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The Great Vortex in the Sky Part 2

There is nothing like spending 17 hours in the sky to remind you of the relativity of time. I was sucked up into the night just like last time and spent my first flight to Taipei alternately sleeping, eating, reading, and watching movies. My fingernails grew and a scab I had healed over but otherwise it was impossible to tell that almost 13 hours had passed since I boarded the plane. When I emerged, I was in Asia and Friday was gone forever. (I guess I’ll get it back on my return flight.)

For some reason, it absolutely blew my mind that I was in Taiwan. Even though I was only in the airport, the atmosphere was palpably different from anything I had ever experienced. It wasn’t my first taste of feeling like a foreigner, however – that feeling first formed while I waited at the gate in LAX before even setting foot on a plane. Everyone – passengers, flight attendants, airport janitors – was Asian and no one was speaking English. The reality that I will be part of the minority began setting in.

Four hours (was it 4? I don’t even know. Even with a watch, time eludes all who enter The Vortex), one sunrise, and one weird chicken-and-pasta-breakfast later, I was in Bangkok. I made it.

There were some complications getting through Immigration, but what’s important is that I did indeed make it through and met up with Rudy. Rudy is Thai but went to university in the States, where he met our mutual friends, Max and Lauren. I’d never even met Rudy before – our friendship was limited to a few message exchanges on Facebook – but he kindly (there isn’t actually a word for how kind he is) took me in and drove me around on some failed errand-runs.

And then all that time that I had lost came stampeding into my head, bringing with it a dull headache and overwhelming lethargy. I instantly fell asleep on top of the covers and stayed that way for about 14 hours.

It’s early morning now and I’m waiting for Rudy to wake up so we can hang out before I have to check in to the hotel I will be calling “home” for the next three weeks during the TEFL certification course. I’m super pumped for breakfast, not just because I haven’t eaten in over 14 hours but also because the last meal Rudy fed me was magical: rice with spicy chopped pork, a fried egg, and little slices of cucumber. I’ll get the name of it from him later.

I don’t know how to say goodbye in Thai so I’ll end this post with sa-wat-dee-ka (hello) and khap-kun-ka (thank you).


  1. DaveO says:

    I love your blog. What an interesting experience you had in your travels to Bangkok. I have never experienced anything like that myself. You are so lucky. Enjoy the feelings.I’m sure you’ll have many more to follow. First time is always the most memorable so take it all in.
    It’s great that you met Rudy and he made your initial visit so wonderful.
    What is Bangkok like?
    Hope your hotel and TEFL experience is fun and exciting. Can’t wait to hear about it and about all the new people you will be meeting from all over the world.

    • mishvo says:

      Hey Daveo 🙂
      Rudy and his mom, Jup, have been so so so helpful in the transition into life here. Last night they took me out to dinner to an authentic northeastern Thai restaurant. The meal was so delicious I can’t even describe it…Then they dropped me off at the hotel where I will be living and taking the TEFL course and wouldn’t leave my side until I was safe and sound in the hotel room.
      More to come on what Bangkok is like but for now I have to get ready for class!

      • DaveO says:

        That is so nice of Rudy and his mom. The restaurant sounds wonderful…I guess the one in Sandy Springs we go to doesn’t match up? In dedication to you we are going to have Ba-Mee Moo Daeng (egg noodles with barbecued pork) tonight~!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Hi Michelle! So excited to hear more about your adventure. After reading your blog, I am having a very strong craving for Pad Thai and a fruit smoothie.

    • mishvo says:

      Hi Cheryl! So glad you’re reading! It most certainly is an adventure – Bangkok is wild. Funny – I haven’t actually had any pad thai here yet! I should get on that though…

  3. Lauren B says:

    So glad that it worked out with Rudy! Glad he’s helping you with the transition! Enjoy your time there! Miss you : )

    • mishvo says:

      Hey you!!! Yeah – I couldn’t have done it without Rudy. He and his family are so kind and I’m forever grateful to you and Max for putting me in touch with him. I miss you too – would love to skype one of these days and hear about your time in the city! xx

  4. KimVo says:

    Your departing text message from LAX at 4:44 am to me was a classic…its haiku-like elegance.has inspired me to commit it to memory.
    Glad all is going smoothly….get on that pad thai mission.

    • mishvo says:

      Haha it was poetry then wasn’t it? I’m glad you enjoyed that 🙂 Looked for pad thai yesterday but apparently the street vendor we asked wasn’t open. I did however find someone who sold make-your-own salad for 30 baht. Of course you make it in a plastic bag…

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