Pics from HOME!
AND back in CM!
It's been three weeks since I've returned to Thailand after 2.5 weeks in the States for the holiday season. As soon as I arrived, life hit the 'resume' button and the normalish day-to-day has commenced. There are moments where I have flashbacks to the colorful lights, the sounds of Christmas music playing in the background, pine tree aromas, the soft feeling of flannel pj's and fuzzy blankets while it snows outside and the taste of holiday coffee flavors. All that has been replaced with dull black (as we're still in mourning for the late Thai King), the sounds of whiny Thai music playing in the background (and VERY loud, early morning neighborhood announcements over a loudspeaker). Oh how quickly I forgot the odd smells of sewage (not to mention my smelly 6th graders!), those cold showers and 'tasty' pork on a stick ;)
Although never what I want it to be, it's good to be back. The same could be said for my time at home, not necessarily what I hoped it to be, but needed nonetheless. This week I've reflected on how, despite the sacrifices and difficulties of living between two worlds, I am still forever grateful to live this life no matter how hard it gets.
I've also realized that there are many, many things that are just 'norm' for me now which you might find humorous (hopefully) or even strange (I'm not offended...:))
-Not flushing toilet paper...our septics and pipes can't handle it...
-Always carrying a dainty sized mosquito repellent spray in my bag along with a packet of tissues (just in case I find myself in a squatty potty situation...)
-Never "doing my hair" because I'm convinced I will forever and always have helmet hair when living here.
-Leaving my shoes at the door and walking around barefoot everywhere
-Reminding myself to watch out for all the bottles of water around cars and the strings hanging from power lines that 'keep the evil spirits away'
-Bringing mace or a large stick when going for a walk to ward off stray dogs
-Stopping at the gas-station on a Friday night just to see what kinds of strange things they have to eat like weird packaged meat sandwiches and to browse their popsicles and ice cream (mostly frozen whipcream)
-Shaking out my clothes to make sure there are no mosquitos in them before bringing them inside off the drying rack
-Drinking filtered water all the time (no drinking out of the tap here...)
-Markets filled with fruits and I get excited and buy too many...then within a day or two they all go bad :( I'm learning...one-a-day...
-Running late to school, dressed nice, trying to pump up my motorbike tires at the station with the air compressor.
-Checking to make sure I have more than one rain poncho on hand at any given moment.
-Realizing it could take a whole day to run ONE errand...so I just block off the day and if there's extra time, then it's a success!
-driving left just makes sense (my brain must be wired different, ha)
-animals don't and won't get out of the road so I gotta just casually let them lie there...dogs, cats, chickens, water buffalo
-driving past tons of shrines, spirit houses, wats (temples) and large gold statues and buddhas just on my 10 min. drive to work.
Each time I return I tend to see my world with 'fresh eyes'...this time though it's so much more clear like I'm seeing it for the first time. I'm loving it and savoring it because I don't know how long this 'new found love' will last. The sky has been especially clear lately, the temperature perfect, the hills green as ever, the smells especially potent. There's a richness in my life here right now...that brings me to utter thankfulness.
As the pace of the new year picks up, I would like to continue to abide. Unwavering in my faith and that the Son will radiate through my brokenness and mess. That is my desire.
1. SO glad I had the opportunity to go home for the holidays. To celebrate my dear friend's marriage, experience snow and to see so many of you and others was a refreshment to my soul. :)
2. I made it back to CM! Although, I never want to fly through Beijing again. I miraculously made my connecting flight and arrived in CM without my luggage...quite the story I'll have to share sometime...
3. A solid start to the new year and teaching my entertaining 6th graders. Also, Diakonia continues to be a highlight. There's a new group this semester and I continue to pray that this will be as impactful for them as it is for those they serve.
1. Pray against spiritual attack...In the past week I haven't been able to sleep much and have had many intense, dark dreams. I'll be staying most of next week alone because my housemates will all be at a conference. Pray for all anxiety and fear to subside. Also, my physical safety and health.
2. My students as they grapple with identity, self awareness and friendships. That they would have a deep desire for God as they grow.
3. For Thai language learning as it's getting more difficult. I find myself struggling each week. Hitting a wall, so to speak, and feeling disconnect with it. As words I say in Thai are often not the correct tone leaving me discouraged.
Sara Gurule c/o