This blog has always been a chance for me to share with family and friends and to remember and cherish life as it is. So here’s a piece of life from this week that was very ordinary and happy:
Sleeping in, even for just a handful of minutes is a great way to begin the day. On Tuesday, I took a half day and gave myself an extra 30 minutes in bed as the sun crept in. Faint sounds of the Thai national anthem from the school across the street let me know 8:00 AM had arrived.
I left the house with a smile and a deep breath of fresh air. My first errand was to bring a dress shirt in need of buttons to the sewing lady on our street. She opens her little shop every day and calls me “Ajarn,” which means teacher. I am somewhat capable of sewing buttons myself but it’s nice to converse with a friendly neighbor and support a local business. And if it kills a second bird in that I don’t have to sew my own buttons then so be it.
Afterwards, I picked up a friend’s motorbike from the shop. My friend is in and out of Myanmar so I have been her motorbike’s caretaker. The Honda Dream 125 had been in the shop for over a month. Apparently, the piece they needed to fix it had to be ordered from Bangkok (still a fact I can’t believe considering there’s a half dozen Honda Shops in Chiang Mai.) A few weeks ago I had gone to check up on it. After we got over some initial miscommunication, the guy walked me to this shed in the back. There it was in a dark corner completely taken apart. Disconcerting at best. Needless to say, when I picked it up on Tuesday I was glad to have it back in one piece. As a bonus, they left the piece they had replaced in the front basket.
The biggest errand I had to run was taking my bicycle to Jacky’s Shop on Nimman to get a tune up and some other work done. I got a haircut at a nearby salon while I waited. I grew up with my mom cutting my hair until age 21 so I thought it justifiable to splurge the $9 for the high-society hair cut. The head massage was relaxing but I’m pretty sure washing my hair twice in a row doesn’t do anything. Afterwards the woman asked me if I wanted gel. I said no. She winced incredulously and bartered, “How about a little?” I acquiesced and ended up looking like those older guys with spiked hair who still look (and act) like teenagers. I patted my hair down four steps outside the door and went for an early lunch.
My favorite restaurant in Chiang Mai is the Salad Concept, mostly because it is the only place to get a real green salad, and the price is right at $2. I’ve often said that if I were to ever leave the haven of The Nest with Esther and Rob that I’d move somewhere within walking distance of the Salad Concept. While I ate, I decided to buy Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Rebecoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t. I laughed out loud intermittently for 45 minutes.
When leaving, I bumped into my Pakistani housemate, Myra, who works on Nimman. It was her birthday so I treated her to a birthday smoothie. Afterwards, my bicycle wasn’t finished and I needed to get to work. Conveniently Myra was able to give me a ride. Love how things work out sometimes.
Back at Payap, we had presentations in one of my classes. As part of my goal to make my course curricula based on developmental science, my students were given the task to give a 5-minute persuasive speech arguing the opposite of a deeply held idea or belief. The assignment seeks to push students to think deeply and meaningfully about alternate standpoints; embracing the complexity of some of these issues. I’ll talk more about this some other time. For now, I’m just thankful no one from quality assurance stopped in to observe. My job may have been on the line had anyone witnessed my students arguing the positive impacts of gangs in communities, the benefits of smoking, and teacher-centered learning.
At the end of the day, I was blessed to listen to a struggling coworker for an hour before making my way to Myra’s birthday dinner. We ate at the Salsa Kitchen – yes, we have Mexican food in Chiang Mai. I got the platter with a burrito, enchilada, and half a quesadilla on an American-sized plate. We also split a pitcher of margaritas. After boisterous celebration with a long table of friends, we went home with a second pitcher of margaritas to-go. We talked and laughed and eventually watched the Bachelor. (I justify watching this salacious melodrama with the fact that several episodes were filmed in Thailand. Also, I love when Maax peeps over and comments, “Oh! She is manipulating him!”)
To end this great day, I opened my email and saw the most beautiful video of my niece Sage. I live such a rich and blessed existence. Thanks for being a part of it. To God be the glory.
I love you all,