1. My apartment – I still love it as much as the day I moved in
2. The food – packed with flavour
3. The cost of living – sooooooo cheap, and I’ve totally adjusted to the point that paying $2 for a bottle of pop is unthinkable…
4. The quiet – Thai culture is very quiet and reserved. While that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and can have its downsides, I really, really love it.
5. The respect – Thai culture is concerned with showing honour and respect to others. Again, there can be exceptions or downsides, but on the whole, it is lovely to live somewhere that the elderly are shown respect, people will try not to embarrass you (even if they go about it differently, from our perspective), and service is almost always friendly. In general, there seems to be a cultural understanding of mutual respect until something happens to change that, which is the opposite of our culture, where we talk about respect being earned and generally start off wary or neutral. (For those who may doubt, the difference becomes startlingly noticeable when watching expats grab a taxi. They generally approach the whole ordeal as though they are expecting to get ripped off, barking at the driver to turn the metre on before he even has a chance to, and stressing at every turn, wondering if they are being taken for a ride. Only a few times in highly touristy areas have I had a taxi driver refuse to turn on the metre, and I politely got out. Three times, a driver has innocently forgotten to turn it on, and I forgot to check. All three times, when we arrived, he apologized and suggested either the same price I always pay, or even less, in which case I still paid him my normal fare. As well, on several occasions when we’ve veered off the beaten path, my driver explained about the traffic, and it turned out he was right (in one case even pulling out a mobile app to show me where the traffic was). Maybe in other countries or at the Grand Palace they are out to scam everybody, but it’s not the norm here. I’m not suggesting to be naive or gullible, but there’s something to be said for starting off with mutual respect.)
6. The taxis – both the availability and the cost. In Bangkok, it really doesn’t matter where you are or where you’re going, you can stop and catch a taxi, and it won’t break the bank.
7. The community – I have some really lovely friends here, and I will really miss them when I leave. Thankfully, one of them is actually moving to Michigan, so that means she’ll still be close enough to visit!
I’m sure I will think of others as time goes on, but there’s a start!