Thursday, March 19, 2015

Seeing the World

As I look around my cluttered living room, taking stock of the different things from various time periods of my life, I have to make a very black and white decision - trash or box.  I mailed a letter today that would seal the fate of many items that have taken up refuge over the years in my home; medals from running, scented pine cones, a few plastic dinosaurs, bowl of chopsticks, an old guitar, a turquoise blue macaw feather.  While many things have a specific dollar value, it is not how they can pad my very light wallet that makes me decide their fate, but the memories that have been attached to them that will decide what gets moved into a a few boxes that will define our spartan existence.

The letter I sent in was a proverbial trigger pull that has been years in the making.  We have decided to take a leap of faith and change our home from Hilo, Hawaii, to Salaya, Thailand.  We speak no Thai, combined we have been in Thailand about a week.  We order our food medium-hot.

I am a high school math teacher by trade.  The last year in school has been trying to say the least.  Our school was in the direct path of oncoming lava for quite a few months during the school year (Hawaii problems) and while we have survived, it has been at quite a cost.  Teaching has been a challenge.  Students went without power for three weeks due to a hurricane, had to cross barricades to get to school, suffered through incessant media exposure, and dealt with the ever-present question... will my school still exist next week?

I am exhausted. 

We appear to be out of the "line of fire" so-to-speak, but it all came with a price.  I am now ready to explore.  While I might someday have regrets about leaving a wonderful school with kids who excel at qualities that are more important than numbers on standardized tests, I know that I must adventure out into the world, 
 
Thus, Thailand.

Papers are mailed.  Signed contracts in languages I cannot read have been sent with tracking numbers.  Suddenly I wonder if I am a bit like the cast on Gilligan's Island setting out for my "three hour tour" but somehow going to end up in a new land, with a new way of life, paid in a monetary system that I have never seen before, but with no hope of return and only cancellation looming over my head.

At my heart I am an introvert.  I like to watch people, I like to observe and just see how others act.  Travel has always been daunting for me.  The idea of seeing new places is alluring and fills me with wonder, but the idea of getting there, not knowing what is going on, and not being able to speak to people fills me with dread.  
Guess life is full of these double-edged swords... 

Just like the deer in Nara, Japan, (Story is here), if you keep chewing on a problem long enough, eventually you will be able to swallow it.  Probably could have gone with a different analogy route, but I am a math teacher.  We are not known for our eloquence.

Goddamn deer.