Thankful in Thailand

As soon as I signed online, my friend sent me a link to the news regarding the two explosions at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. I was in Bangkok the day the riots started, but I’m currently lounging around in a safe haven next to a beach in Phuket—no need to worry about me. The greatest dangers I face here are getting sunburned and gaining weight. Besides the traffic, I’ve experienced no signs of political unrest. Our only concern right now is, we might be stuck here for a few extra days—not that I mind trading stressful nights at school for lazy days at the beach.

Despite not being with a tour group this time, we still played the roles of true Bangkok tourists: we bought local gemstone jewelry, we had dresses and suits custom-tailored by Indian businessmen, we went for a boat ride along the Chao Praya River, and we hunted down the coconut vendors to combat the heat.

Bangkok was amazing, but Phuket’s breathtakingly beautiful. We’re staying at the J.W. Marriott Phuket Beach Club because my mom traded our Newport timeshare villa for a week here instead. We’re essentially chilling on Marriott’s private beach during the day and sleeping in our spacious villa fully equipped with a kitchen, laundry room, two bed, two bath, living, dining, and patio space at night. I’m thankful for the calming waves and virgin shores filled with seashells, the sounds of exotic birds chirping on our patio, the scent of lemongrass in the bathrooms, even the spontaneous drizzles in 90 degree weather. Yes, I’m thankful for my globetrotting mom and stamp-filled passport, but I know that I don’t need to live or shop at a place where the only choices of water are Voss or a Christian Lacroix-designed bottle of Evian to be happy.

Frankly, what makes this vacation worthwhile is listening to my four-year-old cousin’s theories of how Americans have big boobs because we eat McDonald’s, how I need to keep pinching my flat Asian nose in order to look like Snow White, and how I’ll turn into Squirt, the turtle, if I keep slouching in front of the computer. Of course, watching her make videos on my Mac also provides me endless entertainment:

My uncle isn’t any less entertaining. He commented on how all the local Caucasian men had a particular preference for the short and dark Thai sort—a rather enigmatic observation. After walking around for a bit longer, he had an epiphany: Caucasian men want to make sure they’re dating real women, not beautiful “lady boys”.

In the end, I’m most thankful for the people who make me laugh and smile and feel loved—yes, even through subtle euphemisms from a four-year-old. I can sign online in Thailand and receive IMs when it’s past four in the morning back home. I can Skype with my favorite people and listen to a lengthy account about a date at Starbucks. I can read emails from my dad worthy of being posted on My Dad is a Fob but too precious to be shared with others. I’m thankful for the people who enrich my life and add beautiful colors to my everchanging canvas—and laugh at my cheesy blog references.