Saturday morning was the first calm morning that we have had. I had the opportunity of chatting with a couple of my best friends, which always helps me feel grounded amongst an unfamiliar place. I do not recall ever being in a surrounding where I am constantly learning. Everything is new and even though we take the same route to class in the morning, I still see new things, new people, and a new way of life.
The morning of Saturday was renewing. A couple of us worked in the garden. I planted chamomile seeds for the purpose of making tea later in the semester. Perhaps the most meaningful conversation took place in the morning. I was chatting with the lead lady Adele about the system of poor wages to shopping in the States as well as organizations here in Chiang Mai. I came to the realization that the organizations that I wanted to be involved in are too intense in nature for the short amount of time that I am here. But I can interview people who are involved in the organizations. A fit of passion surged through me as I realized perhaps I could help in some way in the short time I am here. Perhaps I can learn of the organizations here and find a common denominator that the organizations need in order to thrive. I am hoping I have the time and the connections to make a study possible to take back to the States and raise awareness about organizational issues. I am thankful to have a professor back at George Fox who has supported me in looking for opportunities to research while I am here. Adele and I also discussed the system of low wages. The question came up of whether people are willing to pay more for clothes in order for the people making them to have fair wages. I am guilty of finding pleasure in cheap clothing with ignoring the fact that people are exploited who make the clothes. But how do I not be a part of the system? It is almost virtually impossible. If people do not buy clothes in the States made in other countries, it risks the possibility of people losing their livelihoods. So the question comes to the root issue of the system. How do you change a system that was created by industrialization? How do companies compete with one another if fair wages are given? Are people willing to pay the cost? Am I willing to pay the cost? Being amongst a people group who are often one of the groups of people exploited makes the situation real and almost personal. I will never be able to grasp the deep rooted struggle of the Thai people, but in this space of learning I am able to ask questions and be aware of the issues at hand. The conversation rose the spirit of God in me. The fiery passion that I may have the power to make a difference. To help people be aware of the issues that are hidden behind closed doors. Thailand already feels like another home to me. As I embrace the culture and allow the things I am seeing to touch my heart, I am moved to be more aware and thirst for more.
After a thought provoking morning, we visited the ruins of Wiang Kum Kam. There were several temples that were excavated amongst a village. We rode around in a horse and buggy and got a tour of all the temple ruins. I had the pleasure of riding with Thippawan and her two girls. They just giggle and make faces, which made the ride quite fun! Thippawan interprets for us and goes along on some of our adventures! She is a beautiful and loving mother and it is incredibly inspiring to watch. Being amongst the ruins gave me a sense of the rich history that Thailand has. It was amusing that the villagers living on and around the temple ruins did not think much of it until excavators discovered it and bought the land. Next to the ruins was a temple. One temple had paintings all inside of it which included a depiction of tourists who do not dress appropriately and take many pictures, haha! I was taken aback when I stood in front of one of the temples and realized that I was not permitted to enter. I believe it is the first time that I have personally encountered not being able to enter a place because I am a women. In this culture, I will never be equal to men.
In the evening we went to another market in Chiang Mai for dinner. It was fascinating to watch life happen. The hustle of tourists and the thriving Thai culture and arts was all mixed into one spectacular place. The streets were crowded with cars, motos, and people. It was fast paced and the lights of the cars posed a sharp contrast to the darkening sky. I am still in awe of this city and the vibrance it holds.
When returning to the Go ED house I made homemade granola! Which is quite delicious and I never aspire to buy granola from the store again, haha. It has quite the amount of brown sugar, so it is a taste of home!
Thank you again to everyone reading my blog, I appreciate you walking beside me in this!