A new chapter to my book of life begins, and as I reflect on the pages previously etched, I am filled with gratitude.
This past year in Thailand has been yet another of discovery and learning.
I have learned that when it comes to loading trucks and side carts with goods to sell, the Thai throw all laws of physics out the window. I have seen loads of who knows what, stacked 20ft high and leaning far to the left, defying gravity, never to topple and dump the goods or the sleeping man that is stretched out on top of it all.
I’ve seen groups of four or five people riding on one scooter…an entire family, or village perhaps, as well as a happy dog, baskets of morning glory for tonights meal, two live chickens, freshly caught fish and a large 10 gallon bottle of drinking water.
I love that when a dog lies in the road, traffic skirts around it so it can be left to relax. I love that many times in the evenings, naked babies and toddlers bathe in silver metal tubs on the side of the road as mom and dad stand close by selling produce or carving up a freshly slaughtered pig.
I love that every morning at 5am, I hear the call to prayer, loud and clear across the rooftops. I love that no matter the time or day, the same old man sits on his dilapidated plastic chair on the main road, contentedly watching traffic – his toothless gums smacking together as he greets and nods to walkers by.
I love that growing in our yard are healthy banana trees untainted by modern nonsense and still producing bananas with pea sized black seeds within, just as they use to.
I love the matching uniforms on petite little ladies with perfectly groomed hair, all standing in a line and ready to greet and direct any who enters the hospital.
I love the enthusiasm of exhausted massage parlor staff as they usher in yet another overweight, sunburned, sweaty foreigner in a speedo who just walked over from the beach to be pampered.
I love the sights and smells of a night market, where beautifully arranged produce, octopus on a stick, sticky rice balls, grilled pork strips and fresh fruit drinks and ready for purchase for a small price.
I love that a snake took up residence in our scooter and that one never knows if its going to show its face while driving down the road.
I love that we fostered 2 precious street dogs who had never been loved and cared for, yet quickly learned to trust and crave frequent belly rubs.
I love that it wasn’t me, but Jude instead, who stuck her foot down into her shoe on her way out the door just to feel a squishy frog between her toes.
I love the friendly smiles on beautiful faces, the complete disregard for matching clothes and fake appearances and the chilled fresh coconut and iced Thai tea stands on every corner.
I love the jungles, brilliant blue waters and the long boats cruising past.
Thailand is rich in beauty and all things spicy.
I am so grateful for this time here and for the friendships I am a part of.
The journey continues, and so does the never ending adventure.