It's been awhile...
So I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you a couple of things I've/We've been struggling though over this past week.
Thailand (Chaing Mai) is beautiful, convienent, conventional and simply refreshing. It's not India. It's not Morocco. It's different.
To say that there are no poor people here is a statement I would like to make after four days of being here and not being hit-up by any beggers or seeing men, women and children sleep out in the streets, sidewalks and parks. Yet, that statement is not necessarily all true. After talking to a local social worker and some friends of ours who grew up here/live here, my assumptions though have proven to be pretty much substantiated.
There are those here who live in "poor" conditions, but to live on the street in a "destitute" poverty is an unknown, unseen. There is not "hunger" here as we experienced in India or Morocco. It was shared with us that is beacause Thailand is fertile ground, filled with fruits and vegetables, pulses and livestock. No one goes hungary. The government is run "well," in that medical needs are cared for, kids go to school, most adults are self-employed/employed by bigger business. It's an overall "functioning" community.
People are kind to us here. Six days in and we have not yet been laughed at, yelled at (well, except for this crazy lady in the night market who screeched at us when we walked away from her table uninterested in her products), made fun of, harassed, mocked, etc. In fact, I didn't even know (after nine months over-seas) how much we were yelled/laughed at, made fun of, harassed, mocked, etc. until all of those daily moments we had become accustomed to had disappeared. People are nice here, like really really nice.
There is fresh air here. It's clean, there aren't piles of trash to step through, urine on the sidewalks to step over (many men in India have not yet mastered the use of a private urinal stall yet and prefer to ofter relieve themselves on the side of the roads, sidewalks, etc. - which I guess there is a reason for when many of the men who do so often don't have toilets at their disposal to use), pollution in the air to clog your nose, lungs, ears and eyes with. It's so beautiful... so very beautiful...
This is where my heart and mind gets confused. I want to be here. I like it here. It's exotic and different while still being familiar and comfortable. It's not India. It's not Morocco. Yet, I love India. I love Morocco. When I think of the experiences I had there I often cannot help but praise God for the mercy he has given us to have been able to live and learn from our neighbors and friends there. And in the midst of looking back at all of the obstacles we encountered while there, I still have nothing short of fond, beautiful, stretching, exciting, joyful memories of our time there. I think there's something to this, for God says that when we choose to enter into "suffering with others" we choose to enter into life and love with him, inside his skin. There is a reason our times in India and Morocco are rembered in our hearts and minds the way they are.
So why do I want to stay here so much? And why do I struggle with wanting to stay here so much? I don't want to cheat God by remaining in a place where we want to be rather than in a place where He may want us to be (although we have no clue where that is right now). We're struggling... Yet, there is a part of me that rejoices in the struggle in order to learn and grow closer in my relationship with my first love as well as with Jake.
I'm kind of at a loss right now I guess you could say.
On that note: We're looking for employment here. We are feeling as though we may need a fiscal year as well as a year of rest and routine. It's a fertile place for Jake to get an English teaching job, yet for a number of reasons, we are running into a couple obstacles, still they are not all set in stone. Please pray for us. A simple request from a simple heart.
Know in the meantime though that we just paid for our first "apartment." It's a one room hotel that has a king sized bed and a balacony that looks out over the beautiful mountains and city of Chaing Mai.
This morning we got up with the sun and ate oranges, mangosteins and peanut butter and jelly snadwiches in bed looking out over the balcony.
Thanks for your love.