Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is the Grass Greener?

Something about the “grass is greener” effect occurred to me tonight as I was leaving the Tulalip Casino.

 I stumbled across a group of fellow casino-goers who were literally walking along with their mouths open, eyes wide, in utter shock and awe over the lights, sounds and atmosphere of the North Side’s biggest casino. 
Now, Tulalip has the look and feel of a medium-sized Las Vegas casino, and whereas I have trained myself to be single-minded in my dangerous hobby of gambling, these ‘yokels’ were taken fully in by the design of the casino operators to lull them into a sense of wonder and fantasy; into a world where losing hundreds of dollars is no big deal. 

Maybe they were from Missoula, Spokane or Puyallup. Boise, Lewiston or Eugene. Wherever.  Tulalip is 40 miles north of Seattle proper, but it was having just as much of an awe-inspiring effect on these folks as Columbia Tower, Pioneer Square or the Space Needle might… but Tulalip can be a lot more entertaining than those places.   
I wax poetically about Tulalip as I know it’s something I’m leaving.  There is no legal gambling in Thailand or Indonesia.  Now for those of you (okay, my mom) who are wondering about my vice of gambling in the first place, I’ll point out two things.  I only go there when I am out of smokes.  Cigarettes are $20/carton cheaper on the Indian Reservation than they are at my local gas station.  Gas itself is 20 cents a gallon cheaper too.  So, I figure I save myself $30 a week by going to Tulalip ($37 in savings minus the $7 round trip in gas it takes to drive there).  My average loss playing my game of choice 5% of what I bet. Last week, I walked away $130 up.  Tonight, $80 up. 

Back to the whole big-city thing. From time immemorial, villagers have been fleeing to the cities in search of a better life.  They seek the bigger, better thing.  The greener grass on the other side of the fence.  Also in that time, there have been lots of city guys like me, who seek the simpler life in the boonies.  The quiet, less stressful life.  My boonies are all the way on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, but whatever sociological forces compel me to seek employment in the Third World, I am not deterred by understanding their influence. 
Codemn me for 21st Century neo-colonialism because I can achieve a better standard of living as an ex-patriate than I can here in the USA.  So be it. Maybe I’m just moving to Asia because I will be much more likely to  find a hot young wife who will fulfill my carnal desires and bear my children.  That may be.  Then again, maybe I am just falling for the same Grass-is-Greener thing that I saw in the eyes of Yokels as the casino tonight. 
My life here sucks.  On whatever measure you want to base that on, it does.  I’m lonely. Poor. I feel powerless to make any significant changes to just skating along best I can as a middle-class, repressed American. 

Oh, that grass over there teaching in Thailand and Indonesia looks so good.  So green! Maybe I’ll get there and, like the yokels losing all their money in the casino, find it isn’t all I hoped it would be.
I know the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence… or the Pacific.  

But What I do know after 42 years on this planet is this: the grass is as green as you want it to be.  The grass is as green as you SEE it.  You decide how happy you are!

I understand that more and more as a question my motivations for leaving America.  Yes, I could make things as good as I want them to be here just by changing my mindset, just by willing them to be so.  That said, nothing forces one to understand the true nature of the green grass, of what you stand on, than actually standing upon that grass.  That is why I want to move to Thailand & SE Asia.  

It’s because I want to experience the grass on the other side of the fence for myself.


  1. Good for you, man! Live your life to the max and if the max is the other side of the world then so be it.

    Good Luck and Safe Travels!

  2. Dear Joko,

    I went through a lot of y, our blog here on blogger.
    U wanna go to Thailand. Be careful, as in thailand in most agencies or school they never, or seldom take teacher over 40.

    In some case they do.
    Thais are also stupid and brainless, with little no consideration in connection to the knowledge to may offer to them. The gap is too big, because of several reasons.
    Indonesia is far more open though wages lower, and China people thinking fast. Thailand was never colonized and that sticks to the mentality indeed.

    I apologize to be so direct, but u need to be aware of some things imperatively.
    Currently and since 3-5 years, most schools in Bangkok employ Foreign native, or Filipinos.
    Many schools are handled by agents, it means they are contracted, and if for some reasons u change school / agents you need to do over again.
    Thai school have the bad tendency to change teacher and many of them for each terms, ( 4 month )...
    Also in general, communication, appreciation with Thai teacher are generally poor.
    What then are there of the time plenty of teaching vacancies on and
    That never stops, as agents post, and some schools as well continuously and even right in the middle of the school terms.
    For your information, I am Thailand since 5 years, and passed there a few times. My branch is Hospitality, where i worked in China, Maldives, and also Thailand.
    I have also taught in Thailand for short periods with various dodgy agencies.
    For more information, and comments please do be in touch to:
    Wish you luck in your plan, and look to be in touch with you anytime, once you will be in Thailand.

    I am currently in the south of Thailand near Hay yai, Satun Province, which is a mulsim predominant area.

    Take care

  3. Seldom take teachers over 40? Well, I am very young at heart! Besides, my goal is to get my TESOL certificate in Thailand and then move onto Indonesia. If I had my choice, I would fulfill my Thai teaching requirement in the Malay part of the country, as that is what I am familiar with. That said, I'm sure I'll be happy wherever I go. Thanks for the advice. I'll peruse the sites you've suggested.


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