I happen to be lucky enough to be one quarter of an awesome foursome. There’s Joy, who sings jazz and lives in a hotel; me, self confessed liver of the dream (as in, one who is living the proverbial dream- not that I have an ideal liver, in fact, the two might be mutually exclusive); Sze – super mum and tyrant of TEFL at International House Bangkok; and Fiona who teaches English and English teachers all over the world. We met on a CELTA course in October. Joy and I were fellow students and quickly became partners in crime, united in our inability to take anything very seriously. Sze and Fiona were our tutors, stoically keeping us on the straight and narrow and trying almost successfully to prevent the corners of their mouths twitching as we screeched at silly innuendos throughout each input session.
Sze and Fiona are well traveled ladies, such is the nature of their job. Joy too has done her fair share of jet setting – such is her nature. But, there is a distinct sliding scale to the style and manner in which these women do their globetrotting. While Joy fully appreciates and revels in her five star luxury lifestyle and Sze enjoys taking advantage of the ease afforded by living in Bangkok (have I mentioned, Bangkok is soooo eeeeaaaassssssyyy!), Fiona has a masochistic desire to put herself in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations in order to spread her linguistic knowledge, to discover other cultures and (we suspect, on occasion) just for the craic. Her stories include a terrifying near-rape experience on an Indian night train, near starvation in communist Romania and teaching tribal warriors in South Sudan. Her renditions of these tales have caused us to think upon our own cushy existences and have often given rise to the term ‘first world problems’.
Although Thailand is, technically, a developing country, Bangkok is in many ways, very much ahead of the game (there’s a flippin train in the sky!) Despite this, I quite often find myself genuinely thinking utterly ridiculous things.
Exhibit A: ‘Ugh, it’s just that, my flat is nice and everything and I like living high up with a nice view but it’s such a drag when you don’t time it right and the lift isn’t right there, so you have to wait. And I have to take two lifts to get to my floor so sometimes it can take like, FIVE minutes to actually get into my flat!’
And then I hate myself a bit.
Here are some other examples of our first world problems that we have collectively pointed out and scorned:
‘The thing is, I have this gorgeous Alberta Ferreti camisole and I never got the opportunity to wear it in England because it was always too cold but here, it’s too hot – I’ll ruin the silk if I sweat on it.’ ‘Oh, I totally know what you’re saying, honestly, I find myself shopping and I will buy or not buy something on the basis of how well it will disguise sweat patches. It actually really narrows the options, you know?’
‘You, know my balcony is just too small, all it’s good for is like, drying my swimsuit after I’ve been to the pool. You can’t sit out on it or anything’
‘Sometimes I get so annoyed at how expensive wine is here. And the cheapness of beer almost makes it worse, it’s like, ‘hey, just have a beer’ but I’m like, ‘Dammit I just want some wine!’ ‘
‘So, I’m not really allowed to have a puppy in my condo but I really want just a little one. I guess the only problem will be having to hide all the doggy accessories in the closet every time the maid comes.’
And here is an excellent and poignant video which rather underlines the whole thing:
First World Problems: slap a hash tag on it and start sharing. Pointing out your own makes you think about just how silly your perceived dramas really are, you lucky lucky people!!