We had several outings this week. It was a lot of sanook (Thai word for fun). Tuesday was a Buddhist holiday, so most people had the day off work. We went to an all-day event, to see the Naga Fireball Festival. It was such a fun day, but also very hot. Overall, John and I are fairly adjusted to the heat. For instance, there has been only one day we have been really cold since we arrived; we could have sworn it was at least in the 60’s or below. We had to put sweatshirts on, and I was wearing shorts and had to find a blanket to cover up my legs. Later, we found out it was 70 degrees out. It was raining, so that added to the cool feeling. However, we knew that we were adjusted, when we thought 70 degrees is cold!
Then, at this Naga Fireball event, we were in and out of the direct sunlight. Even our Thai hosts said it was hot. We all took breaks in the shade. And I saw them sweating, too! But I felt like we were experiencing the heat on a similar level to our Thai friends.
The Naga Fireball Festival was a full-day event. We had a lovely morning of checking out the celebrations and a feast of a lunch provided by our hosts. After securing a spot along the Mekong River, we wandered the food stalls to procure our dinner. Before dusk, we made our way back to our saved seat along the Mekong. After waiting for awhile, we were lucky enough to see the main event: small balls of red light flying up from the Mekong River. Read more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_fireball
An observation on how people travel on the road. It is a different experience than what we are accustomed to. First of all, there are so many motorcycles everywhere. Less people own cars or pick-up trucks (at least in the Nongkhai province where we are staying). On a motorcycle, you can see 4 people or more (including young children), people traveling with loads of supplies, and fairly young kids driving. This is not a judgment, just a observation. People (on motorbikes especially) tend to drive slower here, if they are not on the highway - which seems to be partially due to the uneven, bumpy roads of the rural areas we live in. It is sometimes so much slower, that we have passed people on their motorbikes, while we are on our bicycles.
Also, because people don’t own many cars or pick-ups, when you see a car or a pick-up truck, it often has many people in it. In fact, the sisters have several pick-up trucks that they own, and they are used to transport several of the workers to and from home daily. So 6+ people will hop on the parallel benches in the back of the pick-up truck. The back of the pick-up truck is covered, to help protect from the sun (I assume).
So it wasn’t unusual, that on the way back from our Fireball event, there were 5 adults and 2 kids squeezed into the cab of the pick-up truck. But my bottom was still hurting from the experience several days later! John says I can't complain, though, because he ended up in the back of the pick-up truck, had no climate-controlled situation, and endured an extremely dusty portion of the road (it looked like a sand storm). Ask him about it sometime.
I feel the need to share that something changed in me, since my last blog. I was in a less than ideal spot last week, and this week has been different. That could be surprising because this week included my first bout of real sickness: I ended up with a fever for a couple of days. Let me tell you: it’s difficult to figure out that you have a fever when it’s already so hot outside. It took me a full work day to figure that one out!
Thankfully, my husband is a nurse, and we have the advice from a knowledgeable Thai nurse, too: Krisida. So I was well looked after.
Despite the fever (which has thankfully since abated), I had a much better week than last. I don’t want to share all of the details yet (ideas and thoughts still forming in my mind), but I had a mini-epiphany at the beginning of the week. It was a realization of appreciation for how much down time we have here, and something positive emerging from that space. The thoughts were not entirely new to my mind, but I feel like I experienced a breath of fresh air reach all the way down into my heart: perhaps being the first step of letting go of some anxiety (which is a constant challenge that I work on) and making room for the true desires of my soul.
As I’m writing this now, it sounds a little cliché, but let me assure you that it didn’t feel that way in the moment. Once I have some more time and space to process things, I can share more in detail. But I wanted you, my faithful blog-readers :), to know that I’m in a better spot than when I last posted.