You see, we took a shopping trip to the Night Bazaar in Bangkok. Now I've never been a great one for shopping. Not even electronics shops full of the latest gadgets and gizmos have held my interest. I go in with a purchase in mind, see what they have, go to competitors and compare price and features, end of story.
Well, until now.
I had great fun just... shopping. Not neccessarily buying, but looking for stuff, trying some jewelry on, seing how I looked. Buying some presents, little knick-knacks to give to friends and family. A 3-D portrait of myself etched in a block of glass for my mother. Some well-varnished teak draqons and elephants to give to relatives. I would have liked some of the more natural wood, but the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service requires wooden products to be very thoroughly treated to avoid importation of disease.
Alas, the teapot I'd had my eye on for my partner was indeed as good as I thought it was, Tang Dynasty, with price to match. Out of my league. And Andrew wants a radio-controlled Robot or truck rather than something Ethnic.
I splurged and got a 92.5% silver bangle for me too. Pricey - and I'm sure like everything else I could have gotten things for 1/3 of the asking price rather than 1/2 to 2/3 - but even then, comparing what the same article would cost in Australia, it's still a bargain. I spent less than $100 all told, anyway.
And... I enjoyed it. For the first time in my life, I went shopping, just to go shopping, with nothing in particular in mind to buy, as if I was gathering fruit and nuts.
Still to get : a tea service for Carmel. Maybe some Jade (I love jade jewelry). Andrew's Robot, maybe some gold earrings. A T-shirt or two for friends. Who knows what the future holds? I've converted only half my contingency money from Dollars to Baht, and spent about half of that. So I might just do something I've never done before. Retail Therapy.
The last time I had a genuine holiday was our late honeymoon in 1986. I'd never wanted one you see, what was the point when things felt wrong?
Now whole new vista of, well, normalcy are opening up. I feel like going out, like socialising, like having a girls night out, all the things I never saw the point of before. So many growing experiences I didn't expect from a mere re-arrangement of bodily tissues and nerve bundles into a different configuration.
I'm still just as Geeky, even a bit of a Tomboy in some ways. But I'm looking forward to having my first facial, my first hairdo, my first manicure and pedicure, and all the things that are part of female privilege. OK, money's tight, but I've been a good little worker bee all my life, time to taste the honey. Just a bit, no emptying the combs. But a taste nonetheless. I've been saving for a rainy day. Well, it was a deluge, and now it's time to spend, not save.
I still buy teabags at the market, rather than the more expensive ones at the hotel. I still exchange money at the best exchange rate, even if it means walking some distance and waiting in line. I'm still thrifty. But now I'm learning how to spend, not just save. To enjoy, not just prepare for retirement.
In only 2 weeks time I leave Thailand, and the friends I've made here. Life's too short not to enjoy it.