For as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to be perfect–the perfect daughter, the perfect sister, the perfect student, the perfect friend, the perfect wife, the perfect mother–well, you get the picture. Surprise, surprise–I have never been able to attain this goal. Not one single time. During my years in Bangkok this reality slapped me in the face again and again. Thus unfolded the next lesson that I learned: Understand that I cannot be all things to all people. Know my limitations.
Upon reaching Thailand, it seemed that the universe was slipping me into increasingly demanding scenarios in the hopes that I would one day learn to let go. I was living in a country where I didn’t understand the language or the cultural norms and I had very little time to learn either one. My job at the fledgling international school was both challenging and taxing. I was the head of a brand new department and had absolutely no help, support or direction. As a result, I was doing everything from janitorial work to resourcing the entire department, to writing curriculum for all levels of drama and theatre work. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The ups and downs of family life didn’t disappear just because my children were living across the ocean pursuing post-secondary education either. They still needed Mom–sometimes just for a long distance chat and sometimes to help them out. In addition, my husband was also facing a heavy workload and needed spousal support. We had left behind familiar channels of encouragement and assistance in the move and had yet to find new ones.
There was so much we loved about Thailand–tropical weather, exotic flowers and fruit, massages, polite and caring people and more. I also loved my students and the creative work we did together every day. Where were the boundaries of my limitations? What would I have to give up in order to remain sane and happy? It took me the better part of those nine Bangkok years to sort this out.