I remember the tinkling of the wind-chime bells as I woke up from my deep sleep; my windows were open and the rays of the sun shone through. “I’m exhausted,” I complained to an empty room–a soulless room. If my mother were to be in Thailand, she would have removed my covers and yelled for me to wake up at the top of her tongue–but luckily, she was back home tending to her beautiful gardens and nagging my siblings. Although I am quite upset when she nags at me, something told me that I will be missing her even more today.
I close my eyes and try to fall asleep before the screeching sounds of my alarm awakens me to accomplish the same tasks I did yesterday and the day before. I dread my routine while in my abyss state-of-mind. I desired to sleep a bit more; to wrap my caramel arms around my white pillows and have my snow-white blankets strangled in between my thighs. Although a part of me wish for more sleep… a part of me also wish for more adventures.
A sudden vibration wakes me from my slumber. I use my outstretched arm to find the culprit who has awaken me from my beauty sleep. A pat here. A pat there.
I find my phone and sees the name “MJ” on the caller I.D with my half-opened eyes. I struggle for a moment to pick up or not to pick up.
Maybe it’s an emergency I thought.
“What’s up?” I mumble with closed eyes. I am too exhausted for formalities.
She replies in the upmost, upbeat voice at seven in the morning, “Where are you at, girl?”
“My bed. Why?” I did not hide the annoyance in my voice and I am sure she heard it as well.
“We are outside waiting for you. I thought we were hiking Monk’s Trai–”
My eye lids shoot open and I yell, “Oh shoot! I am coming!”
I threw my blanket to edge of my bed and staggered to my closet. I quickly changed from my pajamas to a pair of “hikeable” clothing and left for Monk’s Trail.
I would expect to take a Grab to the start of the trail but my friend decides to walk from our dorm to the start of the hiking trail. We crossed high, strenuous hills to reach our starting point. By the time we were at Monk’s Trail, we were already out of breath therefore we took a rest before starting our hike. I took a quick look around the initial point and realized just how lucky I was to be in paradise. The trees stood tall and looming over us as birds were tweeting among each other. One cannot help but feel amazed by the natural beauties of Thailand.
I usually do most of my thinking when I am walking. Therefore, while hiking through the forest, I used that time to reevaluate my life and my presence in this country. With each passing time, the realization of the importance of mental health kept appearing in my mind. With the fires in California and family emergencies, the mental health has been depleting. I am mentally exhausted from life events that are inevitable. However, I am not here to feel barred or even limited. I am here to hear the voices of the hill tribe people and to dwell into Thai culture. Therefore I promised myself to try even harder for the rest of my time here in Thailand to accomplish my goals. I will find myself a Hmong and Thai tutor to help me learn my language and to speak this nation’s language. Although there are stereotypes of “farangs” (Thai word for foreigners), I am willing to do anything in my power to prove those stereotypes wrong.
At the end of the hike, there was a Buddhist temple and a beautiful waterfall that flowed through. There was a closed-off section for repairs but my friends and I were able to enjoy the rest of the temple. Even to this day, I am still in awed with the beautiful architectures of Thailand. The exquisite details are unbelievable. Being a city-girl, I am still going through a transition from my large city to the modernizing Chiangmai. In Chiangmai alone, there are over a hundred temples and I am still overwhelmed with how much dedication and commitment is put in to building these temples.
My friends and I payed our respects to the shrine and wandered off to our own escapes. At temples, one must not show affection or show too much skin. It is respect for the temple, the monks and for yourself. Thailand is a very conservative country and there are times farangs forget about the cultural differences therefore I would understand why there are stereotypes about us. However, if one does decide to take a vacation in Thailand, always remember to be respectful and “wai” (Thai word for bow) to the monks.