It’s been one week since I left my little teaching job bubble in central Thailand, but it already feels like a world away. I’m back in travel mode now and excited for my upcoming plans (hint: they include a week of hanging out with elephants!) but leaving was hard and gave me all the feels. I don’t know how else to describe it, so I’ll throw caution to the wind and show you my journal entry from the bus ride out:
Sitting on the bus, rolling away from the drab, colorless streets I’ve given a piece of my heart to, I can’t quite put a finger on the root of my sadness. It’s been a good month—an amazing month—with new friends and interesting experiences. I know that I’m not meant to stay; I don’t want to stay, and I’m excited to hit the road. Yet, I can’t fight this overarching sense of melancholy.
Am I sad that I had to say goodbye to people? That I left a fun job with a lovely group of students? That I’ve given up a sense of community and belonging? Or am I sad because I could’ve kept all these things and I, once again, chose not to? It might be a combination of these things, but really I think I’m just sad that a good thing has ended. Impermanence is what makes life both beautiful and painful.
I’ve been listening to the song “Stolen Dance” on repeat. Some of the words have become symbolic for my month in Chaiyaphum. He sings about a stolen paradise, and that’s what I feel like this month has been. It’s stolen because it was too good to last; stolen because I knew each facet of it would end. The friends, the fun, the weekend fling all had an expiration date. But I threw myself whole-heartedly into it anyway, and I’m glad I did.
The memory of it all is rolled up into one piece, encapsulated in a single sphere. It’s as if I could pluck a crystal ball from my head and look down into it to see myself riding motorbikes through the jungle, and all the singing, dancing, laughing, and loving that framed it. But it’s time to set that ball of memory aside for now, because it can’t be changed or recreated. The wheels are rolling forward and it’s time to steal a new paradise.
School day lunches and hungover mornings at Buns
Decade theme nights and ridiculous antics at James’
The epic motorbike day of Claire’s broken bike, dancing in the road with the men, being celebrities at the waterfall, and failing to find the “Ledge”
Comedy movie nights with the girls in my tiny room and laughing so hard the whole building could hear
Thunderstorms that shook the walls
Saturdays baking at the pool
Awkward staff room conversations, most notably the Would You Rather questions
The driving range
My soup man at the night market
Classrooms full of laughing, amazing students