Saturday, June 12
The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster and selfishly, I had to get some of it out---so here I am using, if not abusing, my blog spot! This is aimed at close friends and family---if you don’t fit into that category, it might be in your best interest to take a rain check until next blog!
The smoke has cleared and a bit of normalcy has started to return to the place I call home. I’m once again beginning to feel as though I’m in the ‘land of smiles’, and, although I’m not naïve enough to believe this is the end, it’s nice to see that the small things I love about this place are again taking form. The protests in Bangkok turned a bit heartbreaking in April, casting a bit of a shadow on an otherwise AMAZING vacation to the Philippines. It was a contrast that left both Ange and I a bit heavy hearted----coming out of the water (for example) from a swim with whale sharks to a text update from our friends in Bangkok. Things seemed to get progressively worse, but didn’t really start to peak until May 14th---we got sent home early from work, and collectively prepared to ‘bunk down’ for the weekend, allowing space for the chaos that would most likely follow a militant step-up. Luckily, my apartment is far away enough from the main area that I felt safe at home. For too many others this wasn’t the case, and my heart continues to go out to those more directly affected---those that undoubtedly can’t afford their losses. 2 friends, both who lived in a designated “live fire zone” relocated to my place---and I’m so thankful they did. Not only for their own safety, but for my own sanity. The weekend soon gave way to the week---which was declared a public holiday---with a strictly enforced curfew. The aura around everything and everyone changed drastically. Chaos. Pain. Fear. Hate. Things that I would never previously use to describe Thailand or the people here. I spent too much time sitting in the windowsill of my apartment watching the smoke take over the Bangkok skyline. Too much time watching the news or just listening to the sounds outside. It brought things way too close to home and my heart was breaking for the country, for my friends and their families, for my students. Thailand vowed to step up—starting with a “together we can” campaign which brought thousands of people to the streets to help clean up the aftermath. Although it was a hopeful sign and a moving outcome, the aftermath can’t as easily be wiped from memories, hearts, or…the economy. The country continues to struggle---and I continue to feel a bit helpless---but I will continue to hope….and ask that you do too.
I also wanted to remind everyone at home how much I’ve been there in spirit over the last few months. It’s never easy being so far from loved ones, but the last few months have proved to be especially challenging.
Christel’s father passed away on May 28th, and although I only briefly met him, I know that Christel gets her “french kiss life” attitude from somewhere. One of the many times recently I’ve wanted to ‘beam’ myself home. Love you honey.
Jo’s father lost his battle with cancer on June 8th and it has been incredibly difficult for me to be “absent” during this time. Her father was an amazing man, who I feel privileged to have known, and whose spirit, charm, wit, humour (and so much more) will live on in his daughters and grandchildren. Joseph, I hope you continue to feel my love and support from oceans away.
Also, this has been a very difficult time for my family, as my grandfather (lovingly known to his grandchildren as “pop-pop”) passed away on June 11. It was something we were prepared for, and he had a great life---touching all our lives in so many ways---but being unable to be there for him, for my dad, my grandmother, my family, has been incredibly painful. I love you all and hope you know that you continue to be in my everyday.
And, on the flip side of emotions, MB (one of my Aussie 5) is now wed, and Ry has completed ---no, no…kicked the ass of---his first ever marathon. 2 events that I was there for in spirit. Miss you guys.
My visit home in October will be much needed (to say the least) and I’m really looking forward to seeing and hugging everyone. It has been far too long! And, am super excited for Beans (uh, sorry…that would be ‘Molly’ to everyone but me and NZ peeps!)…WEDDING!! Her and Amber will be tying the knot Oct. 30th and they may possible make the most beautiful pair of lobsters ever. I hope my date (cough, cough…you better not sell me out!) brings me a lot of Kleenex…not sure who was lucky enough to sit next to me at Kev and James wedding, but, they’ll tell you that I’m ridiculous when it comes to this stuff! ! I’m ready to share some long overdue love, hugs, laughs, and cries….But, perhaps I should mention, in order to end (parental) speculation, as of now, my visit home in October is just that…a visit!
Any support you can give to my friend Jo would be amazing---she is doing an amazing thing for an amazing cause.