Monday, April 4, 2011

Being 'Home'

I guess I'm home. At least that's what everyone is assuming.

When I decided to address the long lost dream I had to visit a different culture and observe an organization in action giving in some way to people in need of love (who isn't?) I had know idea what I was in for.

By this I don't mean the shock of a completely different country, language, customs, even food. When we were in Thailand I honestly wasn't shocked by much. As I've mentioned before I think I was ripe for the picking - whatever that means...

As I've been talking to people in person, via e-mail and on the phone, everyone starts out by passionately asking 'What was it like?!' I know that my incredibly excited attitude before the trip has much to do with it. The other part though is wanting to know what things were like.

Just today I was talking to someone and I got asked these questions. They wanted to know what was the biggest event? Did I get attached to any special child? What did it feel like to amongst such filth at the dump or see the begging children? Did it feel weird coming home to a nice house and things?

Comments like 'You just feel so bad for the people there', 'Poor people', 'You wish they had what we did', 'It's so sad' and on and on I could go.

Just before leaving Thailand I expressed many times how I didn't know how to go back ... to Canada. To North American culture that believes their way is the right way.

Don't get me wrong I have a greater appreciation than ever for the beautiful land I get to live in, the clean air, free health care, and more than I could ever need.

... except for one thing: perspective.

Just to make it clear I'm not saying we need to all go move to Thailand to gain perspective, that's ridiculous.

In fact contrary to the person I was conversing with today I DON'T think everyone in North America should necessarily go on a trip like this. (I'm not against it but I don't think it's a requirement in finding a great amount of perspective). In fact I kind of find it offensive (but I know I can't be that overly sensitive) that people think we went to do anything, or get a dramatic transformation.

I actually have pursued a dull, even keeled, realistic experience rather than the ever sought after mountain top conversation to simplicity.

I just wanted to see, learn and do right. That's all. (No, this doesn't make me better than anyone else).

I purposefully didn't connect on some deep level with any children or babies (although I admittedly conjured up some favourites).

I was there for a week!!!!!

How healthy would it be for either myself or the children for me to come in heart wide open ready to gobble up their love, only to give them nothing back in return but a 'That was great but I gotta go back to my abundantly great country and go on with my life now - later!'

I'm not saying that one shouldn't give of themselves and enjoy receiving some great time with the kids/babies, I just think if you are only ever planning on visiting once in your life you'd better be mindful of what you are doing, at least to some degree.

I have to say one of the challenges, for me, of only going for a week or so is that I'm an observer. Especially at the initiation point of any relationship. (Once that's over watch out!!).

When I did my placements at school one of the negative comments I got was my lack of immediate involvement. I did well after a few weeks but initially I stood back and assessed. Once I gained confidence everything was great, but apparently waiting to get that was a flaw.

At first I had a hard time with this character point. I got down on myself and felt bad. Now I see it as just a part of who I am and know that through this quality of observation I gained a wee bit of wisdom on how to deal with someone because I wanted to know them before trying to establish any sort of relationship with expectations on them.

Where am I going with this?

We were there a week. I had a week of observing and mild interactions. Ones that I savoured every moment of. Ones that now feel were a bit of a tease because I want more.

I went to Thailand to fulfill a dream. Not to discover a new one. But I did and this hurts right now.

Needless to say I'm finding it a great challenge to be 'home'. Not because of the nice house and things ....

What's the old saying? 'Home is where the heart is'

My heart is in Thailand.

Can someone mail it back please?