It’s no secret that moms and dads do not have copious amounts of free time. We are constantly on the go and often forget to do things for ourselves. But every once in awhile when life slows down a tad – a baby starts sleeping through the night; children start napping on a regular schedule; a toddler begins pre-school a few days a week – it’s time for you to think about doing something for yourself. And yes, a two-hour massage or extravagant lunch with a friend might do it. But I’m talking about doing something to better yourself in the long run. Bangkok is a the perfect place for this. You can find classes on everything from Muay Thai to gingerbread house-making in this town; and most are affordable. Here are some of my recommendations:
1. Take a photography class – I’m in the midst of taking a basic photography course, and I love it. Five sessions total, one day per week, two hours per class. Now that is doable. After just a couple of classes, my photos have improved drastically. I’m finally feeling like I know something about this pricey digital SLR we bought years ago. And my photos of Logan and Katelyn are about 1,000 times better. Score for the whole family (including my husband who has always been slightly annoyed that I never really knew how to take a good picture). Classes are taught by the ultra personable and knowledgeable Gyuri Szabo. The environment is casual and Gyuri is patient. I highly recommend learning through Gyuri. This is such a fun thing to do each week. Details here.
2. Learn Thai – What a difference just being able to speak a few phrases makes. I was fortunate enough to study eight months of Thai one-on-one for four hours/day in my home when I first arrived (this was part of my job before I resigned). I love being able to speak Thai. It makes my time in Thailand so much more fulfilling and fun. It is great being able to chat with street-side vendors I see everyday, bargain in the market, communicate with taxi drivers in a non-frustrating manner, and talk about Thai politics, culture, and society with my teachers. Opt to take a 90 minute class once/week and have the teacher come to your home or work place for an additional 100 baht. Details: Jentana & Associates Thai Language School
3. Beautify yourself – In 33 years, I never professionally had my make-up done. Ever. Not even at a counter at a department store. So, when I heard about the great Francisco Zacarias, I jumped at the opportunity to learn a thing or two about make-up. With a vibrant personality and and infectious energy and humor, Francisco is highly talented at what he does: make-up artistry. He has been a member of the beauty industry for 26 years and worked alongside renown fashion designers such as Randolph Duke, Cynthia Rowley, Betsey Johnson and Giorgio Armani. In addition, he has done make-up on some of the most famous faces in Hollywood such as Drew Barrymore, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, and Natalie Portman. Francisco teaches make-up application and helps you choose colors and textures that best suit your skin type. He can do a one-on-one session at his home studio or can come to you and a group of friends to teach a specific effect, like the smoky eye. Francisco’s contact details: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0897942049.
4. Learn to cook Thai food – I haven’t gotten around to this one yet; although I plan to before I leave. A friend of mine highly recommends the Helping Hands Thai Cooking School. Not only do you learn a skill, you help others in the process. Details here.
5. Train for an athletic event – Whether it be the Bangkok Marathon or a local 5k, set a goal and find the time to train for it. My personal goal is the Angkor Wat half marathon in December 2013. Can’t beat that scenery (Vi Than is going to join me; Vi I have now committed you publicly to this race, there is no backing out)! Try Jog and Joy for in-Thailand races and Go Adventure Asia for larger races in Thailand and the region.
So find what it is that appeals to you and go for it. Investing in yourself also means investing in your children; as you will one day be able to pass on these skills to them.