Hugs Not Drugs… Maybe a Few Drugs

In South America women greet women with a kiss on the right cheek. Men greet men with a firm hand shake or a quick embrace. Men greet women with a kiss on the cheek and maybe an embrace.

In Thailand people greet each other with a wai. [a prayer motion, hands to the heart, the nose or the fore head; depending on the level of respect that needs to be given.]

In my family we tend to give a quick hug or Hello while we try to figure out if a hug is appropriate. Or more likely than not we just say “Hi” and begin talking about what’s happening in our lives.

In Oregon, where I lived for a year, where I just visited for a week after being gone for a year and half, I embraced every person I greeted. I saw my old roommates, my roommates boyfriend, the peoples who’s couch I have crashed on numerous times, old running buddies, my old boss, my brother’s ex girlfriend, some dude I hooked up with years ago, some dude my roommates friend hooked up with years ago, former co-workers, actors and their girlfriends, the girl who’s dating the guy I dated once, that person who gave me acupuncture that one time… we all hugged. Every time I saw each person–whether it had been a year and half or I saw them at the coffee shop the morning before–we embraced, smiled and enjoyed each others body warmth.

I could write about the trails I hiked and ran on, the people I caught up with, the drama I’m glad to not be a part of in such a small town, the babies my friends have had, the engagement rings and the emotions I felt when I was able to spend time with people who are very important to me.

But I’m writing about hugs. When was the last time you got a really good embrace? Like, full body contact, arms wrapped around each other and you didn’t let go until you felt like you were ready to let go. Do it. Go give someone a hug, (maybe I’ll be lucky and I’ll see you right after you read this and I will get that hug!) But do it, find someone you care about and give a good hug. You know you’ll both enjoy it.

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Nature Never Closes

We got in the car bundled up, cell phone flashlight ready, hats, gloves, water, snacks–ready for our night hike. Not going to lie, I’m a little bit scared of the dark. I mean, a night hike? That’s like the start of a really bad horror flick, “Two girls innocently and unknowingly hiked right into their death when the evil woodland creature attacked them from behind! He abducted, tortured…” Okay, done writing THAT story–on with what really happened…

Like most parks, trails and awesome things outdoors there was a sign at the trails head that said “Open from sunrise to sunset” I quickly stated in the obvious, “Dude, Nature doesn’t close!” She agreed and we found a spot to park the car and got our night hike on. Stepping out of the vehicle we quickly noted the moon and the unseasonable warm weather for November. The ginormous moon that had erupted from a blanket of clouds and shone down on us, literally lighting the path. We peeled off one of the 16 layers we were wearing, ditched the lights and went on our way.

As our pupils dilated and our feet maneuvered over rocks, roots and avoided mud puddles our senses heightened–I could hear better, I could smell the looming winter before us, but we could also see. Considering it was 10:30pm, that seemed odd. Color was dulled. In fact we both kept commented on the lack of color, but noticing the different shades of greys all around us It was as if we had jumped into a scary black and white film. A Film Noir, or and old Hitchcock that never got much press. This film would have been about the moon, the clouds, the cracking branches in the distance, the lack of stars but the incredible amount of light so late in the night. It was eery, eery but amazingly beautiful.

We didn’t talk a lot. We walked and listened. I touched tree trunks as I passed by them, I wanted to know if Nature feels different with the Full Moon shining so bright on two lost girls. As we found our way through the trees, over the rocks and roots and back to the car we emerged from a fog. Like we had experienced a new country or planet. Nature showed off for us, she let us breath with out aide of light pollution, she allowed us to absorb the essence of her with out the distraction of color, we connected to earth in a new way.

When the Moon beckons you have to listen and respond. Ignore the “Closed” sign because I think we all know that sometimes the best things happen after closing time.

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