Friday, July 5, 2013


I'm leaving tomorrow, and I haven't packed.

I woke up this morning and though I know I need a break, leaving site for two weeks will be a gift, and I've been to four funerals in two weeks, I didn't want to pack. I still haven't, in fact.

I washed my clothes.
I washed my sheets and covers.
I swept my room.
I swept the house.
I mopped.
I made breakfast.
I made tea.
I hung my clothes on the line to dry.
I made lunch.
I made coffee.
I read 5 chapters of a book.
I talked to my neighbors.
I talked to the dog.
I took my laundry off the clothes line.
I am writing this blog.

So, I'm wondering. What's keeping me? Why is my bag still not packed?

Perhaps it's knowing that my host family is going through tough times (my host's brother seems to be losing his battle with cancer and has stopped eating). I have seen and heard of enough death in the past two weeks, to be sure. To not be there for my family at this time, though, seems wrong. I can hope that he'll last two weeks until I get home, but it's less about prolonging his life at this point. I care about being here for them. Talking with and hugging them when times are rough. Making them laugh, making them think, making them iced coffee. Whatever it might be.

Perhaps it's knowing that my students are improving so much right now. We've finally reached a moment where we have momentum. They're remembering far more than they were before and have become so excited about class that even when I'm trying to work on future lessons in my "office" they're in trying their best to talk to me, or asking me to sing them another English song, or showing off the songs and dances I've taught them to help their memory. I don't want to lose that momentum.

Perhaps it's knowing that I'm not like the other volunteers. There are a small handful of people who truly "get" me here and though I don't need or expect anyone to be my best friend after 6 short months, I have a hard time feeling "home" with my new friends, for the most part. Maybe it's that this home in Chaiyaphum has started to feel more real, and I don't want to belittle it when it comes to our time at Reconnect where I know some things might start to spiral into "my site is worse/better/harder/more awesome than yours." It's an unfounded fear. I love all of these volunteers, truly. I'm just trying to understand why I'm still stalling.

The truth is, I've found an identity, or the beginnings of one, in my community. From my walks around the village, the banter with the merchants, the conversations with my family, I know they're going to miss me. They've told me, as I said I'd be gone for awhile. Some of them are even concerned that I'm going so far away (I assure them it's not far for me...I'm from America) or that I won't come back, probably (I promise them I am).

A garden may be planted without me. Rice may be harvested without me. The world will continue to turn. The sun will continue to rise and set.

The real truth of the matter is, I love this place, 
and it took having to pack my bags to truly realize exactly how much I do.


  1. <3 Rest, relax, refresh... then return to the beautiful smiling faces and open arms of your students and to a family that is very blessed to have you on loan for a season!
    Isaiah 30:15
    For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
    Your two weeks away from your host family will give you yet another opportunity to spread your love and be a blessings to all of the others that cross your path. We love and miss you very much. <3 Lain

    1. Thank you, Lainey (and Mike). I love your outlook on things. My bags are now packed and I had a lovely farewell dinner with my host family.

  2. I can actually see the difference in you the last few times we've skyped. An acceptance of where you are and what you're living, and a genuine love for your people, your Thai family. As your mama, it truly gives me pleasure to hear of your new found peace. Lainey is wise, too, in saying that you will benefit greatly from your rest, gathering new strength, new insights, and new resolve to continue your journey forward. I love you so much, dear one, and it gives me so much joy to see you love what you are doing.

  3. It sounds like you're moving past the culture shock. I am so proud to call you my friend. Your heart for your students, your compassion for the Thai people. You're doing what a lot of people don't do when they do work abroad. You're becoming part of the culture and that's so important. Every day I am grateful for your insight and heart. Thank you for sharing your experiences and struggles. You are changing lives and Thailand is changing yours. You are such a special soul. I'm praying for you each and every day, soul sister.