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Life in Chiang Mai


Some of my favorite things…

By Heather Allen
Us expats are well known for our ability to whinge; that is, complain, whine, moan all combined in one useful word. It is an easy habit to fall into and one that leads us to look at things in an always negative light. I see the posts on Facebook, on the expat forums, and occasionally hear it in person. I agree, life here is not perfect. There are flaws. But then everywhere has its flaws and to expect perfection is, in my mind, ridiculous.

What good does it do to constantly complain about every little thing except to put one in a negative frame of mind? If you can do something about it, then do it. Or, as the old saying goes put up or shut up. Instead of searching out the negative, sometimes it’s a good idea to remember the positive. Those things that make us happy to live here and remind us on a regular basis why we call Chiang Mai ‘home’.

Negative people would sit there and point fingers citing the oft used and worn out phrase ‘rose-coloured glasses’. However, looking for the positive is not wearing rose-coloured glasses and does mean we have to ignore the negative. It is simply a fact that from time to time we all need to re-assess why we live here and what keeps us here.

For me, it is the weather. Certainly, even the rainy season is not that bad. I come from a cold and gloomy place where it rains for many months out of the year. Even here, the rainy season has its sunny days and moments. It is never cold, I love the cool season weather with it’s clear air and temperatures low enough to allow you to get out and enjoy the day. I can’t stand the smoggy season but also realize that it is not year round and does not define my time in Chiang Mai.

The people here are generally very friendly and nice. Certainly one runs into the occasional unpleasant person but the truth is, that if one walks around with a smile and a pleasant demeanour that is usually what one receives in return. Walk around with a scowl and a poor attitude and, regardless of where one lives, one will find that others return the favour. There are many sayings that apply here, ‘you get what you give’ or ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’, the list is rather long in fact. But it is surprising, or perhaps not, to find that some people never learn this lesson or point fingers at everyone else instead of looking at their own attitude towards others.

I am certainly not a happy go lucky person but I prefer to treat people the way I would like to be treated and the Chiang Mai people return that in nearly full measure.

Finally, the traffic; we all complain about how bad it is, the cars, the motorcycles, the tuk tuks, the red busses. It all seems rather hopeless. But, a recent trip to Bangkok where I sat in traffic for an hour moving only a few metres every ten minutes or so made me appreciate the traffic in Chiang Mai. I cannot imagine bearing Bangkok traffic on a daily basis and now, when I sit in a traffic jam in my car, I count my blessings that in ten minutes or so, I will be on my way.
So, thank you, Chiang Mai for the many good things you offer those of us lucky enough to live here.

The Chiang Mai Mail is publishing a series of articles on residents’ experiences of life in Chiang Mai. If you would like to contribute please email [email protected]

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Some of my favorite things…