Today was such an unbelievably weird day I really just had to sit down and write about it. I mean, really weird and kind of amazing!
Logistics first. We are in Chiang Mai now, this beautiful little chill city. There are amazing restaurants on every corner, and I think that here is where I wil begin the process of becoming a rotund little ball. Everything tastes SO AMAZING. today I got this chicken curry with egg noodles....it was so hot I was sweating and just about crying, but my god, did it taste good. I've been eating loads of rice, tons of noodles, and even vegetables (crazy, I know). I've also gotten into tofu with all these weird vegetarians around (just kidding, elana!) and am starting to branch out on new foods now that my stomach has calmed down and I feel healthy again.
We stayed at this really fun hostel upon our arrival in Chiang Mai, which was exactly like a hostel should be. Tons of backpackers, all just chilling out. It was so nice to be in that kind of an environment again, because for the past three weeks, we really haven't been in anything like that! All of the places we'd been staying at were for couples (something we didn't mean to do at all...we just sort of found ourselves in these type of places. Weird, as we're a group of single women.) Regardless, we made lots of new friends from all over the world. Last night we went to this barbeque, which was strange as we made our own food on personal grills. I got nervous and just ate a lot of spring rolls. Then we went bowling, and even though I protested, I secretly loved every minute of it. With my five bowling trophies from second to sixth grade, I felt pretty confident in my abilities and even thought I might have a chance at the much coveted prize of one free night at the hostel. However, I got tired at ten o'clock and blew the game and started to fall asleep on people's shoulders. So typical.
Today, however, was the most special. We went with a bunch of our new friends to this beautiful temple up in the mountains called Doi Sethep. It is Chiang Mai's pride and joy, and for good reason, as it was absolutely stunning. With views of the whole city and so many gold buddha's all around, it felt like a yogi's dreamplace. Caroline and I wandered into one of the many small temples in the larger temple area and sat in front of a monk who, wth water and some sticks which I'm sure have more significance than i can describe here, chanted prayers and blessed us, showering us with water. He tied white string around our wrists. It was so beautiful.
Manny Buddhist visitors will buy a lotus blossom and incense and pray at one of the many buddha's. I've done this before and did it again today for my grandfather and my family. And this is where it got interesting. After my nana died last summer, I began to think about death and the possibility of an afterlife. I'm still not entirely sure on where I stand on the whole issue, but in reading Virgil and Dante, I started believing in the possibility of another world beyond the living, and specifically of the idea of an afterlife. Perhaps it was my way of dealing with grief, but I truly felt like my nana came back to the world as a dragonfly this past summer. I felt a strange connection with an insect (insect, right?) that I'd been scared of before, and it assuaged a tiny bit of my pain. Well, today, after praying for my grandfather to be in a higher, better place, wouldn't you know that the LARGEST MOTH IN THE WORLD planted itself right on my leg. Now, for those of you who know me well, you will know that the bug I am most scared of in the world is the moth. And this was the king moth. I don't know what my Poppie decided to come back as that animal, but come back he did, and he didn't want to leave. I just stood there, totally frozen, half out of terror, half out of belief, with Caroline snapping photos of the immense winged creature on my calf. "Transcend! Transcend!" she said to me, as I stood there with my eyes squeezed shut, trying to transcend and find inner peace and love the moth but all I wanted to do was scream and run away. After a solid five minutes of inner turmoil but calm surface, I called out to a man (there were several people watching at this point) to please get this moth off me, at which point it started crawling up my leg, wanting to get closer to me. Then I started screaming and running around the Wat, which was totally bad and innapropriate but geeze, the thing was huge.
The point of this rambling story is that my grandfather is a moth. Maybe he wanted to help me get over my fears, or maybe he just wanted to let me know that he was indeed in a better place, just like I'd asked. I'm not sure why the universe put him in that form, but I'm not going to question it. I'm just going to go with it.
It's ten o'clock at night now and obviously I'm wanting to go to bed. Tomorrow we are going elephant trekking and white water rafting in the mountains!
Sending lots of love and peace,