A Chiang Mai morning

I wake up to the sound of Romeo scratching at the blue door or meowing from the cat room. This is around 6am, he’s an excellent alarm clock. Some days I lie there, swear and throw back the covers, other days I just accept that this is the way he is.

*Should be noted I swear regardless of alarm clock noise, I hate getting up. But some how I manage…

After feeding the cats, I walk outside around the house, up the stairs, to reach the main living space. Β These mornings are cold in the bamboo woods, so I wrap myself in my white silk robe that was a gift from Mr. Angry and fill up the electric kettle with water.

There is no hot water for the sinks. I never realized that was an American luxury until I left. But it’s not like I live in a barn (close) or a castle (not even close) where I have to break the ice in the bowl to reach the water to wash my face.

Usually I would make a cup of coffee with honey and sit in front of my computer for a guided audio mediation but I’ve started a new routine. The convenience of the french press on loan has been loaned back so these days, I stand with a small coffee filter from a broken coffee machine in my hand as I dispense hot water over tiny spoonfuls of Douwe Egberts coffee into a ceramic mug.

Sitting at the blond wood, dining room table, I open my journal and write. I write three β€œmorning pages” as instructed by The Artist’s Way. I did this or started this in high school or a long time ago, but the book has been recommended to me recently so I decided to give it another go.

This isn’t too different from when I used to recall and analyze my dreams. Journaling has been part of my life since I was 14 years old and don’t imagine this will leave anytime soon. I think if it did I would need to seek therapy or destructive relationships.

Sometimes I write to remember. Other times I write to get those thinking thoughts out of my thoughtful head so I can think more clearly. Even though the morning pages are supposed to be written without lifting the pen off the paper, I do so anyway. I get up, or stare out the window, watch the cats, go to the bathroom, sweep the floor, or open the front door.

It’s a dark wood house, very possibly the first one built in this little neighborhood. Cobwebs have a habit of showing up in every corner and the corners you never knew about. A great quanity of creatures reside here too, much to the delight of the cats and my friends who get to hear about them.

I’m very lucky though. This is the kind of place, despite the upkeep and the constant work, that writers and artists dream about visiting to work on their craft. It’s a great space for parties and having friends over and being alone, reading or listening to music. There is always work to be done around the house, or I can simply look outside and mediate on the trees and sounds and practice sitting very still.

My morning walks by Huey Tung Tao are also part of my morning routine. If I don’t go walking then I exercise at home but regardless I have to stretch, move, yawn my body into the day. I love the mornings because I feel like I get to start over. Because by some evenings I feel like I’ve made nothing but a lukewarm mess and I need the clarity of a new day.

The sneeze has to end.

Walking is when I listen to music, usually tunes my friends have given to me. And so my luck continues. I have a tendency to daydream though. I’d like to be better at focusing on the walk or being present but this can also be a great time to hear words and see phrases that I jot down in my notebook. My ex and I were very compatible in our love for walks. We’d walk and talk everyday, sometimes twice a day. Life requires movement. And now that I have a bicycle I want to start heading to the market with it.

This is the blessing of working in the evenings. Something I never considered. I always figured the mornings were for doing but like so many Westerners, it was going to work. Now I have the time for Thai lessons, meeting with friends, cleaning the house and working on my writing and playing on the internet.

Some folks think living in Thailand is a lower standard of living because the air quality could be better or the food is fried. But the food generally travels a shorter distance, there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and life is not as stressful. The portions haven’t been super sized (yet). And foreigners almost always lose weight too.

But my mom looks remarkably healhier compared to her other family members who live in the country. So who knows. Americans are getting fatter and maybe the world will go topsy turvy in this regard. I just know I am grateful. I love my mornings and getting to know what’s important to me and what is not.

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