receive the degree. Anyway, quite a legacy coming from Northern Arizona! We went coffee and lunching in Göreme, and wine tasting in Ürgüp These towns practically feel like our backyards after a year in Kayseri. We gossiped about mutual acquaintances over "proper" glasses of wine while Turkish "lorries" rumbled up the hill next to our bar (excuse my British English--after a year of teaching from a British-made book, it's starting to feel natural--lorry = semi-truck).
The countdown until the end of Turkey is getting shorter. 18 days?
The countdown to Thailand is short, too, (32 days?) but seems like a million years away. It has hardly sunk in that we will be living in rural-ish Thailand soon. We will be eating rice and curries and noodles, and fresh fruit and pork. We will be drinking cheap beer and Johnny Walker in sweltering heat. The mosques we have grown used to will be replaced with temples. Our roman alphabet will be replaced by the curly Thai script. Our "teşekkürler" will be replaced with "kha-pun-kha." We will start over learning a new language and culture from scratch.
I'm cautiously excited for the move. I've lived in Southeast Asia before, and I know that the heat and the tummy bugs are hard on me; but I know that the people and the food suit me well, and I'm really looking forward to the next chapter. I hope it's a long one filled with twists, turns and at least one kitten. Until next time, dear reader...