The cliché adage, ‘time flies when you’re havin fun’ has proven true here in the lush land of coconuts, pretty waters and crazy drivers. While two months is a blip in time, I feel like I saw a lot of you…I definitely LEARNED a lot from you…
- You taught me to be patient. Communications barriers or city-wide electricity outages or a Tuk Tuk driver who takes the long route to the temples will in fact creep up in SE Asia and mess with any schedule we may have sketched up. But as I’ve said before, getting lost in time and space is part of the whole beautiful thing.
- You taught me to pop a squat. I’ve never been good at the whole camping facilities thing, but I quickly learned that when I have to go bad enough, I will go anywhere. I mean, anywhere. I learned that toilet paper is precious [[even more so when you’re allowed to flush it down, instead of throwing it in the bin]], some people stand on toilets if they’re not used to the porcelain gods and felt humbled to realize that some people in the world have never even seen a western toilet. It’s a simple thing, but never will I ever take a proper, clean toilet for granted again.
- You taught me to cut the hotel snob bit. Sure, I admit. I’d still rather stay in a nice place, but I learned that not only CAN I shack up with a bunch of fellow travelers, all in one sweaty room…but sometimes, it’s even more fun. After all, who would have laughed with me when our room flooded in Hoi An, had I not met my favorite roadie rando ever?! [[shout out, Kaleena Kaleidoscope—yall should read her blog too!]]
- You taught me how to be vulnerable. Perhaps a traveler’s MOST vulnerable is without any means of communication or financial support. I’m not good at asking for help or depending on others, but when Cambo got my phone and debit card, I had no choice but to change Ben Trouble’s name to Sugar Daddy. Uncomfortable as it was to ask him to buy me a water or a postcard at every turn, I suppose it exercised my ‘can you help me?’ button that I’ve suppressed for 26 / 27 years [[got it from my momma]]. I guess it’s ok to need help sometimes…makes you even more thankful for those people that swoop in and save your ass. Thanks for the sugar loan, Ben. And thanks for the kick in the prideful-ass, Asia. Good stuff.
- You taught me to be present. No, I’m definitely not perfect at it, prob never will be, but I felt it working here. To be on a private beach in the middle of the Andaman Sea, or on the back of an elephant, or floating through a river market on the Mekong Delta, or tearing through rice paddies on a motorbike, or admiring monks at Angkor Wat…just so many moments that made me feel so alive, so aware, so in awe of people and places.
A blip in time, a drop in the bucket…but a blip and a drop I will cherish for life.
I’ll be back, Asia Town…I don’t think you’re done teaching me yet.
Until then, cheers to Vietnamese coffee, panang curry and mango sticky rice.
A changed and grateful student