Tuesday Travel Photo

After this holiday weekend and reflecting on the sacrifices of others so I’m able to live my life how I see fit, I’m brought in memory to this place. I started to learn and truly understand this lesson when I was fifteen and went to Normandy, France. Stunningly beautiful and most of all, haunting.

Thank you.

Oh Hey There!

So. This is embarrassing. I was all rah-rah, I’m a good blogger and planned ahead. And then February happened. And I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since my last post. I don’t even know the last time I wrote anything for the ‘public.’ Or even done much in the way of communication with very many people. February was a pretty insular month in this corner of the world.

I could regale you with epic tales that took me to far away places that kept me occupied and not blogging for most of the month, but really outside of accomplishing the extraction mission, going to the ear doctor a bajillion times, adventuring with Manfriend putting a few dozen Krispy Kremes under our belts, and my body revolting against me in what feels like nearly every medical issue possible… actually this turning out to be a pretty epic sentence description. For a time I thought would pass achingly slow in the usual, I spent a surprising amount outside of my ‘normal’ life in the village.

Actually, I’m genuinely surprised how the time is moving. I can not believe that I’m leaving the village this soon. For a date I’ve been looking forward to for 26 and a half months, it really managed to sneak up on me. The packing process is nearly complete and my brain keeps telling me that in ten days I’ll be back on US soil, but my heart/emotions haven’t quite caught up yet. I keep thinking, ‘I’m so ready, I’m so ready, I’m so ready,’ but in packing a weekend bag for one of my follow-ups with the doctor, a wave of dread came over me as I realized how foreign and difficult life in America feels right now.

Yes, I’m tired of Thai food, most Thai people, life in Peace Corps, and literally sweating my way through clothes, but it’s also the ‘known.’ It’s comfortable in that all of my needs are taken care of, but exciting and different enough from the 9-5 type of job I dread with every fiber in my being. And pretty soon, I’m just going to be floating along figuring out my next step. But luckily eating a lot of Western food to help with the stress.

So, back to our regularly scheduled programming. I don’t plan on ending my blog any time soon, because I still have a lot to say about Thailand, the transition back ‘home’ again, and stretching my one (minor) creative ability in writing, mostly about traveling and the lessons that you learn (and are sometimes forced down your throat) along the way. There will surely be a few more gaps here and there as I stumble my way through goodbyes, hellos, and some form of internal clock stability. Thanks for coming along on the ride with me so far. Let’s see where we end up next.

So glad I had my best beau to explore Bangkok with

So glad I had my best beau with me to explore Bangkok

Friday Five

Resolved: These are my resolutions. Deal with it. I read or heard that something to the effect of only eight percent of Americans actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions, especially when they are fitness or health related. Oops. To combat this staggering possibility of failure, the writers at your local online self-help websites suggest to make yourself publicly accountable. So this is me. Doing that.

Couch to how many k?
I wrote about the starting of the C25K program a few months ago, right before I started traveling. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it. And I killed it. The day I got back from traveling, I downloaded a new set of podcasts, the bridge to 10k. My goal is to run a 10K race, with my sights set on a possible half-marathon. I realize it’s normal to train for a marathon in this amount of time, but goals are meant to be attainable. Until you set the next crazy one.

Improve My Posture
I’m over six feet tall. I’ve been over six feet tall since I was twelve years old. I’ve been stooping over people for more of my life than I haven’t. And now I really want that to change. I need to build up core and back muscles and be generally uncomfortable for a long time. One exercise suggested envisioning squeezing an orange between your shoulder blades and ‘make some orange juice’ has become my new mantra. The days of the ‘shrimp walk’ are over.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Before I came to Thailand, I was an April-October runner. Then I wasn’t a runner or an anythinger because of a multitude of factors with life in Thailand. Now some of those are working in my favor as the cold weather isn’t stopping me from keeping up with a running schedule. In 2013, I would like to maintain a year-long program of exercise.

Can’t Take the Heat then Deal with it and Learn to Cook
I’m not a foodie that enjoys cooking, watching other people cook, or waiting for food. I don’t have a large appetite either. These factors generally conclude that I eat whatever is tasty and quick, which usually means pretty shitty health wise. To nourish my body properly for exercise (and, life), I need to learn how to cook. Nothing elaborate, rather a development of taste and how to prepare food to satisfy my tongue and the needs of my body.

Communication Nation
I’m not very good at making new friends or meeting new people. I’m one of those terribly shy people who suck immensely at small talk, especially in large groups. And then when the one poor soul that initiates a chat, I get awkward. Even if I do manage to gimp along, hide my racing heat beat, and survive until the natural end of a conversation, my follow through is weak. What do you say to those people you just met? Clearly Thailand hasn’t really helped in this department as it is totally normal to discuss bowel movements, what I ate for breakfast, and the current weight of your conversation partner within minutes of meeting. Mostly, I think I need to practice, practice, and practice some more. Force myself to be uncomfortable to cast my net and hope for a good catch of a friend or colleague. In 2013, it is my resolution to be better at talking to people I don’t know yet and develop more meaningful relationships afterwards.

Friday Five

The sky is amazing here. I loved the way the trees framed the house at the bottom.

Five Photos For October– More nature shots this month as school is out for October!

Getting some fresh air perhaps?

Flowers next to the new running road I found.

Not my student, but I thought her face was so cute when she found out she won.

I’m a sucker for reflective photos.


Friday Five

Five Things that Scare the Bejesus Out of Me– In honor of October and the human desire to try to frighten ourselves silly

Diving Board
Ever since I was a little kid and taking swimming lessons at summer camp, the diving board is something I did not like. We had to jump off at least once to move on to the next level, but some awful vision of jumping/slipping off the board, cracking my head on the edge while on my way down, and blood gushing from my head wound as I drown gives me the heebie-jeebies when I consider going off the board. Sometimes I can’t even watch the Olympic divers because I wince every time they make a jump.

Sudden Loud Noises/Thunderstorms
A story I heard growing up was, one family reunion, when I was still a baby and a summer thunderstorm started to move in. The noises and lightening scared me so much my Mom thought that I was trying to burrow myself into her chest. I can make it through the thunderstorms alone now, but they still make me extremely uncomfortable. It’s the same with the random explosions or people jumping up behind me. I’m the person jumping three feet in the air every time and my heart rate taking forever to go back to normal. As there are a lot of out of nowhere ridiculously loud noises in Thailand, Thai people get a real kick out of my reaction. I do not.

Paranormal Religious Movies/Books
Blood, guts, and zombies eating brains, I can handle with relative ease. It’s the creepy stuff that raises the goosebumps and hair on my arms. Movies with the man downstairs like The Devil’s Advocate or most Japanese remakes with creepy ghost people like The Ring are the ones I need to watch during the day… and then a happy movie afterwards. I think it’s even more effective in the written word. Being alone at home and most of my free time, it’s really hard to talk myself down off the freaked out ledge.

Willful Ignorance 
We’re moving into the abstract. This has become increasingly evident with the upcoming Presidential election in the U.S. as some voters refuse to stop and assess by a candidate’s goals or policies, but choose to follow what party they belong to. I think the most obvious example of this is people still refusing to believe that President Obama is an American citizen despite all actual evidence. I think any moderately logical person, on either side of the political fence, can figure that one out, but some people just don’t want to. For someone to try so hard not to be properly informed or expand their own horizons and education about the world is, frankly, terrifying to me. How can a country move forward when it is dependent on people to be willing to do so?

Fear Itself
I think it’s healthy and positive to have fears and to experience the emotions that come with it. But I never want those challenges to stop me from doing something I should. The diving board makes me uncomfortable, but that’s never stopped me from trying it. I might take a while to do that thing that makes my heart race, but I will do it. What scares me more is the day I won’t try something, dance in the rain, read a book or watch a movie, because it intimidates me in some way.

Rain, rain come back again every day!

Forest Gump said that ‘One day it just started raining and didn’t stop for four months…’ He did make some correct descriptions about the kinds of rain, but I don’t know if I’d go as far to say it starts, goes for four months and then stops. Ok, maybe kinda, sorta. This video is some thoughts about rainy season, a little about weather in general for Thailand, and how it affects my opinion of when to travel to Thailand.

Friday Five

Five Travel Quotes- I just got back from vacation and these are the kind of thoughts I need to read after the exhausting bus rides and general travel issues in Thailand.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
-Mark Twain (Favorite)

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
– Bill Bryson (When I walk the streets of a new city)

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien (When I think of RF)

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”
– Alan Keightley (When I feel the pressure to accomplish the ‘American Dream’)

“You are constantly off-balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” -Cesare Pavese (When I realize I don’t need to collect things)