Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dear happiness (day 37),

I woke up this morning and swallowed a huge wad of saliva. Looks like I'm NOT going to the orphanage today. How could I give my little kiddies this cold? And then I stressed about it for the next three and a half hours: if I'm stuck in this city and I can't be with my kids, what on EARTH am I supposed to do? 


I met a man today who traveled to Taiwan in his post-army youth, learned Chinese and Thai, and never really went back to the States. He had a really cool and inspiring story that made me want to move across the Atlantic and live my dreams while I was young. He was about the same age as my dad….and kind of hitting on Jacquelyn and I. 


I then met a few kids on the taxi (again)….(in Thai it's called a song-tao)…They were on day 53 of what they called a "booze cruise" through Thailand. It was like 4:00 and they already seemed a little hazy. I think I laughed a little bit in my response sentence.


I think there is a difference between pleasure and fulfillment. 

Being at the orphanage makes my life feel so purposeful. I thought of their faces when they realized I wasn't coming today and it made me feel awful.

Traveling the world is amazing, but if you don't have anyone to do it with: where will the laughs come from?

I've had so many great times already and it's only week five! I've learned to seek adventure through other means than the night life here.

There is something real and amazing here that I am participating in. Sometimes I get antsy that life isn't exciting all the time. But today I was happy just being………

And of course…….I'm not psychoanalyzing my means of happiness whatsoever when I'm petting a baby tiger. Best spontaneous decision we could have made for the day, Jacquelyn!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear moonbeams (day 36),

He was beautiful. Looking back, I should have seen the aging in his eyes. The ones that lit up when he discovered he had found a fellow Christian. Sitting across from him in the song-tao, his story betrayed his youthfulness.

He was brilliant. Learned Thai and English from two years in the camp and a few months out of it. He wanted to return to help his people. The Shan people. In a displaced person's camp on the Burmese border. But today he was visiting his brother in the hospital.

He wanted to give. I wanted to cry. Can a persons heart be this good? Could I unite with him so instantaneously?


For some reason my days here run on uneven intervals. 

I usually leave my house at 8:13. The bus usually leaves at 8:37. The kids are done with lunch at 10:38. Almost every time. It's very strange. 

But what isn't?

I think I have come to expect routine. Funny thing, life: it usually rearranges on us instead. Perhaps if I just started expecting change, I'd be more prepared for things when they hit. 

I was talking to one of the social workers and he was telling me that family planning is in decline. "Everything must change," he told me. It was a scary thought. Everything? The centuries of the organized family unit...that has to change? But why?

My friend has been in the hospital with dengue fever from a mosquito bite and it got me thinking: my life is really good. I wonder if it will always be. 

I've actually been thinking about it a lot lately. Things just WORK for me. Dumb things, big decisions. You name it. My mom's best friend says its based on a kind of positive karma you have with the world. Perhaps it means my major trials are saved for later in life. Maybe I'm being followed by a moonshadow. I don't' know. I just know i feel super lucky. Or given a lot. Or whatever.

But I wonder if I'll get to pay the world back someday. 
In some ways, I saw a lot of myself in the reflection from the boy's dark eyes. 
Moonbeam. His nickname is fitting. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dear cherished (day 31),

"Look I made this bracelet out of flowers for you."
She pushed it away. She wouldn't even look at the volunteer.
"Flower. ดอกไม้," she said.
No response. Only staring at the ground.
"She's hill-tribe." I stumbled. "I don't think she even speaks Thai."
She took the string of flowers and threw it back into the bush from whence it came. 

But the woman didn't give up.

She gave the flowers back to her. She showed her how to make it. She sat by her on the swing. She touched her. 
On on-looked the situation and decided I had no idea what the little one must be thinking. Maybe six years old or so. Left here. Can't understand. 
I came back two minutes later.
"Put on your sunglasses and do something crazy!"

The little one's smile was radiant.

Transformed. In just minutes. 
To the joy of all joys: the human smile.

It makes everything I do worth it. 

I bet to you that sounds trite. Trite: definition: "overused and consequently of little import; lacking originality or freshness." 
But when words mean nothing, desires and actions are reduced to outcomes of happiness.