Second week of class! 

Life is going by so so fast, I’m starting to be confused as to what happened when and that it’s only been a little over a week. I’m hoping I’ll find some type of rhythm and some bearings. Thankfully saturday was a relaxing day, involving yoga, gardening, flute playing and a visit to the ruins of the Lana Kingdom: Wiang Kum Kam. Beautiful architecture, mystic atmosphere. We took rides on small carriages pulled by horses through the different sites and I did not want to leave the temples, the hidden gardens from where beautifully ornate statues peeked out. I wanted to just sit. Breathe. Unfortunately the tour was only an hour and I had to run back to my carriage and leave the ruins. Off to another night market, noodles by the roadside, COCONUT. Sunday we woke up early to go to Mae ai to visit the church that Dr Chulee speaks at. When we arrived Goit, a student from Payap university greeted us. He is from Menai, the town we will be visiting this coming weekend. Church was a sweet time. I felt so thankful to be with these welcoming people. I was asked to share impromptu and as soon as I sat down in church I felt zoo touched and filled with the spirit. We worshipped, Dr Chulee spoke and Lyndsay shared a short testimony before me. I had not prepared anything but I was very very moved. I shared that I was extremely thankful to be there. I was vulnerable and authentic in my revealing to them how moved I was at the opportunity to speak and enteract with them. I spoke of how when thinking of what to share, it is easy to wonder “how am I supposed to act, what is the culture of these people within this setting…”. That throughout the world there are many Christians and many ways of expressing this, through our many different cultures. But that I need not worry about what or how to say it because I knew that my brothers and sisters in Christ share the same culture of the Kingdom of God with me. I spoke of my background and my love for culture. I spoke of my experience of French culture and American culture, of my misgivings with other Christians, my pains but my hope, my refining. That God has provided me with safe paces to heal and grow, to expose the lies of darkness and to grow in light. That this was one of those places. Finally I shared my go-to verse and encouragement Philippians 4:4-8. The whole team then sang a song together, there were more thai songs, words and prayers and at the end of the service we waied and shook hands with the villagers. One of the women, Goit and Dr Chuleepee gave us a tour of the church’s garden. They have quite the extensive property. We had lunch and were giving little elephant key-chains and then proceeded to walk to one of the elder’s houses where we had another service inside the traditional wood thai house. Dr Chulee”s comment “On Sunday all we do is worship!” made me smile. We were offered many delicious fruits, drinks and even home-made waffles. The setting was more laid-back and just as sweetly communal. A real time of sharing within the house of Jahn (moon). I did not want to leave them!! They already felt like family. Dr Chulee had other plans though and we set out to go to the Burmese border, stopping at ECHO on the way, checking out the farm. Lyndsay is really hoping to intern there.

The drive to the border was beautiful. The scenery was INCREDIBLY GREEN. We joked around with Goit in the car, got to the border, took some pictures with the border patrol, got back in our car and went for some yummy Yunnan noodles that are apparently super famous. The border town is apparently filled with ethnic Chinese people. They were very welcoming. We went to a market for a little groceries and I spied an old man smoking out of a really big pipe. We had talked about opium being an issue in Thailand and border states and I had been wondering about whether or not it was something that was out in the open or not. Bingo. 
We drove home, dropping Dr Chulee and Goit off at Payap, making sure to have exchanged numbers first and then got our reading on! 

I’ve been absolutely loving our readings. FOr the most part. This unit in our “history” class we are learning about Burma and Benedict Rogers’ “Burma, a nation at the crossroads” is very fascinating. It is informative but enticing in the first hand stories that are given. I SERIOUSLY RECOMMEND IT.  Another book I am enjoying is Spiro’s “Buddhism and Society”. OF course I like this, given the fact that it is written by an anthropologist. Just seeing a reference to the filed makes me giddy. Spiro specifically examines Theravada Buddhism in Burma. His approach seeks to link the gaps between what we see as normative Buddhism aka what we would expect Buddhism to be given the teachings of the Buddha; the writings: and the actual practices. I will be writing more about this in the future once I have had time to observe more. 

Today we went to the monastery and were taught by a Monk! It was very interesting. I had so many questions I wanted to ask him, I did a few but we quickly ran out of time and I didn’t want to appear as if I was disrespecting him in some way? The temple is magnificent but we had class in an administrative building. We are having class with him again on Wednesday and I am as excited for that as I am to eat at the temple restaurant again. It is the best food I’ve had. DELICIOUS vegetarian food: mushrooms, kale, tofu + has awesome detox juices which I was in dire need of. That place SERIOUSLY saved me today. I would eat there every freaking day if I could. 

We left for Payap and out class with Dr Krista, squeezing in a quick nap. We spoke and watched documentaries about Burma. The feelings that came to me were parallel to those from my intimate violence class. More importantly when coming back to campus, I was just surprised as to how it seemed that no one else had really been affected. I know that everyone processes differently but I’m at that point where I’m starting to seriously need my space and can’t understand how we are expected to function so much being together sooooo muuuuch. I was in need of my space and put off by laughter and nonchalance after what we had just been presented with. Anyways, I did my thing, sang a song, drew some stuff, zoned out on my pictures and had dinner with everyone. I’m feeling a little more communal but I must confess I need more strength to be gracious in defending my barriers.

Thanks for all your support! Tomorrow I’ll get to rest ? I think we’re biking to a temple 🙂

Love and Liggght ❤

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