Sunday, August 6, 2017

Love-hate Kind of Thing

Working and staying with volunteers from all over the world through the years, Id say, is both a joy and a discomfort. More often than not, I just had to remind myself that I dont need to like everyone or vice versa. People are different after allit is nothing but the truth. This might be the weirdest statement youd hear from me, but I will say it anyway. The way I perceive life is that, there is always a mixture of love-hate relationship for someone or something. When that happens, one must just accept the way it is. Nobody can control the feeling of others or them to control mineit is fair enough. So I dont like them and I am sticking to this impression. For whatever observation or reason I have against them, Ill keep it to myself. But it doesnt change a factfor now.

Before a batch or a few bunch of volunteers come, I always feel two particular things which are excitement and apprehension. Of course, I am actually always excited to work with and meet people of different cultures who share a common thinga social actionhelping the poor. But it makes me anxious at the same time not knowing what to take place and how to handle them in worst scenario. Like the group we just had which I had to endure for a while and also the team we are having at the moment. “Cant we not just work together despite differences? I protested in silence. Their indifference and frightful snob to Asian (like me) is killing me. Well, they work for a very prominent company and live in a place considered first world. Im just nobody. That makes sense. Three more nights, then Ill be fine. Happy to say, I am not staying or working with these kind of humans for ages. Let them find their kinds while I isolate with my own kinds as well.

P.S. Not all volunteers who came and I worked and stayed with are alike. I had fond memories with the majority of the volunteers as a matter of factbut not these past two groups of elite ones.

Unique Friendship

Our friendship is over four years old. It started as a standoffish student-teacher acquaintance when I taught an advanced ESL class where he was one of the learners. He is an introvert type of a person while I the other extreme. The world we live in dictates a few cultural boundaries but it didnt matter in the end. I couldnt befriended him because he was my student and I was like too way older (twenty-two years worlds apart). And so this is the rarest picture of a flourishing friendship you would probably seeat least where we are as regards this sort of thing. Last night, we had a long talk over the phone. It was not a peculiar one, but it was the first in a month. We chat a lot until these days. We could talk forever despite our personality and age differencesbut not our opinions. There were times when I thought that he really thinks matured than I am.

I still find ways to keep in touch with my learners in the past for as long as they are within reach, but this guy is the only one who is very consistent corresponding back. Through social media such as Facebook and messenger, through sms and phone calls, and through various meetups, we have been keeping this bond all these years. Where I come from, we call it a gift from above. And I am grateful eternally for this greatest treasure that I received. I can be your father since we cant be friends. I told him years ago. He just laughed because he knew what that means. From a student, then he became like a son of mine. And as the years rolled by, he became my confidantnow he is my best friend in the entire world.   

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Welcome August

As soon as the month of August came a few days ago, I wrote something in double-quick time on my blog out of my elation. Finally, the waiting is over. It read. If you happened to visit this spot lately, youve seen what this temporary status had said. And I have kept it until this morning, and will change this a few more minutes before I am going to post my full write-up about this anticipation very soon. Why not? August is always my favorite month of the year no matter what this thirty-one day calendar month has for meany way you slice it.

When I started my own countdown this year, I was both eager and anxious without knowing how long and how far I am going to make it without financial support back home to materialize these projects. Now, there is a new joythe agonizing months were over. I am in my third undertakingenduring still. So thankful to have reached this point of time of the year. Except my Creator, no one really understands my feeling of loneliness, my solo flight, and my struggles to keep these endeavors fulfilled. Life is never a no muss, no fuss scenario. There are always unbearable challenges to take. Now you know why I am making such a big row. Of course, Gods grace, strength, and provision has helped me make it through. Im undeniably grateful for this! Welcome August!

Monday, July 31, 2017


“Tog, tog, tog…!” I could hear the deafening beats of the drum at dusk and dawn every day. This thunderous sound for countless times has stolen my sanity early in the morning while I was still in bed snoring. Not only that, it snatched my focus as well while I was teaching in the afternoon. More than just telling stories, I hope I’m good at showing characters too, but I struggle describing how awful this ear-splitting pound of the drum that echoes round the temple. It was dreadful, but I think got so immune to it eventually. As dusk fell yesterday and today, I had my camera ready to take some photos of monks doing this routine. This has been on for a month now.

I have finally asked my boss who is a monk about the significance of this tradition. According to him, when watch wasn’t invented yet, the beat of the drum told time for farmers to wake up and go to the field before the crack of dawn and leave the field before the dusk falls. Buddhism in this country has kept this ritual over the years. Two more months and then I will have my total tranquility back. For now, I just have to bear this strident thumping of an instrument. After all I am just an outsider.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Full of Goodbyes

This month is full of goodbyes. And before I knew it, another special person bade farewell at noontime today. He was one of the young monks I had been teaching English for five weeks. It was a short time and wish I had known him better. He left for Sri Lanka to continue his journey as a monk for ten years. At fourteen, I find this milestone of him very strange. But he is not the only one doing the same voyage. I was told. His enthusiasm learning the language inspired me to keep doing the task. “Will you miss me teacher?” He asked me a few times, in a sweet voice. “Of course, I will.” I replied. Now I am starting to miss him. I know everything’s going to be alright for him. A decade seems a long, long way to count, and who knows, before I know it, I will see him again.

Three batches of volunteers have already gone back to their respective countries this July. And while I was writing the first paragraph of this entry tonight, another volunteer left goodbye. He was here for a week with his team to conduct a conference among young learners. His teammate has left before him last Friday in fact. And the rest of the team will leave tomorrow too. This boarding house will be quiet for a week but we are expecting another batch of guests the following weeks. And for every said ta-ta may tell a different story, but whether or not one is leaving or staying, it is just the same–the expedition continues. For now cheerio. Have a good trip! 


Friday, July 28, 2017

My First Root Canal Ever

It took me a week to endure an irritating toothache before I made my mind up to see a dentist. I was worried sick that I would have another tooth extracted again. So used to this remedy though. I rather have my tooth pulled out than bear this agonizing pain every so often. I am so impatient with this kind of suffering. This time, I was advised to undergo a root canal. Yes, I did heed to what the expert had to say. It was so uncomfortable still.

Now I got a dead tooth for the first time ever. Numbness, tingling, and slight pain are in constant annoyance. It comes on and off disturbing my peacefulness including my busy hours. It is in progress to recovery but so unpleasant to tolerate–at least for a few days. Lesson learned, I have to be more careful about my teeth. It so embarrassing to admit, but I also had my first dental care in thirty years.  I should see my dentist as often as required. Hmmm, I am feeling the numbness and tingling again. Anyway, I am still thankful for all the provision. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fresh Wound

My regular tuktuk driver came to my place an hour before the appointment. I asked him to drive me that day to see my endodontist. To kill time, I just threw a few random questions to get to know him well instead of a usual conversation. “How many children have you got?” I started off. More than just a typical response–a simple math perhaps, he told me the whole thing still. Wish I didn’t ask the question. It broke my heart so much. He could have just said two and then done, but he was brave enough to tell me how he’d lost his son in a motorbike accident four months ago. Suddenly, sorrow consumed him. I knew he was trying to hold his emotions back, but I could see that deep agony in his eyes. Seeing him almost killed me. I am a father, too.

He was only sixteen and the only son. It must have been very hard for this father to overcome that great sadness in his heart, and that longing of a dearest son, and that unbearable cry, and that hurtful reality that keeps stinging–that fresh wound still. I don’t know how he has to face it every single day or the emotion he has to feel or ignore, but he must do it and for sure face for the rest of his life. I pray for strength and inner healing will happen at the right time. It is not easy, I know, but my heart is with him.