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where in the world is steph.... Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -- Mary Oliver

a day in the life of me with a hint of luck

THAILAND | Sunday, 14 January 2007 | Views [858]

January 14, 2007 Chiang Mai, Thailand

     This first week has been very exhausting. I arrived Monday morning, and started school on Wednesday. It didn’t give me a lot of time to adjust to the time, the city, or a new rhythm of life before needing to adjust to being in school again. The days are significantly longer than when I was at university. Class this week started at 8:30 and went to 5:30 or 6:30, in addition we have had a fair bit of homework each night. I am enjoying my walk to and from school right now, it gives me time to prepare and wake up in the morning, and time to decompress between school and homework. I am sure that attitude will begin to change very soon as I start teaching next week, and I will probably need to be at school around 7:30 am. Then a short ride in tuk tuk while I enjoy my coffee will sound very appealing.

     Yesterday I was up early to make some good headway on homework, so I could have the afternoon free. It was by far my favorite day since I have been here. After I did some work, I headed to the coffee shop I enjoy. Making sure to take different side streets than normal, both going and coming. My neighborhood is quite diverse, and one small section of street can feel so different than the next. The other thing that is amazing about walking around Chiang Mai is that you can walk down a street four times in one day, and each time it will have a complete different feel. Different shops will be open, different street vendors will be out, and the people on the street change as well. Monks and novices are just about the only ones out and about in the early morning, and Thai’s hit the streets until quite late at night.

     After I spent the morning downstairs at my guesthouse working on my homework underneath a paper umbrella and next to a fountain (the fountain is great, we actually walk through the pond on a series of stepping stones on our way into the guesthouse and the pond is of course has fish). Who can complain about doing homework in such a fabulous setting?

     Early in the afternoon, I met up with one of my classmates to go to the Royal Flora Expo. It was hot, and we were grateful for every pavilion and rubber tree forest we came across. It also had some amazing floral displays. The expo grounds are quite large, and there was no way to see it all in one visit. There were an incredible amount of people there, the majority Thai. It was fun to be apart of something that everyone really seemed to be enjoying.

Late afternoon I headed home for a short rest, before heading toward the moat. The streets that I go to school on as well as several side streets were closed off to traffic, becoming the “walking street”. Despite all the people and activities, the streets were wonderfully quite compared to the traffic noise usually heard in the city. The streets were full of vendors of Thai goods, non-Thai goods, street performers and my favorite- food vendors! I couldn’t work up the courage to try the fried beetles, or tarantulas. I did try some things I had never seen before, some more familiar, and everything was wonderful! One thing I have noticed about Chiang Mai is there are only two kinds of smells, either the smell is incredibly wonderful, or is the most heinous smell ever often eliciting a physical response. This greatly influences what I can and can not try.

Towards the end of the evening I was headed home and over half way there, when I realized that I had lost my wallet. I was positive of about where it happened, and I had to go all the way back towards the beginning if I wanted to retrieve it. I almost gave up on it as gone, not a huge deal as it actually had no money in it apart for maybe one or two coins, and had no form of ID in it; but it did have the instructions back to my guesthouse written in Thai, and if I wanted to take a tuk tuk home, I was going to need that. Cursing my stupidity, I braved the crowds going in the opposite directions. I knew I had either dropped it when I ran into someone I knew and we were comparing purchases, when I photographed an “elderly band” raising money for the elderly, or when I got a small stuffed crab within the walls of a monastery.  As I retraced my steps, I really began to feel that this was an exercise in futility and I was never going to find it. I made a small donation to the band as I slipped back within the walls of the monastery keeping my eyes fixed on the ground. When I got to the cart that had the stuffed crabs and shrimp dumplings the people there got very excited, promptly producing my wallet. Everything was there, but someone had obviously gone through it. The strangest part was they had found my old Alaska drivers license somewhere in the wallet, solving a four month mystery. I had cleaned out that wallet several times, had others look as well, but it took a Thai to find it. I had to chuckle as I walked back through the crowd, watching the foreigners clutch their purses to their bodies. I was very grateful with the outcome, and it was a great reminder that I needed to be less distracted and focus on the task at hand.


Tags: Relaxation

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