There’s really not another word for the past few days, so here goes.
The past week has been very busy. We have the Partners’ Staff Retreat in Chiang Mai this weekend, which just meant we had to get our to-do list done for the week by Wednesday, amidst meetings and figuring out rides and such for the retreat. I was also very nervous all week to be meeting so many new people from Partners, and just to be setting a first impression for quite a big group. The whole idea seemed really intimidating for my introverted self.
It has also been very rainy and cold this week, which is completely abnormal during the hot, dry season we are currently in. And, it’s been very cold—so much so that I wore two sweaters and jeans to dinner last night and blow-dried my feet to get them warm after a cold shower this morning.
Thursday morning the plan was for us to be up at 4:30am so we get things together and be at the office by 6am to leave for Chiang Mai. Instead, we got a call at 6:15am that woke us up. We scrambled out the door and left town by 7am. Oops.
It was five of us in the truck: Stephen & I, the other new couple to Partners, and Chris, who was nice enough to offer to take us to Chiang Mai early so we could shop a little before the retreat. Chiang Mai has so much more to offer than Mae Sot; it’s practically the West wrapped up Thai-style. We were hoping to get a few things for the kitchen you can’t find in Mae Sot—an oven/large toaster oven, speakers, applesauce, certain spices, wheat flour, baking soda, yeast, etc.
It was quite a long five-hour drive with five of us packed in a truck, driving through the curves and mountains in the rain. There was also a brief hydroplaning spin that terrified us all, but thankfully we managed to avoid the ditch and it happened precisely when no cars were around us. Either way, it was a long journey and we were glad to arrive in Chiang Mai.
So, we had about three hours to pull off quite a bit of shopping as a group. And on the way to our first stop, I got a call in the poorly connected call in the car announcing that my dear friend and college roommate, Laurel, was engaged! And with great excitement, I hit a brick wall.
The next hours were just awful. We had about six stores to walk between and make countless decisions of how much to spend and what brand to get on both an oven and speakers. All the while I’m wishing I could have a longer conversation with Laurel or at least get to an internet connection to Skype her; to see her exuberant smile and new sparkling ring. And I’m thinking through how much I want even more to just be there; to drive across town and celebrate with her. And further, how much I want to be there in a few months when they actually do get married and she looks even more gorgeous than she does always.
And still more, I know that Keri is having her baby in just hours. And suddenly—in an overcrowded Chiang Mai shopping center, I’m feeling the weight of missing out. I’m feeling the weight of knowing this is where we’re supposed to be, yet really wanting to be somewhere else for at least a few moments.
And the rest of the day was quite rough. To continuously be with people from six in the morning to about nine at night was exhausting, particularly when I just wanted to take a minute to myself and think through the weight of it all; the weight that has been overwhelming me recently.
With so much excitement, we paid the ridiculous 500B (about $15) for wireless internet over the whole weekend. Unfortunately, it turned out to be not-so-reliable, so we paid a visit to the front desk and called twice before midnight getting the internet working for Skype. And thankfully, it did work for us to receive a call around 1am that Steven and Keri had a beautiful baby boy, Andrew James! And we celebrated. (You can visit their blog for photos!)
It was a day of such celebration, and from here, a good deal of mourning for me. Perhaps because this is all hitting me at the exact same time, but the weight of it all seems tangible right now. Particularly as we’re only doing language training, and we haven’t even begun the hands-on ministry we’ll be involved in. And it’s been making me ache for home, particularly to be a part of the lives of those I love most.
For now, I’m Skyping my sister and brother-in-law, with another Skype party set up with Laurel tomorrow. I suppose that will do for now?