Bangkok, Thailand – Part 3

As I walked off the plane in Bangkok, I knew this was going to be a different experience from Koh Samui and it was. After I said goodbye to my retreat friends at the airport, my private tour guide greeted me with a sign above his head with my name on it. It quickly became evident that Mr. Perez was a gentle soul. He really took the time to get to know me, and despite our differences, we became fast friends. 

We drove 45 minutes from the airport to the Pathumwan Princess Hotel, where I was booked for two nights. As Mr. Perez was driving, he started asking me questions as to my whereabouts. The first question he asked was, “what brings you to my beautiful country?” This was not a difficult question to answer, but of course, I made it harder for myself. I wanted to tell him the truth, but I also wanted to impress him with my knowledge. I told him I was here for a yoga retreat. Then, after a nervous hiccup, I told him I was here to learn more about his beautiful country. I believe my answers started a gentle bond between the two of us. As we were entering the city, I looked outside and saw nothing but buildings and grey skies. What sparked my interest most was the fact that, from the highway, I could clearly see rundown apartment complexes with linens hanging off peoples’ balconies. There were many times during our 45-minute drive where I wanted to stop and take everything in. I wondered what it would be like to live here and I kept searching for vivid details within the walls of the city I was about to endure. I was amazed by the amount of unused infrastructure that was surrounding me. 

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When I arrived at the hotel, the valet staff greeted me through soft smiles and hand gestures. They bowed down to me. This is a typical way to greet each other in Thailand. In return, I bowed down to them. At first, I was shy in doing so because I normally don’t bow down to people, but I felt compelled to do so in order to honor their culture. I walked upstairs to the reception desk. The staff greeted me with a ginger shot. Generally speaking, I don’t like ginger, but this was really good. It was a mini party in my mouth. They gave me keys to my room and I took the elevator up to the 15th floor.  When I entered the room, the gracefulness that I executed to the hotel staff had vanished. I sloppily threw my bags on the bed and rushed out to meet Nan, my roommate from Switzerland who is originally from Thailand.  I was already late in meeting her and I didn’t have a clue to where I was. As I was speed walking through the city just trying to find my bearings, I saw Tuk Tuk drivers passing me left and right. I decided that I no longer wanted to walk and so, I hailed a “cab.”

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My Tuk Tuk driver speeds through the city and I hold on for dear life. I kept telling myself that he was going to crash, even though I knew he wasn’t.  I was in Thailand for goodness sake. When I arrived at the mall where I was to meet Nan, my Wi-Fi connection decided to go out. I didn’t panic; although I was annoyed. After twenty five minutes of trying to find each other, we finally did. I wiped the panic look off my face and smiled as I greeted her with a hug. I could tell she was determined to do the same. I felt an instant connection with her, as if we’ve been spending time together on a weekly basis. She grabs my left arm and links it through her right arm (this is a very common thing to see in Thailand) and I immediately recall her doing that exact same thing in Switzerland. Again, it was as if we’ve never left each other. I smile to myself because I just knew that seeing each other again wasn’t going to be awkward. What a relief!

When we sat down for dinner, Nan started talking. In my opinion, her English was just as good, if not better, than it was when we were rooming together in Switzerland. After we ordered our food, we bombarded each other with questions — questions we have been meaning to ask each other for 5 years now. Her first question to me was, “Do you have the same boyfriend?” Oh what a typical Nan question! I told her I didn’t due to us going in different directions. She didn’t seem to understand what that meant, so I re-worded my answer. “We were not meant to be,” I said. She understood that much more clearly. After I stuffed my guts with delicious Pad-Thai, Nan and I walked down to the ice cream shop. Memories from five years ago took over, as I distinctly remember Nan just loving to force food down my throat. After dinner, Nan asked me “Are you still hungry?” I laughed out loud, trying not to make fun of her. In fact, I wasn’t. I was just getting used to a different culture. I said “sure,” thinking she would take that as a “yes,” and she did. After hours of shopping and eating, it was time for Nan to go home. After we parted ways, I decided that I wasn’t done exploring the city just yet. I ventured further downtown and went shopping at a local mall near my hotel. I must admit, shopping downtown can be addicting in Thailand. Everything is so cheap and I wanted to buy the entire mall! I had to keep in mind that I had a lot of luggage to schlep back to America with me. I didn’t want to break my back, and so, I ended up buying a few gifts for my friends back in America. 

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Floating Market and Temple Tour

The next morning, Mr. Perez picks me up at 8:30 in the morning and drives me two hours north of the city. During the long car ride, I felt obligated to ask him questions. I kept my questions simple due to language barrier and after a few attempts I said, “um, excuse me, what’s that big blue and white building?” Mr. Perez answered that this was a factory and continued saying that I should probably keep silent the rest of the way. I was taken aback by his insulting reply and didn’t know how to respond. I did what I was told and remained silent the rest of the way. I had a notion that I was annoying him with my on-going questions and my initial thought to generate conversation was incorrect. As we were driving further away from the city and deeper into the country side, I noticed that there were a lot of open aired trucks with people plopped in the back seat, without any form of seat belt. Seat belts are a rarity in Thailand. In other words, if a driver notices a passenger without their seatbelt on, they simply won’t say anything.  Very strange for a girl who grew up with parents checking to see if she had her seatbelt on. Anyway, the last hour consisted of complete silence. I resisted the urge to fall asleep.

When we reached the first leg of the tour, I was finally able to get out of the car to stretch. The first stop was Thailand’s form of “plantations.” This is where they grew corn. It was more of a process than just simply planting seeds into the ground. The workers somehow remained functional in these sweltering conditions. I give them big props for working as hard as they do. They kindly allowed me to look around for twenty minutes before heading to the floating markets. I was doing my best to be considerate while taking photos. I didn’t want to come off as rude or disrespectful, but I wanted to capture the moment as best as possible. When it was time for us to leave, my tour guide announced that it would be “just one more hour” until we arrived to where the boats departed. Sigh. Accept. Move on.

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Once we arrived, I followed Mr. Perez to the boats. He threw me a life jacket and said “You must wear this.” I laughed out loud, put on my life jacket and hopped into the boat.

Off we went!

As the boat was speeding through the small canals, I noticed the sound of the air rushing past my ears and the wind in my face. I was stunned by the scenery and felt very grateful in this moment. My face went numb after some time and I realized “Shoot, I forgot to put on sunscreen.” With this scorching weather, I was bound to get severely burned. Luckily, our first stop had bonnets and hats for sale. I bought a straw hat. By all means, this was not a glamorous hat, but it did its job well. After my tour guide left me to shop alone, I felt enormous freedom. I walked the streets with a huge grin on my face. I was starving at this point as I hadn’t eaten all day, and was going to eat anything I could get my hands on. I walked to the food section of the market and decided I wanted noodles. I gave the lady 100 Baht and ordered myself a big bowl of noodles. I sat down on a blue chair that was two sizes too small for me to fit on and ate until I nearly felt sick. While walking back to the shops, all of a sudden, I felt someone grab my shoulder from behind. I pivoted to my left and saw a woman holding two small round bottles. She begged me to buy what she was selling. I raised my eyebrows and said “I’m sorry, I don’t have any money on me.” I turned around and kept walking. Less than 10 seconds later, she appeared again and quite frankly, scared the crap out of me.

“How much?” I asked.

“90 Baht” she replied. (Sigh)

In this moment, I realized that I was in a foreign country and didn’t foresee myself coming back to a country like this anytime soon. I had to seize the opportunity and take her up on her offer. It was cheap and I was helping someone in need. I bought two small bottles of Icy Hot and kept trotting along. After a few minutes of walking, yet another lady stopped me, trying to sell me the exact same thing. I chuckled carelessly and thought to myself “Are you kidding me?” I walked away as quickly as possible and ducked into a shop. For goodness sake, I couldn’t catch a break. I peaked out to make sure the coast was clear and surely enough, it was. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone holding something big and I turned around to get a clearer look and surely enough, it was a huge snake. Intrigued, I walked towards it. The man in charge approached me without any hint of hesitation and said “here you go beautiful.” He threw the snake on me. No, not placed, but threw it on my back. He was sly about it. His mischievous laugh made me nervous. He grabbed my phone and started taking photos of me and this massive beast of his. He repeatedly said “strike a pose.” I felt like I was in a photo shoot or something. It was quite nice. The snake’s eye touched my cheek and I froze in fear. It was jolly old fun, indeed.

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I met up with Mr. Perez and we headed to the temples. The temples were absolutely stunning. Mr. Perez told me that these temples were the ones his mother and father took him to as a child. When the car turned the corner, Mr. Perez pointed to the elementary school he went to. “Brings back a lot of memories” he whispered to himself. “Yeah, I bet” I replied. This reminded me of my own elementary school days. I began to sink deeply into my own thoughts about my days at Fallsmead Elementary School and after about two minutes, I snapped back to reality.

As touching as his personal stories were, Mr. Perez had been here many times and left me alone during the rest of the tour. I took my shoes off and walked into the “Reclining Buddhas” room. The Reclining Buddha represents the historical buddha during his last illness, about to enter the stage of parinirvana. The Reclining Buddha statues are not supposed to induce sadness towards people but rather, the reclining buddha should be taken as an object of encouragement that all beings have the potential to be awakened and release themselves from any type of suffering. The expression on the Buddhas faces’ portray compassion and symbolizes the meaning of rebirth. The symbolic meaning to this particular sculpture really touched my heart and caused me to view death in a different way. I have found that as I get older, the more I accept death as just another part of life. However, there have been many times where I think about death so deeply that it makes me want to cry. I’m not sure if the tears come from fear, realization, sadness or a combination of the three. I’ve become good at pushing away my dark thoughts when it comes to things like this. I stood there and took in all the earthly colors. I circled the Buddha slowly, capturing only the scenes I wanted to remember. When I walked outside, there were three beautiful stupas waiting to greet me. In Buddhism, a stupa is a mound-like structure that serves as a place of meditation. Their colors were vibrant and astonishing. I craned my neck to see the very top. After viewing all the temples, Mr. Perez pulls up in his black car and honks his horn. He picks me up at a traffic light and takes me to the last temple. The last temple was one of many golden temples, although I feel like this was the goldest temple of them all. It was extremely shinny and it even hurt my eyes to stare at it for too long. Just the thought of this tour being over made me sad. I don’t know when I’ll return to a foreign country again.

Mr. Perez asked me what I was going to do when I got back to the hotel. I told him that I was probably just going to relax at the pool.

To Be Continued….

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Thailand – Part 2

Vikasa 

When I arrived at Vikasa, I said hello to the people I knew and introduced myself to the people I didn’t know. Carolina and Jeb, a married couple, were the hosts of this getaway trip. I originally met them through my brother Alex, who did Cross-fit with them a while ago. They were the first people I came into contact with when I arrived at the resort and they greeted me with a very warm welcome.

Our group was given the same itinerary for the upcoming week’s activities. Each day would consist of yoga, fitness and more yoga, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The classes were not mandatory, only suggested. In other words, if you didn’t want to do a morning yoga session one day and wanted to go to the beach with friends instead, then that is what you’d do. The retreat lasted for seven days. Two out of those seven days, we would all go to a temple tour and go island hopping together.

I really had to push myself the first day, as I haven’t experienced jet lag quite like this before. The morning after I arrived, I awoke and my eyes were heavy. My roommate Christine and I walked down to the yoga sala together for our very first session. For the most part, Carolina would be our yoga instructor and Jeb would pitch in every once in a while. It was pure adrenaline that got me through the first day.

I don’t consider myself to be an expert at yoga. I find it to be very challenging, both mentally and physically. I do it strictly for the peace of mind and to strengthen my core. In the many yoga sessions that I have participated in when in Los Angeles, I have noticed that I have the tendency to glance over at my neighbors to compare what they’re doing to my own practice. Although I recognize that this isn’t a healthy habit, I still catch myself doing it every so often. Before Carolina started the first session, she told us, in a very serious tone, to focus on our breath. She emphasized to us how important breath is in yoga. For example, when our arms became too tired to hold our body weight up any longer, coming back to our breath would distract us from our initial urge to fall. “Return to breath! Return to breath! Return to breath!” My muscles were tight the first day, probably due to sitting on an airplane for 24 hours. I felt as if I hadn’t stretched in years. I was somewhat anxious because I knew that I hadn’t been practicing yoga on a daily basis prior to this trip. I wondered if my body would be able to handle deep stretching like this for an entire week. I wondered if my mind would be able to shut down for the week. I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a competition, even if my mind wanted to believe otherwise. Each time I became distracted by how I thought others were doing “better” than I was, I would look down at my mat and tell myself “Return to your breath.” This helped me a lot. The fascinating thing about yoga is that it is based more on mindfulness than a typical workout. Yes, it has its workout perks, like strengthening the core and increasing mobility, but more often than not, it is about returning to your breath. Some have told me that yoga “isn’t for them.” I disagree. I believe that yoga can be for everyone. It doesn’t matter how flexible you are. It doesn’t even matter if you’re fit or not. The practice itself is a testament to your own personal growth. For me, I see it as a mindfulness practice with gentle exercise involved. A lot of people insist that they have to look the part; like the people in the magazines. In truth, you don’t. I left Vikasa realizing this and now I feel more beautiful inside. As the week wore on, my body gradually became more flexible and my mind became still. I felt less of a need to push myself in order to “look” a certain way to others. It became very clear to me that I didn’t need to please anybody except myself. After this realization occurred, I sailed through the rest of the week.

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Mini Mart/Moonstone

Directly across the street from the resort was a mini mart. The mini mart sold cold beverages, medicine, snacks and a few hats and t-shirts. When I was desperate for some cold A.C, I would walk across the street and sit on the little yellow chair next to the cash register. It was a nice escape from the heat. Next to the mini-mart was a bar called “Moonstone.” It looked to me as if Moonstone was built from houses that might have been damaged in extreme weather conditions. I could be very wrong, but that’s how it appeared to me. One night, I walked to the bar with some people from the group. Before I ordered my beverage, I walked to the bathroom alone, only to be greeted by a chicken. “A chicken” I say. I screamed and almost tripped over it. “What in the dickens is this thing doing here?” I said to myself. Luckily, my scream scared away the chicken and I could go to the bathroom peacefully. On my return, one of bar tenders stopped me and said, “Did you see the chicken? Well, I heard you scream so I assume you did.” I chuckled and replied “Yes!” That night, I drank my beer and chatted with my mates. The breeze seeped through the cracks of the wooden bar and landed on the back of my neck. It felt great. I ended up going to bed a little earlier that night, as I was exhausted from the days activities.

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Temples  

The temple tours were spectacular — a must see if you’re ever in Koh Samui. The architecture was stunning, and the temples were huge, standing approximately 100 feet above my head each time. I would have to crane my neck upwards, at a 45-degree angle in order to see the top. The first temple we saw was called, “Wat Phra Yai,” locally referred to as “The Big Buddha.” Built in 1972, this structure sits majestically off Samui’s north shore. In order to honor the culture of Thailand, shoes must be removed before climbing the hundreds of stairs to this masterpiece. As we entered the temples’ grounds, most of the group ran ahead to take pictures. Not me. I wanted the moments I had on these beautiful grounds to last. I wanted to take my time and not rush. Just below the staircase is where most of the monks do their morning chants. One of the girls in our group decided to participate in this practice. We all took pictures of her as she wrote down her blessings on a small sheet of paper and tossed it into a seaweed bowl (this was truly astounding to watch). Below the temple, beyond where the monks live, is where all the shopping happens. They have a few outdoor shops and food vendors. I bought a cute pair of elephant pants and it was worth every Baht. I was definitely in a spiritual mood and decided to do some mindfulness practice on my own. I simply felt the floor below me after each step I took. The marble floor was warm. It felt quite nice.

The next temple we went to was called “Wat Plai Laem.” Nestled alongside a lake, this 18-armed piece delights many travelers and locals who come here to pray. Directly across the street from these temples sits a school. My friends and I heard some chanting and at first, we didn’t know where the sounds were coming from. We followed the sounds. As the chanting grew louder, we noticed a group of about 100 students sitting on the floor with their arms wrapped around their body. The other half of the students had their arms in prayer position. We watched them for approximately 10 minutes. I can only imagine what these children’s lives are like – a harsh, yet skilled teacher to say the least. Right before I was about to walk away from the school’s grounds, a little boy approached the fence and waved to me from the other side. I smiled and waved back. I choked back a few tears as I walked away. “Wat Plai Laem” truly peaked my curiosity and so, I decided to scope out the area even further and I walked to the back of the temple. There was a beautiful lake just waiting to greet me, along with large turtles swarming the area. I got my picture taken and off I went. The temples were certainly worth the 25 minute van ride.

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Islands

On Thursday morning, we hopped into another van that took us to one of the most popular docks on the island. The van ride was bumpy and full of excitement. The part of the ride I remember most was looking outside and noticing how beautiful the palm trees were. They were perfectly aligned in an empty field of green grass, with stunning mountains in the background. I wasn’t use to seeing so much space and land, as I now live is Los Angeles. Anyway, I was delighted when we arrived to where the boats departed. At first, I couldn’t believe these were snorkeling tour boats, as they were so beautiful and vast, and different from similar trips I’ve taken back home. These boats are considered “speedboats” in Thailand. They don’t go nearly as fast as the speedboats in America, but the engine roared obnoxiously loud. There were six people in my boat and initially, we left the dock area slowly. Then, it became a competition. As the boat increased in speed, the engines’ noise grew louder and within minutes, another boat sped by us, creating waves that almost tipped our boat over. One of the girls screamed and I giggled. It was exhilarating.

When we arrived at the snorkeling spot, we all jumped into the water. The ocean was a beautiful turquoise blue that had me in awe! Most of the group snorkeled, but I decided to do things a little differently. I floated on my back, watching the beautiful clouds pass over me. Then, I flipped upright and watched the islands’ trees sway back and forth, listening to the sounds of nature as it appeared. When we were done our snorkeling festivities, we hopped back onto the boat and headed towards the island of “Koh Madsum,” just south of Koh Samui. Before getting off the boat, I noticed that there was a food stand from afar. Once we arrived, I immediately jumped off the boat and ran to the stand to grab and drink and a snack. I was starving, but didn’t want to admit that to anyone. I nonchalantly roamed around the island for a bit and noticed pigs in the distance. I was shocked! I quickly became intrigued and walked towards them. Surprisingly, they didn’t smell bad at all. I stood there for a while and watched them…just like a little boy watches his favorite cartoons on a Saturday morning. Once again, my inner child started to seep through the cracks. There were a bunch of baby pigs feeding on their mama. I knelt down to watched them.

After a long van ride home, I plopped down on my bed and took a 20 minute nap. The sun will surely make you tired, no matter what kind of day you had.

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Elephant Sanctuary 

The elephant sanctuary was phenomenal. The van picked us up in the wee hours of the morning and took us over to where the elephants lived. My roommate and I had planned this just two days into the retreat. Both of us decided that this was something we really wanted to do, more than anything else. It was worth the money! A couple of others from the retreat joined us on that cloudy afternoon. Once we arrived, we had to wait for other groups to join us in order to start the process. Yes, it was a process, and a tedious one at that. After waiting over an hour for the others to arrive, we were forced to watch a short documentary on how to treat the elephants. I could clearly see the sadness painted on the face of the woman speaking harsh realities about the elephants and how they were mistreated in the past. Furthermore, the documentary told us how to approach the elephants and where to stand. For example, you don’t want to stand where the elephants can’t see you, as a few of the elephants are blind in one eye. They went on to tell us the do’s and don’t’s of feeding and approaching an elephant. Once a couple of hours passed by, it was finally time to meet these beautiful creatures.

After waiting for what seemed like a lifetime, I think it’s appropriate to say we all just wanted to jump right in. However, that wasn’t an option. We had to approach the elephants slowly because they startle easily. I grabbed some pineapple from the bucket and started feeding them one-by-one. I wasn’t scared, but rather hesitant. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I was told to do, properly. Prior to feeding them, one of the girls yelled from afar, “Oh my god, Maddie, just GO!” Well, jeez! Perhaps a little push is just what I needed. After I fed them a couple of times, I became more comfortable with them, just as they did with me. After 20 minutes passed by, our guide announced that it was time to “hop the fence,” (not literally). He opened the gate and we went through. The elephants followed us. We ventured further into the wilderness and as we approached a tree, we stopped. The remainder of the sanctuary consisted of our guide speaking more about the elephants and us getting to pet and feed them. It was sad leaving the sanctuary. I wanted to make sure that they were going to be well taken care of. It appeared to me that they were, but you never know in a foreign country. After our mini group arrived back to Vikasa, we were bombarded with questions by those who didn’t participate in the outing. They all pretty much asked the same question, like, “Oh my god, how was it?” — Yeah, something along those lines. Ha!

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Downtown

During the the middle of the week, Christine and I went downtown to go shopping. This was the first time I had been downtown since I arrived to Koh Samui. It was alarming and quite different from the resort life. Certain areas of downtown were more developed than other parts. It was interesting to see the transition from block to block. During the taxi ride, my eyes were glued to the surroundings. I saw dogs running across the street, which is a very normal thing to see in Thailand. I saw a lot of food vendors on the side of the street where locals sold their food. I saw the elderly knitting on the side of the road and selling their makings. I was acting like I was on a different planet, like Jupiter, for example. We hopped out of the taxi and it started pouring down rain. We didn’t have umbrellas handy, so we walked a quarter of a mile to a 7-11 to get ponchos. It started thundering and lighting as well, and the only thing that kept us dry were tents. We shopped in cute boutique stores alongside the road. The side walks were so small, they practically didn’t exist. It was lunch time and I was craving some real Thai food. Christine agreed that Thai food would be ideal right about now. After shopping for thirty minutes, we plopped down to get some delicious food. I was starving and inhaled my food within six minutes (a rough estimate). I patiently waited for Christine to finish. She looked at me and asked if I was rushing her. “No darling, take your time” I said. Oh, how I was embarrassed. After lunch, we enjoyed strolling around the area for a while. It stopped raining at this point. As we were walking, I saw a salon that caught my attention immediately. I stopped and Christine ran into the back of me. We both looked at each other and exchanged knowing glances. Yes, this means that we got our nails done in Thailand. I also got a Thai foot massage that felt incredible!

Thailand – Part 1

When I arrived at LAX airport, I was calm. Not much adrenaline pumped through my veins, as it normally would have for a vacation this exciting. I haven’t traveled nearly this far by myself before, but I knew what I wanted to get out of this trip. Besides, of course, the fun yoga retreat itself, I was yearning for more than just a trip to Thailand. I was yearning for continued self-discovery. Although I have found a lot of myself through the changes, challenges and experiences I have recently encountered, there were a few more pieces missing from the puzzle — pieces that were, perhaps, a little harder to find than I had anticipated.

The plane ride to Koh Samui was very long and boring; a 24-hour flight to be exact. Two layovers, one of which was in Doha, Qatar. The take off process was quite lengthy. It entailed a 20-minute delay due to the pilots making sure that everything was working properly. It also entailed even more of a delay due to the flight attendants announcing their safety manual in ten different languages (a rough estimate). As the plane lifted off the ground, that was it! There was no turning back. With my arms resting at my sides, I took a deep breath and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible in preparation for this long flight.

After the plane had taken off, I sat in silence for a few of hours and listened to Lara Fabian’s Camouflage album. In order to occupy my mind for a couple of hours, I looked out the window, trying to make shapes out of the clouds that rose so beautifully above me. The chill from the air conditioning beaming down on me, the infinite sky, and the beautiful music that was playing on my iPod, created sensations in my body that will never escape my mind. In other words, chills from head to toe coursed vigorously through my veins. Perhaps I even choked back a few tears. I was okay. I was happy. I felt a sense of relief that I can’t quite explain. I tried to fall asleep. I drifted in and out of consciousness for approximately two hours. I woke up, and well, I wasn’t in Thailand quite yet. For just a brief moment, I forgot where I was. I looked around me and saw that everyone was sleeping.

12 + hours later…

When we began our descent into Doha, I looked out the window to see how close we were to the ground. I have always had the unique ability to tell when an airplane is descending, even before the pilots alert the passengers. I wanted to see if I could spot any land. I wanted to see something that would jump out at me; something that would reveal itself and remind me that I was no longer in America. I didn’t see any landmarks due to the clouds covering the land, but that’s okay. When we finally landed, I walked outside and was hit by the most gruesome heat I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never experienced this much humidity before. I had exactly 1 hour to catch my next flight to Bangkok. I had not a clue to which part of the airport I was in, but luckily I was overcome with curiosity rather than anxiety. My younger self started to emerge into the light.

As I was walking through Hamad International Airport, I was reminded of what it was like to walk into the unknown, but I was not afraid. I had no clue where I was. I saw a lot of people wearing veils and headscarf’s. I saw people who were very buttoned up – prim and proper. The moment I walked off the plane, I turned my head to the right and was greeted by an adorable little girl and boy playing cars together on the floor. Memories of pure joy flooded my mind as I thought about traveling as a child. I miss traveling as a child and although I am traveling alone now, I still felt a little somber. Hamad International Airport was and is so beautiful! I knew now that I wasn’t in America. My heart and soul took in everything that was surrounding me. I was in a wee bit of a rush, so I couldn’t stare off into space for too long, but the little kid inside of me found a small amount of time to do so, anyway. For me, the secret to partial happiness is to carry around my inner child in times of need — to let whatever lies deep within me flow out of the river banks to show, not only the world, but also myself, that my appetite for life still exists.

At this point, I was tired. I boarded my next flight to Bangkok. I sat next to a mother and daughter who were absolutely adorable. They didn’t speak any English, so in order to communicate with each other, we simply greeted one another with smiles and hand gestures. When I needed to go to the restroom, I would stand up and smile, and she would let me out (always smiling back).

When I arrived in Koh Samui, I hopped into a taxi that would proceeded to the resort. I remember looking out the window and thinking to myself, “Where the hell am I?” Now, before I progress, I must say that the drivers on the island were reckless drivers. My taxi driver decides to pass on a one-way road, leaving the car coming in the other direction forced to swerve off the road. In other words, I almost died. Anyway, I had been by myself for 24 hours and now there were people coming up to me, random strangers introducing themselves to me. I hadn’t been exposed to this kind of friendliness in quite some time and I forgot how it felt. I felt like I was at sleep away soccer camp. What a great way to start the journey. 🙂

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“A Self Love Story”

There she sat
Frustrated as could be.
The blind caterpillar
That just could not see.

She walked into walls
With frustration gripping her every move.
Not able to grow tall
She felt very small.

A vacant look from someone
Meant a stab in the chest.
But, in reality it meant
She could not easily rest.

Is it me?
Or is it them?
I can’t see
I can’t see

She cared way too much
About what her mates might think.
That her true self
Began to shrink.

A few years passed by
With experience and all.
She whispered to herself
That she wasn’t going to dare fall.

“I’m going to set myself free.
And the most beautiful part is,
That anyone can see.
Because, finally, after all these years,
I’m okay with being me”

A simple cocoon she began to spin
Her caterpillar self was encased within
Until a different self emerged
Her heart leapt, her emotions surged

While others saw a different her
What she saw and what she knew
Was that she had followed her heart
All the way through

A Couple’s Last Dance – Poem

Let’s go to a dance
Where there is an abundance of romance
Where we can sway our hips 
And kiss each others’ lips

Look into my blue eyes
The ones you’ve always admired
They will make you smile
And want to walk down that long aisle

But first, promise me this
When it comes time to lay me down to rest
You will be fine
And push yourself to do your very best

Take my hand and walk me into the bright light
There I will depart
But never will I depart
From your golden heart

Let go, darling
Please, let go

It’s time for my wings to spread
It’s time for me to fly
Just know that deep inside
You’ll always be mine

The Girl Beneath Black Ice – Poem

She wore her pink dress well
She just couldn’t see it.
Until she fell down a few times
She’d be forced to believe it.

And so, there she fell, miles under the sea
Down, down she went, only to believe she wouldn’t ever be free.
When one day, she hit rock bottom and her body became frozen
But by then, her mind was far from wide open.

In her heart, she yearned to set herself free
So upwards she swam, as forcefully as could be.
She knew she couldn’t beat around the bush
And so, she was forced to push

She pushed and she pushed

As time passed by, she started to believe she was worth it
She whispered to herself that she sure as hell wasn’t going to forfeit
She was going to win this game by at least a mile
When one day, she finally came to realize she was truly worthwhile

She wore her pink dress well
And now she sees it.
It took hitting rock bottom many times,
For her to finally believe it.

The Value of my Authentic Self

This poem is called “From Within”

I will not let you twirl out of this world
Not today, not tomorrow, or the next day.
You’re too good of a person to me
No honey, I will not let you be

Your thoughts are merely an image of your reflection
And when you hide from the world
I will have to spy on you and your objection

These foolish mind games you play
Will have to die today
I’m not sorry
I will kill each one of them, in spite of what you say

Don’t be ashamed
Don’t be afraid to claim your game
When you finally start fighting for you
Eventually, I will too

I will fight for you in the morning and the evening
Yes, I will help you to retrieve your meaning
And when you’ve finished writing your inner story
I will help you publish your inner glory.

Stay golden!

 

This poem is called “Strength”

Let me take your hand
Stay calm, darling
I will lead you to your destiny 
But first, we must follow some rules

Do not run, only walk
Do not think, only be

Your time will arrive, so do not rush what hasn’t come.
You will only become who you are, not who you want to be
So please darling, listen to me
I know best
Listen to me, without any distress

The clouds from above are pure and white
Just like how you want to make all things right

I will laugh with you and cry with you
But, I will promise you one thing
Only you can push you through

 

This poem is called “Our souls will never detach”

Wave to me
But don’t let me be
I miss you as I quiver my lips to sleep
Only then will you return to me deep

Even in the brightest of days do I become sad
You’re truly all that I had
I wish you well up in the sky
I promise you, I’ll try not to cry

Some days are harder than others
But the easy days are what get me through
And even when I’m feeling blue
I’ll be wishing nothing but the best for you

Can you hear my voice?
Can you hear my sound?
Because when you’re not watching
I promise, I’ll always stick around

Stay beautiful!

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