Monday, February 21, 2011

Alive in Chiang Mai

Sawadee ka, everyone!
I hope this post finds you all well. I certainly feel better about things than i did in my last post. While I am still dealing with many of the things that I was clearly struggling with in my last update, I am beginning to feel so much better--not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
I'm into my second week here, which is bringing with it feelings of stability. I had forgotten how difficult the first two weeks in Georgia were--they were some of the hardest times in my my life, adjusting to a new country, a new lifestyle, a new language. The adjustment away from home is difficult in itself, and the added dimensions of change further alienate us during those first few weeks. Now, however, I feel more settled in. I've been religiously writing in my journal, recounting the events of the day not so I can remember them, but so I can feel a sense of closure as I close my eyes at night. No part of the trip is going the way that I had (or hadn't....ugh, not gonig to start that again) planned, but i'm learning to go with the punches.
Our week on Koh Phangan was absolutely beautiful. We stayed at this lovely little bungalow a few hundred feet back from the water, and spent every day at the beach...sunning, reading, eating, sleeping. lazy bums we were....and happy about it. Some highlights from our week on Koh Phangan:
-a stray dog got into Elana’s and my room. Yes, a stray dog. I was coming home from the local convenience store around 9 pm, and a cute dog that resembled a golden retriever was sitting on my steps. I chatted with him for a bit, persuaded him to come down by talking in a high pitched voice, and then when I thought he was settled next to me, ran for the door. Well, so did he, and he lodged his little face into the door and I just couldn’t close it on him. I tried pushing his head out, but he was strong and he just barged his way in with me screaming profanities and elana’s name like bloody murder. With the two of us forming a barricade, we created a wall so our flea-infested friend couldn’t penetrate beyond the first ten feet or so, and using all of our brute strength, we got the pup out the door. Locking it immediately, we screamed and ran to the bathroom to wash our hands.
-Full Moon Party. What is there to say about that? It’s the craziest party in southeast asia. Let’s just say lots of alcohol—buckets of it, really. A slow boat over from one side of the island to the other, thank goodness we were wearing bathing suits. Thousands and thousands of people miling about the island, getting wasted and sexually provocative. Think of a frat party gone awry, on the beach, with bathing suits and a bucket of alcohol sure to make someone like me drunk after a few sips for only 100 baht—a little shy of four dollars. People were peeing in the water, and apparently if you stay past four, you see people actually having sex in the waves. Lovely. Needless to say, I got drunk for about an hour, sobered up, felt ill (obviously)….got hit on by some pervy Australians (EBT, there was one cute guy from Melbourne, but to be honest I didn’t think he was straight and then the hitting on was just all very confusing). We ran around for a few hours, covered ourselves in body paint, and got back at 4 am, only to take a ferry out the next morning at ten. ROUGH. MAJOR ROUGH.
    A ferry, bus, and two overnight train rides later, we are now here in Chiang Mai, in what is supposed to be one of the best cities in Thailand. We got here a few hours ago, and are about to shower up (and wash the paint out of my hair…lovely) and scoot downtown to do some sightseeing.
I feel like our journey is really starting now that we’re off the beach, plunging deep into the country. I feel better about things and life every day….and I think its onwards and upwards from here. I’m spending a lot of time thinking (we have a LOT of time to think, between the various modes of transportation we take), and I feel like I’m already growing, already changing, already learning more about myself. We’ll see where it takes me. Will write more later….but the mixture of aloe, sunscreen, bugspray and sweat that covers my body is really starting to get annoying.

Happy 21st birthday to my little brother….I’m thinking of you, tools, and wishing I could ring in your big 2-1 with you.

Until next time,

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