It's the end as we know it, and I feel...


Anyone who knows me well knows that I handle change extremely well. And if you know me, you know this is the opposite of true. I don’t roll with the punches; it’s more like I get dragged through the change, with my heels dragging on the ground.

Last week has felt like no exception; it was quite stressful. With all of the Care Center staff on rotating holidays, it was short-staffed, and I spent more time than usual there. A patient passed away at the beginning of the week, and another was sent to the hospital - after John and I struggled to support her as best we could through our overnight shift.

I was frustrated that other staff members did not seem to give their all, and John often ended up doing more than his fair share. It was tiring. Then Hands of Hope wound back up, and I found myself in the midst of too many new projects, when I feel like I should be winding down. 

The capstone (and highlight) of the week was attending Koo Guy’s wedding, at the cost of spending over thirteen hours in the car that day. Our volunteer extension meant we are still in Thailand for her wedding, and I got a little emotional during the joy of sharing their joy.

An added bonus was heading to Phnom Rung, in her province of Buri Ram - a castle that was made in a similar style and era as Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In fact, we were very close to the border of Cambodia.

I am ready to begin the ease out of our Thailand experience, and what I find challenging is that many still deny we are in fact leaving, let alone beginning to process what that means. It feels like time is compressed, and too much will need to be done in a short timeframe.

Thankfully I found some pockets of time to talk this out with dear people in my life - with my community members and during a couple of Skype sessions. I’m beginning to come to terms that I won’t get everything done that was on my already reduced shortlist. 

Living in Community

My new favorite photo of John. He's gonna miss this one!

This week John and I went into Nongkhai to try to obtain a vaccine that I would like to get. One of our stops was the Nongkhai Hospital, where many of the patients have their regular check-ups. When I came back to the Garden later that day, most of the staff members asked me how everything went, as they knew about our outing. A little while later, one of the Garden residents (who had a doctors’ appointment the same day) said she saw us at the hospital and asked what we went there for.

Then another interaction with a patient asked why we were at the hospital as well. She had been at the hospital for a small operation and apparently had seen us as well.

As a foreigner, it’s hard not to get noticed as you go about your day. Compound that by a very large yet close-knit community, and it results in a lot of people knowing your business! Part of me is very eager to be more anonymous back home in Chicago, and another part of me knows that I will soon miss living in such a close community.

Community Night

After a few weeks off due to the holidays, we got back to our community night as volunteers. Lauren led the spirituality portion, and we read and reflected upon a few Martin Luther King Jr. quotes in honor of MLK day this upcoming week.

Let me end with a couple that I chose from the pot:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.