Getting Old

It’s been a while, eh? I have since turned 26 here in Thailand, I liked being 25, I don’t really like even numbers. Weird. I’m now closer to 30 than I am to 20, I’m no longer a kid, this is when real life starts, right? Uhmm. No, not really.

From what I’ve been told by my elders the confusion never ceases, the wondering never stops and the self-doubt continues on with us through out our whole lives. At this point I at least feel like I’m getting closer to feeling at home inside myself, I’m studying and learning and thinking and trying to meditate on everything—maybe I should zero in and meditate on one thing at a time… I hear that’s how you’re supposed to do it.

 

But enough about my confused head, heart and mind: birthday weekend! While approaching the date I had to reminisce on past birthdays—I then realized that this is the 4th continent I have spent January 18th on! Crazy!!

 

Things that happened:

  • I had a school of 900 beautiful Thai children sing me a version of Happy Birthday that I’d never heard before.
  • I received a birthday package from my Grandmother in Michigan who retraced my old stomping grounds of Holland, MI—making me tear up a bit at the memories. Then I ate candy and smelled the delicious coffee she sent!
  • I was bombarded by first graders with open arms yelling “Happpppy birfday, Teacha SaLone!!” I quickly corrected them “birthday, teacher SLOan” (if you know me you know that my name is ONE syllable. NOT TWO.) Just kidding, they were too damn cute to correct.
  • I ate an amazing meal, sang horribly in front of friends and was given some amazingly thoughtful gifts and cards.
  • I went to another province and went Thai camping.
  • Hiked down to a big tree, hiked back up and was applauded at my speed by a bunch of Thais lighting up their cigarettes.
  • I then hiked back down and hiked a short hike back to the camp ground, all the while pretending I was back in the Siskyou mountains.

 

My friend then said to me “Why don’t you pretend you’re there, in Thailand, you don’t have to pretend so hard that way.” Good point. Chalk is up to another struggle of not being here. I needed that, I’m here, in Thailand—let’s quit pretending otherwise.

 

  • I then logged onto Facebook and Gmail and was showered in love via messages, emails, and notifications.

 

Overall—yeah, turning 26 was pretty damn great!

 

Mmm Cake

I'm singing ABBA

I’m singing ABBA

Taksin National Park

Taksin National Park

Way to big tree

Way to big tree

CIMG0690

Trail

Trail

 

 

Be

[Eventually I will write about what I’ve been DOING in Thailand, not just how I’ve been feeling. However, I have been feeling a lot here and that is what I have been inspired to write about. Adventures have been happening and will be told. Don’t you worry]

 

 

 

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            5:02am comes early. As 5:55am rolls around I finish my coffee, say goodbye to conversations I would like to continue and I put on my running shoes. Heading to the park it’s still dark but I can see the lights ahead. I focus on getting to the waterfall of light the street lamps create. While I’m in the light I can see nothing else, just the small space the street lamp floods, a 10 foot circumference around me, which I pass through in a second, back into the darkness where I can’t even see my feet, just the circles of light ahead and a memory of them behind.

            While I’m running I think about where I am. I think about my attempts at being present. I think about how being in Thailand has forced me into really focusing on where I am and who I am and how I want to learn and grow: mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Each time I step under a light I imagine that there is nothing beyond it and nothing behind it. I am in the light and I am nowhere else.

            Even though I know that I just passed a Buddhist temple that was build 1000 years ago (that blows my mind just to type it) and ahead of me are more wats (temples) that are just as old, there is also a dog that is waiting to bark at me and a truck of a fellow runner parked by the gate—but I am in the light and no where else. Focusing on that 10 foot circumference, focusing on Thailand while I am in Thailand, is hard. Noticing the light, enjoying being able to see clearly in the light is something I am practicing daily. Failing at it some days, but also succeeding at it in other moments.

            I will keep getting up early, I will keep running, I will keep moving in the light.

 

 

Searching For ‘it’

When I first arrived in Thailand nearly 3 months ago I tweeted: it’s hard to be homesick when you don’t know where you call home. Bittersweet, I suppose. Since I was a kid I’ve moved around about every 3 years. My adult life has been a series of avoiding unpacking boxes because I knew I wasn’t going to stay wherever I was for long. I have never signed a yearlong lease. Deep down I knew I wouldn’t be in that apartment or house for more than a few months and then I’d be on the road again searching for something new, something surely more exciting.

In a recent conversation with my Mum I realized that I haven’t had a real bedroom, decorated and made the way I wanted it, since I was in high school. Home is where the heart is. Blah, blah, blah. You can say that quote as many times as you’d like, it doesn’t ring true until you start dissecting, understanding and believing it. As I study Buddhism and begin my journey down the path of meditation, I’m reading that happiness lies within wishing others to be happy and that by giving that to the world, that is where you find happiness. I haven’t bought into this concept just yet—but I also hear it takes time to accept this notion.

My heart has been pulled overseas, it’s been pulled east and west each time searching but I’m not sure I’ve ever known quite what I’ve been looking for. My heart is inside of me, and I think that that’s where home has to be—we must find happiness within ourselves, create a comfortable and happy body and mind in order to be happy and healthy.

I believe that happiness is finding love within yourself. This may be obvious and simple for some but this is something I have struggled with—part of me wonders if I came around the world in search of myself, in search of acceptance. I’ll teach kids on the side, but this journey may be for selfish reasons. I think that that might be okay.

Khoa Ko

Khoa Ko