Travel Diary: One Night in Bangkok

Chinatown in Bangkok (because every city has one, right?)

”If at some point you don’t ask yourself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ then you’re not doing it right.” — Roland Gau

When I arrived in Bangkok, I felt I had made a terrible decision. The streets were crowded. The air felt thick. Everything around me somehow diminished due to it’s uncleanliness. I trusted no one and nearly everything felt like a scam. I remember wandering the streets with the circling thought – there’s no way I’ll make it three more weeks here.

 

At the top of the Golden Mount – overlooking Bangkok

 

Then the week arrived that I was to leave.

While in Chiang Mai it dawned on me that it would be my last week. It was the kind of sinking feeling I get when I say goodbye to a person, place, or thing I love. I had the same feeling when I had to say goodbye to my host mother in Valencia: Although you hope you’ll meet again, there’s a good chance you won’t.

That feeling is a killer. 

 

The detailing of Wat Arun

 

I spent the week catching up on all the things I had left to see and do in Bangkok.

Jim Thomson House, Wat Arun, massages, and hoy tod. All subtle reminders of the things I love about Bangkok and Thailand – and all the things I would miss.

 

Hand-spun silk from the Jim Thompson House

 

Above anything else, Home of Grace would be the place I would find my heart longing for. You see, I did the terrible thing of getting attached.

 

From the top of the Golden Mount – with sprawling Bangkok below

 

My last week I talked much more about myself and tried to learn as much as I could about each of the women there.

They may not realize it, but they are so strong – in the way most mothers are and yet even stronger because they must face much more adversity.

The day I left I was overcome with emotions.

Each lady told me how I should keep in touch, the staff told me how I should come back to visit, and a few told me I should come to see them and their families if I should return. I was called beautiful on more than one account that day.

As I stepped out into the street, I knew it was the last time leaving that house as a volunteer and both my steps and heart were heavy.

 

Bangkok taught me so much more about myself. Immersing myself in a totally different culture (sorry Europe – but your culture isn’t so different from my own) I was forced out of my comfort zone. I ate foods I would never dare to eat on my own (and got pretty sick from some of them).

 

Wat Arun

 

When it’s all broken down. Once you get to smiling with people, breaking down boundaries, and peeling back the layers of the “them” verses “us” mentality, humanity becomes what it always was: exactly like yourself. Cultures and values may be different. We may have a different way of saying the same things – but barriers shouldn’t keep us locked in. We shouldn’t let barriers define us and give in to the “that’s just the way things are” mentality.

 

 

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Thoughts?

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