I've had a strange few weeks. I've jumped time zones as though the act of leaping across continents was as simple as a game of hop scotch. I've seen wonderful things and met people who are kind and inspiring. And in recent days I've also found my way back to the sea.
We are currently in Cha-am, Thailand, a little holiday place filled with mostly young Thai families who have come here to get out of the city and old Scandinavian people, many of whom probably spend months of their year here (at least it would appear so given the orange brown tint and leathery texture of their skin). It's not as pristine as the island resorts further south with their aqua marine water but it is relaxed and the sun shines and the people are mostly friendly. I've been interspersing sleeping and reading with trips down to play in the sea shore (which is right across the street from our guest house, we have a sea view). The water here isn't quite as warm as it was in Mexico, but it's pretty close. Over the past few days it's been a bit windy and we've spent our time jumping over waves, gasping and sputtering as we climb out with salty lips and tangled hair.
We're not sure how long we're going to stay down here. Tomorrow morning we're looking at a little condo that's available - slightly over our budget but we're desperate to settle down in a place with a kitchen and some privacy. Neither of us have felt like we've really been anywhere long enough to unpack since Laos. I would love to not have to eat out for the next week and there's a Tesco Lotus in a nearby town where we can stock up on everything we want. Dan even found Branston Pickle today, albeit for more than we would pay for it in the UK.
The alternative to staying here for another week is heading North to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, which both sound like lovely, easy places but with no sea. I imagine them to be a more modern version of Laos.
I arrived in Bangkok only a few days ago after my 48 hour jaunt to California. My interview was such a good experience and everyone was so genuinely kind and clever. If the Visa gods smile down on me, I would be a fool to not seize the opportunity to do such interesting work at such a great company. Time will tell.
The above picture of me was taken by Dan when we were in Versailles, France in February 2009. I stumbled upon it in an old folder today and couldn't help but look at that girl and wonder a bit who she was. When I was in Vancouver this past summer, I read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and as I reflect back on this year of flux, reinvention, growth and change, I can't help but feel like I've been afforded this wonderful slot of time in which I've been able to re-imagine my life, my professional practice, my passions, my art. And although I didn't have to suffer the kind of horrible loss that sparked Didion's year of magical thinking, the experience of travel is also one of always leaving something behind: a shoe, a book, an elastic band ... and along with these things, the sadness inherent in the realization that nothing will ever be exactly the same again. Laos will never feel like it did those few beautiful weeks in December, just like Versailles will never be the same crisp, colorful place it was during that beautiful and delicate weekend in February 2009 - and I'll never be the same either.
I used to cry about this on birthdays when I was a kid. I would have a wonderful day and then get into bed and sob for the year that was gone and that would never be again. And my god, when they play that horrible Auld Lang Sine song at New Years it slays me; and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland. All songs about time and loss woven into our precious celebratory moments to remind us that the time is slipping by far more quickly than we can possible realize.
But the sea feels constant and restorative and the daily act of allowing it to toss us around makes waiting for the next change much, much easier. It's like an hour glass, slowly washing everything clean.