Friday, April 1, 2011

We're back!

That's right, we're finally home after a shorter 31 hour start to finish trek home from Bangkok (shorter than the 39 hr trip start to finish trip from our house to Mae Sot that is).

It's 7 am our time and we just went to bed 1 am-ish our time last night. Needless to say I'm tired still but trying to calm my stomach that is less than impressed with the intensely disgusting airplane food (and I say that with tremendous guilt considering how I saw children begging in the streets where I was and how they were delighted to eat the chicken foot when served lunch - clearly one doesn't necessarily change over night).

At the time of writing this I cannot lie about how I'm feeling.

What's that you ask?

Normal. The same. ('Same same' as the Thai would say). Unspectacularly similar to what I did two weeks ago.

However in saying this (as not to disappoint those who have closely followed our journey), I think it's an honest reaction for someone who has deliberately tried to stay 'grounded' (excuse the pun) during a rather extraordinarily over the top sort of experience.

I went from wearing a seat belt on the way to the airport in Canada to riding in the back of a tuk tuk with only my hand on a bar to hold me in, in a matter of several hours.

From peeing in a sparkling clean (yes ladies, I will now blanket statement the fact that ALL public bathrooms in North America, excluding perhaps a handful, are indeed sparkling clean comparatively), toilet paper provided for free, you can sit down and pee at leisure, you don't have to pay 3 baht to use, and you can flush with the push of a lever, to all of the opposite of these descriptions within hours.

From walking down my street with nary a person in site, to begging children with dirty faces holding snot exploding babies (to ensure they get as much as they can for their day's work - for holding the baby, not for the snot explosion).

In the wee span of 36-39 hrs I went from sharing my bathroom with only Wally to sharing it with a pet gecko (well, we made the most of it and said he was our pet and named him Gerard or something).

We went from feeling safe in the confines of strict traffic laws to saying a prayer every time we found ourselves on a main street with several other believed to be valid forms of transportation while using the opposite sides of the road than we were used to.

I could go on and on and on ...

And though it sounds like I'm describing another planet in a way (if you aren't convinced I have not doubt I could with a few more of my observations), I'm only describing the somewhat remote town we visited that is pretty much on the other side of the world. But still, the 'same same' world.

Despite experiencing these vast differences in a very short period of time, somehow I have been able to reconcile it and go mostly unscathed.

I am very unsure how I feel about my reaction.

Part of me feels that I should be home and completely inside out with grief. Upside down with determination to 'Free Burma!!', and a fireball of exhilaration at the fact that I was able to see first hand all that I did.

Instead I feel peculiarly 'normal' in every possible North American sense that I can. This admittedly startles the crap out of me and relieves me at the same time.

It startles me because I wonder where my heart and soul might be hibernating.

It relieves me because I feel as though I have a glimmer of hope that I've processed some of what I saw realistically and with some scant amount of wisdom and respect for the people I was lucky enough to see and meet.

I seem more comfortable than I believe I should in my country and my house so soon after what I experienced. Yet with it I still hold onto two (of many) of the biggest lessons Wally and I together feel as though we learned. (To be disclosed later).

Life changing lessons. One's that hopefully will meet us and teach us even as we sit on our comfortable couch, in our comfortable living room, in our comfortable house, in our extraordinarily comfortable neighbourhood.

We can hope.

And when these lessons decide to take us to the next phase of learning we pray earnestly that we will be ready for the lessons that will make us a little bit uncomfortable. Although I have other thoughts on this too...

I hope to share a few photos and more over several stories. For myself, I'd like to write a picture for you of our entire journey. I have no doubt that if you read you may get bored of some of the 'we did this and this and then this ...' that might pop up, but amongst the everyday life we lived there were many little stories, big observances and interesting interactions.

If you get a downer feeling from this post I apologize. I feel as though the experience of Thai Thai was so ripe and ready for me that what I observed shall bless me over and over daily with a more subtle long lasting effect.

It was AN experience of a life time that is a gateway to many more experiences of a lifetime. I look forward to sharing it with you and seeing where this leads ...

Khob-kun-Ka Thailand.