The past month or so has been very eventful!(I PROMISE I WILL KEEP UP BETTER SOON!) After 2 weeks of summer school we got off an unexpected extra week. Fortunately for me, I already requested the time off because my boyfriend planned a visit from America! That meant I still got the time off and I got back 5 extra vacation days to use in the upcoming semester! The odds started out in my favor! After over six months apart, the anticipation of seeing my boyfriend at the airport was unexplainable. Luckily he was wearing a huge flying WV shirt so I could pick him out of the crowd (not to mention he was a 6’3 white boy in an predominately Asian airport). After traveling for over 2 days he was surprisingly energetic and now I could share the fact that we still had a full day of traveling ahead of us to the reach the southern island of Koh Tao. After a hot and sweaty journey by plane, bus, ferry, and overpriced taxi, we arrived at our secluded resort on the private Tanote Beach. It was about a 15-minute cab ride from the pier, but the ride was well worth the seclusion and beautiful atmosphere. The next few days were spent talking, laughing, snorkeling, eating, drinking, and frolicking in the ocean. We went on a one-day snorkel tour to Shark Bay, Mango Bay and ended the trip at Koh Nang Yuan Island. Although it felt hotter than the Sahara Desert, we still climbed up all the steps to the viewpoint. The view was well worth the sweat! It was absolutely breathtaking. We ended up meeting up with two of our friends from home that happened to be on the same island. It was awesome to hang out with fellow Mountaineers! The boys spent the day deep-sea fishing, caught a bunch of fish and the hotel’s staff served us up an amazing dinner overlooking the ocean; stir-fry with the fresh fish, veggies, rice and wine. It was probably my favorite meal of the trip! If you visit Koh Tao make sure you stop by Fishbowl Bar and the burger stand that is right outside of the bar Chopper’s (Sairee Beach). Both were favorites that we visited multiple times in six days! Koh Tao definitely lived up to the hype, but I have a feeling it may have to do with who and not where I was.
We headed back to Bangkok because I had to start teaching again for my second semester and I wanted to show him around my town, school, and daily environment. When you come to Thailand and only visit touristy areas you do not get an accurate depiction of what it is actually like living here. It was important for him to understand that and witness my daily life, not just what he sees in pictures.
After a crazy night on Khoasan Road, a day exploring the city, suit shopping and eating Mexican, we headed back to Suphanburi. Despite the wild goose chase to get to the right bus station, we finally made it back. I spent the next few days showing him around (mostly to all our favorite restaurants), teaching, and relaxing before the surprise weekend I had planned. One day he came into school and was my special guest in my classes. It was so rewarding to have him witness what I do and experience how wonderful and stimulating teaching my students is! Their favorite question for him was, “How tall are you!?” Once Friday rolled around we headed for the nearby town of Kanchanaburi. Once we arrived we headed straight for my favorite Italian place, Bell’s Restaurant, and feasted on pizza, pasta and whiskey. In the morning, I had a big surprise planned!
I booked a night in a cute bungalow at a nearby country club, Mida Golf Club, and a round of 18 holes of golf. He totally wasn’t expecting it and didn’t know that Kanchanaburi is known as a golfers hot spot in Thailand. If you know him, you know how excited he was! We had an amazing day on the course. I was his assistant (who sat in the cart, drank Singha and looked pretty) and he actually had a hired caddy provided by the hotel. The views of the mountains and lakes and the stillness of the atmosphere, the cold beer and the hot sun made it feel like something out of a dream. We cooled off in the pool for a few hours and then enjoyed a delicious dinner at the clubhouse. It was one of the best days I can remember in our 5 years together. The next day we were up at the crack of dawn and off to ride the elephants… Yes, I rode elephants for the fifth time. But, it was so fun to share with him and this time we got a special treat! We got to swim with the elephant and ride it in the water. It kept spraying us with water and we jumped/were thrown off of it many times. Once we had enough we headed back to town, had another delicious Italian meal, got massages and headed back to my home sweet home, Suphanburi. It was a magical weekend that I’ll always look back and remember so fondly.
The next day we went to Bangkok as he had to fly out of the airport that night. We spent the day laughing, eating, and shopping of course. We got stuck in terrible traffic on the way to the mini bus station. Our first taxi driver actually pawned us off in the middle of traffic to another driver because he didn’t want to drive all the way to Victory Monument! As usual, I had no idea what was going on but the next day I discovered why the traffic was so bad and there were military men everywhere, the country had just declared martial law! I couldn’t believe I was there just the day before and all seemed normal. I am now living under the control of the Thai army because they officially declared a military coup in the last few weeks. Nothing has changed in my day-to-day life, besides the fact that there is a curfew from 10pm to 5am. I am not sure how long this will be enforced. I am also unsure of the outcome or resolution that will be reached. The opposing sides continue to protest and fight for what they believe in. As a foreigner, I am gaining a lot of insight from my older students and keeping up on foreign news via the Internet. It was to my great surprise that the news stations were completely taken over and shut down by the military. As an American, freedom of speech and the press are things that are engrained into my psyche. It makes me feel lucky to have the platform and opportunity to freely express my thoughts, feelings and experiences. Not only for the benefit of sharing my world with my loved ones who are so far away, but as a means to continually change and grow as an individual. The only way to change your world is to start by changing yourself.
Life changes at an extremely rapid rate and you can never know what to expect next. There are many moments of ecstasy that remind us what it means to be alive, followed by moments of confusion, frustration, and anger. It is a tangled web we weave. Some of us feel and think more deeply than others, (guilty as charged) but my hyperawareness is not only a curse but also a blessing. As a twenty something recent college graduate, who is trying to find my way in the world, the only way to guarantee myself satisfaction is if I continue to take risks, challenge myself and encourage others to do the same. After over half a year of this adventure, I continue to grow and learn everyday. Some lessons have not been easy ones but despite the struggles I continually try to find the good. One of the best lessons I have learned is to simply trust in the process of life. Mai Pen Rai. Do good, feel good. Travel Light, Live Light, Spread the light, Be the light. Try your best to drink in everything that is in front of you, because in a moment life will change again. And remember, the grass is always greener on the other side. But I’m wearing tinted glasses and have my sprinklers on 😉