The Distance Grows

Right now it feels like everything makes me feel even further than 8,250 miles from home. This morning, I arrived with the expectation of posting about giving thanks; today had a different expectation for me. I find it funny, and by funny I mean peculiar, that today is the day that it all comes crashing down on me. I expected these feelings sooner (in the lead up to Thanksgiving) or later (as I usually become quite introspective as my birthday approaches), but today is peculiar.

Of course this week the U.S. celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, and holidays accentuate distance - but we had a great Thai holiday week and felt we accomplished a lot of giving thanks of our own. On Thanksgiving day, we had technological issues communicating over Skype, which was heartbreaking but everyone was able to see us and we could see them a bit. I am thankful for that. Today is also my sister’s 34th birthday, not a special one - but she is special to me so it is hard not to talk to her in person. So much has happened this week that I feel anxious and driven to be prolific in order to capture much of it, but in this moment I just want to go back to bed and cry. 

How am I going to communicate with anyone?

In this moment I feel cut-off and distanced because my iPhone no longer connects to the internet. Peculiarly, I did not drop it, sit on it, or throw it in a lake or the toilet. Even so, the variety of implications are both hard to fathom and making it extremely difficult for me to concentrate. I am also aggravated because the irony is not lost on me. The irony that I just posted on simplicity and an iPhone ceasing to function is much simpler than changing types of coffee. You didn’t show any appreciation for the phone in yesterday’s post. The irony that by choosing simplicity we hope to more fully and intentionally appreciate what we have, and I appreciate my iPhone much more now that it is gone.

A new iPhone is equivalent to more than 8 months of your stipend here.

In a moment when time and physical distance are starting to feel isolating. A moment when my subconscious is recognizing and longing for many of the sporadic connections of my expansive network of friends. The loss of my iPhone and a particularly dear to me application called WhatsApp make me feel lightyears away from everyone.  Interesting how you didn’t empathize very well with Susan yesterday when her WhatsApp quit working. I recognize that many of my feelings are irrational and over-reactionary, but that does not make them any less pointed or poignant. 

You and Susan can both travel from Bangkok to Indonesia and then to Melbourne, Australia, for less than a new iPhone.

Thankfully, I still have my my tablet and a macbook how are your entitlement and privilege doing, John? to email, Skype, iMessage, and Facebook with. The other good news is that my iPhone still operates as a very compact and comprehensive Thai-English Dictionary (if you come to Thailand with a working smartphone, be sure to get this phenomenal app).

You might as well delete all the other apps.

One of the reasons that I desired to volunteer internationally was a desire for the opportunity to (as I stated in my application) “shed some of my American materialistic and consumerist ideals” .  Although today it is painful, I am thankful that this is exactly what I am getting Good, because you asked for it. As belongings continue to break or cease to function, I clearly see the role they were playing in my life - at least once the emotions have diminished.

After a quick computer reboot, I suppose I will start here where my computer stopped remembering what I was writing.

                           Not Much Turkey Here!

   

                     Not Much Turkey Here!

In preparation for this week, my parents asked that I do the blessing before Thanksgiving dinner. Although the time change made a live visit impossible (and technology would have made it a horrible experience), I am thankful that Susan and I were successfully able to record, email, and that it was played before dinner. I am thankful for an extended family that is amazingly tight-knit and caring. I am thankful for my adventure companion - Susan - whom astonishes me with her patience and ability to understand my needs and quirks in a way that I did not think possible.

I am thankful that I have never not known the love and support of family and friends. And - I am thankful that Sisters of Good Shepherd around the world are trying ensure that no one has to go through this life without knowing love and support. 

Lastly, I am humbled by and gracious for the generosity and caring of the extended group of friends, family, and co-workers who have supported us is any way from kind words to donations. I am happy to see so many with so much to be thankful for, including good health or positive spirits in dealing with illness, food security, growing families, and the many virtues everyone in my life brings to this world.

Oh, and not that any of you necessarily would, but I want to be perfectly clear. Please do not send me a new or used iPhone or other digital device. Thanks and I will share more very soon!

     The Sisters at our Walk to Stop Violence Against Women and Children last weekend.

    The Sisters at our Walk to Stop Violence Against Women and Children last weekend.

A brief update - On Sunday night, my iPhone resumed connecting to wifi. It has since been working intermittently at best. It's brief moment of function, however, was enough to make me feel utterly embarrassed by this impulsive and emotionally fueled post. I leave it here as a reminder why I never post anything the same day I pen it. 


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