Saturday, July 17, 2010

Remembering Thailand

6 years ago at this time I was volunteering with Cross-Cultural Solutions in Trang, Thailand.  It was probably one of the best experiences of my life.  I had just finished grad school and the job search awaited me upon my return.  It was the best 3+ weeks I've ever spent. It forced me to make my faith my own.  It exposed me to a beautifully foreign culture.  It developed my love of green curry chicken.

Thailand has been on my mind this last week, reflecting on my time there.  I decided this morning to dig out my journal and look through my scrapbook.  (I took all the pictures on my Canon Rebel and I don't have a scanner so you'll have to use your imagination.  Suffice it to say, Thailand is gorgeous.)  This trip was probably the best I've ever journaled.  I didn't want to forget one detail and I'm so glad I have it all recorded.  Some of my words make me want to cringe but overall, my heart is transparent.  I was trying to figure a lot of things out.  I was uncertain of what would happen when I came home.  I wanted to know who God had made me to be.

Some of that rings true now.  I'm in a place that I don't know like the back of my hand.  I'm still trying to figure things out.  There's uncertainty when you live in a new town and have started a new job.  I have a better sense of who God created me to be but I often pray about whether I am living that out.  It's striking to read some of my ponderings and see how I've grown but also realize that some of my questions may never be answered.  I am so thankful that I am not the same person I was when I went to Thailand and I am so grateful for the ways that country shaped me into the person I am today.  God used that time richly.

I thought I'd share some excerpts from my journal from the exact day 6 years ago.  This was after my first full week in Thailand.  A small group of us (there were 22 other volunteers) went to the Phi Phi Islands for our weekend break.  We had had a late night but still plunged ahead with our plans to go on a snorkeling and kayaking tour.

Saturday, July 17, 2004:
"The day started out promising. We got to the first cove where we could snorkel. No one gave any instructions but I gave a good attempt at figuring it out. I jumped in the water and adjusted the goggles but felt like I was going to suffocate. When I tried to move the goggles, the band snapped in two. No more snorkeling for me. I swam around anyway.  The water is so clear I could still see a lot of fish from the surface. When we got back on the boat, it started sprinkling and then it was a full out downpour. People still snorkeled at the next stop. I was going to do kayaking but I got so seasick. It's so strange- I've never had problems on a boat before. Shawna had dramamine so I took some and that helped, but it knocked me out. I slept a lot on the boat and it continued to rain off and on. I wish I could have kayaked but I felt so miserable. By the last stop I felt much better but you could only snorkel. Oh well.  I figure everyone needs one rained out island story."
"I decided not to go out with everyone {to the bars after dinner} since I was so tired {yay dramamine} and felt like God was telling me not to go.  Am I possibly under some kind of spiritual attack?  I've felt so off-kilter all day and I don't think it's due to being sick. I've been praying a lot- probably more than I do at home- because God is the only one that can get me through this. But maybe I need to step up my quiet times for added spiritual nourishment and protection.  I want to know Him better and i don't want to be afraid if other people know that about me or not. If He's what is most important to me in life, then that should be one of the first things people know about me."

Hope you enjoyed hearing about seasickness and my grapplings with God.  Still to come: meeting a monk and meditating over a glass of water. 


  1. This post so resonated with me. My parents sold the house where I grew up and so they've been bringing in boxes of stuff - including my old journals. I've been so retrospective lately :) The experience is exactly how you've described it. In some ways, I can see that I've grown. In many ways, I'm realizing the big questions will never be answered. This year has been such a crazy time of looking back, looking ahead, trying to root myself in the day I'm in. It's a strange season to be in. Looking forward to the post about meeting a monk! Also, about your last comment - I clicked through to Frilly Milly from the link you posted on here. And then Trish emailed and so it goes. :) Thank you so much for the kind things you said about Paperdoll. I love knowing anybody connects with the book (it is the weirdest, wildest thing ...). I love knowing other women my age are still wrestling through those issues too. Thanks for being such a huge encouragement. I'm so glad I found your blog!

  2. Yay for old journals! Do you have any old cards and letters in the mix? Those are even better. Yes, it's a strange season to be in but I feel rooted in hope of what's to come. Kind of maddening given some of my unanswered questions but hopeful nonetheless.
    That's funny that I sent you to Trish! I guess we've come full circle then. You're welcome for the Paperdoll words. I never got around to writing my thoughts once I finished it, probably because I'm still processing it. Your words are much-needed conversation though so I thank you for that.


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