I feel like there are two recurring themes to this blog, and thus my life: perspectives and two worlds.
I keep coming back to the huge gaps between worlds–the jungle & Mae Sot, Mae Sot & the city, Thailand & America, our life & our neighbors lives, our life & our families’ lives.
I also keep seeing the power of perspective.
I was reminded of it again as I collapse onto our bed on Tuesday morning. We arrived in on the Bangkok bus at 5am. I usually sleep quite well on the bus, but this time I happened to be awake to see us pass a horrible accident around 1am. It was another bus–same exact paint job as ours–turned over with people and chaos everywhere.
I didn’t sleep the rest of the ride.
And as I collapsed into our bed, I was oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing over the comfort. After three weeks on a bamboo floor, it was heavenly. But my response was shockingly similar to last December when I fell onto our bed in the States and was shocked at the comfort of it. I cherished it all month in the States, sad at a short night of sleep. I whined when I climbed back into our Mae Sot bed in January; the same bed I was now cherishing.
Both themes resurfaced in Bangkok, too. We went from a remote village in the jungle– where we ate the same foods every day, wore the same four outfits, followed the schedule of the sun, and spent a total of $22 in three weeks to buy snacks for the students–to this:
We arrived in Bangkok about 3pm and didn’t have a bus to Mae Sot until 9pm. And with our handy-dandy translator with us, we learned that there is a place at the bus station you can leave your luggage! We happily let them watch our things while we trekked off to a nearby mall.
This was fun for a few reasons. First, we ate an amazing dinner. Stephen & I also split up for a few hours and had a chance to purchase Christmas gifts for each other, which is quite difficult in Mae Sot. Neither of us really had much of a plan, so this was a fun chance to make some purchases. We also found a Coldstone ice cream shop, which was a delight.
These photos pretty much sum it up. We’re both in quick-dry shirts with a Karen bag; we don’t fit in at a mall in the slightest. Stephen is thrilled for ice cream, and in front of a digital store: he loved seeing the new iPad & new iPhone, and visiting the Canon & music shops. And I was very thrilled to enjoy my ice cream and visit Gap!
We definitely took advantage of the time there, but wow. That was a huge switch. When we walked in the door, I actually slowed down and Stephen nudged me forward. There were so many lights and music was blaring from every direction. In that moment I could see more people than I had seen in the whole village for three weeks–a village of ten people plus twenty-seven students attending the school.
We walked from one world into a very different one, and all perspectives were challenged.
Everything in Bangkok looked like Christmas, but celebrates the holidays or new year–never Christmas. And in Mae Sot, it doesn’t even really look holiday-esqe. There are a few shops selling sparkly garland, and we have seen just a few Christmas lights, mostly in celebration of the King’s birthday today.
And now, we’re back in Mae Sot in our sleepy little neighborhood. We were greeted with wonderful smiles from the community and requests to see pictures from our trip. The kids were anxious for hugs and time to play with the dolls and badminton. We spent yesterday evening out in the streets playing and realized how good it was to be home. And we haven’t been to the hospital yet 🙂