I can’t even begin to outline all the changes that have happened since my last blog. But here’s my attempt.

I spent a great 5 months in Calgary working on my health, spending time with the family, and enjoying a sizeable spiritual adventure. A cleanse from the naturopath seemed to result in not only dropping a couple pants sizes, but a whole whack of excess baggage. Resolved some issues with family and renewed relationships with those I love, spent a fantastic time with a very very special friend (Miss A, I love you and miss you!) getting to know Calgary once more, and got a job.

I’m in Thailand now. It’s beyond phenomenal.

I started a wonderful job as Managing Editor for a health organization. It’s the first time in my professional life where not only am I running around like a maniac with so much to do, but I’m doing it in a friendly supportive environment where people seem to respect me and the work that I’m doing. The responsibilities are enormous and I often feel overwhelmed, but I often catch myself being impressed by my sheer brilliance in meetings and strategic sessions. I love my job. I can’t wait for the next two years of it.

The city in which I live is also pretty amazing. Chiang Mai (CM) is this lovely little chilled out city surrounded by a moat and a semi-walled inner core. Today I visited the pride and joy of CM, the wat (temple) they call Doi Su Thep. It was pretty touristy, but it’s still hard not to be impressed by the sparkly mirrors and gold that practically overwhelms the visitor at every turn. I got there by moped as I’m renting one from a colleague until my contract is extended from the initial four months to two years – that I expect is pretty imminent since work seems to love me as much as I love it/them. I’ll probably buy one when the extension comes as the freedom it gives has been great.

I feel bad that I’ve not been able to write anyone back home until now. Honestly, I literally walked into a huge transition time for the organization and so have been pretty key in both conceptualizing and implementing a lot of their communications processes. My spare time is usually spent avoiding the computer and watching loads of new-season Dr. Who (aka: zoning out completely). Please, no jokes about being a big nerd… I aspire to BE Dr. Who. And only those who’ve seen at least three episodes and can still say they don’t like it have the right to point fingers and be the first to yell, “nerd”.

In my first week, when not working (yes, I started on Day 2 of arriving!), I visited most of the wats in the city, settled into my little bachelor’s pad (basically a hotel room with a TV, mini-fridge, wardrobe, slightly lop-sided bed, and a funny hand-held sprayer at the toilet rather than paper – yes, first time using a bidet-style system, admittedly… and they’re everywhere that doesn’t just have a squat pit in the floor!). I also went to quite a few dinners and evening get-togethers with colleagues who are fast becoming good friends.

It was also in my first week that I was given a kitten by a monk. He’s since gone his way after eating about four times his weight in food.

I was wandering around one of the oldest and coolest wats on
the north side of the moat and there was this tiny little orange
tabby kitten circling my legs meowing. I picked him up and cuddled him for a while as I walked the grounds. A monk in a brilliant orange robe walked by and stopped to stare at me. Now, you’re not supposed to even touch a monk, and they generally keep to themselves, especially around tourists and farang (white folks like m’self), so this was even weirder to be cradling a kitten while a monk stared and smiled widely at me. So he turns to me and in this soft voice says, “I see you like animals.” I said, “yeah, sure… I like cats a lot.” So then he responds, “Well, this one really likes you as well. He is yours.” I stare for a second and then look down at this cute little kitty that is now purring and sleeping contented in my arms. I ask him who owns the cat and how much I’d need to pay if I wanted to keep him. The monk responds that it belongs to no one but me and that if I want him I should keep him.

So I brought him home and bathed and fed him and cuddled him all night for a couple nights. It was nice to have a fuzzy friend with whom to share my bed, if only for a couple nights. On Monday, when I returned to work, I let him out in the morning only to find that he never returned.

I’m learning the Buddhist fine art of detachment. So far, so good.

I’m also applying this art to my recent “single” status. The GF (now ex) and I broke up around Christmas, just before I left for Thailand. And to be honest, I am more exasperated over the “are you okay?” questions than I am distraught over the actual breakup. I mean, I guess I saw it coming all along but was in some kind of denial/hopeful place for at least a year. I’m glad that one of us had the courage to do what we both perhaps saw coming.

Detachment.

In the meantime I have a massage therapist from the corner spa completely (apparently) in lust with me, occasional drunken folks at clubs propositioning me, and most of Chiang Mai I’ve met thinking I’m, in the words of another colleague, “a funny loving creature”. I dig it.

No commitments, no attachments. Just pure fun love.

I took in the first ever gay pride march on the streets of CM last night. It was smaller than most of the parades I’ve been in/seen (150-200 ppl), but some friends and I had a great time playing the now-all-to-familiar game of Guess Which One’s An Actual Biological Woman. After playing the photographer, checking out the lovely androgyny that surrounded me, and showing solidarity by marching the street for a while, I went with friends to the “red light” district to have a couple drinks and watch the prostitutes and old men hassle each other. Again, the game was good fun.

I’m looking forward to big plans of travel to Bangkok some weekend. I also plan on heading south to the beaches (Thank you, Lonely Planet, for a SCUBA guide on Thailand!!), and checking out the neighboring countries of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. I also will be learning Thai, enrolling in some Thai Massage classes when the salary is a little more regular, and perhaps learning some tips ‘n’ techniques on silversmithing from the hill tribes that have made the trade so popular here.

In the meantime I’m loving my new life in CM. I don’t know when the honeymoon will end (as it often does), but for now I’m enjoying the mutual love-in I have with this country. I miss my friends and family, of course. But I’m rocking out so hard at work that I really don’t even have time to breathe most days. And luckily Asia doesn’t seem to suffer from the same problems of internet connectivity that Africa did/does – Skype me, folks!!

Loving every second of it.

Signed,

A Funny Loving Creature

Advertisements