Rainbows + Reality

Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2011

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, February 7, 2011

One of the most interesting aspects of this trip has been watching the cultures gradually change before my eyes.  Just when I think I'm in a totally different part of the world, I start seeing things that seem strangely familiar ... like home altars, flower garlands or tuk-tuks.  It's feels like I'm slip-sliding on a cultural rainbow.
Life has been quiet, but good in Mae Sariang.  Mostly, I have just been grateful to stop and be in one place for a while.

For the past few weeks, I've been riding a pink bicycle through the rice paddy fields and along the river to Gyi Gyi's house.  There, we sit down and edit reports line-by-line.  Basically he has already written them, they just need some cleaning up when it comes to grammar and organization.  His wife Snow White (yes, that's really her name) brings us coffee halfway through and we power on for another hour or two.  Frequently we have to stop and discuss what he is trying to say since English is his second language.  Learning the ways his people have been affected by war and disease is mind-blowing.

Which brings me to another point I've been contemplating for a long time.  Many have commented on how brave I am to go on this journey alone.  But believe me, if you saw how many times I've cried in a hostel hallway, you'd know I am not.  The people who live in this part of the world and face daily hardships are the ones who are brave.  The people who gather food for their families despite the jungle being littered with landmines are brave. The men and women all over this world who stand up against dictators and corruption are the brave ones.  It is a humbling and inspiring experience to hear their stories.
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