i’m not big on milestones, birthdays, or anniversaries, but the implications of this one are kind of hard to ignore.
in a month i will be 25, an age that even just three years ago seemed otherworldly old. the entirety of my 24th year will have been spent here, in this bizarre and beautiful country and i guess i feel like if i’ve already made it a year, what’s another?
far too easily i get wrapped up in a feeling of urgency, almost like i’m late to my own life, feeling rushed, but being unable to see what towards. seattle and the west coast continue to hang as an anchor heavy and grey and when i think about the beautiful things there that i am missing, it’s hard not to just pack it all in and head home. sometimes i think i’m hung on a wire, pushed one way and pulled the other.
that said, things will run their course as they will. isn’t that in essence, the true beauty of life? moving forward and making headway into the twilight that is our future. there is much to come, and tonight, i’m going to drink 100 beers in celebration of this river that makes up life continuing to flow.
today i miss a lot of things, but most of all, i miss the people important in my life who are now so far away.
for those in seattle, san francisco, san diego. you mean the world to me.
we grow up and we grow apart, i know it. it seems like the only constant in my life these past few years has been putting physical distance between myself and the people i know well.
i’m grasping for words right now. thailand continues to be thailand. the semester is almost over, and in just a few short days i’ll have been here for an entire year. this is home now, and that for me is strange. in a month i’ll be packing up for a month of travelling and then i’ll leave behind my cat, my house, my friends and all the things that have become comfortable and familiar.
things can be put in perspective. two years ago i was living in san francisco’s tenderloin, sleeping on a miniature futon sharing the shittiest apartment ever with my two best friends in the world. sitting all night in dark bars, drinking beer from tall cans in parks, and spending most days unemployed, bored, and wandering around the city on spirit quests, plans of doing anything with my life were far from realistic.
read, and let your heart break as mine does at these words.
Flower Herding at Mount Monadnock
1 I can support it no longer. Laughing ruefully at myself For all I claim to have suffered I get up. Damned nightmarer!
It is New Hampshire out here, It is nearly the dawn. The song of the whippoorwill stops And the dimension of depth seizes everything.
2 The whistles of a peabody bird go overhead Like a needle pushed five times through the air, They enter the leaves, and come out little changed.
The air is so still That as they go off through the trees The love songs of birds do not get any fainter.
3 The last memory I have Is of a flower that cannot be touched,
Through the bloom of which, all day, Fly crazed, missing bees.
4 As I climb sweat gets up my nostrils, For an instant I think I am at the sea,
One summer off Cap Ferrat we watched a black seagull Straining for the dawn, we stood in the surf, Grasshoppers splash up where I step, The mountain laurel crashes at my thighs.
5 There is something joyous in the elegies Of birds. They seem Caught up in a formal delight, Though the mourning dove whistles of despair.
But at last in the thousand elegies The dead rise in our hearts, On the brink of our happiness we stop Like someone on a drunk starting to weep.
6 I kneel at a pool, I look through my face At the bacteria I think I see crawling through the moss.
My face sees me, The water stirs, the face, Looking preoccupied, Gets knocked from its bones.
7 I weighed eleven pounds At birth, having stayed on Two extra weeks in the womb. Tempted by room and fresh air I came out big as a policeman Blue-faced, with narrow red eyes. It was eight days before the doctor Would scare my mother with me.
Turning and craning in the vines I can make out through the leaves The old, shimmering nothingness, the sky.
8 Green, scaly moosewoods ascend, Tenants of the shaken paradise,
At every wind last night’s rain Comes splattering from the leaves,
It drops in flurries and lies there, The footsteps of some running start.
9 From a rock A waterfall, A single trickle like a strand of wire, Breaks into beads halfway down.
I know The birds fly off But the hug of the earth wraps With moss their graves and the giant boulders.
10 In the forest I discover a flower.
The invisible life of the thing Goes up in flames that are invisible, Like cellophane burning in the sunlight.
It burns up. Its drift is to be nothing.
In its covertness it has a way Of uttering itself in place of itself, Its blossoms claim to float in the Empyrean,
A wrathful presence on the blur of the ground.
The appeal to heaven breaks off. The petals begin to fall, in self-forgiveness. It is a flower. On this mountainside it is dying.
i’m beginning to realize how sad i will be when i begin to pack up my things and leave this place that i’ve made a home out of for the last year.
it’s a strange part of this life that you have the option every year to take everything you’ve accumulated, put it in a bag, put that bag on your back, wave goodbye to everyone and everything you’ve known for a year, and start over again in a different strange and new place. i could spend another year in thailand. easily. there is still so much to see and so many places to go. i’m afraid though. i think that’s the basis of this need to pack up and go, that if i stay anywhere for more than a year my roots will grow too deep and leaving will be more painful than it would have been before.
i know i’m not ready to stay anywhere for any long period of time right now. i don’t know why but i feel compelled to continue moving, to continue seeing, to continue growing and experiencing not only different cultures but entirely different ways of life. this is an opportunity that many people have but few take. it’s because this is not an easy thing to do for many people. i’m not preaching. full disclosure can be had here. it’s not an easy thing to do for me either. i’m scared shitless about these next few months. about having to decide where to go spend another year of my life. i’m terrified of choosing the wrong place, of making a decision too soon, of even making the decision to stay out here. is it right? is it wrong? i don’t know.
i guess what makes the most sense, what continues to center me and keep me steady is the reality that i am the best me i have been in a long time out here. i’m not lazy, i’m not expectant, i’m not bored. i let myself be witness to my own life for a long time without wanting much to do with it. that sucked. that sucks. living out here has made me responsible. it’s made me proactive. it’s made me a grown up that still jokes about poop with 11 year old asian kids. being out here has made life good. i don’t believe that it’s for lack of examination that i’m staying out here.
this all said, it’s a new year. happy new year to you and to me and to all of those in between us (there are many). some of you have i haven’t seen in a real way in years and i hope that this separation comes to an end soon, but until then, know i have built you all a solid place in my heart.
there is much to see. there is much to do. we are called for great things and i do believe that my time here is as beautiful as it is necessary.
i’ve been lazy and busy and sick and generally forgetful.
how are you?
i’m well. well, not really. i’m shivering through 80 degree nights and over the past few days the bathroom has become my comfort room of choice. this type of sick can only really be appreciated if you’ve lived or traveled overseas before and if you haven’t experienced it, pray you won’t.
juicebox however has been a unwavering source of comfort and joy for me in these times of darkness and the thought of leaving her, this place, all my friends and the normalcy that you can have after living anywhere for a year is starting to become one hell of a reality.
i have 6 weeks of teaching left then i’m finished with my contract and am free to do as i see fit for myself. what does this mean? i have no idea. if you have one, let me know. i’d be interested in hearing it.
i’ve applied for work in taiwan, south korea, and japan. all have good parts. all have bad parts. i’m ready for a change from thailand but am not sure what to do next. i trust it’ll become clearer in time.
imagine ten thousand shirtless jacked australians. there were some brits, but not many. mostly australians. mostly shirtless. mostly looking like they liked to pick up lots of heavy things. it’s not that hard, just do it.
imagine them drinking cheap thai booze out of ridiculously colored neon buckets with tiny handles and seven straws a piece.
imagine now these same drunk and half naked people gobbling up mushrooms and amphetamines coming from god knows where and dancing against each other in the most tangled mass of crushing humanity you never wanted to dream about.
imagine now thai people, knowing just how epically trashed these people are, swinging a giant rope that’s been soaked in kerosene and lit on fire for them to play jump rope on.
imagine slides being set up for these naked sweaty monsters to crawl up jungle netting next to and slide down to land on their heads on the sand below.
take a moment and picture satan’s beach-side-paradise-kind-of-looks-like-las-vegas-on-acid-because-there-are-no-safety-rules-in-thailand filled with all the debauchery the world had to pour onto it culminating in a single night of terrifying mess that i’m not sure even mr. thompson could have comprehended. i damn well can’t.
the rest of the weekend was spent staying up too late, watching the big lebowski on a projector at a bar on a deserted stretch of island beach and seeing the sun fall and rise in an agony of color for days on end.
all of this, the fact that people born in 1990 are now possibly 21 years old, and facing the prospect of another year spent living in a different country on the far side of the world without a stop at home means that 2011 might be interesting.