A Day in the Life (of an American Ex-Pat in Thailand)

October 21, 2011 § 7 Comments

The Obfuscated Jogger recently wrote a blog post entitled “Today I Did This” describing, aptly enough, his day. I thought, Well shoot! That seems like a cool (and easy) blog post… I’m going to have to steal it. And steal it I did (Thanks, TOJ!):

My day-to-day life in Thailand looks something like this:

I wake up at 5:30 or 6:00 and go for a 5,8, or >15 mile run. Between 7:00- 9:00, I go for a “cool down” walk with my dog, Sigma.

After showering and ensuring the happiness of my dog, I head over to my friend’s cafe to make myself something to eat—usually oatmeal or muesli with bananas/pumpkin and a cup of coffee (while I generally try to eat “Thai-style,” I found that a hearty, simple breakfast post-run works the best for me).

My favorite fruit: Thai Longkong

I am a private tutor, so students trickle in to study with me throughout the day. During my free time, I study logic and ethics. Of late, I’ve been interested in seeing if I could apply modal logic to an ethical theory (specifically feminism/womanism) to enhance its rigor. I’m not sure if it has been done before (it probably has), but I am ultimately interested in increasing feminism’s precision.

I usually eat a light lunch of som tam ped ped (very spicy green papaya salad w/ peanuts). I’ve recently “graduated” to eating 6+ chilies per dish, so all of my Thai neighbors are quite “proud” of me. I am a vegetarian so my food options are fairly limited. Increasing the number of chilies per dish gives me something to look forward to– plus, it is amusing to get surprised looks from the various women who make the salad for me (most farangs cannot even handle 1 chili).

My adult students come to study with me after 4:00, so I usually end up teaching conversational English and a bit about American culture in the evenings. I am often surprised by the depth of some of their questions, given their limited English language capabilities. Or perhaps I should say: I am sometimes surprised by how much their questions affect me emotionally.

One of my trouble-making students, Poon.

7:00pm: If I’ve gone to the market and have vegetables on hand, I will make dinner at home (usually some brown rice with steamed vegetables and tofu or an egg). If I am not in the mood for the complexities of cooking with a rice cooker, I will go to one of the food stalls in my village and get gang kee-ow wan (sweet green curry w/ green eggplant and an omelet of Chinese kale) or tom yam hed (spicy soup w/ coconut milk and mushrooms).

[Note: I have to be cautious about food because most restaurants and stalls cook with fish sauce (or some other non-vegetarian variant) and no amount of explaining that I am vegetarian and that I cannot eat meat or fish or shellfish seems to be effective.  There just aren’t that many vegetarians in Thailand (monks aside) and people do not know how to cook for them. Plus, I like to be really difficult and request no MSG. Luckily for me, the women who run the food stalls in my village know my dietary “quirks” and will tailor their cooking to my preferences. I don’t want to sound like a picky eater, because in actuality I am not—and I will on occasion try things that are not vegetarian (insects & larvae, congealed blood, frogs, etc.). I just want to maintain a healthy, ethical-ish diet.]

After dinner, I usually take my dog on a walk and then let her play with one of the cleaner/friendlier village dogs in my yard while I read. I am usually in bed by 10:00.

Exciting, no?

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§ 7 Responses to A Day in the Life (of an American Ex-Pat in Thailand)

  • TOJ says:

    Those longkongs look nice. Do they taste anything like lychees?

    • sydneykegan says:

      No. They taste a bit like a sweet grapefruit and have an entirely different texture than lychees. Such an amazing fruit. Unfortunately, they are not in season right now.

  • djkreger says:

    I love that fruit, too! I am not a runner, but do a lot of cycling (working on regaining my health), so I can appreciate the need for the training routine. I just wish I could be doing my training in Thailand! I’ve been there twice, and love the country!

    • sydneykegan says:

      I love cycling– I did a lot of that when I lived in the states. I had a Bianchi Pista (fixed gear) that I rode to and from work every day. However, I happened to live in the “mean streets” of Baltimore, MD, and my Bianchi was eventually stolen from me while I was at work one day. I bought a Gary Fisher fixie post-robbery, and its components were a bit stronger than the Bianchi’s, but I preferred the lightness and smaller-frame of the Bianchi. Ah, so it goes. I bought a bike out here in Thailand (a $40 made-in-china, no-name, market bike), but I use it only as a means for going to the market. When I return to the states, I plan on getting another fixed gear– maybe a Specialized (or another Bianchi!).

      What brought you out to Thailand? What type of cycling do you do? Thanks for checking out my blog!

      • djkreger says:

        I have been to Thailand for missions trip through my church – the primary goal being to teach English in local and village schools. My first trip was for about a week, and I went back (this spring) for a 3.5 week trip. I had a fantastic time both times!

        I primarily ride a road bike, but have also done a bit of mountain biking. I have done a little racing (endurance) and a lot of 100 mile charity rides (Livestrong, MS150, etc.). My goal is to be ready for the Livestrong Century next August and put in my best time ever. That shouldn’t be too hard to do…provided I meet my weight loss goal of 100 pounds! 😉 I’m riding a 2006 Cannondale CAAD8 – a pretty good bike! I’d go with a fixie, but these hills around here would blow my knees to pieces!

  • sydneykegan says:

    Where did you stay in Thailand? The spring is a nice (but hot!) time to be in Thailand.

    Cannondale’s are nice– I also looked at them briefly when I was trying to decide what to buy post-robbery. Do you have a training plan for the century? I would *love* to ride a century. Maybe when I get back to the states I will look into cycling a bit more.

    Best of luck with the weight loss goal! : )

    • djkreger says:

      I stayed over in Surin – and yes, it was brutally hot! Afternoons were either spent sipping fruit smoothies in a local coffee shop with AC, or napping in AC. Sweating is certainly unavoidable.

      My best results in training for a century involved never riding an actual 100 mile ride. I reserved that for the event itself. Typically, I would ride about 150-200 miles a week, with one long day (moderate pace). The rest of the days were short, very easy effort rides, and sprint type rides (short and brutal). I found this combo worked much better for me to develop speed and endurance. I know some friends of mine who are using this style of training for their marathons as well.

      Thanks! I usually post my progress on Mondays – things are going really well!

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