I Got a Tattoo in Thailand and My Mom Was Not Thrilled

I never planned on getting a tattoo.  Whenever anyone asked if I would ever get one, I said “no.”  If I was feeling risque I might have even thrown in a “not unless it has a really deep meaning.”  I never judged people with tattoos, but they just weren’t for me. My cousin and I used to joke about each getting a small shrimp tattoo, (that’s a story for another time) but I truly never considered it happening.  And the shrimp tattoos forming a heart on our thumbs has not happened...yet

Studying abroad in Sydney has been the most incredible, life-changing experience ever.  I used to try my best to avoid sounding cliche when discussing abroad, but there is no way around telling everyone how much it has affected my life. If I could, I would bask in this happiness forever. 

For spring break, my best friends and I decided to go to Thailand.  We spent twelve wonderful days between the Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, and Chiang Mai.  I have honestly never laid eyes on a prettier sight than the Phi Phi Islands. 

 I mean, come on!

After Phi Phi, we took a ferry to Patong where we stayed for three days.  There, we were really immersed in the city. With it being monsoon season, it rained sporadically throughout the day, but the temperatures were still unbearably hot.  After two days of exploring the temples and nightlife in Patong, we were exhausted and ready for the next leg of the trip. It was the last day there and the rain seemed worse than usual.  We decided to stay close to the hotel and kill time before the airport. My friend wanted to get a haircut and every day she would jokingly ask us if we could add her haircut to our itinerary.  Well, she got her wish. We were aimlessly strolling and walking off our big breakfast when she saw a sign for haircuts. We had nothing better to do so we walked in and inquired about the price.  After hearing a price that was equivalent to twenty American dollars, our friend was sold! And so she got a haircut and it actually looked pretty darn good! While we were waiting for her to finish, my other friend saw a sign for tattoos.  Yes, my friends and I clearly have a thing for being easily persuaded by sidewalk signs so - dear advertisers, they’re working!  She said, “Should we just get tattoos while we’re at it?”  We laughed and laughed and suddenly the rebellious abroad-loving queen in my head said, “Yeah let’s get tattoos!”  My parents have always been so proud of my patient and not at all impulsive decision-making skills.  So we walked to the shop, asked about pricing, and didn’t even think about how similar this process was to our friend deciding she wanted a haircut.  Except she at least wanted a haircut before actually getting a haircut.

Needless to say, we ended up in the tattoo shop moments later faced with the question of what to get and where to get it.  We decided on our ankles because they can easily be shown off or hidden with socks. We wanted something small enough to cover with a bandaid and something that would keep us bonded forever.  And what did we decide? A small tasteful smiley face taken from Google Images… Again, my parents are so proud.

It’s cute, okay! 

Alas, we got our friendship tattoos that we wanted for all of three minutes!

 All kidding aside, the entire experience of getting the tattoo is the perfect embodiment of what abroad means to me.  It’s spontaneity. It’s appreciating friendship. It’s being young and happy. Now every time I look down at my ankle, I remember that this is the happiest I have been in my entire life.  And if I ever forget or lose touch with either my best friends or my memories of abroad, I can look at the smiley face and I’ll know that I was so high on life that one day in Thailand, that I actually got a tattoo to remember it. 

Oh, and my mom?  Well, she couldn’t believe it.  She thought it was fake. She told me she didn’t know who I was anymore.  She was so dramatic, only to finally come to terms with it. I know she secretly thinks it’s cool. I know because she sent me a photo of her own ankle with a heart drawn on it the other day.  Maybe she’s next! However, she did say, “Now that you got a tattoo, you’re definitely not allowed to jump out of a plane while you’re abroad!” Guess what I’m doing next weekend? Skydiving. 

Never gets old.