A first time for everything …
There have definitely been many interesting, fun, and nerve-wracking “firsts” for me as of late. Some have been interesting and fun, but some were neither of those and only nerve-wracking. :/ When you’re in your home culture, it is fairly easy at times to control how many “firsts” you attempt and at what pace you attempt them. Here, it’s a bit different. Well, I could try to keep a tight control on such things here, but it would really keep me from things that are only going to make our time in Thailand richer, as well as “easier,” in some senses. Because of this, I find myself saying, “Oh, why not?” or thinking to myself, “C’mon, Dawn, you need to ‘put yourself out there’ on this one!” way more than I probably ever have. The process is tiring, exhilarating at times, and …. tiring. However, I’ve already done things I wasn’t sure I could do and my confidence is growing; more slowly in some areas than others, but nonetheless, growing.
Recently, for the first time, I have …
… driven a manual vehicle on the left side of the street while sitting on the right side of the car and shifting with my left hand. I think I got tired merely just typing that all out – wow. Driving here makes me feel like I am 16 years old again, except for the fact that my husband is in the passenger seat coaching me instead of my dad … and my 2 small children are in the backseat literally cheering me on. That is just plain weird.
… gotten a Thai massage. I know, I know, I lead a rough life. But you must know this about me; I don’t particularly like massages. I am ticklish and the amount of mental energy I have to put into not wiggling during the entire massage generally makes getting them a total waste of money and is antithetical to relaxation. But here? I decided to go for it and actually enjoyed it! For a variety of factors, the massage was done much better than any massage (um, all 2 or 3 of them) I’ve ever had done in the U.S.
… made my first batch of homemade spaghetti sauce and french toast – in one week. If you don’t think this is a big deal, ask my family. They’ll tell you they are very, very grateful for a bit of variety in our menu. Making meals I would have back in the States has come slowly as I find out which ones I can make with cost-effective ingredients here. Because of that and because I am just beginning to learn how to cook Thai food, that sauce and french toast is a big deal.
… driven a motorbike out in traffic! The previous few times I had ridden our motorbike was just around our neighborhood, so getting out into traffic was one of the nerve-wracking firsts for me. I literally had to give myself a verbal rear-end kicking to make this happen (anyone else out there have to do the same sometimes?) – I’m not joking. I just drove down the road a bit to a coffee shop and back, but it was a start. I was possibly the slowest one on the road at the time (not a problem, other vehicles just drive around you – road rage is not an issue here) and one time I gave it gas instead of using the brakes, but all was well.
… gone out for a “moms only” night with a few new friends. This was huge because it meant that a) I have met some other women who are willing to spend their Friday evening with me, b) there were no children present which = coherent, adult conversation, and c) I had the best chocolate I have had in the last 3 months in the cafe we went to. Need I say more?
eaten fried insects! Ok, ok, I didn’t do this one, but I did have the opportunity to buy some at a market last week. I passed, deciding not to “put myself out there” on this one quite yet. However, I did try durian, which could be a close 2nd. Regarding durian, people either love or hate this particular fruit and it’s actually banned from some public places because of its smell.
… gone to Burma/Myanmar. Granted, it was just to renew our visa and we spent most of our time in the immigration office, but we did it. It represents the opportunity we have to go places in the surrounding areas that I never dreamed I would go. These opportunities are one of the amazing perks of living here.
All these “firsts” are definitely stretching for me, but I’m forging ahead!
How about you? What “firsts” have you attempted lately? What things are you needing to try for the first time that you are putting off? C’mon … get out there and do them!
And, if you need someone to lovingly give you a “verbal rear-end kicking,” just let me know.