Living on a small island in Thailand is different than I imagined. I guess I thought that it would be romantic, like living in a paradise all the time: Mai Tais on the beach, palm trees swaying in the wind, hammocks all day, every day. I guess I thought that living in Thailand would be like living in a resort, even if you didn’t actually live in a resort. Boy, was I wrong. Actually living in Thailand is a different kind of experience that doesn’t always, but sometimes includes sandy beaches and drinking out of coconuts. In my Thai-style house there is a seemingly daily battle of taking back from the jungle what is mine. First, I’ll tell you a bit about my house. It’s made of dark wood, set on stilts, and is laid out as one giant room with a beautiful wrap-around porch in the front. We have hung two hammocks that are made out of beautiful teal fishing net right where we can look out over the neighboring jungle! As a result, sitting here over-looking papaya and banana trees, we get to see lovely birds and butterflies.
The ceiling of the house is a cathedral ceiling of sorts, the roof made of palm leaves. These must be replaced every 2 years, but thankfully were replaced right before we moved in. The roof doesn’t actually touch the walls, but there is a large gap between where the walls end and the ceiling begins. Here, we have secured a blue-tinted mosquito net to avoid an excess of strange creatures finding their way inside, although we still get many of those. Sadly, this large gap of air serves only to keep us cooler and promote air circulation. It is very dark in the house all the time, despite opening the doors and windows to the bright sun outside. The kitchen is reasonably sized, open to the rest of the house, and tiled with the cheesiest fish tile I’ve ever laid eyes on. We have a separate shower room, and then a bathroom, which also is equipped with my favorite fish tiles. Our bed has another two layers of mosquito net protecting us from invaders during the night. I’ve groggily tried to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, only to find myself tangled in mosquito netting! But it does work… for the larger bugs!
Every night brings a new experience as we wait for what kind of bug night it will be. Since it is the rainy season, after a big rainstorm different bugs swarm our way to flit around in front of the lights inside the house. A certain time of month we get huge swarms of some ant-like bug with wings that take over the house (I mean, they are literally EVERYWHERE), and lead us to turn out the lights and hang out in the mosquito netted bed playing 20 questions in the dark. In the morning we wake up to a massacre of wings and dead bugs, as these bugs shed their wings and sometimes die before getting eaten by little lizards and larger geckos (and sometimes the cat; she loves these little bugs, and it’s very entertaining to watch her jump around trying to catch them!). They cover every surface and a thorough cleaning is necessary, regardless of what the day ahead holds. This time of year pollen also flies this way and that, settling on the countertop in little spots of yellow. I’m still trying to get used to wiping down everything and clearing bugs and other natural materials away before cooking. It’s honestly a lot of work, and takes motivation to get myself moving and creative.
Despite the bugs and the effort that my house takes, it is a brand new experience, which, while frustrating at times, is extremely adventurous. Every day brings a new problem to solve, whether it be debugging, mold (more about that later…), or the ingredients on hand. It’s exhilarating, so I’m trying to appreciate it as it happens. Honestly, there are days when I crave a bright, white room with air conditioning that is most definitely fish-tile and mosquito net free. But there, life would be easier than where I am now, and probably a lot less interesting! We don’t have a TV, nor do we have wifi, so we spend our evenings reading and counting little lizards on our palm-leaf ceiling while watching them catch moths and bugs. It’s actually much more entertaining than it sounds! So, despite what I thought living in Thailand would be like, I’m still enjoying the reality of this crazy adventure!