Yes, I’m still in Phuket, Thailand. Still teaching English. Still collecting stamps and postcards. Still reading as much as I have time for. Still healthy. Still single. It my be a new year, but life continues at the same relaxing and stress-free pace that keeps me rooted in the “Land of Smiles.”
Phuket Town is fortunate to have a wide variety of museums and more on the way. Having been a stamp collector for much of my life, I’m very happy to live a pleasant ten-minute walk from one of Thailand’s eight philatelic museums. The other seven are located in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Sawan, Hat Yai, and behind the Samsen Nai post office in Bangkok. The postal counter in the Phuket museum is my only source of Thai new issues aside from the occasional order placed online.
The top two items remaining in my Bucket List loom like insurmountable mountain peaks. In fact, one of them is just that: Mount Everest. No, I don’t desire to climb to the summit. My dream is to see the great peak from the ground (flying by seems like cheating). A former co-worker of mine made the trek to Base Camp a couple of years ago and marks it as her singular most intense experience.
But I aim to make the second item a reality first. Perhaps it will be my last great adventure as I’m not certain I could withstand the rigors of a multi-day trek at high altitude without a great deal of difficulty. My secondary plans seem a bit more manageable.
This past month has (probably) been my most philatelic of the past decade, possibly the past two decades. The reason for my uncertainty is that any records of my pre-Thailand life are long gone and my memory isn’t that keen either. While living in New Mexico, I did attend a few first day of issue ceremonies held within the state – the most memorable of which was a journey to Chama in the northern mountains when the ceremony for a set of train stamps was held aboard a narrow-gauge steam train!
I always find myself working on my stamp collections more during the last part of the year than at any other time. 2014 has continued that trend. I don’t know if it’s because I look forward to seeing new Christmas stamps (one of my thematic collecting interests) or if it’s because I always feel relieved once I pay for my annual visa extension and work permit renewal and want to buy something special for myself. Whatever it is, my mind has been philatelicly filled to such a degree recently that I feel the time is right to launch a new blog series summarizing my current collecting activities. Welcome to the first installment of “Philatelic Pursuits.”
In 2013, I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions at all and that worked out fairly well. You keep them when they aren’t there to begin with! But with the dawning of 2014, the Year of the Horse, I find myself with a number of things I would like to improve upon in my life. Last year, I dedicated myself to helping others even more than I had before but feel I can do much more.
Of course, with any promises one makes to oneself it is virtually impossible to maintain such resolutions over any length of time. I’m actually surprised that I couldn’t find an specific Android app for tracking New Year’s resolutions. I’ve decided that the best way to keep my goals is to let others know about them. The more people who know what I’m trying to do, the less likely I am to give up (I hope!). And, hopefully, they will offer support when I start to drift away from the resolution.
I’m only making two New Year’s Resolutions for 2014: Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions for 2014”
Living in Thailand as I have for nearly a decade, I enjoy participating in the myriad of Buddhist and Royal holidays that exist on the Kingdom’s calendar. I also mark many of the holidays that honor the nation of my birth — Phuket actually holds an ever-grander 4th of July party each year. But my favorite “Western” holiday remains Christmas and it is this time of year that I miss the traditions I was brought up upon the most.
Oddly enough, Christmas is vigorously celebrated throughout Thailand. While the Thais may not recognize the religious aspects of this most Christian of holidays, they promote the “fun” aspect of Santa Claus and decorated trees are quite common in numerous shops and public spaces. The malls play enough Christmas music that one become tired of hearing Bing Crosby and Band Aid by late November. Just like home!