I’m so amazed.
I’m so thankful.
I can’t begin to fathom all that life has in store for me thought I know I want even more than the countless blessings that I have.
I spent the weekend working on a paper for my class. On Saturday some of us went into the night market. It was refreshing to be somewhere that wasn’t completely new. The night market was the first place we visited three weeks ago. It seems so long ago now. As we sat eating various foods at the temple I again had the feeling that I could run into someone I knew. It was not an uncomfortable feeling. Yet I examined it and pondered it. I don’t know anyone that I could run into in Thailand. There’s no reason for it. What’s up with this feeling then? Not a bad one but it does make me think of that rather than the moment I am in. And there was a slight apprehension. I had felt it the last time here. It dawned on me. I have a fear of popular public places buzzing with activity. Because those places I am used to I run into people I am afraid of running into. People that no longer exist in my life. We have separate spheres of lives that are so so so finely separated. Strangers with a painful history.
I realized in that moment I no longer wanted to have these preoccupations.
They followed me to Thailand. Why am I spending my energy fearing this close interaction when there are soooo many other bubbles, spheres in the world that I could link myself to.
It made me realize the power of our minds. Of our preoccupations.
I remembered this childhood preoccupation. Mom making soup at Aimé martin. With lots of weird stuff and herbs in it. For at least one week I was obsessed with there being ants in my soup. The herbs looked like ants. I was make myself gag looking at it and whatnot. Don’t you know I eventually found an ant in my soup!
Thinking in fear, thinking negatively can bring along those events. We do not know the power of our minds.
I want to think of good things. I want to dream and hope and intentionally invest my efforts into the refining and redeeming of this earth. If you encounter someone in a dark dark place. And you are able to see a shimmer of light. You bring attention to that and you ignite it in that person. How easy is it to bring light into darkness? One noticed shimmer will expand if it is payed attention to it. How does ones heart glow and beam when goodness in it is noticed.
I finished my paper around 1 am. On the exclusion and exploitation of the people of Burma. I was happy to do this work even though it is not the best piece of work scholastically I was content to have finished. I was not anxious or annoyed, preoccupied; I woke at 6 am rested, perky. I was surprised ,thankful and excited. We had class at the Friends of Asia Foundation with Dr Amnuy and then headed to the Three kings old city and had some noodles in a hole in the wall. We wandered the completely changed streets of day that I couldn’t recognize without the stalls. Treated ourselves to a chill ACd coffee shop session. Though I had gotten a foot massage at the night market. I was wanting a body massage and we ventured along to find a good priced parlor eg I payed 7 dollars for an hour body massage. Lack of sleep, caffeine and the massage contributed to making a very hyper ADD Leah that was extremely happy to drive over to our nxt appointment seeing sparkly temple walls.
We met Christa at Urban light. A NGO that is working with young men and boys that are involved in the sex trade.
We heard a presentation and learned about the issue in a more male centered way. The guy giving the presentation mentioned he had worked in the peace corps. My interest was ignited.
I tentatively asked him about it. He presented a very enticing image. I expressed my reservations about structure and ethnocentrism which were pretty much dispelled. Hearing what he had done, Seeing what he is doing now was exactly what I needed to see the missing piece of what I was afraid peace corps wasn’t.
Urban light encompasses the whole feeling of the day.
It would be so easy to see this organization ,that it seems to be on a slow slope and be emotionally stirred by the awful heart wrenching stories of these boys. The harsh reality of this world. I cried when we watched the interviews. But that was not my lasting emotion. I felt blessed and saw the light of these peoples lives and intentions. The goodness and the hope. The future of this world in the light of eternity.
I left urban light pretty ecstatically. Feeling I had just gotten a wink from on high, giving me a little push onto the path I was starring at on the side lines.
So those Peace Corps meetings I was eying but not going to, those emails I signed up for I have decided to actually try. We shall see whether or not I go, or when but it is exciting to see how my next step in life is shaping itself up.
We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and had a Burmese tea for desert. We then proceeded to visit the different sex industries of Chiang Mai for 3 hours about.
It was extremely uncomfortable. Knowing what we know. I’m not sure how I feel about what I experienced or how it was done. We were a group of 8 walking through streets from the bars where foreigners go and can be serviced in a sort of casual manner to the extremely disturbing quarters where girls would stand up in a line as merchandise as we walked by the establishments “ Same Same Different Place”, “Foxy Lady” … Every single white middle age man I saw creeping on a thai or Burmese woman I wanted to slap and yell out “DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING” I wanted to burn into their souls “I know what you’re doing and you can’t hide”. How would that help?
But how would it not help? How do we deal with the demand? We went by one bar, an old man calling out to us to play beer pong with him. It took everything in me not to go throw all his stupid red cups into his face… I felt like we were judging everything around us. How could we be here, what is a normal response to have here? I felt like we were making a joke out of it. Though our presence did signify a sort of demonstration.
Talking the next day, a remark of Jonas really helped me link the feelings I was having. Who knows the story of these men that are doing this? This old gy all by himself that was hoping we would play with him.
We are all so afraid of being alone.
We drove around for a while that night, going to the different areas. How much our driver could tell us was disturbing… “ here Burmese girls an Burmese men”, “here there are underage girls for sure “ here there are 80 girls, only Japanese men”…. I just wanted it to stop. I did not see the value of it. I’m still not sure I do.
We got home around 11Pm.
I was honestly expecting to not find sleep, to be plagued with disturbing dreams and thoughts, to feel sad and hopeless. The showers weren’t working again, went back down ‘ stories to shower in the GO ed building and got back into the room, falling asleep to Miranda’s soothing music.
I awoke on Tuesday in a good mood. I did yoga and danced, I showered and headed over to Lahu music lesson. It was such a blessing to be surrounded by them, to sing and dance with them. Finally remembering names and faces. Laughing. I was really enjoying spending time with people. Something about the night before really really infused into me the beautiful opportunity and blessing of community and interaction that we have.
Also I know that I have been yearning for more affection to help evacuate my slight worries. I miss hugs and cuddling.
I ate a quick breakfast an then headed up to English class with Miranda and Adele, we helped out judy with I think 1st year students: maliwon, juanida, chachtai..
I was impressed in how well they learn! they work so hard.
When we were done, we went to lunch in luang luan. Having one of my favorite dishes! Mou dang: red pork. It was so good and so nice to be in the neighborhood. Miranda asked me if I wanted to go to Joy’s with her, I was expecting just to get a quick drink at the coffee shop and then go home and chill. I think we ended up maybe taking for an hour or two. It was really nice. To be able to connect. That we are seriously so different but that our core beliefs are so similar. Even our insecurities.
I have been yearning for deeper authenticity and support of our community and yesterday was a great time for that.
This feeling of light has followed me and I am so grateful for all that is happening. Let us all take ownership of this responsibility and great gift of refining this world and rejoice in the discovery of such beautiful treasures!
Thank you for your support and continue to pray for enforced physical, material, emotional and spiritual strength and protection.
There is one week of class left and I will then be working in Chiang Rai at the Mekong Minority Foundation.