Perspective

I’ve been in Thailand nearly two months now. Things that were first really strange to see are slowly becoming “normal”. Things I never thought I would get used to seeing:

• Monks walking down the street, talking on cell phones, drinking energy drinks (are they supposed to do that?) just being present in every day life.

• Stray dogs. Whether they are barking like crazy at me on my morning run or paralyzed by the afternoon heat these pups are everywhere—quite sad to see.

• Children with white powder (baby powder) on their face to keep from sweating as much.

• Adults with white residue on their faces from whitening cream.

• Food stalls everywhere.

• Really flat feet. Asians have extremely flat feet and wear horribly unsupportive flip flops that do not fit. As someone who has worked in footwear her entire adult life this pains me to see—someone send some mid-stability shoes here, quick!

• Buddhist temples. I love seeing these. Buddhism is becoming something I’m enjoying learning about, enjoying praying as a see a temple and notice the small details each one has. Buddha statues are amazingly unique and beautiful, my favorites are the ones that are laughing and smiling.

Buddha

Buddha

 

 

This list, I’m sure, will continue to grow as I spend more time in Thailand—more ‘weird’ things will become normal and my idea of normal will shift along with my perspective and outlook on everything.

Market

Market

 

 

 

 

Buddha

Buddha

You must take off your shoes and step over the door frame

My Man

My Man

Buddha, pray, wai

Buddha, pray, wai

I repeat my mantra every time I wai to a Buddha

I repeat my mantra every time I wai to a Buddha

 

Here are some pictures from my trip to the Temple on Sunday.

 

 

Who is Being Created?

I can remember from when I was a kid people watching. At school, or at restaurants, later on in life at the airport I would make up conversations people were having from afar. I’d give them lives, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and problems that needed solving or birthday parties they were late to. I would create a life for them and in an instant it would be gone when they walked away—they would have no idea that I had sat there watching them and creating an entire new life, maybe a better one, maybe not; I would never know.

 

I’ve never really thought about being on the other end of people watching. Do people watch me while I watch others? Are they creating a story, looking at my outfit trying to decide if I’m on my way to work or off to meet a friend? Are they giving me a lover? Am I cheating on him, is he cheating on me? Or are we madly in love setting off to see the world together? Who are they imagining I am?

 

I’ve been in Thailand for three weeks now and being looked at and noticed on the street is unavoidable. I’m the tall-er, big-ger farang that is walking around town with only two Thai words under her belt. (Taller and bigger according to a typical Thai woman that stands 5’1 and maybe weighs 100 pounds.)

 

Today I was brought to the  “Wat Yai” Temple by my director. All morning I could hear whispers of farang! Farang! behind me as I took off my size 8 flip-flops and placed them and their enormity next to the others, mostly sizes 5 and 6. As I bowed in prayer and got blessed by a Monk I felt eyes follow my each movement. I was sure to not to point the souls of my feet at the Buddha shine or touch the Monk who was walking the border of the prayer room, the last thing I needed to do was make someone’s internal story about me negative and how the American was so disrespectful.

Maybe as someone created a story about me today the noticed the tears welling in my eyes as I bowed, they noticed me asking questions, learning and praying for an open heart and an open mind. Praying to succeed, learn and teach on this journey in Thailand. The story, perhaps, was about a girl who was trying to be like the gold color of the Buddha.

 

The Buddha is gold because in near darkness it can be seen, it needs just a glimmer of light for it to shine and cut the darkness. Maybe that’s the story that was told internally by that little girl watching me from the corner, or the Monk sitting on the pedestal who blessed me with water.

 

Just a little bit of light to shine, that’s all anyone needs.