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Piotr Druzgała

 

The fact that I found myself in Thailand was a complete coincidence. I always liked to travel. During my studies I left for the United States. I combined pleasure and utility - I earned for studies and traveled. Shortly after graduation I went with friends on a journey that in spite of all my visions for the future, influenced the rest of my life. The plan was to get to Australia not flying by plane. I managed to reach Australia, but unfortunately the last stage of my way I made by plane. But then, on the way, for the first time my foot stepped in Thailand. Then by complete coincidence we met in Bangkok in an internet cafe a Pole and exchanged email addresses. After a few weeks of the stay in Australia I came back to Bangkok. There were the cheapest tickets, and I was returning to the country. Again, however, I met the same Pole – he worked there as an extra and offered me a job as an extra in commercials and movies. I agreed.



Thailand: the country of opportunities



The subsequent decisions to remain here were more thoughtful - I knew I wanted to stay here. Why? Because it is an interesting, nice, sunny and relatively easy place to be. In addition, financially I got along quite well. It seems to me that in Poland it would have been much more difficult. And other options opened in front of me. Thailand gave me a chance to develop on many levels - I'm an active person and interested in new things. I got to know Thai massage – I run courses in the art of massage, I published two books, I'm an English teacher at school, I also passed an exam and became a certified yoga instructor, I helped also at the embassy, where I served as an interpreter during business visits. I made additional money in tourism as well. Because I am a physiotherapist by profession, I help as a volunteer. I think, therefore, that what I have experienced and things that I have dealt with so far could be divided and shared into a few lives.

It is significant in my life in Thailand that I'm a foreigner - a white foreigner. Here we are treated a little better. No one will yell at me here when I want to get something done, I'm always welcomed with a smile and respect. In Poland, I am one of many, here one of the few. Now, of course, it is changing, because there are more and more whites coming to Thailand. Thailand is no longer a super-cheap country, once a liter of fuel really cost a zloty here. Earnings of an average Thai are at the level of average earnings of a Pole, but the cost of living is lower by half. Still a two-week stay in Thailand is cheaper than staying at the Polish seaside.



Underneath the Thai coat



Thailand is a country of enormous contrasts. For example, in public places there is no physical contact between the sexes. You will not see a husband holding or kissing his wife. On the other hand, each Thai has a mistress and doesn’t hide it too much. There is a different approach to the body and physicality here. In Poland, in the Christian culture the body is treated as sacred. In Thailand it is treated as a coat, something transitional, perhaps due to the belief in reincarnation. Erotic adventures are not considered as something shameful. You should be aware that 7% of the sex industry are destinations for tourists, the rest is for Thais. Until recently, there was polygamy in Thailand. Women, however, play a very important role in the society and are respected – after all they raise children. Besides, Thailand is no exception in the whole region. In Thailand, there is a lot of tolerance. Buddhism accepts the world in all its manifestations. The subject often raised in talks about Thailand is transsexualism. Buddhism itself underlies tolerance for diversity, where there is no myth of the creation of the world, along with a woman and a man. And thus, there is no clear division of the sexes and of what is male and female ...

The Thai cuisine captures the contrast of the country: the dishes are very spicy, but also very sweet. The variety of dishes is huge. Definitely something for vegetarians, a huge amount of fruit and vegetables. In our country the food is much heavier, more caloric. The Thai cuisine is lighter, everything is prepared with fresh ingredients. The most uncommon taste is sour taste because it is associated with something not fresh, which is not that rare in the hot climate.

My impressions after landing in Bangkok: chaos and traffic jams. Everything seemed incredibly interesting and just for the asking, though. This country is not so backward as many people might think. Life is not primitive and heavy. In Thailand, it is also safe, although it may seem otherwise. Acclimatization was very simple and enjoyable. I had the feeling I was all the time on vacation, and still I worked.
Everything in Thailand is very interesting for me and even today I am enchanted by how much this country has to offer and how much I can learn here. And what the sun! The people here are really nice and good. When I started giving private English lessons to children of a factory owner, his family took to me so much that after two weeks they gave me a car so that I did not have to commute for lessons to their home by bus.

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A bit of Poland every day



I went to Thailand immediately after graduation and at the beginning I missed the atmosphere from college and my friends. But when I left Poland, there was already the era of the Internet and contact with family and friends was not so difficult, I tried to talk to them regularly. As a result, the distance was not so cumbersome and sensible. Sometimes I missed eating something that would resemble Poland. But it quickly passed.

From Poland I brought to Thailand strong moral and ethical principles learned in a Catholic home - and this is a definite advantage, because life in Thailand is easy, light and pleasant, but sometimes it is easy to get lost. There are a lot of temptations. I brought a good upbringing and education - Poland educates and other countries rip the fruit. I finished my studies and I have a master's degree which is valued in the world. In addition to the things mentioned above, in my suitcase after a visit in the home country there is also always place for: books related to rehabilitation, Polish books, magazines, Polish food, snack stick sausages, bread.



Culinary emigration, culinary information



Still on the subject of food, in Thailand I live close to the market and when I come to Poland I miss freshly squeezed fruit juice for breakfast, which I bought on the way to work. Everything is at your fingertips and you can very quickly get used to such convenience. In Thailand you can eat on the street 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Flats in the blocks don’t have kitchens. For 12 years of residence I have cooked five or six times. People eat out. Everything is prepared in front of you, it is not reheated food. When you buy food at stands on the street, you see how they are making it and what they are making. There is no such a possibility that when something falls on the floor, it is then served to the customer. Hardly ever I hear that someone had food poisoning. Besides, food in Thailand is a sacred thing and an integral part of people’s meetings. Thai people often say that if we eat alone the food is not tasty. You have to eat with someone. When you ask a Thai what is worth seeing, they will tell you where to find good fish, not a nice monument.



View of Poland

When I come to the family home in Poland I feel comfortable. It is the place where I will always feel good. But I think it was a very good step to go Thailand and to organize my life here.
Although I know the Thai language very well, unfortunately I do not have a friend among Thais. It is difficult to enter the Thai community. Besides, it is said that you can bring everything from Thailand: great pictures, memories, souvenirs, but not friendship. But now many Poles come to Thailand, that’s why there is no problem to talk to someone in Polish and establish social ties.

Emigration has both negative as well as positive aspects. The man will forever live in such dichotomy. But in return, they have a different perspective. The negative thing is that the man is wondering whether to return or to stay. I have not answered myself to the question where I will want to live - in Europe or in Asia. When I think about it, I feel fear. Especially because my parents are getting older. The prose of life gets on top of me- you have to live and earn money somewhere. I’m not really interested in what is happening in Poland. I read only the headlines of Polish newspaper or articles on web portals. I do not like the Polish hellhole and do not get involved in this type of disputes.

Many things in Poland have changed. Poland just looks nice, stations and streets changed, while salaries are still the same. So many young people left the country. Now people are leaving with the thought that they would not come back. This is sad. I left 12 years ago, and the rates in hospitals for physical therapists are practically the same. The price of food is two times higher. Our parents were able to build a house without a mortgage, today it’s different. Without taking a loan, young people are not able to buy a car, they are at the mercy of their parents. After graduation they have a profession in their hands, but they don’t have the ability to live independently. In Thailand, even with the lowest payment you can afford to rent an apartment and live independently. But there are virtually no social benefits, pensions, and then the children maintain their parents. For this reason, families stick close to each other.




Countries different than any others



I feel I’m a Pole. I have the typical characteristics of a Pole. There is such a story: a Pole settled in Australia. He had a good life there. But still wasn’t satisfied, smiling and happy people on the streets irritated him. He was going down the streets with his head down. Once on the street he met a person who was the same disgruntled as he was, down in the mouth too. It turned out that it was a Pole. They agreed to meet and for three hours they were drinking vodka and complaining. After the meeting, the Pole said it was the best meeting for many years. I also sometimes complain. On the good things: in Poland, the family ties are strong, we take care of them. Polish women are good mothers. We have nothing to be ashamed of. These are qualities we should be proud of and they distinguish us in the world. And it is worth emphasizing these features. There is no ideal society, each has advantages and disadvantages. Certainly we are not tolerant. But what would happen if each country was the same?