Starting Somewhere

I got back from Thailand about three and a half months ago. I have written and rewritten blogs describing the small significant moments I had. At the end of the day, every revision seems worse than before. I’m having a hard time articulating everything that happened of the course of two short weeks but I want to get something down so this will be a start. Whether it’s a good start or not, you can decide for yourself.

Before I go too much further, I would like to make it clear that this is probably more for myself than the rest of the world. I don’t expect this to interest anyone in particular and I don’t expect praise for the work we did. I’m also not going to be THAT person and tell you that “I’m a totally different person” and “this experience changed my life.” My goal is to be as genuine and honest about this as I can and explain the important moments as I remember them, and to not sound superficial and stereotypical. In all reality, this trip was to bear the image of God as we worked in this children’s home. The reason we went was to help THEM and to emphasize Him, not so I could have this life altering experience to brag about later.

Pineapples. Cars. Humidity. Heat. Mangos. Mural. Shoes. You could pair a couple of those words together, but collectively they don’t make a ton of sense. Each word on that list is something at home that brings back memories from this trip. Almost as if Thailand is a good friend of mine, I come across these items and think of the time I spent there and the  people we left.

Most of the time, this is where I stop typing, because in all honesty, I don’t know where to start. I could start by telling you about the team I was on. I could start by telling you that it was hard to not finish what I wanted to. I could start by telling you about the heat. No matter where I start, the ending is the same. I end up on a plane, coming home, reading letters from my teammates, feeling like I didn’t do enough. I didn’t paint enough, or connect enough. So I guess I’ll start simple.

The heat. Every time I walked out of air conditioning and into the climate, I almost immediately started sweating. Telling us it was going to be hot, was an understatement but in all reality you couldn’t prepare us for this kind of heat. You get used to sweating all the time, surprisingly enough. The most significant part about the heat is that it did not phase anyone. All of the kids we came in contact with and all of the Thai people we came in contact with had seemingly adapted to it. It didn’t change the way the children wanted to play, and it didn’t change the amount of energy they had. I can remember a few times from my childhood where my mom would tell us we need to go outside and play, and our response was ‘it’s too hot.’ For the children at the home, ‘too hot’ was their everyday. They lived in this heat. None of the buildings had any sort of air conditioning. The best we got were the fans they had going along the walls in the church where we left our mural. They slept in this every night. But it was their normal, and that doesn’t mean its wrong or broken, it just means they live with a different sort of normal.

I told you before that I’m not going to say this trip changed me as a person, and I’m not. I’m still the same person I was when I left. What I will say is that this trip changed my perspective in a few ways. It changed how I see. The heat is the first. I’m not going to tell you that I never complain about the heat, because I definitely still do. But every once in a while, when I’m complaining about the heat, I think maybe it’s not so bad.

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