December 31, 2015

2015 into 2016

Resolutions I have none. As with all the other previous years, I like to close 2015 with some reflection as the year scuttles to a close in a few hours.

There are things to ponder, things to deliberate, things to inflect upon…all of which had, in one way or another paved my learning curve for the year. I have also grown lots of white silver hair while at it.

The discoloured black streaks are prominent and distinctly visible from a distance.Age is catching up with me. Silver is my new black.

2015 has been another challenging year as I completely tipped the scale of work-life imbalance. More work, ZERO balance. I worked a lot this year. A LOT. Not because I wanted to, but because I regretfully, had to triple up.

Perhaps I was too productive. And as my role expanded, I got caught in a vicious cycle to deliver it all.

It was brutal.

The expectations, unrealistic. Inhuman, even.

I eventually burnt-out after spending an insane amount of hours either in the office or travelling for business in the last 8 months with barely enough rest. It’s a miracle I haven’t collapsed and died then, and that my kids still remember me as their mother.

It’s not something I’d like to repeat and with a new replacement on board to take over one of my roles (Yayy! Bloody finally!), I hope that next year will be a better year for me to focus on the things that matter.

Looking back, it has been one hell of a crazy year. I’d be lying if I say I didn’t struggle one bit as I try to juggle work, travels, motherhood and blog consistently while healing my inner demons from 2014. It has been awfully tough. 

But! I’m still standing. In a way, I’m grateful for all that craziness because, if not for that, I would not be:

Sheer insanity that was! And all those were unplanned and executed without any resolutions made. (See the point I was trying to make there?)

How I scraped by, I haven’t a clue. I guess I go on auto-pilot; most of the time running on empty and took sleep deprivation to a new level.

Being able to cook and schedule my blog posts became the sole outlets to release stress. I find them to be the most therapeutic. I wouldn’t and couldn’t make it through without the patience and support of Silver Bullet to pick up my slack where I have not been able to. Or I’d have gone completely bonkers.  

In a few hours, it will be another day, another year… and another totem pole marked to our years of residing in Bangkok earning our bread and butter. Ceteris paribus, it will be our 11th year living “temporarily” in Bangkok come June next year.

Ceteris paribus, the cycle starts again when the day breaks after all the festivities: we go to work, the kids go to school, our Nanny comes to work and my Thai remains crap.

But, ceteris paribus is not the way to live; not the way we want to, anyway. As the curtains of 2016 open up, we will be looking onwards into a world of uncertainties possibilities.

A world that would take us out of our comfort zone as we navigate through the unknown, one that I do not have a clearly defined path for.

A path in which I have and I will continue to be groping in the dark for a few more months to come.

A path to which I neither have any control of, nor a specific time-frame to measure against, as, if it will be our chosen path, it is a path that will put me at the mercy of others.

A path of vulnerability and surrender for a greater good so to speak; and me not liking that I am not in a position to control anything.

Clearly, it will be a path I am not comfortable with. Largely because of the many uncertainties that come with immersing our feet into unchartered waters as we change the directions of our sails against the wind to sail our yatch of hope.

Hope for a new beginning. Hope of starting life a-new elsewhere outside Thailand. Hope for a new home-base.

Because we have been here for too long, and it feels like we have been living in a bubble. Expat life in Thailand does that to you and losing our grips on the realities is a real possibility if we are not careful.

We are not even considered full-blown expats to be fair.

By “full-blown” I mean getting all the perks of fully-paid housing, insurances, kids’ education, a ridiculously high salary, the free flight tickets home for the entire family as well as the extended home leave plus a dedicated driver who drives us anywhere we want to in some fancy-ass cars like some expats do.

We get none of those. N’UH.

No. We do not have a lot of “things”,  we are far from well-off and we do not live large.  So if anyone intend to rob us, they would be sorely disappointed because there’d be nothing to steal. Except for the kids’ toys; many of which were gifts from people.

While we both earn enough to be comfortably sufficient, we still feel the pinch especially when it comes to the rising education expenses.

International schools here are exorbitantly expensive and are considered a privilege; simply because education here, in itself, is an institution.

In the long run, even with a decent job, school will soon be unaffordable for us. As it is, Squirt’s annual fees is already costing more than Silver Bullet’s entire Master’s Degree education he got from The Netherlands.  

That’s only for ONE kid and he is in kindergarten. We’d have to be filthy rich  just to send our kids to the lowest rung of the international school around, mind you! 

Why not just send them to public school you ask?

To quote an advice from a former expat “Only send your children to a Thai public school if you really, really hate them.”

Enough said. Let’s not get me started on the education system here, or I’ll rant for pages!

Still. Thailand has given me the life experiences more than I could ever bargained for.

It opened up my eyes bigger, my mind deeper to look at things with a different perspective, and expanded my hips wider as my Thai colleagues continue to feed me with their sugary Thai snacks – all of which I would not have been exposed to otherwise. 

There’s plenty to be grateful for in the face of challenges as there’s always a silver lining of a promised wisdom.

For one, I am truly grateful that my followers are slowly but steadily growing in the course of time. 40 more to go and with your help, I hope to get 200. Just because it’s a nice number. 😊

If you are reading this, thank you all from the very bottom of my heart for still following. Thank you for the mentions, the awards, the shares, the comments, the likes or even just skimming through my stories from time to time and giving me the page hits, because my blog would be nothing without your support.

Besides, now that I am armed with a new set of white grey silver (streaks) on the head as my new black, I’d like to think that things could only get better from here. How can they not be, yes? We dealt with enough shites already, surely something has got to give, no?

So, from us here at Grubbs ‘n Critters, here’s wishing you a sloshing new year. May 2016 be the best year yet- with only good energies encapsulating our lives guided by brightest light to navigate the murkiness lurking our way.

I’ll be seeing you soon with more stories. Until then, there’s champagne to pop, food to feast on and merry to be made to usher us into the next chapter of our journey ahead. Assuming we are not asleep by 10 tonight.

So, wherever you are in the world, here’s to a splendid and magical beginning of a new year! 

2015-12-31 15.35.50

 


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  1. May 2016 be a wonderful year for you and your family. I’m very happy to be a fan. 😍

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