Perpetual Autumn

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Autumnal sunshine transports me back to memories of Pai. The infamous mountain town in northern Thailand that my friends and I have appropriately nicknamed ‘the land of the lotus eaters’. Many people came and never left. Opened restaurants and made families. Melded into the easy ways of a mountain town. Past lives were forgotten and left behind as these travelers enmeshed themselves in the vibrant sunsets, rich food, and the not-so-subtle cornucopia of ‘mood enhancers’.

I’m left with these memories of this beautiful and grounded town. Where yoga & music & camping & atypical diets are the norm.

It felt like a piece of my soul, a home I had envisioned countless times in my own mind, a place where I felt free & adventurous, connected & appreciated, full of love & wide-eyed.

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Heart Connections

Boordy Winery

The powerful force of connection. When two (or more) seemingly distinct and separate items momentarily become one. From computers to eyes, airline flights to souls, professional networking to mind & body. Life seems to be a series of connections: missed, deep, violent, loving, life-altering, heart-opening. We see and create connections wherever we go, eternally striving, ferociously searching, and unyieldingly craving these moments of truth.

When we connect with others and ourselves we strive for hearts and minds to be unmasked, seen for their own truth, for layers to be sloughed off, revealing our pure selves. The pure & simple truth of life.

I spent this summer fostering old connections and creating new ones. From re-connecting to my ever-growing hometown, to old friends and family I haven’t seen in years; from fostering new connections with new friends to teaching yoga;  and even connecting to the flora of previously unexplored forests.

It has been a wild & wonderful summer.

Continue reading “Heart Connections”

Heart Connections

Boordy Winery

The powerful force of connection. When two (or more) seemingly distinct and separate items momentarily become one. From computers to eyes, airline flights to souls, professional networking to mind & body. Life seems to be a series of connections: missed, deep, violent, loving, life-altering, heart-opening. We see and create connections wherever we go, eternally striving, ferociously searching, and unyieldingly craving these moments of truth.

When we connect with others and ourselves we strive for hearts and minds to be unmasked, seen for their own truth, for layers to be sloughed off, revealing our pure selves. The pure & simple truth of life.

I spent this summer fostering old connections and creating new ones. From re-connecting to my ever-growing hometown, to old friends and family I haven’t seen in years; from fostering new connections with new friends to teaching yoga;  and even connecting to the flora of previously unexplored forests.

It has been a wild & wonderful summer.

Continue reading “Heart Connections”

Sawankhalokians: Part 2

As a continuation of this post, I want to delve further into my experience in Sawankhalok by focusing on and giving tribute to those who made my experience all the better. These people created a community for me, helped me navigate a new town and a new culture.

Meet my Sawankhalok community!

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These guys live about 100 yards from our house at the corner of our little soi and the main road. As is common in Thailand, the front of their home has been converted into a shop, specifically a motorcycle shop. Always kind and helpful to this mechanically disinclined young woman: pumping up my tires for free, changing flats, and otherwise fixing my bicycle. Unfortunately, we never exchanged names but without fail they always say hello and wave as I ride past their shop.

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Sawankhalokians: Part 1

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One year ago, I was hired to teach English in Thailand to high school students. Not only did I need to prepare to move to the other side of the world but I had a scant 6 weeks to get my life together. In miraculously swift movements, I was able to quit my job, get a visa, get vaccinations, and pack my life into one backpack and an obnoxiously large red suitcase. And off I went…

This past year I created lifelong friendships, which consisted of conversations employing only a narrow vocabulary of Thai and English words. Bridging language gaps, rather than distancing and disconnecting, has only strengthened and fortified my friendships (as well as allowed me to use a hilarious amount of hand signals and pointing, always a humbling and silly way to communicate).

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Gratitude: February 24 – March 9

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind. School is finished, well at least classes and my final grades, and we only have a few days left to show up. It’s a strange feeling knowing I won’t see many of my students ever again.

Explore and Discover

1. Exploring and Discovering :: I cannot begin to be grateful enough for my ability, physically, monetarily, etc. to see the world! So many people are unable to, they have other obligations or mental blocks that prevent them from being able to explore and discover. And to explore, I don’t mean boarding a plane and crossing into another nation, although that’s one of my favorite forms of travel, but to possess the wide eyed mentality of a child and discover the world you live in: the simple elegance of plants, the innocence of animals and children, the smell of the wind during the season changes, the wealth of important information in museums and conservatories. To appreciate the world as it is and your part in it, that is the beauty of life.

2. Books :: I have been reading so many deliciously wonderful books this year I have been in Thailand. Fourteen to be exact. Which is wayyy more books than I have ever read in a year and I am loving it. I already wrote a little post about my favorite books from this year: here 🙂

Family Vacation

3. Pai :: I had spent so much time thinking that my favorite place in Thailand was Chiang Mai, but lo and behold, Pai is everything I love about Chiang Mai all wrapped up in a 4-block radius and nestled in a sweet valley. Delicious Western food decorates most menus, colorful and pungent juices freshly pressed for me, soy milk cappuccinos for Ami, and real bacon and hamburgers for PT. Motorbikes, hotsprings, hippies, live music, coffee shops. Ahhh a wonderful little sanctuary for us farangs.

Graduation Congratulations

4. SawanAnan Wittaya School :: Teaching has been a humbling and eye opening experience. I fully appreciate teachers now and thoroughly feel guilty for my occasional bratty misbehavior when I was a student. And despite the bureaucracy, the confusion that comes with being a farang, and my initial loss at how to teach, this has been an experience that I will always cherish. I have learned how to teach, but most importantly I was a student here. A student of culture and language, of patience and gratitude, and I learned far more than I expected or hoped for. Thanks Korin and SW for giving me this opportunity!

friendssss

5. Friends :: During my first 6 months here, I found that I LOVE to travel alone. And in Thailand this is so easy because the people here are so friendly and there are many other solo female travelers that you are bound to befriend. But I found that traveling with friends and in a small group is so much fun. Traveling in Chiang Mai and Pai with Amiel, PT, Lyndsey, and Andrew was refreshing. I haven’t hung out with that many farangs in quite a while and I had forgotten the great feeling that comes with being in and a part of a group. We all got along smashingly, because as travelers those initial boundaries and social cues vanish and we all become more vulnerable and patient. To experience things for the first time with others and to share these parts of life is a huge part of exploring and I am happy to have PT’s company for our journey southbound!