Month One

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Tomorrow marks the end of my first month in Laos. The past thirty days have raced by faster than the motorbikes on Lane Xang road. Tomorrow I’ll make my first “visa run” over the Friendship Bridge to Thailand. I’m an expat. I do visa runs. It still doesn’t feel real.

I’ve had good and bad days. As expected, I’ve had to adjust to a brand new way of living.  I’ve had to learn to turn off the part of my brain that’s geared toward NOT using plastic bottles of water. I cringe as the pile of bottles grows quickly over the days and is sent out with the garbage. Instead, I’m becoming only thankful to be able to buy and drink water that won’t make me sick.

I’m learning that just because I saw it at the store yesterday, doesn’t mean it will be there when they run out of it. Next time I’m buying every single one (I’m talking to you Hummus). It’s also a lesson in the simplicity of fewer options. Having only one or maybe two of something to choose from really takes the frustration out of it.  The errand of buying mustard, for example, was simply finding regular mustard and purchasing it. The finding becomes the hard part, not the choosing.  As a Libra and a middle child, I appreciate fewer decisions in my day.

Hot water isn’t to be taken for granted. We don’t have hot water in the kitchen and it often quits in the bathroom. I’m lucky to be able to get it fixed rather quickly and I’m thankful to have it every single time it’s working!  With the heat, humidity and dirty streets I’m happy to have that shower twice a day sometimes.

Using less of products is becoming even more of a habit for me in Vientiane. I brought my toiletries and other supplies with me as I wasn’t sure what would be available once here. Now that I see my future options, I’ve taken to using minuscule amounts of shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and lotion. I use only what I really need or less. Using less is such an important lesson, I’m more than happy to practice.

These are only a few of the lessons I’ve learned this month as a foreigner freshly landed in Southeast Asia.  I’m certainly about to learn even more in the weeks and months to come.

March holds new adventures already. I’ll be starting language classes and Rob has his first block off time when we’ll be traveling over to Thailand!  (‘block off’ is pilot talk for time off)(pilots like to use fancy words for everything).

Thanks to everyone checking in and cheering me on. I feel so supported and there are days where your presence in my adventure makes it all easier.

 

 

 

 

 

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6 comments

    • I know! I read your post the day before having to do the reverse. Although I was able to just cross and then cross back to get the new visa for Laos. How often do you have to renew your Thai visa?

      • well our paperwork is finally sorted, so we don’t need to do it anymore (phew!), but we’ve done it several times during the first year as we changed schools and had to start all over with the visa process…

  1. I was telling someone about your adventure and marvelling at your spirit and was suddenly struck with the enormity of the whole thing. Changes in lattitudes…
    The other thought I keep having is of you bumping into Anthony Bourdain (which would be a great post!!) and getting his secret take on all the little ways that SouthEast Asia has stolen his heart forever.
    Love your posts and a look into your new world.

    Stay well.
    Thrive.

    Grove

    • Thank you so much! You know, I love watching Anthony Bourdain and had the same thought about running into him somewhere in his favorite place (would that be Vietnam?). The trouble is… he hates Vegans!! Either way I love his shows and should have known we’d have that in common too.


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