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June 2016

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We Survived the First Year of Marriage….and all we got was a trip to Thailand!

Photo by Julian Mackler, Rockhouse, Negril, Jamaica, Day after Blewish Wedding

People LOVE asking newly-married people the same question:

“How is the first year of marriage???”

That is QUITE the question. Do you give the expected, “It’s been wonderful!” and go about your merry way?? Or do you keep it (too) real with the “It’s mostly great, except for the times I want to kill him/her!” and laugh like it’s a joke even though you really mean it? I tend to go with a big ol’ grin and say “We made it!”

So, you’re probably wondering, how WAS the first year of marriage??

It was beautiful. It was terrifying. It was heart-breaking. It was educational. It was earth-shattering. It was hard. It was easy. It was enlightening. It was full of breathtaking highs and gut-wrenching lows. But most importantly for us, it was a strong and enduring partnership between two people who (thankfully) really, really like each other.

I can’t and wouldn’t want to give people marriage advice because every relationship is so singular. But I do have a couple of suggestions. These might feel painfully obvious, and if so, use them as needed reminders:

  • Regardless of who you are with, those highs and lows will happen. Be with someone that you can’t WAIT to celebrate those amazing moments with and who will never leave your side during life’s darkest days.
  • Take some time to learn who you are and how you operate within your marriage/relationship. We are all constantly learning and evolving as individuals, but I had to understand what type of a partner I am. Be patient with yourself and your significant other as you learn how to function as a team. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t organically happen immediately.
  • Spend time with each other and if you can, get the hell out of dodge! Maybe you don’t have the time or credit card points to go across the world (what, you thought we actually had the money to go to Thailand??); so road trip an hour away to a B&B or shut out the world for one night by turning off your phones and computers, make dinner, and talk to each other.

So yes, we SURVIVED the first year of marriage. If I’m being honest, I think I love Jay a little more than I did in April of 2015. And that, to me, is the biggest indicator of a successful first year of marriage.

SOOO….THAILAND????

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Okay, yes, Thailand, the important part!  Our wedding anniversary is the same week as both of our birthdays (I know, so obnoxious, right???). So for our first anniversary and 32nd birthdays we went to Thailand!! I wrote a very, very, very long post about our trip, so I’ve broken it up in parts.

Want to read about what we ate and loved??? Check out the Thailand Eats post.

What to read about what we drank??? Thailand Boozing!

Want to read about the most disappointing $450 meal ever at the TOP restaurant in Asia. Read on about Gaggan. Be warned, lots of snark.

 

 

 

 

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What I ate in….Thailand!

For two weeks, Jay and I ate our way through Thailand to celebrate our birthdays and first wedding anniversary.  We stayed in three gorgeous hotels, that I’d HIGHLY recommend in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

As for food, we ate EVERYTHING. We ate fancy, we ate cheap. We ate the unidentifiable and the things we still don’t know what they were (Mal, babe, that was def chicken feet). We had a lot of hits, one major miss and only minor stomach issues, so as far as a food-based vacation, I’d consider it a win.

Let’s start with the bad. The bad was so disappointing, it has its own post. We were so excited to eat at Gaggan, the #1 restaurant in all of Asia (do you know how big Asia is?). It’s also #10 in the world. The horror….the disappointment….the amount of money we spent on it. So much sadness. Click here to read about it.

But this is a happy place – so let’s talk about the things I ate that made me HAPPY. My top eats in no particular order:

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Thailand Drankin!

Mekhong!

Like most big cities, Bangkok is a great drinking town. Want a cheap beer to beat the heat, there’s plenty of Chang. But there are also plenty of other kicked-up cocktails to be discovered.

Before heading to Thailand, I had read a lot about how Bangkok has a thriving cocktail scene. On our first night, we ended up going to two of the most innovative bars – Tep Bar and Teens of Thailand. Tep is a neighborhood bar full of locals, with a few of us foreigners sneaking in. There we got to experience Mekhong, aka Thai whiskey, which, as you can see below, has some very inventive names. If you like stronger liquors as we do, the Mekhong makes some great cocktails.

Our server encouraged us to check out Teens of Thailand, which I had heard about, but hadn’t realized was nearby. We loved the first couple of drinks at TOT, but as we neared the end, our sweet, gentle giant server approached us and asked if he could make us something special.

I had no idea that Gin and Tonics were such a force in Thailand. I spent most of my early drinking years believing Gin and Tonics were these horrific, overly junipery things that I hated – until I experienced DC’s Jaleo and Estadio and learned what a real G&T was like.

Back at TOT, our server brought me a Thai Tea Gin & Tonic, which was one of the most delightful drinks I’ve ever had. It had the citrus notes of a thai tea, but was herbal and just a tad sweet. I loved this drink so much. Namsaah Bottling Trust, which served great food, also had some herbaceous and fragrant Gin and Tonics as well, including a lavender infused drink which was incredibly refreshing during the hot Bangkok nights.

Thai Tea G&T

We spent a couple of nights at the enjoyable Hyde and Seek which has one of the largest cocktail menus I’ve ever seen. Close to our hotel, it was the perfect spot for a nightcap. Vesper also has a delightful cocktail scene and we loved Smalls‘ atmosphere (and they had Titos!).

One of the most fun cocktails I had was the Tom Yum Cocktail at Sri Panwa in Phuket. Our Phuket hotel was one of the most beautiful places on earth, and while it had some great food, I found many of the cocktails a bit too sweet. That was until I discovered the Tom Yum cocktail, which was a play off of tom yum soup. When I ordered this, I didn’t realize it’d take 10 minutes to make, but it was worth every second. The cocktail packed a spicy punch, as they used real chilies, with hints of lime and a little bit of sweetness. It was the perfect poolside vacation drink.

So, have no fear, discerning drinkers! A lot of vacation spots have a bad reputation of fruity, boozeless concoctions that leave you with a headache and not much else. Thailand, fortunately, is not one of those places. Whatever you are looking for to whet your whistle, you’ll be able to find it in the Land of Smiles.

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Gaggan-tic Fail

I’m not quite sure how to put our experience at Gaggan into words, but I’ll try.

Words we used that night were “challenging,” “awful,” “um, no,” “oh, dear, that texture,” and “why couldn’t everything have tasted like that??” Let me start from the beginning.

When planning our trip to Thailand, we learned that Bangkok has not one, but two top 25 restaurants in the world. One, Nahm, we knew about and had planned from early on to check out. But Gaggan was new to us. It was also recently voted the #1 restaurant in Asia. That’s huge. We had to go. We booked a reservation a month out and eagerly awaited. Lauding Trip Advisor reviews and high critical claim stoked our excitement

Gaggan describes itself as a “progressive Indian” menu. A set menu at 3500++ baht is a lot for a meal in Thailand, but when you’re talking the top meal in a continent, $100 pp is easy to excuse.

We arrived at Gaggan, a colonial style white house hidden down a dark alley. Awash in uplights, it was a gorgeous setting against the dusky Bangkok night. We walked in giddy. I wish future me had been able to warn present me.

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