Jet lagged, busy and tired. Still enjoying this place, looking forward to getting into the groove of school. I have been telling myself that I NEED to write something more put together, maybe less offensive? Truth is I’m in double cultural shock and can barely think clearly. Yet I also know that I NEED to write the thoughts that come up especially in these early times. I already feel things fading and I NEED to have the progression in place.
Most of all, the things that keeps getting me is that I truly truly want to be in a setting where I am FULLY IMMERSED in thai culture. We are staying at a center in a Lahu community. The Lahu are a tribal people. They are paradoxically Thai and yet Lahu. Therefore they speak a specific dialect and have specific customs. YET these people are in a biblical training center that takes on seemingly aspects of Thai academic culture but mostly biblical culture that has been learned by these people initially from westerners.
I want to be in a setting that has not been tweaked or influenced by another culture and yet I KNOW that is impossible. Our world today is to overlapping for anything to be “PURE”. And why in the first place am I striving for this ? I feel like I’m yearning for exoticism and that makes me irritated with myself.
Still my main desire is to learn this culture, understand the overlaps and maybe with this view help these come together? I wish we were doing home stays. I want to be in the position of learner. I will strive to put myself into these situations. It will be more of a struggle given the community of white students I’ve been placed in, because this barrier of western world is established.
I realized that most of my yearnings were also my own urges. I remain a perpetual if not adrenaline-junky, a wanderLUSTER. I say I do not expect anything yet I DO expect the unknown. I want to get that emotional high from being wowed by something I’ve never seen before. I want my mind to be blown. aaaaand yet the reality is that I have travelled and have seen things and it might become harder and harder to get that silent “wow” moment where my chest tightens. Also, I tend to associate and assume even though I actually know nothing.
The first moment I had a one of these here was during the Lahu church service on Sunday. We had a quick visit of the center: exciting seeing the rice patties, the pigs, the chickens. Leah was starting to feel the newness of the place and see how what was to be learned/ observed. First feelings within church service were not negative but perhaps dismissive and accusatory of the culture that was being “forced” onto these people. Me thinking the whole time they would express themselves, be more fully free if they were in the boundaries of their own culture. As soon as they started to sing this changed. I was humbled into thinking of the beauty of cultivating one’s garden. That it is freedom to chose to act in a certain way, there is freedom in structuring one’s self. I am very excited to visit the Lahu village which to my understanding is extremely rustic.
I arrived Saturday evening and it is Monday evening. It seems like I’ve been here for a whole week. Sunday we went to the night market in Chiang-Mai. I was REALLY excited. I WANT EVERYTHING. I am hoping to be able to talk with the artisans and musicians during the time I’m here. Today we went to the Queen’s botanical gardens, hiked(Leah barefoot :p) and swam at beautiful (though brown) waterfalls. With a little Yoga sesh thrown in. THE FOOD IS AWESOME. more details later. My favorite as of now is our desert tonight: MANGO STICKY RICE. YOooooom. (y)
My hope is that I continue in humility and grace. That I accept the situation I am in and yet that I strongly affirm my identity, hopes and beliefs and intentionally act according to these. Please pray for good opportunities to connect and delve into relationship and understanding with the Lahu people specifically, and Thai people in general as well as for grace and peace within the group of American students.
SO THANKFUL FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY.
I aaaaalsoooo want to be continuously filled with more and more and more JOY and spared it . YAAA HAPPY HAPPY LETS ALL LAUGH. heh.