It’s funny - I know we are on the road to simplicity, even though I’m not really sure what that is yet. I suppose the crux of the idea is that we are agreeing to live in solidarity with those whom we will be serving. We won’t really know if this is true until we meet these people. The idea of simplicity seems simple enough, but like everything I think about lately, it is intricate, nuanced, and complex.
The Purge - We have lived in our apartment for 5 years and it is amazing how many ‘things’ we have acquired. I am also a bit of a serial hobbyist, which does not help. So it feels a bit cleansing and freeing to release belongings we have not been using, do not need, are on the fence about keeping, etc… Many of our things are only in our house because we follow the path of least resistance and don’t get rid of the (also known as being lazy), but our decision to move away has left us no choice. It has been feeling good to release so many belongings and their hold on our consciousness. I feel we are making room for new knowledge, new relationships, and a new language!
Cut the Cord (or at least shorten it) - So I am reminded how when I was a child and we were all coming of age, my parents bought a 20 foot coil cord for the handset of our kitchen phone. I find it amazing no one was injured tripping over it, the way we would stretch it throughout the house. Thank goodness we are not truly cutting the cord/cable/internet connection because the relationships we have cultivated over the years are extremely important to us. However, living without the internet, having a time change, and being in a place where it may be dangerous after dark will all put limits on our current relationships. And the reality is, that there are ways this can benefit us by providing more time for interactions, language, and eliminating innumerable distractions.
Solidarity, really? - Although Susan and I are agreeing to live on a very small income, we have been told it is ample. The truth is neither Susan nor I are willing to make the real sacrifices that solidarity would likely entail. We are taking computers, phones for sometimes texting, kindles for convenient access to books, headphones, digital music, a keyboard, probably a guitar, and a very fancy camera. We are agreeing to publicly be judicious about our use of technology - attempting to avoid flaunting our wealth and privilege. One of my biggest fears is that I will use technology in a way that these people would not approve of. We still know very little about this culture, and will therefore be trusting and relying on the English-speaking few whom we interact with, and those running our program for guidance. Hopefully the sacrifices we are making will afford us the ability to understand or at least process the many hardships these Thai people endure.