"Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image."

Saturday, September 5

Dear America, Love Thailand

Lesson: Touch, Taste, Smell

purpose of blindfold: Teacher's entertainment :)

As I stand on my porch and watch the dark sky threaten to swallow me, I'm reminded again how much I love this place. There is something beautiful about the blackness, the calmness just before Bangkok becomes victim of another monsoon. I can't quite explain the peacefulness, but it's a feeling that makes me smile from the inside out. Life continues---as normal---making it difficult to blog--until, of course, I stop to smell the pollution. When I do slow down, look around, and re-open my eyes, I'm reminded of the craziness that is Bangkok and I fall in love all over again. I think about how shocked and terrified I was when I first arrived and I can't help but smile. This is my life, this is my home, and nothing about it seems crazy anymore.
During one of these eyes-wide-open moments, I outwardly smiled while walking through the market. This is my kitchen, my favourite restaurant, my late night craving, my sweet tooth filling, my caffeine jump start, my healthy eating kick---all rolled in to one. I have literally cooked a total of 4 times in the last year. Why cook when you have this market, a market, covering every inch of every sidewalk in every part of Bangkok? I watch as one of the vendors delicately tastes her creation from a giant spoon before dipping it back in for a stir, and I laugh. I can hear mom's voice in my ear teaching me proper manners---telling me to wash the spoon first and I love the fact that these vendors never got that lesson. I love that, at some point in my life, I probably would have cringed, but now, I happily walk over and order what she has. I order fruit and am unphased when the vendor grips it completely in his (surely) not-so-clean hand before cutting it into my bag. I occasionally remove bugs or hair from my meals as if I'm removing the shell of a shrimp. Take it out, put it on the side, and continue eating as if there is nothing unpleasant about it. I laugh when I think that the stuff that goes on here would easily be on TV in America on one of those hidden camera shows.
School has been amazing and my kids succeed at simultaneously exhausting and fueling me. They are beautiful, smart, loving, full of energy, innocence and cheeky-ness---If I give them, teach them, make them feel a fraction of what they give me, teach me, make me feel, then I'm doing something right. Even when I want to pick them up and throw them (as I definitely do sometimes), I can't help but kiss them. Which, I have discovered, is as much a "punishment" to a 5 year old trying to be cool in front of his friends then anything else...so, threatening them with a little "joob joob" is enough to make everyone happy!
As for my schooling....There is something about being a 26 year old, illiterate, college graduate that is incredibly....humbling, exciting, amazing, frustrating. I have been taking Thai classes for the last 2 months and, when I see the fruit of my labours, I can't help but act like the 4 year old I feel like. Learning to read a completely foreign alphabet, often with the help (much to their amusement) of my Kindergarten students puts me on an entirely new level. I don't remember learning to read as a child, but I will remember learning to read as an adult forever.
The term is over in 3 short weeks and yet another dream vacation is calling. Rachel and I will be driving, camping, diving, singing, and dancing (such is the plan so far) our way through South Africa for 2 weeks before I head to Namibia and she heads to Morocco for the remainder of our vacation. Flying out Oct. 1st, back on Oct. 24th, back to work (team building and lesson planning) on Oct. 26th, and back to school on Nov. 3rd. Am BEYOND excited about some visitors in December and can't wait to share my life here :)