Thursday, July 28, 2011

Every Day We Grow

Hi viewers! I am Sarah Novotney and am posting my last blog about our marvelous Thailand adventure. As many of you know, we are all back in the US now, adjusting to our American lives again. It has certainly taken some time not only getting used to the time difference, but simple things such as having to put on lotion again every day, remembering to actually have to drive places, and not being able to simply walk across the street to the 7/11 for a chocolate bar. However, I must say, my first day back it felt wonderful to have real toilet paper, a flushing toilet, a hot shower, mom’s food, water from the sink, and a squishy mattress! I really didn’t realize how often we drink out of the sink or use tons of toilet paper until I was faced with some differences in Thailand.
Although it is great to be home, it has been somewhat emotional and difficult at times. As much as I explain my experiences over in Thailand, no one lived through this with me for the past two months, and will sadly not know everything that had happened every day. I feel like I have grown as a person much more than I expected, and pictures and stories simply don’t explain that. I can show my family and friends pictures of the marvelous temples, of the huge bugs, or the tuk tuk’s, the Thai people, the street vendors, and the oceans we swam in, but I can’t explain all the knowledge, feelings, emotions, and friendships I acquired during those times. I honestly miss the Thai culture, the Wai, the Sawadee’s, the practicum’s with the elderly, the laughter surrounding every inch of my body, the questionable food, the strenuous hikes, and my friends. I think because every day in Thailand was such an adventure, it made life that much more exciting. Even finding a taxi, telling him where we were going, figuring out the cost, and maybe trying to engage in a few words of conversation broken up by nervous giggles was an adventure! But, it made that moment so much more exciting than what we could have experienced in a taxi ride here at home. I have learned to take in more opportunities in my life that I would normally think are exciting, but opt out on. For example, I went belly dancing with my mother last night, something I have always been interested in but never had the guts to get up and go do. But the opportunity was available, so why not experience it?
Another challenge and change on this trip was overcoming some fears that I have. From the moment my first plane departed from the United States, I have had re-occurring thoughts and dreams of myself dying. Still having these thoughts and dreams back home, I decided to mention it to my mother. She sent me an e-mail explaining what these thoughts meant by Kaine Anderson’s description saying,
“To dream of your own death, indicates a transitional phase in your life. You are becoming more enlightened or spiritual. Alternatively, you are trying desperately to escape the demands of your daily life. To dream that you die in your dream, symbolizes inner changes, transformation, self-discovery and positive development that is happening within you or in your life. Although such a dreams may bring about feelings of fear and anxiety, it is no cause for alarm and is often considered a positive symbol” (Anderson 1).
This response made me feel secure and excited for everything I have experienced and learned in Thailand. It reminded me of my “enlightening” experience on the top of Tiger Temple which triggered my consistent laugh every day after that. I realize now however, that being engulfed in a culture that is so different than what we are used to can really face a person with challenges and almost a different reality. I have learned as a person to be more patient, whether it is through a conversation, waiting for a meal at dinner, or even while driving behind a slower car. Time is constantly moving, so instead of being impatient during that time, try to enjoy the moment as it is.
In all, I believe Thailand has made me a more well-rounded person, presenting me with challenges, allowing me to meet different people around both the US and Thailand, that I normally would not have consistently hung out with, that have helped me grow with new opinions and beliefs, and have helped me find myself, pushing me in the direction I need to be going. I learned to never judge, that people and cultures can be so different from yourself or what you are comfortable with, but in all, every person and every place will have something marvelous to offer to you that you can learn from. I will never forget this adventure and I thank everyone that has come into my life in the last two months. There was a reason each of us received the opportunity go to Thailand and I hope everyone can share their stories as well.
Since this is my last blog I want to say thank you (kop khun kaa) readers for keeping up with all of our journeys, and if any of you have the opportunity to do something you think would be wonderful, my advice is to take it, because it will be more than worth it.
Sawade ka!

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