xSo I wasn't going to do this post, hence it being a bit late in January, but I've been thinking about it a lot the last few days and I thought how wonderful it would be to look back on it this time next year!
So here it goes....
To be honest, 2015 didn't have the best beginning, I'd moved to Thailand late October in 2014 with my partner and our two-month-old baby. I know, our son was so young, but this is something we had to do due to my partners Visit VISA for the UK running out (he had 6 months). We wanted to keep the family together. Late October 2014, I started work again. I really didn't want to but it was something I had to do to get my VISA for Thailand.
Don't you just love VISAS....
Thank goodness I was at least in a nice school where I could teach something fun to ease me in...
In hindsight, I should have stayed in the UK longer, the good thing was that our family were together but I think overall I felt very low, having to go back to work when my son was very young, moving countries and saying goodbye to my family back home. It was tough. I really did miss my family and support network in England. We did want to live in Thailand for the better quality of life overall, but I now believe the move was too soon. So during the end of 2014 and the start of 2015, I was feeling very homesick, my partner, Tum, even made this makeshift fireplace at Christmas to try and make it feel more like England....
He's a good'un.
I was also was extremely tired with working and looking after our son, my partner works from home as a freelance architect but couldn't get much work done while I was at work, so when I came home it was his time to work and I would look after Asher. Adding to that, we hated the house we lived in (it was a house we'd found very quickly due to needing a place asap) and my partners family's house was an hour away so they couldn't help out much. I didn't have many friends around either, most of the teachers who were here when I had taught in Thailand in the previous term had left and now I couldn't go out much to meet new people, the party days were over!
Whilst it wasn't all doom and gloom due to our amazing little boy and those precious first moments of seeing him grow, it wasn't easy managing everything.
After I had finally gotten through the first semester of teaching, I then had two glorious months off (one of the most amazing things about living here), my lovely mom came to visit from the UK and things started to look brighter. Although I felt bad because we didn't do any "touristy" things, we just stayed in the neighborhood where I lived and had some nice days out. I needed the break and I just enjoyed not having to go to work for those few months. I think she understood.
At the end of the holidays, we started looking for a new home, we really wanted to move but it's sometimes very difficult to find a nice place in Thailand. After a lot of searching, we found a place we actually liked, it was double the price of our last place, so we spent a few days thinking about it and during that period, of course, someone else took the house! We were a bit upset but decided that if it was meant to be it would have happened and all that.
We continued the search and but couldn't find anything else we liked, we had pretty much given up until one night we drove past the house we had originally seen and saw a 'for rent' sign (in English, the owner is Australian!), we quickly stopped and asked the neighbours what had happened and she said the girl who was renting the house previously had decided to move back to her hometown, so it was available. The next day without a shadow of doubt, we paid the deposit and planned our move. It was going to be more expensive, but we figured being happy with where you live is extremely important, after all, it's where you spend most of your time!
That's when things really started to change for me, it just goes to show how much your living environment can have on everything else. Even though it was time to go back to work, I felt refreshed and our son was a little older and I knew he understood more now. The only thing which was still hard was that I still couldn't meet a lot of friends, whilst we did have a lot of nice family days out, I did feel a bit lonely and disconnected from the wider world due to not having a lot of free time to meet friends and build friendships.
But something good definitely came from it, and that's that....
I discovered the online community.
I started to love reading blogs and watching people's youtube videos, responding to comments and making conversations with people all over the world. I loved it so much that I wanted to feel more part of the community, so one day, when my son was sleeping, I sat down and filmed a video.
My first ever sit down video...
And few weeks later, another one....
and then before I knew it, I had started a blog,
and so Cola's Place in Thailand was born.
Starting this blog and my Youtube channel has changed my life. I actually feel part of something and it's given me a place when I can be creative, communicate with people and help others. Even though it's still early days, and even if my blog doesn't grow like I hope it will, it's something that has made me so incredibly happy in such a short time, and that can only be a good thing.
So what are my goals for 2016?
Keep working on my blog and Youtube Channel.
And if you are one of the people who has supported me in 2015,
I just wanted to say,
Lots of love,
and see you very soon!