|Nong Nooch gardens|
Well, it's a new service year!
For me, like so many of you, August was completely maxed out and exhausting. But then comes September. September is a beautiful month. So beautiful in fact, that I don't really have anything to say about it. Which disturbed me a little until I realized what had really happened.
It does not take long to get used to Thailand. What seems so awkward and bizarre to navigate at first, soon becomes commonplace. Four people on a scooter worries me not. Neither do dirty little carts meandering through traffic with rows of dried squid swinging from them. Sparks shooting out of the sockets? No big deal. Cockroaches? They fear me. Or they should. But none of them ever live long enough to talk about it. So that's it. I've adjusted. It's normal. Adventure over.
Just kidding. Let's talk a minute about the driving.
If you knew me before Thailand, you knew I had a habit of comparing everything to Disneyland. Now, there is nothing o v e r t l y Thai about Disney. But there is one very Thai thing that Disney has put to good use in all their parks.
|You can see the safety laws are rigorous. Their families live on the job|
in those metal shacks. So little kids are a regular part of construction sites.
It occurred to me the other day as I was weaving around oblivious cars that had suddenly pulled out in front of me, that it all felt oddly familiar. And not just because it happens every day. That's when I flashed back to the hundreds or so of rides I had been on and it clicked! Someone at Disney rode a scooter in Thailand and enjoyed it so much that they decided to bring it to the masses. I'm sure of it. But you know what? The scooter is way better. As long as I don't actually end up in the hospital.
So far I am scar free and looking to keep it that way. To stay scar free, you develop this sharp sense of awareness of what's going on 360 degrees around you at all times. I like to float through life paying attention to as little as possible so this was a bit of a sacrifice for me. A necessary evil when busses, taxis, carts and maniacs can be coming at you from all sides. You just weave. And there's enough hills, valleys, speed bumps and potholes to transform any normal drive into a rollercoaster. It's like my entire life is a ride at Disney now. Except cheaper.
|Can you find the sleeping man? This is his roadside hut he built in front of a nice hotel. I think he's a motorcycle taxi man. It's across the street from my Bible student and every time we come, this is what he looks like.|
This awareness is taking on a weird side effect. Because everybody is everywhere. They don't stick to lanes. They don't even stick to sides of the road. If they want to drive straight at you in a brief game of chicken, they will. There's all kinds of pedestrians and dogs in traffic as well. But I understand the pedestrians because there are no sidewalks. So they have to make their way through traffic. But all of this sharing the road makes me get confused about my identity sometime. It's happened to me several times now that when walking down the road, I decide I need to cross the street and subsequently look down to check my mirrors before I merge. And i'm thinking, where are my mirrors?? I can't see my mirrors!! I blame it on my hair for half a second until I realize... oh wait. I'm a human right now. Not a scooter. I'm a human behaving like a scooter because i'm in the middle of the street and there's cars everywhere. It's just a habit wanting to know what's happening behind and in front of me simultaneously. I'm considering inventing mirror bracelets.
The other day on a study, a Bible student was venting about the driving. This is something I can identify with. I chimed in trying to be sympathetic. In Thai I said, "YES! Every time I drive, I pray to God to give me wisdom." Which is true, this is a popular prayer with me.
However, that's not what I said. This is what I said.
"YES! Every time I drive, I pray to God to give me problems."
She looked at me strangely for a moment. Then they realized I meant banya instead of banha and we were all glad that I pray in English and not Thai. No need to get greedy asking for traffic problems. There's enough to go around.
But things really are getting normal. I've got a job, thanks to some friends back home. I finally painted some things in my house. Paint is terribly normal for me. Several visitors have brought wine, chocolate and cheese. Those things would have made me feel normal before, but now they make me feel like a princess. Which is cool. Because at first you feel like you're holding on to your sanity by a thread, trying not to freak out about a million different things. Every day brings a new challenge. And you get into this survival mode. The heat, the bugs, the sunburns, the stomach upsets, the language, the religion...You just take it one battle at a time and muscle through. And pray and pray and pray. But then you get the hang of it. You come out of survival mode, and it's just home. It's a foreign home. It's still demanding. It's still amazing.
|WE GET IT!!!|
But you GET IT.
And sometimes, I just drive down the road smiling. Seriously. No reason. Just happy.
Well, there is a reason...
It reminds me of something that impacted me from the Bible reading.
2 Corinthians 8:9
"Though he was rich, he became poor for your sakes."
It's been said before that Jesus was the greatest Need Greater. It's true. No one has taken a dip in privilege or station like Jesus. No one has had to simplify their teaching to make it understandable like Jesus. Adjust to a new lifestyle, a new LIFEFORM. Become a baby, literally, not just metaphorically as in learning a language. And on and on. The greatest. The Master Worker becoming a poor nobody. For us. And if this is the lifestyle that the Son of God chose, it makes me feel happy that we can imitate him in our own small way just to be a part of this work that he was so passionate about. What we give up is miniscule in comparison. We're a bit poor, but only materially! So for anyone thinking about need greating, just look again at verse 10.
"YOU initiated...the wanting to do; now, then, finish up also the doing of it."
That's all! Doesn't it sound so easy? Paul is a great motivator. You can't argue with a guy that's been shipwrecked. We have to continue the pattern that's been set for us. Of courage. Of trust in Jehovah. Of love for fellow man. It's not about experience or toughness or worthiness. It's about that fantastic word in verse 12: readiness.
Are you ready?
For now, i'll leave you with some of the faces and places I love!!!
|Amy and Noi, her Bible student|
|Thai cultural show|
|Some of the animals were real at Nong Nooch.|
|Some weren't. |
|From our very own fish pond. A sister later told me I could make a sleepy time tea from this lotus. But the thought of boiling such a lovely flower wasn't too appealing. Plus, I don't really have a problem getting to sleep here...|
|Look at how happy we are|
to be starting the new service year with croissants!
|Breakfast at the nicest spot in town, La Baguette.|
|So we took a lot of pictures. |
Mostly because we weren't sweaty for once.