During one of the darkest moments in my adult life, I failed to reach out. I didn’t really tell friends and family what was happening. I think part of the reason was I couldn’t explain it, I couldn’t get my hands around it, but mostly I was ashamed.
This time around, I didn’t make the same mistake. True, the circumstances were different, but when I spoke with my friends, they became lifelines tethering me to a balloon of hope. Our conversations were reminders that: I was not going crazy, my situation was insane and that I was loved.
You know how Arya from GOT has her list of people she wants to kill? Well, I have my list of folks I want to thank. I’ve been blessed by how quickly friends have paid for meals, offered their places, help, gifts, jobs, you name it. They’ve come to the rescue in a variety of ways, and even the seemingly smallest acts of kindess bring tears to my eyes.
I don’t want to wait anymore I’m tired of looking for answers
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
The BF has remarked on this. I suppose I have a rolodex of friends and that’s why returning to Thailand made sense. I can’t carry a lot because of my nomadic lifestyle these days, but I can keep my contacts. This has been something that I’ve tried to cultivate for as long as I’ve been aware that wealth can take on different forms. But this is not to say that I haven’t let go of friends or made bad relationship decisions.
Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such nice friends, but that’s just something weak/mean we say to ourselves. If I’m honest, I know I try to be a good person and I hope that shines through.
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road
Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on
Yeah I just keep on keeping on
When I first moved to Thailand, I was with my then-much-younger-boyfriend. I was full of excitement. I was ready to live and work abroad. I was naïve. Long story short, we broke up. After six years together, Thailand was the turning point. Yet, I should mention that new friendships had been forged, it was pivotal in my teaching career, too. Then after nine months, I left.
I returned after a handful of months in Ecuador, in an attempt to get back together again. But by then, he was already with another woman (unbeknownst to me). Yet, my second attempt at Thailand stuck, it had staying power. My friend Julia (who I had met during first attempt) taught me how to ride a motorbike, something I feared after my father’s death. She got me an interview which led to a job, and essentially helped me start over all before she returned to Canada. And the funny thing is we met a garden center when I approached her, asking if she spoke English because I can be fearless at making friends.
Things just started to sing after that.
I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free
Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road
Then after about five years in Thailand, after I picked up another boyfriend (you just pluck them off the trees here, hahahaha, watch for thorns), we moved to Cambodia, and boy, was that challenging. But now that we are returning to Chiang Rai, I wonder why I left in the first place. Why do we leave to return to where we were?
I’ve woken up in a hotel room, my worries as big as the moon
Having no idea who or what or where I am
Something good comes with the bad
A song’s never just sad
There’s hope, there’s a silver lining
Show me my silver lining
Show me my silver lining
– First Aid Kit, “My Silver Lining”
Of course, I want to say ‘no regrets’, but that doesn’t roll off the keyboard as quickly as I’d like. If I had stayed, I would have everything I gave away. I’d be stable, secure and none of the drama that happened with my mother would have occurred.
Most likely though I would have gotten bored and restless. Isn’t that horrible? It wasn’t until I left sleepy Chiang Rai that I appreciated it, like down to my bone marrow, appreciated it. For all its problems, there were new ones that I hadn’t even imagined in Siem Reap. I missed Thailand and was annoyed because I thought I was so ready to get away from it.
I returned to the Land of Smiles twice to see friends and family while I was in Cambo, enjoying the best of both worlds. But now that I’m back where it all began, in Chiang Mai, I’ve been left to contemplate why I’m here again.
Naturally, I know that Cambodia was more than a resume booster shot, it was a unique experience that connected me to a whole other universe. It gets under your sunburned skin. It’s a special place and I miss my students and colleagues more than I expected.
With each passing day I’m getting a better hold on “Why did all this happen?”. Now I’m not sure if I’ll ever fully understand, but I do feel changed. My goals are sharper having had time to whittle, fall down and scramble.
And so it goes…
P.S You’ll be happy to hear that my mom and I are talking again. She’s been calling her sister in Lamphun everyday asking about me until finally, she could come out with my cousin, who speaks some English.
When I called my mom, the most lucid thing she said was, “I was mad at you and mad at myself for getting mad at you”. I don’t know what will happen next as it’s not a question of forgiveness as much as tentatively trying to rebuild our relationship and trust.
P.P.S. If you carefully read (who reads these days?), then you might have noticed that we’re moving to Chiang Rai. My amazing boss and friend asked me back so I’ll be teaching up there soon.
Thank you for your words of encouragement and understanding. They were wonderfully uplifting to read in airports, hotels and in transit. xxoo