Night Market

The Night Market in Chiang Mai. It was legendary. The food stalls with their otherworldly aromas. Fresh mangoes sliced on handfuls of sticky rice, sweet condensed milk drizzled across each piece. Ant egg omelets in delicate banana leaf bowls. Spicy hot chile smoke curling in tendrils towards your nose. Sweet ice cream with fresh corn as a topping. Row upon row of delightful treasures from artisans. The smiles. The community.  It was everything I had dreamed of and so much more. I walked the stalls, my heart filling with joy as my fingers grazed lush scarves, hand-woven bags and beautifully carved wood. Then I saw it. A tiny little booth at the end of an aisle. The stunning shirts swayed in the wind and I knew this was the one.
I greeted the woman in the booth, “Sawatdee ka!”. She smiled and softly replied “Hello.” I began in English, to ask her for a few different sizes of shirts. She stared at me, a look of genuine confusion on her face. I struggled to find the words. I hadn’t learned how to say small, medium, or large in Thai. I couldn’t leave without the shirts. It was what I was there for. Chiang Mai, and the best linen on the planet.
As I rifled through my pack for a dictionary, I held a notepad in my hand. She gently pulled it away and grabbed a pen. Slowly she began to draw a shirt. I shouted “Yes!” and she passed the notepad to me. I proceeded to draw two more shirts. One smaller and one larger. When I finished, I was greeted with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. Her eyes lit up as laughter burst from her mouth. It was contagious. I began to laugh at her sheer brilliance. She ran to the shirts and looked back at me. I pointed to the small shirt on my notepad and she pulled one down. Her grin widened and her laughter filled the air. I pointed to the large shirt and raised two fingers. We continued back and forth until I had seven shirts. We bartered (a customary gesture) over the price, and then I placed more than the amount in her hands. She grasped my hand tightly and patted me on the arm. Then she released me and giddily waved the notepad in her hands. I nodded for her to keep it, and said “Kop khun kha!” It was nearly impossible to believe that only moments before we’d been staring at one another, completely baffled.
That’s the beauty of the travel isn’t it? We’re all a part of the same world and if we only listen, and are open, we can always find a common language.

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In My Mother’s Garden

In my mother’s garden are some of the most beautiful flowers you’ve seen.  There are lush leafy greens and flowering plants in wildly vibrant colors.  Hues you didn’t even know existed, exist there.  The trees in her garden grow for her.  For her.  Not because it is what trees do, but because they are proud to be steadfast sentinels keeping watch over delicate seedlings, robust perennials and one amazing stone owl.  My mother’s garden is her canvas.  It is her ever-changing masterpiece.  Her gardening gloves have seen joy and sadness and have touched the soil and shared in the earth’s secrets.  Her hands and her gloves have welcomed new life in to the world, and softly said goodbye to one that left us too soon.  A life that returns to us each year and reminds us that while they can’t be with us, they are always here.  With each plant that she lovingly creates a home for, she plants a little piece of her beautiful heart along with it.  She nurtures and calmly coaxes each tiny bud up and out in to the world.  She knows the value of the sun and the beauty of the rain.  A walk through my mother’s garden will ease your mind and calm your soul.

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Polyester Gym Shorts & Losing My Dad.

DadMy dad died today.  18 years ago.

I still remember the call in the shockingly early morning hours.  To this day I’m terrified if my phone rings after 1am.  I remember my mom’s voice and I remember hearing someone scream and thinking how primal it was.  I didn’t know it was coming from my own mouth.  I remember my roommate having to take the phone because I couldn’t breathe, let alone speak.  I remember going next door and crawling in to my boyfriend’s bed and asking him to not say anything.  The day before, a friend that lived on our floor in the dorm had found out her best friend had died of a heart attack at 19.  My boyfriend just looked at her and said “that sucks.”.  I remembered lecturing him on how callous that sounded and how god forbid anything bad ever happened to me, would he please just remain silent?  Who knew it would be less than 24 hours before that request would need to be honored. Continue reading “Polyester Gym Shorts & Losing My Dad.”