One word has been resonating through my heart and my head every day. A word repeatedly spoken as a gift by Onmyfeet . He ends each encouraging comment with:
Every day I go rounds with myself. How do I make this work? How can I find ways to thrive here in Laos? What am I doing wrong? The truth is I just plain don’t feel well. It’s been weeks of using my ‘mind over matter’ approach to sickness with no improvement. It’s a scary thing to admit you’re not physically well so far from home. I’ve blamed the extreme heat and humidity. I’ve blamed lack of sleep and dehydration. I’ve blamed lack of physical activity. I’ve blamed myself.
I’m strong. I should be able to make this work. I shouldn’t wake up every morning figuring out how I’ll slog through the day ahead. I should embrace it all and be excited. Should should should.
It’s left me torn, confused and sad.
But, a wave of relief came over me yesterday when we bought my ticket home. Does this make me a quitter? I tell myself that the finish line was a point I set myself. I had this idea I’d last a year and anything less would be a failure.
So, now I try to come to terms with leaving. I will miss so much of this life. The future is totally unknown again and that knowledge is also difficult to deal with. I crave stability and health at this point more than anything.
In a week I’ll be on a plane home. Rob will follow a month after and we will continue our crazy beautiful mess of a journey together into the next chapter.
And we will find a place to grow and more importantly to thrive.
New beginnings await.
I’m always trying to find my balance. Every move leaves me wobbly and wondering. Did we make the right choice? Will this be okay? How can I ever know if I’m on the right path?
I suspect the answer is simple, although it doesn’t ever feel that way.
With new surroundings come new challenges. Every day is bursting at the seams with ups and downs. One minute finds me frustrated, hot and thinking it’s time to throw in the towel (which is drenched with sweat) and the next I’m overwhelmed with amazement at some small piece of magic.
Leaning out the window as the clouds burst one night, I was greeted with a friendly call of “sabaidee” from the man across the street. He kept pointing up at me to lure his small daughter out. She waved shyly to me and scooted back inside as fast as possible. My heart swelled.
Sitting down for a glass of wine on the quiet main street of town, the soft, low drum and chanting of monks washed over me from across the narrow street. My heart was calmed.
Riding Scout, our scooter, through a riverside neighborhood of unpaved streets, we were met with kind faces and friendly waves from the residents. My heart glowed.
This morning as we came down the steps of Mt. Phousi, two male tourists stopped us with what sounded like Japanese. At first I thought they wanted Rob to take their picture together but that wasn’t it. They each wanted to have a picture taken with Rob. He kindly agreed. My heart laughed.
The answer I feel somewhere deep down inside is that every path is the right path. I don’t believe in fate or that some things are meant to be.
Life to me is a chaotic, random and ever changing beautiful mess.
What we do with that mess is entirely up to us.
This morning I sit gazing out over rooftops to the mountains. Today is our third morning in Luang Prabang. Our new home is a welcome change from Vientiane. I can see trees, mountains and sky! The rainy season is beginning, bringing with it cleaner air and bluer skies.
The apartment we rented for our first month is comfortable and has the view pictured above. Stunning.
We hoped for quiet. I believed I’d escaped most of the city noise. This morning a wedding party began it’s set-up right outside our front door. It will soon be tents and tables and chairs covering the entire street. I’m in a panic. Why? Because these parties last for days and are accompanied by the loudest possible music.
So, even though we’ve only been here for a few days, we changed our Friday tickets to today and will escape to Bangkok. It may sound extreme, but trust me you would do the same thing. The noise level and length of the Laos wedding is bad enough that the minute I saw them setting up outside the window, I started shaking with adrenaline.
Fight or flight? I choose flight.
Our apartment will wait for our return and I’ll still have my sanity (somewhat) intact.