Traveling Alone Part Two

I’ve been in Thailand for a little over a month now, and looking back on my trip from the beginning, I must say I find it pretty mind-blowing how much I have experienced already. Just a month ago, I had never really been anywhere on my own, or ever had to fend for myself for a prolonged period of time.

As time passes by, we rarely take the time to stop and think about what is actually happening in our lives. In other words, we rarely live in the moment. We usually just rush to school, speed to work, quickly finish our meals, etc. Before I left for Thailand, I always had this feeling that the whole idea of traveling to the other side of the world would eventually hit me hard, and strike some kind of emotional response within me; like having a word on the tip of your tongue, that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to remember. Well, that emotional response that I was waiting for has never come, and at this point, I don’t think it ever will.

I went in to this trip expecting the absolute best and worst from myself. I would take a second to pat myself on the back, but really, there is nothing I’ve done that I would consider too extraordinary. Anyone else could do what I’m doing, it’s just a matter of taking the first step. One Thai baht may only equal about 35 cents, but that definitely doesn’t mean Thailand is a run-down, dirty country to live in. I have found that, even with the language barrier, the people here are much kinder and way more accommodating than people back home, and that is exactly what Asia has that America lacks: an overall respect and appreciation for everyone else around you.

Since keeping face and keeping your temper controlled is such a big deal here, everyone is always respectful, even in bad situations. Just the other day, I came back to my room after eating lunch, and when I tried to unlock the door, the key would not work. It turned out that the lock in the door was broken, and I would have to wait two hours for a maintenance man to come fix it. Was I angry? Annoyed? Disappointed? Of course I was. I must have tried to open that door 20 times before reporting the problem. But did I furiously rush downstairs, point the key in the lady’s face, and yell obscenities at her? The thought went through my head, but no, I didn’t. I just laughed and shook my head for a second, then calmly went downstairs and explained the situation. The lady was extremely apologetic, and assured me she’d get it fixed as soon as possible. If I had exploited the situation, I doubt she would have been as quick with the turn-around.

During the two hours I was locked out of my room, I went around exploring the area some more, and eventually stumbled upon a school… with a full-sized basketball court! I was sure I would never find one anywhere, but lo and behold, there it was, screaming play with me! I was so surprised to see it, that I just stood there staring at it for a couple of seconds. I then made it my immediate goal to play basketball that day, so I asked around the school a little bit, and eventually got a reply of “Oh, basketball! 4:00!” from one of the teachers. I was locked out of my room at 2:00, and the lady said it would be done in two hours… so let’s see… that’s 4:00! Funny how the universe works.

Anyway, when I went back to my guest house at 4:00, my door had already been taken care of, so I was able to make it back to the school by about 4:30. I ended up playing basketball with some local Thai students (they looked to be high school-aged) for a couple hours, and had a great time.

Despite how crappy the world can be sometimes, I still think it works logically. I see it like this: the more you give, the more you get back. The more I smile, the more smiles I get back. The more students I teach, the more gratified I feel. It’s not about getting anything in return; it’s just about giving what you’ve got because, well, what else is there to do in this world?

I hope you’re all enjoying my entries! Expect a steady stream every week. I am working on another project at the moment as well, but I will make an effort to post every day or every other day. Also, I haven’t taken any pictures of Chiang Mai yet, but I plan on taking some very soon, possibly tomorrow. I will try to get some pictures of the school where I played basketball (for some visual references). Cya!

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