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Thailand was a treat. Upon arrival we were greeted with fireworks, a parade, dance and light shows…it was amazing. We ate bugs – more than one – and agreed they tasted like the small crispy bits of french fries. We wandered around in awe at the activity, picking small antennae out of our teeth, and only on our way out of the city the next day, did we find out it was Coronation Day. One night in Bangkok …pretty great.
The majority of our taste of Thai – you know, besides the grasshoppers and such – was spend on beaches surrounded by other young westerners. It was quite a change of pace from our experience in Cambodia but it was easy and relaxing.
Our Balinese Christmas came and went and was lost in a sad and happy wave of normality I had never experienced before. It was good to take a break though…no carols, no presents, no freezing temperatures. We had a seafood dinner and I was lucky to share my token Christmas Guinness with two Irish blokes. They kept us entertained with tales of excess and debauchery. I reckon that Guinness pool-side is just as good as eggnog fire-side. And tales of debauchery are a very close second to “Miracle on 34th Street”.
All in all, our last couple of weeks in Asia were a gentle transition – relatively speaking – back into the throngs of the Western world. Both the prices and the touristy-feel increased as we migrated south. We were blessed with exceptional scenery, culture, and religion. This assisted in filling our hearts with a sort of pseudo holiday joy.
And so we made it back to Australia in time to celebrate the bringing-in of a new year. This one will be pretty good I think. A year of new beginnings… adventure, travel, friends, family, new things, new people, old things, and all things in-between.
We are alive and it’s our job to do some serious living. Everyday will be a day of celebration even if it’s small and quiet and personal. We will smile more. Why not? We will forgive – get over it. We will open our hearts and be amazed when others open their hearts to us.
We will realize our faults and forgive them. If we are able to forgive others the very least we can do is forgive ourselves.
We will get excited. There’s a lot to do: we pay the bills and do the dishes, but everyday holds joy, and if it doesn’t then we need to make changes. Maybe we will open up, be honest, and ask for help.
We will find love. It’s everywhere and it comes in oh, so many forms and it starts with you. We will give love and give it freely – that means no strings– none…no exception.
One of the best things I’ve done this year is to remove myself from my comfort zone. I’m not suggesting everyone give up everything they have to travel the world – although I support you 100% if this is the case, and I hope to meet you along the way. The montage of destinations are simply a change of canvas that has helped in removing routine, pattern and familiarity from the equation. The palette.
All the most memorable experiences of the past year are the ones that initially gave me pause. The times that I had to work up the balls to get ‘er done. No shortcuts. I’ve had to challenge myself, ask for help, take the leap. When I have truly done this, each and every time, I have walked away a little bit proud of myself.
It’s important to know that these challenges have resulted in a magnitude of outcomes. The whole gambit; an entire colour spectrum of emotion. Regardless of the greys and browns and blacks, I have surfaced more complete – each experience benefiting the painting-in-progress that is my life.
May 2010 be a more-happy-than-sad year for all of us. A colourful year.
Theme Song of the Day:
Night Windows – The Weakerthans
British Columbia is a place that sings loudly to me. I have grown up with the mountains and the ocean and the forests in my backyard – three decades of walking through postcard-quality scenery on a day-to-day basis – and yet it still takes my breath away.
We’ve all heard that one of the great things about going away is how much you appreciate what you’ve got when arriving home again. This has to be true for so many people around the globe. The comfort, familiarity, and routine of home…it’s got its appeal. We derive focus and a sense of direction with this blanket of habit and recognition.
A pattern to smudge over the chaos.
In this part of the world, on the west coast in particular, we are blessed to not only have wild, natural beauty at our doorstep, but the laid-back friendliness of the people that surround us should not be taken for granted. A simple stop in the middle of a busy street (with a slack-jawed look of confusion) warrants a stranger stopping to not only offer assistance… but you know what?…uh, I was headed in that direction already so why don’t I just lead the way and make sure you get to where you’re going?…Want half my muffin?
It’s like living in a Disney movie.
This is not to imply naivety. Not at all. We just have friendliness and it perpetuates itself…one person smiles and then the next. It’s science! As a whole we are educated and alert and maybe we have an underlying confidence that allows us to put ourselves out there. It’s really something.
Where am I going with all of this provincial pride? Well I didn’t actually intend to go on and on about how great we are up here in the Pacific Northwest. I just couldn’t help myself…!
But truth be told, I guess it all comes down to the fact that I’m seeing home in a very different light than ever before. My main component isn’t here anymore. A huge part of the ‘home’ equation has been taken away. My comfort and belonging is emotionally tied up in the life I have been building with one person for ten years. I can still appreciate the qualities of home. I still have that life…it’s just very different now…it’s individual – my observations may be more objective in some regards because of this… or, I don’t know – maybe they’re teetering towards a more subjective nature?
Anyway, I didn’t have too many expectations of coming back. I knew I had to face the paperwork I have been putting off. I have beautiful new babies in my life (all of them boys!) that I have had so much fun visiting. I am honoured to take part in a couple of weddings, some BBQs, and more than a few parties! I get to visit with friends and family and its been fantastic so far.
A few hiccups along the way have threatened the digestive peace that is home. Some of the hiccups are bigger than others, but I know I am strong; I can handle these…I will drink my water upside down and get through the worst of it (by the way – in Oz they stand on their heads and drink water right-side-up to cure hiccups).
I am very aware that as issues arise, the temptation to pull away from all of it gets stronger. I have to be careful not to become too numb or distant when dealing with stressful situations. Sometimes the little things seem unmanageably big and then at others the big things seem so small in comparison to all that I have been through.
Uh…yup….’subjective’ is the clear winner here.
Give me the stress of a lost bus ticket or a language barrier any day – it seems easier than trudging through even the smallest confrontation or mishap at home.
All of this: the good and the bad, it’s all part of life. Things should get easier as time moves forward. For now I am happy to visit ‘home’ and I am looking forward to heading back on the road in only a few short weeks.
Let the adventure continue.