Weekends at Site

27 08 2011

I love weekends in Thailand. More specifically, I love weekends in Thailand at my site. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a good bai-tiao on my days off; I’m living in a tropical country and have to take full advantage of all the amazing things I have in my area. However, there is nothing like settling in for a weekend at home.

So far, that’s what I have been doing this weekend … and it has been great.

Fridays are technically not a weekend day, but given that I don’t have any community projects yet, there isn’t really much for me to do. Often I take the time to roam around my village/community, chat with people, see what’s going on. This week I chose to have some down time. It’s been a rough week; I wanted to regroup and take some time for myself.

I started off the day by sleeping in and cooked my first Thai recipe around noon. I updated my blog in the early afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon hours reading my book and napping. My evening was spent watching movies and chatting with friends, both in Thailand and back in the states. All in all, it was a wonderfully lazy day.

Today, I slept in a little bit and then got myself out of bed to visit the Saturday morning market in town. Before this, I had never actually made it to the market on my own. The two times I had been were back in April when I accompanied my host mother. My trip today was fantastic. I wandered down the line of booths, bought some ingredients for the day’s Thai cooking recipe, and chatted with vendors. I can tell you it’s going to be come a Saturday morning ritual.

After the market, I came back home and cooked my recipe of the day and updated my blog with the results. I cleaned my entire house top to bottom, did some laundry, and spent a few minutes chatting with the neighbors next door. Now, I’m relaxing back in my house wondering what to do with the rest of my afternoon and evening – read a book? head back to the market? watch a movie? go for a bike ride? The possibilities are endless.

Tomorrow, I have no plan. I may do some lesson planning to prepare for the week though it isn’t necessary since I’m caught up at both my schools. I may take a long bike ride to the neighboring city. I may go visit my host family and see what’s going on there. I don’t have any obligations, nothing pressing that has to get done. It’ll be another relaxing day.

These are exactly the type of weekends that I love. Some might say I love them because I don’t have to work; I get to be lazy and do nothing with my days. That may be true to some extent, but the real reason that I love weekends like this is because they are real life. I’m living a normal daily life amongst normal Thais doing normal daily things. I’m a part of the community rather than a farang who stands out like a sore thumb. I’m shopping with the locals, talking to the locals, doing housework like the locals, living like the locals, being a local. And I love it.

After Cory left I took a look at my schedule and aside from a meeting in Bangkok this coming Friday, I have no weekend plans for the next six weeks. I have decided to give myself the challenge of staying at site for all of those weekends. I’m sure there will be opportunities for me to jump on a bus and go spend some quality time with my fellow volunteers. And, I’m sure I’ll be very tempted to do so. But, I think what I need right now is time to regroup and re-immerse myself in my community.

I’ll spend those weekends at the market. I’ll visit my host family. I’ll clean my house and do laundry. I’ll cook Thai food. I’ll share that food with my neighbors. I’ll sit and chat with them for hours. I’ll read the books I’ve  been meaning to start but haven’t quite found the time for. I’ll update my blog. I’ll go for bike rides. I’ll do yoga. I’ll sleep in. I’ll lesson plan. I’ll start my garden. I’ll just be.

By taking that time to reconnect with the people around me and the daily Thai lifestyle, I think I’ll be able to find that passion and motivation that seems to come and go these days. I think I’ll be reminded about why this experience is truly amazing and why it’s such a blessing for me to be here.

All of that being said, I’m already looking forward to next weekend and this one isn’t even over yet!

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