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  • Rowie Watkeys

'Mai pen rai'


Apologies for the huge gap between blog posts. Not only have I been super-busy translating and proofreading, but I’ve also managed to squeeze in a ten-day trip to Thailand for some much-needed winter sun. Where I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING (please don’t hate me). It was great after a few months of hard work to just sit down and reflect on 2017 before the next year kicked off. And like most people, I did some thinking about the next twelve months, and I decided to set myself some goals…

1. Be more grateful

I think it can be quite easy in western society to forget to appreciate what we have. I’ve been to Thailand twice now and am keen to go again. The reason I keep going back? The people. Thailand is one of the friendliest nations out there, and despite not having much, most of its inhabitants are happy and thankful for what they do have. We visited Mr Oody’s food cart for lunch everyday of our stay in Nai Yang (the best pad khao pad gai I’ve ever tasted for 60 baht – about £1.50), and when we mentioned on the final day that we were about to head home, Mr Oody and his wife bought us some fresh mango from the nearby fruit stall. It might not sound like much, but it was a lovely gesture, the kind of which I rarely see in London. We could all do with a bit of Thai optimism and gratitude – it’s certainly something I’m going to try to apply more to in my own life.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Tutting at someone on the tube escalator if they’re not walking fast enough? We’ve all been there. Once I even saw a woman slap a young man’s head on the underground platform for slowing her down when he stopped to tie his laces (perhaps going a bit far…). Again, I feel like London life is sometimes not conducive to taking things in one’s stride and refusing to be dragged down by the little things. A Thai phrase that I just love, and one which makes a regular appearance in most conversations you will have over there, is ‘mai pen rai.’ It’s hard to translate it in its entirety, and I’m no expert in Thai, but it literally means something akin to ‘it’s ok’ or ‘don’t worry.’ Globally speaking, though, it’s so much more than that. It’s a philosophy towards life. It represents the action of letting go and just being; of shrugging your shoulders in the face of those niggling annoyances. In the grand scheme of things, what does it matter if you arrive at your destination two minutes later? Mai pen rai.

3. Spend my free time wisely

Because good things come in threes, my third resolution is going to be to get some more hobbies. Now I’m freelancing, I can be more flexible than someone in a 9-5 office role. The past couple of months have been so crazy as my business has grown (not that I’m complaining), and I haven’t had as much time/energy to devote to regular hobbies as I’d have liked. While I’ve enjoyed baking and cooking more often, I’m also eager to take up more sports, as well as perhaps some art classes. In Thailand I went scuba-diving, which was just incredible. I hadn’t gone diving since getting my PADI open water certificate back in 2015, so it was a real buzz to don my fins and get back underwater again. It’s more moments like these that I’m aiming for this year. And at the same time, I’m going to cherish these moments and not sweat the small stuff that sometimes gets in the way.

#holiday #relax #balance #thailand #exercise #exploring #language #culture

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