It was a week before the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s funeral when I arrived in Bangkok for a conference and I did not expect that my world would turn black for the next week.
“Can I take a photo with you?”
Her bright, young eyes, full of enthusiasm and wonder, looked into my jaded ones. I remember having eyes filled with sunshine like hers. Now they’re just tired and disenchanted; tired of travelling and disenchanted at the phlegm-spitting, queue-cutting, rude, and conflicting country that I am finally leaving.
“The wind blows from North to South!”
“The wind blows from North to South.”
But three weeks in southern China? Too damn freaking long. I left the country disenchanted, fatigued, and desperate for home.
When I was a young girl, I’d catch moments of mom getting lost in her own thoughts. Sometimes while she drank her coffee or methodically ate her dinner, her eyebrows would scrunch up to form a little hill between her eyes. I could see the gears turning in her head; she drifts off into the distance.
“You went diving in Brunei?” was the most common reaction people gifted me after finding out what I did over the long weekend.
Everyone tells me Brunei is boring. Really? I wanted to find out for myself. It was a 4-days-3-nights spontaneous decision to heed the call of #DiscoverBrunei and enter what Brunei Tourism calls the “Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures”.
Can you believe that after seven months since my return to you, people are still asking me why I came back? Just last week at breakfast an auntie asked me “Why don’t you continue working there? Malaysia economy and politic is so bad now, stay in New Zealand better.”