Adventures In Thailand: Peter Lynch ’02 And Meghan Lynch ’03
In a recent issue of Expat Life in Thailand, Meghan Lynch ’03 writes about her experience running a khlong, one of the more than 1,600 canals that pulse through the city of Bangkok. It’s a practice that she adopted shortly after arriving in Thailand six years ago when she tired of her regular route. The khlong poses a series of challenges, even to a seasoned runner, like dodging pedestrians, motorbikes, and the occasional duck, lizard or snake, while running on paved walkways and uneven and sometimes unsteady paths. But the khlong bustles with activity – boats, homes, shops, eateries – and warm and welcoming people whom Meghan has come to befriend.
In no small way, the experience on the khlong is much like her journey acclimating to and embracing her life in Thailand. In the article, Meghan, a frequent contributor to Expat Life, shares its broader meaning: “A story of what the khlong has brought to me, as a previously bored runner to a girl living amongst culture and communities that offer richness and kindness at every bumpy, uneven, and lively step.”
How Meghan and her husband, Peter Lynch ’02, came to be living and raising their four boys in Thailand is another story.
Following Meghan’s graduation from Nichols in 2003, their jobs in management and sales took them to the Midwest. Indiana was more than 800 miles away from home and the Hill and gave them the first taste of life a long distance from everything they knew. The young New Englanders quickly learned and appreciated the differences while living there for the next six years. They note two perks of post Indianapolis winter: “The golf season starts early March, you are at the pool in May, and running in shorts on Thanksgiving Day.”
The draw to be near family and possibly start their own was beckoning them back home. After exploring offers in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York, the couple took an opportunity at Gentex Optics in Dudley, Mass., part of the Essilor Group, where Peter met Bison Shannon Spitz ’99 MBA ’01, human resource manager. The Lynches resided in nearby Sturbridge, enjoying proximity to family and friends, and their family grew by three children over the next five years. The same week that they found out they were expecting their third, Peter received an offer to manage a lens manufacturing facility for an affiliated company. The catch? It was in Thailand. After a 10-day “look see,” they decided to take a chance on what has become a seven-year career and life change in southeast Asia.
Despite the long days and commute (Bangkok traffic is world renowned), Peter has enjoyed his professional journey. He still draws on lessons taught by Professor Tom Leland on emotional intelligence in his leadership role overseeing teams producing 140,000 lenses a day. “I help people solve problems and help them succeed. By helping people be successful, I’m successful,” he says.
Meanwhile, Meghan, managing a family of six and all that comes with it, practices the multitasking skills she used at Nichols to juggle school, athletics and a full-time job.
Though a larger contingency of Americans abroad lives a little further north, they settled in a home and subdivision closer to Bangkok, where they are surrounded by a community of international diversity and “amazing humans.” While they made some of their best friendships at Nichols, Meghan and Peter are grateful for their supportive local network, which has provided “grace and compassion” in times of a loss, illness, or a happy milestone, making the distance from loved ones more manageable. These friends are now their global family.
A perk for the emigrant family is the immersion in Thai and international culture that travel adventures to the country’s beautiful beaches and islands have afforded them. Their children attend a British international school because it is closest to home and their experience is a global one. “We wish we could go back to school with them!” Meghan exclaims. A very active couple since their college days, the Lynches have enlisted their four sons in activities every day like soccer, rugby, gymnastics and baseball. Like Meghan, Peter is a runner, and while the heat can deter her from the competitive track, Peter has accomplished personal goals, like competing in an Ironman in Western Australia at the end of 2019.
To this day, they remain close with their college friends and remember their start at Nichols as “feeling like home.” Meghan, who was recruited for sports, found the campus right sized. “You were a part of something that wasn’t overwhelming; you were never just a number,” she recalls. 9/11, former Athletic Director Charlie Robert, Professor Larry Downs, and then Dean and current Professor Brian McCoy were profoundly influential during their Nichols journey. “Brian McCoy was someone I had coffee with right before we left for Thailand,” shares Peter. “He always believed in me and reminded me what I was capable of.”
Though they may consider opportunities that could bring them back to the states someday, their family values their trips back home in the meantime. Due to the pandemic, this year has been the first in seven that they have been unable to return to the U.S. freely, though they hope to plan to soon.
No matter what the future holds, Meghan and Peter, looking back from the beginning of their story as students on the Hill to the recent celebration of Meghan’s 40th birthday, have learned to take their journey on life’s khlong one step at a time.
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