(A Journey of a Leap of Faith)
As I write this the aforementioned bugs are dive bombing my computer screen (then bouncing off and hitting my face), attracted by the neon glow. Good times. We had a massive rainstorm here last night (which is good since this has been a very dry rainy season for the farmers). When it hit, I was out in town with Zach and we had to wait an hour till the downpour and lightening ended. Once it stopped we jumped on the motorbikes (seats and helmets sopping) and had to try 4 different routes to get home. As I gazed down the roads, the ‘puddles’ made by the rain covered half the street, water lapping at the sidewalk.
This morning I encountered Ba Dang (our groundskeeper) on the deck. She agitatedly tried to explain something to me in Northern Thai and performed some rather dramatic hand gestures in the process. The only thing I could take away from the performance was we should shut the windows when it rained so, needless to say, as she returned 5 minutes later with her husband and a machete, I was a bit nonplussed. Turns out the storm had blown a bamboo tree onto Nate and Rachel’s deck (they were away for the night and their bedroom is the only room on the second floor) and they had come to chop it down.
I turned 28 this past Tuesday. And it was great. Everyone was so sweet and in the spirit. We had Rachel’s cousin, Trevor and his friend Christa, here for the celebration along with all our other “farangs” friends. My ‘cake’ was all the pieces of pie Nate and Rachel could locate in town (including a slice of lemon meringue! Not as good as my Gammy’s though)…There was quite the rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday’ performed (which almost beat the rendition (sung twice) the night before by an extremely drunk Thai and Japanese man with the help of all of us. A classic memory).
I was happy to be here in this place for my birthday and marveled at where I was last year for my birthday, completely unaware this was waiting for me. It felt like New Years Eve. I have all my time in Thailand stretching out before me and many choices available for when I return Stateside and I am thankful for that.
And it’s good for me to remember that. In culture shock,I think there is curve which appears after you begin to feel settled in and not quite overwhelmed at everything you encounter on a day to day basis. I feel remarkably present here and at peace. There is no doubt as to whether or not this is the right place for me at this point in my life. I don’t consciously feel myself thinking of New York or yearning to be in the States – yet- I am to some degree. It is natural that I am. It’s a testimony to my life there.
I’ve recently become comfortable enough on a motorbike to venture into town myself (there isn’t a right of way here and… well, I haven’t even been the driver of a car in years plus… I am kinda nervous nellie with that stuff) and this has restored a sense of independence which is vital to me. Being independent is a large part of how I identify myself. I went from being in a place where (beyond the obvious of speaking the language) I knew multiple ways to different locations, any number of places I could go to on my own and hang out and many many friends to call on to do so. Another curve in this road for me is the life I have established here in Thailand (living at Nate and Rachel’s house and my housemates here, the other farangs I have become acquainted with, daily or weekly routines) is about to change- they are all leaving within the next three weeks. The next round of SOLD folks arrive at that time (and I look forward to hanging out with them!) and leaves me as the one who has been here the longest. So not only is there that change, I also feel it’s my responsibility to them (and to Nate and Rachel who have been great teachers) to get my ducks in a row.
There are different things I have used to help me recognize what I am feeling and process. Talking with my friends here or skyping with friends and family from home or praying and just acknowledging what is going on around me has helped. And knowing this is what happens when you take a leap from the known to the unknown
The other day after teaching, I was driving down the road with the wind in my hair, sun on my face and reflecting on when I was working at the consulting firm in New York, miserable, hitting the snooze button for 45 mins and looking out the window reflecting on the fact I was already bored with my day before I ever got out of bed. I am as far away from that feeling as you can get. So thank you, God, for bringing me here.
“Travel is always like this, I remind myself. Uneven, with stretches of loneliness and anxiety followed by unparalleled moments of bliss and discovery.”