On September 25th, I will embark on my first international journey, alone and unafraid. For the next 7 months, I will call Thailand, a place I know not nearly enough about, my home. I think living in this unknown land for many months will allow me an authentic submersion in Thai culture. Though at times I will inevitably remain distanced and different from the local people, I am determined to gain the perspective of a native, not a tourist. I hope to learn the art of living with “jai yen,” a quality the Thais hold in high regard, meaning “cool heart.”
I have longed for the day when I am forced outside of my comfort zone, a sort of solitary challenge to the preconceived definitions I hold of myself and the world. This challenge takes the form of new experiences, bold experiences. A true cancer by nature, I have the tendency to seek comfort and security. I have chosen to break free from this shell of limitation. I wish to grow, to learn, to overcome. I prefer a life that is always changing. Monotony will be my demise. I am restless.
When I arrive in Bangkok 3 weeks from now, I will wander around looking for new adventures in this overpopulated, pollution-ridden city which, sadly, will be a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere much like I am used to. I will soon cross paths with my friend Melanie, whom I’ve never met. She and I share yoga and a love of travel and beauty, our passions. Melanie and I will travel to a town called Chaiyaphum to volunteer at Ban Sai Rung, known in English as The Rainbow Community. We will be working in a garden and teaching English to a woman named Isara’s two children. Isara said we can stay in her mud house for the week or as long we like. After wwoofing, I would like to explore Chiang Mai, the hill tribe communities, and surrounding temples. I want to mingle with elephants and marvel at their existence.
October 15th marks the first day of my teacher training in Ban Phe. I have no idea what awaits me. I like to think I could be a good teacher, but then again I had always pictured my students being able to understand me. Language barriers will not allow for many fallbacks such as humor, which is usually my go-to when getting comfortable and relating with children. I am completely mystified about how an English teacher who doesn’t know Thai should teach English to Thais who don’t know English. This will definitely get interesting.
With a cool heart, I embrace the unknown.
“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
5 thoughts on “Cool Heart”
You are amazing. I am crying.
I am merely a mirror. 🙂
Jos, you are going to be lifted up so high by this experience. Make sure you tell the elephants I love them and I think they are the most beautiful creatures on this earth. Love you and can’t wait to read more!
How much “making the most of the voyage of a lifetime” can one girl do? You set the bar high. You are missed back home @ SoulShine. My crew certainly feels your absence. It looks, however, like lots of wonderful Thai kids are already feeling the love. Be safe, HAVE FUN, and keep the posts coming! Calinda
Calinda, you are so sweet. I am missing all of you as well. I miss holding Malc on my hip amd that charming smile of his. I facetimed the babies at Sprouts today, but was sad to see Malc was not there!