Welcome to my blog. Come along with me to Cambodia and Burma this summer as I go on another adventure! Please leave comments and feedback.
Several airports and flights down today with only one left for home. I left Nyaung Shwe yesterday and headed to Yangon, via Heho, Mandalay, and Bagan. From Yangon I headed to Bangkok, and then to Taipei. I find myself sitting at a Starbucks at the Taipei Airport trying to find just the right words to sum up my experiences over the last month in Asia. I can’t do it. Once I’m back in the states and can process more fully the events of the last few weeks, I will attempt to be more eloquent. So much happened, every single day… New people, great people, new experiences, places, sights and sounds….and I think a new resolve, for me.
Truth be told, I’ve been running away these last few summers… I always laugh and add “with a purpose” whenever someone asks why I go to teach in Cambodia and Thailand and now, Myanmar. I’m not special, but my experiences are leaving me fulfilled. I know, I know…I’m supposed to be going to teach, to help, to share, and to collaborate…and I do, I promise. But, it’s so much more and each time I go, it’s different…I’m different and I hope I’m making some small difference, for someone. It’s the STARFISH story - why did the little girl throw the starfish back into the ocean one by one when she couldn’t save the thousands washed up on the shore, and did it really matter? It mattered to the ones she threw back. Granted, I’m not saving lives - I’m not a surgeon, I’m certainly not bringing some secret teaching methodology that can’t be googled, but I hope I make the people I meet smile - they make me smile - big, goofy smiles - all the time.
We truly have so much and where I go and the people I meet, well, they have so little, comparatively. But, boy do they have hope and a resolve that is so deep and genuine, that it makes me smile and I’ll keep going back. So, tonight, sitting here waiting for that last 12 hour flight, I have very little wisdom, but I have hope…and a big, goofy smile on my face. :-)
My teaching partners in Nyaung Shwe and two amazing women!! Debbie Ihrig (middle) - love this woman - she is truly the strongest, kindest, and truest friend I could ask for. And Sandi Tun (back) - sweetest new friend and best scarf picker outer (it’s a thing!) and jewelry detangler!!! Huge hugs to you both!! Xoxoxo
The best breakfast ever!!!! The Queen Inn in Nyaung Shwe. You should book your trip just for these banana chocolate-chip pancakes (crepes) and a strawberry lassi (like a smoothie!!). Yummy!!!! The friendliest staff - which is the norm in Myanmar btw. :)
The Kayan (also known as Padaung) women have a unique and interesting history. These women wear coils around their neck, starting at about age 5 to “elongate” their necks. Some people refer to the women as the giraffe women as their necks appear to be quite long, like that of a giraffe. Most believe the women continue this practice as a tradition and as a sign of beauty. There are contrasting views that suggest the tradition evolved for the women to appear unattractive and therefore, not be forced into slavery. We had a wonderful visit and the women we met appeared peaceful, happy, and in my opinion GORGEOUS!!
Believe with all of your heart that you will do what you were made to do.
Orison Swett Mardon