Quilling at Hands of Hope

I am trying to focus on writing this blog, but I’m a little distracted. I have some fairly constant discomfort in my right neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. I have been using the majority of my time at Hands of Hope the past week or so to assist with quilling. (Do you know what quilling is? Quilling is an art form that involves rolling up strips of paper and using them in some kind of design. Here’s a link for more details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quilling).

I have done quilling for maybe half of my work week - if I’m lucky. And my right side aches. It has been over 3 hours since I left work, and I used a tennis ball for a significant period of time to work out the knots some. As I’m sitting here, I applied some Tiger balm to get that icy-hot feeling to help ease things a bit. That helps some, but the discomfort is still there.

It gives me a taste of what the workers feel on a regular basis at Hands of Hope. This week, I started doing stretches with my coworkers every hour. Just something short and sweet. I’m attempting to provide a variety of stretches. Google and my previous knowledge has assisted me thus far, but just a gentle reminder to email me any suggestions you have along the way. It’s best if we can do the stretches standing - at least for now; I’ll eventually incorporate more stretches while sitting or laying down. Nonetheless, I’ll take any suggestions you have!

I also began massaging the workers at Hands of Hope this week (I have been massaging the patients at the Care Center already), and there was a line for my massage!

...I cannot believe we have been here almost four weeks. Time feels different here. We have more free time than we are used to in the evenings. At the same time, I feel like I should be able to speak and understand more Thai by now. We get plenty of sleep. However, we are both sleepy after dinner, so we usually drink a cup of coffee and tea respectively (which may be within John’s normal, but definitely not mine!) to stay awake until the late hour of 10pm. Despite the plentiful sleep, I can be quick to fatigue throughout the day. Perhaps I am still adjusting to the heat. Perhaps it is my mind on overdrive trying to learn Thai, while still adjusting to a new culture, schedule, and work environments.

My minimal quilling practice paid off. I made this card for Sister Mary this week. Sister Mary turned 96 years old, and now that I’m editing this post a few days later, we just enjoyed a mass and luncheon at the convent to celebrate her birthday. It was a lot of fun, due to Sister Mary’s humor, and there may have been an ice cream cake involved.

My attempt at quilling.

Sister Mary's ice cream cake

Sister Mary's ice cream cake

Per my usual, let me end with some highlights of the week:

  • We made our Thai teacher, Thida, laugh so heartily, when we explained (mostly in Thai!) that I can always eat and sleep, and that we usually decide on dinnertime based on my hunger instead of John’s… Poor guy.
  • When I leave for my Thai language lesson or head to the Care Center to massage for select afternoons, Faa, a coworker at Hands of Hope, takes over my duty of stretches on the hour. I think she enjoys it. I like seeing her face light up, when I’m showing her a few stretching ideas, before I head out the door.
  • John and I played frisbee with Suban this week. Suban is a long-term patient at the Care Center. He had TB of the brain, so it affected his development. He does not talk much, and his brain is developed to the age of a young child while his body is fully grown. He has such a playful, youthful nature. One day while I was massaging the other week, he put on music in the common area and started dancing all by himself. He makes us all smile. So, after we played frisbee with Suban, the next day after work, he walked around the compound with a frisbee in his hand - at the ready! :) I guess we will have to start play frisbee regularly.

As I was wrapping up my first version of this blog post and prepared to study a little Thai (our typical post-dinner ritual), I pulled out my list of photos and names. I realized that I’m still trying to learn everyone’s names! There are over 30 people that work at Hands of Hope, and I know almost everyone’s names - except a select few. So that is yet another example of the learning curve and how our minds are still on overdrive! I am fairly certain and hopeful that the learning curve will eventually not feel as steep in the not-so-distant future.

Sister Mary, chatting on the phone with the pilot who saved her by getting her out of Vietnam in the nick of time and showing her natural humorous nature. Sorry for the fuzzy version of Sister Sudhpatra!

Sister Mary, chatting on the phone with the pilot who saved her by getting her out of Vietnam in the nick of time and showing her natural humorous nature. Sorry for the fuzzy version of Sister Sudhpatra!