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Diary Entries

Wednesday, 07 January 2009

Location: Gang Sanam Nang, Thailand

Here I am in Bungpalai school, Gang Sanam Nang. Where do I even begin. Well I met with Karmen (another volunteer travelling to the same district) She was impressed that I knew she spoke Dutch, coming from Belgium, but I only knew that from Simon at the guesthouse. Yesterday we took the bus 5 hours to Chaiyaphum to meet with Ae's family. They treated us to a huge dinner and taught us how to eat the Thai way... cut with fork, eat with spoon, and take only one spoonful at a time from the dishes in the middle of the table. (I already find myself thinking/speaking in broken or simplified english) I awoke to Paw's fighting cocks crowing. What a strange new world I have stumbled into! Breakfast was rice, sweet tofu, a kind of pumpkin with custard and traditional Issan stew. I love the food here. After eating, Karmen and I took a local bus to this district. Here everyone looks at me and says "Farang, farang so beautiful" Pee Ann (the english teacher here) speaks english very well. She told me today that I will give a speech tomorrow in front of the whole school... all 500 students! Oh well I shouldn't worry (mai bpen rai), most speak very little english. I am living with Pee Mam and Pee Tukata (pee just means older sister) so that we can help each other with the languages. They are so wonderful. I will write more about them once I get to know them, right now much gets lost in translation. I do know that everyone here loves karaoke! I have a small room. There are so many holes in the window screens and only failed attempts to fix them with pink duct tape. This of course means there are thousands of insects. Even with this net around my pad on the floor they still get in. No worries. I actually enjoy this rural way of life. When daily life is filled with practical hardships, then there is no need or room to manifest trivial problems. I'm just getting used to the bathrooms here as well. We squat and use hands to wash, there is no toilet paper. It really makes more sense this way. Isn't it strange that in the west people don't wash with water after using the toilet? Also we bath with a small pouring bowl, the water drains out a tiny hole in the bathroom wall. We bathe morning and night since everyone here is very hygenic, but the water is so cold!
I have so much more to write but I have to sleep because I want to call home tomorrow morning. One thing I must say though is I can't believe I'm here, it's so surreal. The past few days a great high has swept over me and I can't stop smiling. I want to learn/teach/grow/explore/create and just breathe. Wow, I love it here.

Monday, 05 January 2009

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Here is an older entry from when I flew here:

I'm flying now. It's been almost 14 hours and we should be landing soon in Incheon. The ocean is dark except tiny pricks of light shining through and above is that beautiful fuzzy stretched out rainbow. That thin strip of dark red is surreal. Ti creates a perfect line between the rest of the colors and the vast black where the fireflies play.
I can see land now. Not literally, what I mean is I see the city's lights. Silvers and coppers sprawling like amoebas. Towards what? What's so alluring about vastness? If we can understand that, then we might appreciate the need to preserve it. To preserve the cycles, the very essence of humanity. To profound? Of course.
I'm staring out this little airplane window and I can't help but marvel at man's created light. Then I cock my head ever so slightly and those lights are dimmed, put to shame by a thumbnail stuck in the sky. The moon is profound. It can't be denied.

I can't seen to upload pictures here at the guesthouse, so I'll have to go to a cafe later. I'll write more later tonight after I meet with Oh. I do love this place though. Love travel. It coaxes out this evolution of character that just seems to keep snowballing. I only wish more of my family could be enjoying it with me.

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Recent Messages

From Kathy & Kaden
Kaden says "thanks for the present. I miss you and I love you."

Kathy says "it was great to read the note you sent home with Jaret. It almost made me cry. I hope you're having an AWESOME time. I'm so jealous of your free spirit "sprouting" all over the world! You are truly one of the most special and amazing people I have ever known. I'm honored to be related to you!! I love you Melady Sue."

HI BRIAN!!!! We miss you too!!
Response: I love you too! You're going to make me cry! I have a picture of you two and everyone here at the school loves to look at it. They love your light skin and say "Beautiful, beautiful" I asked Karmen (the other volunteer at the elementary) to pick a good student to write a letter to Kaden. I hope it works out!
From Jim & Marie E
We will check in on you, and wish you the best on your journey. Happy New Year! We are doing fine: temp is in high 70's today.
Response: Korp kun ka! (thank you) Happy holidays to you too. Now that I'm teaching in the north the temp here is about the same. Nights are cold but afternoons can reach almost 90. Keep in touch. Love
From Dad
Hey Mel..

Have you seen Jaret??
Let us know..Call tonite.Mom wants to talk..

Response: Ahh... It seems like here in Thailand everything is a few days late. Sorry that I didn't call when Jaret was in Bangkok with me. He's home now right? Hope he gave you my note. I just got to my school today. Bungpalai It's beautiful, crazy and confusing here. I love it. I will call tomorrow around 6 pm your time. Love love love
From Trevor and Sherri
Hi Melady. Sherri and I saw your photos, and we like the tattoo a lot. Looks like you had fun, and we hope you have a nice time in Thailand.

From Mom & Dad
Miss You,Mom, Send more pic"s..Dad..We love the Hair and Tatoo..Enjoy...Say Hi to Brian..