Disinherited by family, faced with a glass ceiling professionally, hungry for adventure and looking for a chance to establish a new heritage for their children, the author and her husband sold everything, packed their suitcases and headed for Asia with their teenage children. They spent five years in Pakistan before being posted to Thailand.
A gentle, tropical introduction to Thailand was soon replaced with culture shock, workplace pressures, a deep sense of abandonment as empty-nesters, and death in the family. Adaptations had to be made to oppressive and immovable traffic jams, choking pollution, a collapsed economy and the ubiquitous sex culture of the Southeast Asian capital. Nevertheless, there was hope for better things to come with an exciting new position at the International School.
But the stress of the job started to build due to an increasing workload that resulted in burgeoning weight and health issues. Before she knew it, the author was approaching a nasty turn in the road as a new staff member went from small criticisms to embarking upon a destructive lecture series which culminated in a spiteful damning letter that threatened to topple her career. As a result of these sordid manipulations, the author made the heart-breaking decision to leave her beloved students and her teaching career of 20 years.
Life in Bangkok soon became a rollercoaster ride—at the same time as her husband was receiving a scalding threat from his head office, she was being offered exciting new opportunities with U.N. research and consulting contracts. She was about to experience some of her happiest years in Bangkok—beginning a new career as a massage therapist, working with a non-government organization in the Bangkok slums, travelling to Trinidad for a UNICEF conference, and being hired to work part-time at a holistic center where she learned her first lessons in transgender evolution. She was undergoing some fascinating and inspirational encounters that were causing her to look at life through a new lens as she began to learn Thai massage and study eastern spirituality and meditation.
But 2004 opened with bad omens, nasty situations and hard lessons—her husband’s new boss arrived with a threatening agenda, their maid of eight years walked out, a Thai massage master cast a black spell, and her marriage came close to ending. Desperately searching for answers, she found a much-needed silent meditation retreat and the profound ten days of looking deep inside caused her to reflect on personal conflicts and change some of her inherent perceptions.
Regrettably, the consequences of the bad omens soon came to pass—her husband’s UN career ended, they were robbed and a massive tsunami hit the shores of Thailand. While shaken at the time, Buddhism and meditation practice guided both of them to adopt equanimity. The insights, understanding, and lessons learned in those nine years in Thailand guided Ms. Bazant’s spiritual transformation and are still guiding her today.