Author Topic: The Loneliest Life In The World: An Expat In Thailand  (Read 733 times)

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Offline thaiga

The Loneliest Life In The World: An Expat In Thailand
« on: October 28, 2016, 01:04:53 PM »
Another interesting article from whatsonsukhumvit.com. about expats in limbo neither here nor there, Expats live in two time zones, here and “home,” the present and the past, i get the feeling it's about understanding what's going on around you and having someone to talk to, that understands what your saying ... here have a read

The Loneliest Life In The World: An Expat In Thailand

The security guard just looks at me.

It’s late. I’m maybe drunk, maybe it’s late, and I’m definitely going to have a hangover.

It’s too early to talk to anyone at home, too late to talk to anyone here but the security guard and he’s here and he’s not talking to anyone so I talk to him.

He smiles pleasantly.

I suppose if I knew more about Thai culture I could talk to him, have a conversation, I could understand why he likes a band named after Ireland’s favorite starchy vegetable, but I don’t and I can’t.

“Good talk,” I tell him as I go back to my room and he salutes me.

I look up plane ticket prices for going back home. I’ll leave here soon. The next day I don’t buy the ticket, nor the day after that.

I don’t go back because I don’t belong there.

When I go back home, even though I’ve lived here in Thailand now for long enough that I should be calling Bangkok home, I can’t tell my friends about the slapstick comedy of Thai sitcoms or about Potato.

They understand the neurosis of George Costanza, they don’t understand slapstick Thai humor and sound effects.

My old friends look at me and stare as if I was from another planet, another place, and I am.

They certainly don’t get why Potato is a big deal; after all the closest America got to a chart-topping vegetable was the misspelled Korn.

So who do I talk to? About life? The trivialities and petty struggles? About not being able to figure out what the is going on at the grocery store, or how to figure out the convoluted maze of immigration?

Expats live in two time zones, here and “home,” the present and the past.

We are like time travelers always looking behind us at the place that we left.

It’s why so many barstools are filled in pseudo English pubs that serve depilated fish and chips. It’s a chance to return home, or to a semblance of “home.” But home is far, far, far away. The distance home may be finite, a few thousand miles, 10 hours, 12 hours, 14 hours on a plane, but the amount of time to return to become acclimated again is infinite and so the expat is neither here nor there.

After a long period of time expats get used to living abroad. The constant conflict of not understanding what the hell is going on becomes the new normal and when expats go home, there is no confusion — everything is understood and totally alienating at the same time. It’s not the home the expat left.

The expat belongs neither abroad nor at home. This dislocation is isolating. It’s lonely and it’s magnified by the distorting lens of social media where all the joys are magnified into intense feelings of FOMO.

Expats aren’t there for the weddings, the births, and the deaths. Life back there is passing us by and expats are left out of it.

So what’s the remedy? Expats, like everyone else, curate their own best moments. They post shirtless pictures of themselves on beautiful beaches hugging drugged up tigers.

Who could possibly be miserable while saddled up next to an exotic beasty bestie?

Pictures of hugging exotic wildlife don’t help people get through the emotional difficulties of being abroad. There are a million hurdles to overcome when living in a foreign country, for example love lives. The hardships of getting into, falling out of, and being in a romantic relationship are difficult enough as it is. They become even more difficult when you have no one to talk to about it, and no one that understands.

The loneliness of expat life also folds in on itself. The more lonely we feel, the more ways in which we reinforce that loneliness by not going out, by not trying, by not making meeting other people a priority.

Maybe the expat does try. Maybe they go get a new mate and become friends with people they would never even bother with back home because they can speak the same language, they know the same football team, because they both know what the shitty 90s sitcom Seinfeld is.

It’s not that they share likes and commonalities with their new international friends; it’s more base than that. It’s that they are in the same isolating cell abroad together.

Friendship beyond the age of 6 is hard work. It requires making meeting people a priority because sometimes newfound drinking buddies don’t always have the same hours as you.

Unlike in Seinfeld, best friends probably don’t live across the hall from you.

But if the expat wants to survive they have to do the work. They have to learn the culture, they have to go out and make things happen because at the end of the day no one else is gonna talk to you about shitty sitcoms.

thanks to Matt Lucas, full article whatsonsukhumvit.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 
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Offline Baby Farts

Re: The Loneliest Life In The World: An Expat In Thailand
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2016, 09:27:13 AM »
Excellent article, Thaiga and thanks for sharing.  I see a lot of this too in Korat.  Fortunately for me, I have a wife and two kids which keeps me busy. I've never really spent reflecting too much on my past after I came here. When people have nothing to look forward to they often look at the past. 

There are ways to meet people and new friends without having to go to the local pub and indulge in booze, etc. Charity work, volunteer work, a new hobby or sport are a few things that come to mind.
 
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Offline thaiga

Re: The Loneliest Life In The World: An Expat In Thailand
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2016, 04:22:32 PM »
Yes, true B/F, When people have nothing to look forward to they often dwell on the past.

The past is done & gone, you can't go back there, i went to the Uk in 2008 thinking i'll have a great time ... But, people had moved on, it was so different to how i had left it, i was glad to get back to here.

Times are bad when you have to have a chat and spill your unhappiness to a security guard, that don't even understand what your on about. Being lonely is one thing but mix that with alcohol, Hmmm.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 
The following users thanked this post: Baby Farts

Offline thaiga

Re: The Loneliest Life In The World: An Expat In Thailand
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2016, 11:49:51 PM »
Yet another lonely farang - found on answers.yahoo.com - Asking, Are there many lonely farang in thailand,
He writes - I'm here on a "paradise" island. i got what i come here for, a job, a long stay. i'm surrounded by lovely beaches and coconut trees but at the end of the day i'm lonely as hell.

Well! you could be in a room full of people but you could still be lonely if you have little or nothing in common with any other person in the room, which leads to a feeling of isolation, or if you don't have a real connection with any of these people.
Some interesting replies/comments, to come. ooh! can't wait
;)

Are there many lonely farang in thailand

i dont mean tourists. i mean people staying here for a longer. not only expats but younger people too.
when you arrive here and you have girls grabbing you in the street and wanting to talk with you or whatever it all seems great. like paradise. but its all fake.

i've been here about a year now and work with thai and burmese people. im only 28 and im a good looking guy. i work 6 days a week with thai but mostly burmese staff. during these days i cant talk with them about things like "how was your weekend" or anything at all. can't just chat. can't go for a beer after work. after work they go there way and i go mine. outside of work i dont have any friends either. i know lots of people i could say hi to in the street but thats as far as it goes.

if i want to do something all i can do is go to a bar and play pool with girls that are only doing there job by talking with me. i see them each week but they are not real friends. if i want to go to the beach or do something with them i have to pay the bar.. i'm not talking about sex. sometimes i pay bar just to have a friend. we don't have sex.

i sold everything in australia to come here and live for around 2 years. but im just finding it very lonely. especially since i broke up with my girlfriend.

before i left patong i met one aussie guy. he's a popular performer at a well known night spot. he has a wife of 15 years, makes about 1600 aussie dollars per week performing, has many female groupies, has a harley, a house full of expensive crap. he's living the dream. he sat with me and we spoke a bit about this and it was obvious how lonely he was feeling. he kept saying how good it was to talk with another australian and pretty much reiterated what i just wrote above.
another aussie guy i met one night told me the same... how good it was to just hear an aussie voice and talk with an australian and somebody that's not trying to rip him off..

i'm here on a "paradise" island. i got what i come here for, a job, a long stay. im surrounded by lovely beaches and coconut trees but at the end of the day im lonely as hell.

it's probably got a lot to do with it but i dont really have any desire to hang out with young farang like myself either. there all in holiday mode and focused on drinking and seeing things i've seen many times before. i came here to get away from people like that.
the first time i came i met a lot of people doing muay thai and going out with them. i don't have the time to do it so much now that i work though and if i do its not the fresh new experience it was back then, i just train and go home.

any others long term people ever feel lonely like this?
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline thaiga

Re: The Loneliest Life In The World: An Expat In Thailand
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 12:02:40 PM »
Here's an update from mr. lonely guy in the above post along with some of the comments he got. more comments can be found on
answers.yahoo.com

 
Update: some good answers. thankyou. i dont look down on bar girls. most of the girls i have been with in thailand are bar girls. the ones that wern't bar girls were probably worse in contrast.

Best Answer:  you remind me of myself a few years back :) from Ozymandias

thailand is pretty tough when it gets to creating long term TRUE relations/ friends or more simply mingling with them without feeling out of place. im in my 30's and decided to go back to my place and just "visit" thailand whenever i could afford to and enjoy myself for a month or two. but trying to set roots there...no way due to a few reasons.   please let me explain.

in general the foreigners have a bad reputation among thai society ( sex tourist, drunkards etc.)
like some girls told me, it is very hard for a thai woman to be seen with a white guy; it almost indicates that she's a bar girl, even if she isn't. thais are conservative and traditionalistic...being with a white man would deprive her of that. and our cultures and religion are way too different ( unlike philippines for example where they are a.catholic and b.have a strong spanish ( euro ) influence.

the straw that broke the camels back was when i realized how many white guys had fathered children with thai girls and promised to come back and never did. the language barrier is thicker than one thinks...

so anyway, if i were you i'd cash out and spend the rest of the resources/time traveling to philippines or other near-by countries such as vietnam...just a solo-adventure trip. you might hook-up with a group of backpackers from bangkok travelling s.east asia at kao sarn road. i always go there to chat with young foreigners and listen to their itineraries over a beer or two.

btw careful cause some "youngish" farangs are actually con artists and know how ur feeling and will try to exploit it by offering you various joy rides or just their friendship for money/beer etc...free riders

from spanky
I would say that there have been periods in my life where it has been more lonely than other times. I live in a small village but I do speak Thai - there are some farng around who are retired and near my age & most are pretty nice - great for a coffee for a few hours... some are jerks. We had an Aussie up here. Met him once or twice - the guy knew everything and all conversations were monologues... what a bore. But phuket is barely a real place - it is an island booming from farang tourists who come and act badly and Thai people who reciprocate... sure, this might have been your dream but as a friend of mine used to say - [ when we would talk abt 'doing our dreams' ] - he would tell me that many of his dreams were nightmares.

Don't run out of dreams - just find the right one. PHuket is a very shallow place. good luck.

P.S. Hard to read your long post. Try capital letters at the beginning of sentences, spaces between paragraphs and proofreading. When you are older you should write like an adult not a 11 year old kid. Part of growing up.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

 



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