A Panuelo World

As it turns out, writing a post is rather difficult to do from my ipad in Thailand.  Photos are especially difficult to upload.  But that doesn’t mean I have nothing to say.  So.  I guess I will have to paint pictures with words instead.

We arrived 4 days ago.  “We” includes: my roommate Erleen and her cousin Betty.  Erleen’s brother Andrew lives here in Thailand, as does Erleen and Betty’s cousin Arlen and his family.  We are visiting them before moving on to other countries to visit other people.

So.  We arrived 4 days ago. A day and a half spent in motion, chasing the sun backwards, but we finally arrived.

Our flight was quite pleasant.  I recommend, if you HAVE to sit in an airplane for 20 hours, to fly Turkish Air.  Pillows, blankets, food, drinks, a travel kit (complete with toothbrush, lip gloss, and more!) and a hot towl to start the flight.  I was druther impressed.

Jet leg has been a non-issue.  Mostly, we just went to bed mad early and slept as long as we could the first night and it basically evened out.  I am very thankful about that! (Although I have heard that it’s worse going home.)

So far we have… visited Andrew’s coffee shop that he manages.  And yes, I even drank coffee!  We visited an elephant camp (and I might have taken a ride…).  We took a Thai cooking class.  I have totally mastered PadThai, in case you were wondering.  Well. Mostly anyways. Almost.

We’ve played card games (like the good Mennonites that we are).  We rode songtewls and went shopping at far too many markets already.  We went bowling.  I won twice, although I have yet to reach a score of 100 (yes. in my entire life).  It was decided that we were all pathetically well matched.  And, another friend who lives here was daring enough to ‘teach’ me how to drive a motorbike.  I’m definitely in the beginner class but I was able to drive in a circle in the parking lot.  So, I guess I’m ready to graduate to a quiet street or something soon.

We’ve had numerous variants of ‘typical Thai food.’  And I’ve mastered the use of “hello” and “thank you.”

And, otherwise, I’ve been hit by the insanity of this all.  The incredible blessing it is to be able to travel.  Sometimes I want to be worried because I don’t have a job lined up yet.  And sometimes I want to think that it’s not so crazy to be here.  I mean.  So much of it seems so familiar to me.  Between my life in New York and the months I’ve spent in Central America, life here doesn’t seem so weird.  But then I called my mom and I was struck with the reality that so much of the world is living ‘normal’ life right now.  And I could be doing the same.  But, instead, I get to dip my toes across the seas, taking my shoes off at the door, clapping my hands together in a nod of respect and thanks to strangers, and pretending, just for a moment, that the whole world is connected.  It reminds me of a phrase in Spanish, “el mundo es un panuelo.” (the world is a handkerchief).  Which is the English equivalent of “it’s a small world” but paints this hilarious picture that we, the entire mass of the world, can somehow fit into a little, interwoven piece of cloth and be stuffed into someone’s front pocket.  I guess, the craziest thing of all is that it’s true, the world truly is a panuelo.  And I’m so glad we all can fit in the pocket of God, even on the other side of the world.


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