Work Hard, Play Card
One year seems like a long time, until you are completely submerged with things to do. Work, exploration and relaxation. To say I've been negligent regarding this blog would be a gross understatement. Luckily Jessica's been doing a fantastic job of filling these pages on my behalf for a while, allowing me to slack.
Working in Asia, has been a tremendous experience and my morale is 8 out of 10 or better almost every day. The number 1 reason is the people. On the walk to work, a concierge at a local hotel waves to me each morning and asks "Where wifey? Pai Tam Naan? (Going to work?)" . In the office everyone makes you feel special even if it's just because I'm the only massive ogre they know. Questions about America, how to say "wonton" in english, "you like spicy food?". On the way home I stroll through a university and wave at the Dental students that interview me randomly for school assignments. "You ever need have crown? Cavity? How many month you Thailand?". Watching the students in their hundreds, playing football, making dance routines and running about is a huge change from FAU where everyone was on a cell phone or on the way to an Xbox. Most people are very healthy, energy spilling out everywhere.
Fueling all of this excitement is a tough task for the city street vendors. The craft dishes which are spicy, fresh and always colorful. Palm sugar is in everything but you never taste it through the herbs and heat. More spicy inside makes for a cooler outside as you sweat like a pig. Every lunch is a treat, almost nothing tastes better than 120THB (about $3 USD). Papaya Salad, grilled pork neck, Gra Prow and Moo Ping galore. Any walk can turn into a feast for the coin in your fist.
Not everything is perfect however. Working in Thailand (and Asia in general) relies on the fact that the ship wont turn at the command of one man. You must accept that more people live within 5000 kilometers of Bangkok than the rest of the world combined and ancient habits remain steadfast against the wave of western money, technology and ideals. The phrase TIT(L) - "This is Thailand" explains all the results of short term thinking in business. From the massive bundles of phone and power lines to the confusing and seemingly random visa processes, everything always ends up more difficult than it looks. This can create frustration at times, which can only be relieved by generous amounts of relaxation and recreation.
The best cures are massages and nights of maximum debauchery. Thai's live in the moment, and this attitude can spill over to westerners especially when $1 Ubers replace your designated driver (no embarrassing the sober guy!). Pair that with a pre-blackout insurance of 7-11 toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and coconut water and your personal inhibitions drain away, allowing the party animal to stomp around freely.
But back to work... The first employee on my project team starts Monday, and KPIs begin tracking and measuring. Months of intense planning, patience and effort need to be celebrated before things get extra serious. What better way than wine and cheese with new friends and cards on the table?
Here's to the next year.... Don't worry, I'll check in more often than the last one.