Tag Archives: 2008

Kids from yesteryears

I got so slack with blogging even though I had all the time in the world…. almost, so to speak…. and now that it’s stolen five minutes here and there, again, I feel a bit more motivated. God knows why…

My first batch of Thai kindergarteners are in grade 7 now. Time flies. They were special to me. The one with the curly hair, people often thought she was my daughter. Smart and insecure and emotional, so much like me. Then, the chatty little boy, naughty and pesky, but sharp and creative and considerate. I always said to people, if I ever have a son, I would like a son just like him. Always have been attracted to similar characters over the years, ever since. And then, the boy with the huge eyes, quiet, absorbing everything with some kind of ageless wisdom, making me want to be better than I was, try to come up to his image of me…. rather unsuccessfully, I would say. And the little princesses – I’m not supposed to have favourites, but I always do. I did have sleepless nights about them, and worries, and sometimes cried my eyes out. I hope they prepared me to be a better mother. I’m still feeling woefully inadequate at the moment.

I promise I will try to come back to blogging…. I need to keep my sanity, keep some kind of footing, grounding…. and I lost so much time, so many thoughts, again, just all that suppressed fear I had all along my pregnancy…..

Anyway…. my kids…. now I have my own, after all these years….

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Fear of joy

Songkran is notoriously difficult to take good photos of, especially if you don’t have a waterproof camera, which I never did for this festival…. for the real deal, really need to google images for “chiang mai songkran parade”….. please do 🙂

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It was an experience…. but then, after three years, I always preferred a trip abroad in the middle of April, after having been knocked off my motorbike something like 5 days before the holiday, on the way home from work. I didn’t feel safe anymore. I desperately wanted to be there but was too scared to. But I do miss the parades, the streets of the old city, where most people still managed to behave respectfully (more or less), at least back in 2006.

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Every April, for a few hours, I’m there in spirit, seeking blessings, praying, and going for an all-out water fight with my students in the scorching April heat. I miss the joy…. that crazy outpouring of sheer joy that the photos don’t reflect. They were taken at the parade to the governor’s residence, not a main event. I was way too worried about my camera. Just feasting on others’ photos all the time when I want to remember.

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I remember this guy above kept a chilled can of beer in his bowl, not offerings 🙂

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So many moments of joy coming to my mind now, people and experiences I don’t have any photos of. Dancing in the monsoon rain. Chanting with the monks. The scent of flowers staining my fingertips yellow. The chill of icy water running down my spine.

I’ve had a good life, after all…. but the thing is, I need joy from the world, from others, from outside, I cannot just generate and create it for myself. I’m like a vampire, feeding on others’ souls…. and desperately trying to give back and contribute, just the restore balance to the world.

These days, I’m scared I will die soon and then who will take care of my son? I cannot send him back to his father, no matter how much I love him. There is never ever any more balance in this world. No way, impossible. I wanted to create something way too desperately and I’m still half expecting lightning to strike me down.

And even if I live, can I not put this burden on him, that he needs to make me happy and give me joy and give meaning to my whole life?

I’ve been wanting this so many years, and I thought my years of not caring about myself at all would help, but probably I’ve been on the wrong track all along. Or not sure what’s going on. I’m still terrified and not a single step closer to feeling all right about what awaits me.

Sometimes I fear that no songkran, no new years, no joy will ever help….

 

 

Swimming down memory lane

I have about 160 students scattered around this city, the oldest would be 13 now, the youngest, turning 8, but in my mind, they are still mostly 5 or 6. Wherever I go, someone’s gonna jump on me and hug me, and even if I cannot connect all the dots immediately, I know.

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Today it was three pairs of goggles, different ones, back then I didn’t have that camera yet, the one I used to coax them underwater with their eyes open – something I still cannot do myself. But tomorrow, could be these goggles. 

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I cannot even begin to tell how it feels to be remembered, and in a good way, and to know my life hasn’t been a complete waste of time. It’s so nice to be at home, turn the familiar corners, see all the same faces – the same guy opening the door at the bank, same clerks, same phat thai cook, same swimming pool attendant. And then run into people who used to fill my days and thoughts and worries. It’s nice to let my guard down and float around, even while running errands. I know I am home and I am safe.

(It’s the right girl now, just not in the water.)

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Home is where you have ice cream in a fridge (….), and where your laptop remembers all the wifi passwords already, and where you get upset if the supermarket is rearranged. Where you have people remembering you and maybe in an odd moment or two, even missing you.

Not you, me.

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Swimming was a much-needed sensation. I’ve just realised I’d been completely disconnected from my body since I went under and woke up in that hospital bed. It’s not me anymore. I have no idea how I will deal with this, at all, but in a way, today I had a better feel for who on earth I am than anytime in the past eight or so months. I’ve just realised I’d been more deeply hurt, at another level as well, than I ever thought.

Whatever happens, in a way, I will always be there when these kids open a book. A little ant in the corner of the title page. Because I was there when they sounded out and blended their first words.

(Or, staying with the swimming pool theme, pulled them out of the pool when they were trying to catch their breath, which is kinda essential if you want to read a book ever again.)

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But am I meant to or able to do and be anything else? Or is this all, curtains down?

(Shoot, and this was actually a happy day, but here I go again.)

Beautiful blues

School is really busy, my brain is fried, and the internet only works very late at night, but I wanted to share something anyway. Probably the place where I really got hooked on snorkelling, after seeing my first giant mantas. Calm seas. Coral gardens. All that quiet. And we didn’t even get shipwrecked. Actually, would be nice to go back. Keep dreaming 🙂

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Eyes of the beholder

The real beauty of the flower and the butterfly…. probably that it is not aware of its own beauty.

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And that it doesn’t even need to be. Everything works and falls into place by itself. It’s irrelevant. Coincidental. God playing around and having fun.

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Just a little bit of everyday wonder for those unfortunate creatures who do have a concept of beauty, however flawed and useless and hurtful.

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Pause.

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Really wish I had the innocence of a butterfly. Or at least I could go back to that time in my life when I was confident, when I got a chance to believe that the world is beautiful, fair, kind and safe. That I am strong, warm and beautiful in a way that really matters, and it will be good enough to count. And I didn’t even know…

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Sometimes I hope I am nothing but a butterfly’s dream.