Wednesday, January 23, 2013

When all else fails...

Life right now is no walk in the park.

It's a long bike ride in murky heat, followed by changing in bathrooms to look presentable, hours of confusion as new vocabulary is thrown at you, more bike riding, finding food that doesn't have meat with somewhat limited communication skills for when things go amiss, sitting in rooms full of people as sweaty as you to hear information you might already know, most of which you don't, that you hope you'll retain until you can process after washing your laundry by hand and hanging it up before the mosquitoes try to drink you dry, commune with family who know less English than you do Thai, and finish homework before you fall asleep standing up.

Life right now is also more amazing than I can put to words. As I sit beside my oscillating fan with my 30% DEET as my new best friend beside me and my host family outside checking on my every few minutes to make sure I'm cool enough, full enough, hydrated enough, etc, I know that all the sweating and brain overloading is a sure sign that a transformation is at hand. 

Words flow more smoothly every day. My host grandma treats me more affectionately as she slices mango and makes sure I get the softest bit. My host grandpa shares laughs as he teaches me to eat a Thai staple that is so bitter my face turns in on itself, while my host niece takes a picture I can only assume has wound up on instagram or facebook by now for her Thai friends to laugh at. My life is completely unrecognizable from what it was in the states. The only thing that remains constant is my determination to be here, now, and my love of the adventure with each turn.

Do I love mosquitoes and spiders and humidity and sweating and newts and mangy dogs? Absolutely not.

Do I love learning and growing and strengthening and laughing and sharing and breathing a new culture in? Yes, absolutely.

I've heard that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. I'm not sure I believe that, now. In these past few days, I have fully experienced life as it must have been when I was a baby. No need for planning. The plans are set. Life is happening in each new food that crosses my lips. Each new word that enters my ear. Each new phrase I form with my mouth. Each new person I have the honor of meeting. Each new friend I find a reason to laugh with. Each new step, or pedal, that propels me forward into a new world of understanding. Each new sight, from rice field, to river, to market place.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to experience this and far more excited than I can say for the ability to be able to share such experiences with all of you who are kind enough to read it. I don't talk in circles around the difficulties. They're real and it would be a disservice for me not to impart to you some of the struggles, but it is more worth it than you know. The biggest lesson thus far, learned from my Thai family mostly in the past few days, is when all else fails...



  1. Laughter is the best medicine, and so, here I sit, at home, laughing through my tears, at the eloquence and grace in which you describe your experiences in your new home. Love you always, your proud Mama

  2. I love you, too, mama bear. I don't seem to have wifi in the mornings and have been too tired to stay up late enough to catch you before you start your day, but I'm hoping to see your face sometime soon. Beaming my smiles to you and glad to know you're sharing in my tearful laughter as well.