1 Year Anniversary of Living in Thailand!

I have spent a total of 2 years living overseas. 365 days since I moved from New Zealand to Thailand. All the planning, stress, anxiety and sleepless nights worrying lead me to my life now. I am so thankful that I WORKED and made my DREAM a reality. There were many moments where I thought about throwing in the towel and booking a flight back to Canada, instead of a one way ticket to Thailand. Since grade 8 I dreamed about coming back to Thailand and living here, not coming back as a tourist, but experiencing day to day life in my homeland. Try to reconnect with my culture and experience living somewhere else other than North America. The paperwork/politics of trying to live here, the language barrier and the anxiety over finding a job, and living accommodations while being Thai illiterate has made me a much stronger person!

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If I had to define my year in Thailand it would be; self-discovery. I am a transracial adult adoptee (TRA) who is continually trying to figure out my adoption story and ongoing life story. Racial and cultural issues play a deep role in my identity. I have always felt like I was searching for something unattainable. Becoming more self-aware continues to help but never solves this problem. Learning more about racial and cultural issues and discovering communities of support have been life changing. The amount of literature now out there and currently being published is encouraging. I  realize the concept of HOME is ever evolving for me. Being an adoptee will always be a lifelong learning process.

All that said – living in Thailand has made me appreciate all the opportunities I was given growing up as a Canadian citizen, in a household of 5. My family will always means the world to me. I will never be able to express the gratitude I feel for the life my parents gave me. They may not have “given me life” – but they may as well have put air into my lungs. When they chose to adopt me I was welcomed into a beautiful family with so many people to love.

I am proud of myself. The other day someone very dear to me reminded me that I should feel super proud of all I have achieved and accomplished. Moving and living in Thailand is no easy feat. I took a moment to really reflect on just how far I have come. I have always described myself as shy, almost deathly shy. When people argue that I am anything BUT SHY I become immediately defensive. Maybe it is not that I am shy but overwhelming self-conscious?? Many adoptees identify themselves as being codependent. Mix that in with the desire to try and always please people and you create a big insecurity problem. I care what people think. I wish I could always have my supportive group of friends and peers around me. I value their opinions ALMOST more than my own. I want to make other people happy. I want to laugh and smile and to make sure others are enjoying themselves too. Travelling alone has really helped me establish my core group of people. People who love and care about me. We ignore the distance and focus on the constant connections. Thankfully, I also do make friends relatively easy. There was never really a time that I felt alone in New Zealand or here in Thailand. I know what I want in a friend and I am finding it easier to let go of those who don’t put the effort in. In Canada I used to try so hard to hold on to weakening friendships. It really isn’t possible to be friends with someone who doesn’t put in the effort. It has become very clear to me that I work extremely hard to stay in touch with my friends, and I am ever so appreciative of their love in return. No matter the time or distance we have been away their love and energy means…Everything.



Not only do I have a wonderful family but I have had the continual joy of being welcomed into the lives of countless other people and families. My time in New Zealand was so memorable because I was welcomed with open arms by 3 great families! Here in Thailand my friends have all introduced me to their friends and families. It feels great to feel like a community member of their tight knit group. My Canadian friends have always made me feel like extensions of their family!  I am forever grateful to have shared in so many great memories.

I had originally planned on sharing some of my opinions and experiences of living in Thailand but I think I will save that for a separate post. I want to end this by answering one of my most asked questions, “When are you going back to Canada”? My answer to that is I really don’t know. At least once a day I think about it and what my plans for the future are. This quotes sums it up really well.


Sorry it has been ages since I have blogged. Believe me I think about posting often. I don’t know how many I have composed in my head…someone needs to invent a keyboard that types out your thoughts!!! Much love and thanks to everyone who reads this. Thank you all for the support. I have travel blogs and pictures to share..one day!!

Lots of Love Always,
Amanda Sumalee Dowput MacWilliam


Sorry about the Pillows!

I have felt alone before. My thoughts have a way of making me feel small. Feeling mentally alone tortures the soul. But you blink, breathe deep and move on.

Being physically alone. It’s different.

The unwelcome feelings that linger as you desperately try to FIGHT it away.
The more you
the more you look around and realize
how alone you are
in those moments you are completely ALONE.
All alone. ALONE.

To be physically alone, TO HAVE NO ONE was when I HAD to wear my big girl pants. And wore them I did.

I was told that I would be dropped off somewhere. When asked where I would like to go, I said, “Well I guess a hostel”. To which I got the reply, “I can’t drive you into town! I’ll take you to the train.” No specific time was given – besides the word evening. I quickly packed my bags so I would have as much time as possible to use the free internet. I frantically researched hostel locations, rates and reviews. I WAS actually going to become a “backpacker”. The difference between me and someone who was street entrenched was that I had money to pay for a hotel BUT there was no way I was going to one.  Sure Emzie and I had bought backpacks, but we weren’t actually dead-set on backpacking all around New Zealand and Australia. Maybe a day here and there, maybe more, but we would always be TOGETHER and travelling as a team. Not me fumbling with my bags in some unknown place alone.

Anxiety. FEAR. Depression. Anger. Shock. Pity. Despair. All these emotions were piling up and getting in my way. I plunked myself down beside a wall charger and kept my phoned charging as I sat for hours just waiting for the words, “time to go”. Dismal ratings, great ratings, horrible comments — the internet was inundated with reviews. Would all this preparation be enough for me? Was I going to be okay? Would I make it to the hostel? How was I going to carry all my bags? Would my shoulders and back give out on me?

For anyone that knows me. TRULY knows me. They know I am deathly shy. I will be the first to tell you I have NO confidence when in public. It scares me. In any new situation I am scanning, searching, and praying that there will be somebody to help me. As long as I have SOMEONE I am not alone. New jobs, new classes, new housing, new people it ALL terrifies me! I just need one person, JUST one person – and I am ok. It’s a confidence thing. I LACK SELF ESTEEM and I know it. THE very thought of me travelling to a new town by train worried me! Staying in a hostel petrified me. Living alone with no job had me fighting back tears.

I was feverishly researching WHILE texting friends to update them on my plans. I was beyond thankful that despite the time difference there were friends to talk to. I wanted them to know I was going to a hostel. Their worry for me elevated my fears and made me want to scream. Yet, it comforted me to know they knew what was happening. I needed them to know. I went from one bad situation, to another, and there was no way I was letting this decision be my worst.

Part of the fear was having never been to a hostel before. I have heard horror stories, and gross stories so I was trying to brace myself. I wanted to make the best decisions, that also fit my budget and time frame. If only I knew then what I know now! The worst part was not the hostel but getting to the hostel! And even then the commute wasn’t bad at all. It was really my imagination running wild. The build up of the situation was far more escalated than it ever needed to be.

My backpack, duffle bag and another bag full of food (there was no way I was leaving my food behind!!) were painstakingly heavy! Before Em left for Australia she brought me some of her hoodies, and 2 pillows and a library book. The pillows were such a nice surprise since the one I had been given was a brick that I never ONCE slept on for fear of breaking my neck. BUT unfortunately when it came down to choosing food over pillows I packed the food and had to leave behind the pillows. I very wisely packed the pillow covers so I could one day replace the two pillows. Love you Emzie!!

I was dropped off at the curb and cursing the skies that my shoulders were killing me. I made it onto the train (I was paranoid that it would be going in the wrong direction and asked a few times to make sure!) I had to ask what my stop would be as all I really knew was I was trying to get downtown. I was a little upset that the “train” was basically what we call a sky train or subway. I had really been hoping for a long scenic train ride. Once I arrived in Central Auckland I asked the information desk what bus I would need to take to take me to Queen Street. The person working the information booth was beyond helpful and even went as far as walking me to the bus. (He didn’t offer to carry any of the bags but I really appreciated the directions. He whipped out a paper map and circled where the bus stops were for each of the nearby hostels. Super great at his job!!) The hostel itself was the hardest part to find since it was on the 3rd floor of a building.  The building was LABELLED but I had to walk around the building a few times before realizing an elevator ride up to the 3rd floor was all I needed. (I have since been reassured that I am not the only one confused with how to enter the building. I have helped a few fellow backpackers know that they need to get on the elevator to find the reception desk! Go me!)

Base is on the corner of Queen and Darby and one street away from Victoria Street!!

And there you have it! Thus far, my 3rd place in New Zealand has been the best. Definitely not in terms of income but in terms of general health and well-being.

Next post will most likely be about hostel life…unless my observation blog comes first. We’ll see how I am feeling tomorrow.

Thanks for reading and blessings to all of you xoxo