Since I’m new to the blogging world and haven’t been in a home for a while, I thought I’d let you in on where I’ve been for the last few years, and how I got to where I am now. Back in 2011, I was pregnant with my youngest, and we were living in Dallas, Texas. My husband was home from work one day because we were about to drive down to Houston to visit my parents. He was giving his work email one last check before we got on the road when he got this crazy email. It was from his boss’ boss, and basically it said that there was a job opening in Bangkok, and would my husband be interested in it? After he read the email to me I immediately said “no”. I wasn’t interested at all! We were about to have a baby, and we already had a 2 year old. How could we pick up and literally move half way around the world to southeast Asia? I wasn’t even interested in researching it. My answer was just “no”. My husband was fine with that, and he replied with a “thanks, but no thanks” email back, and we got on the road. Then, we had the next 5 hours to really talk and think about it. I started pulling up anything I could find on Bangkok on the internet from my phone (what did we do before smart phones?). Once we got to Houston we had the next few days to talk to my parents about it, and Kyle was able to talk to his parents about it over the phone. Both of our parents were like “how can you pass up this experience?” So, the short story over the next few months was that we picked up and moved to Bangkok shortly after Reed, my youngest, was born.
Surprisingly, Bangkok is not all that different than living in any other massive city. I’ve never lived in a downtown setting before, but I imagine it being very similar to New York City with tons of tall buildings and people everywhere, and when I say people were everywhere, I mean everywhere! Public transportation made the city pretty easy to navigate, and there are enough people that speak English that we were able to get by with learning little Thai.
As a trailing spouse, I had opportunities that I never would have had back home. I was able to take photography classes and attend culinary school. I was even able to help a friend with her small catering business, and I traveled to Taiwan as a business consultant to NGOs (non-profit organizations).
There are two things that really made this the adventure of a lifetime, though. First was the amazing places we were able to travel. In a nutshell, we went to Cambodia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Bali (Indonesia), Japan, and my favorite, the Maldives. We also travelled throughout Thailand of course. The people and culture in each of these places was just absolutely amazing!
The other thing that made this such an amazing experience for us was the friends we made from all over the world while living in Bangkok. Being so far away from home, these friends became our family. We spent holidays together and traveled with them. We had friends from close to home places like Canada and Mexico, but also from more far away places like Taiwan, Sweden, Israel, Malaysia, Australia, and Slovenia just to name a few. I didn’t even know Slovenia was a country before moving abroad (sorry, Kornelija)! The expat (someone residing in a country other than their own) community in Bangkok was huge! Although we were in a city of over 15 million people, it actually felt like a much smaller community. It was very rare that I would go grocery shopping or out to eat and not run into someone I know. It made being so far away from home seem more like, well…home.
The time that we had there only fueled my passion for home decor and DIY projects. We were in a rental apartment for many years, and our apartment building provided the furniture to us, which was basically the same in every apartment in the building. To make things even more lackluster, our best shipping option for the move only allowed us to bring 2,000 lbs. of our belongings with us from the US, with the rest going into storage. Most of that shipping space was taken up by the kids’ stuff. We knew this wasn’t a permanent job, and we felt that buying a lot of furniture and home accessories there would be a waste of money. So, other than a few precious decor items, we lived in a state of transition for quite some time. During this time, I read everything I could on home decorating knowing that we would come back, and I would be in full swing house mode again. My Pinterest boards were full of ideas that I couldn’t wait to try!
Living in Asia also gave me a new love of color! Everything was so vibrant, and there were pops of color everywhere. From the bright colored clothing people wore to the crazy colored taxis, color was all around in a way that I’ve never seen it before. It made me dread going back to the sea of neutrals I had waiting for me in a storage unit back home. Our move definitely influenced my taste, and I knew that I would incorporate that in our new home. I am now slowly removing all the blah and replacing it with the fun colors I have come to love.
I also think that being around so many different cultures has made me a more open person. This experience has given me a broader view of how I look at serious things such as people, life, and the world, but also in a more personal way like in raising my family and how I decorate my house. I’ve realized there is more than one way of doing things, and I’m more open to trying new options.
What about you? Have you had any experiences that have changed you in a major way? I’d love to hear from you below!