I spent an entire weekend in Hat Yai doing nothing but making love to the internet, breathing English, and enjoying the company of my “English-speaking” friend…someone who actually speaks it and understands it. Yes – this was pretty subdued compared to my normal, but I wanted nothing more than to bathe in the english language… with candles, bubbles, and Enya. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to drink. I didn’t want to play. I just wanted to speak, listen, and understand. Then, Sunday came and it was goodbye to the outside world.
Tuesday decided to sneak up on me. Without warning, I could feel the pangs of loneliness settling in…like poison running through my veins. I knew I had to fight it since once I get to that point, sometimes it takes a while to find my way back. In October, a friend of mine, Cherylynn, introduced me to meditation. I thought maybe I should start my 30 day meditation ritual all over again. But, my mind wasn’t ready for it, or maybe it was just me being lazy.
Instead, I grabbed my camera and decided to run off to my backyard. This had been my home for almost a month and I hadn’t ventured beyond the first fruit tree. On my way out, I made a quick pitstop to ask my landlord about wifi (was told it had to be rebooted – same thing I was told 10 days ago – ugh). My landlord and her daughters were hard at work making corsages – seems there may be an upcoming high school dance. Other than tulips and stargazer lilies, I’ve never been a “flower girl.” I didn’t want to pretend I was interested, but I didn’t want to be disrespectful, either. So I stood there signing my questions as if I were fluent in sign language. My mind soon drifted to the backyard. The backyard which would ultimately become my sanctuary (the sanctuary I would have to share with a cow).
I see this beautiful black and blue butterfly. I’ve never photographed one so I was determined to capture this one in a picture – so I follow it. Before I knew it, I’m in this maze-like of a backyard. I would have gotten lost if it weren’t for the yellow brick road – okay, actually it was just a dirt pathway (same same but different). The butterfly finally flies away and I continue walking for what seems like an eternity through fruit tree after fruit tree, thousands of them. My favorite being Mangosteen. So disappointed to learn that mangosteen has a “season.” It wasn’t until I was deep into the “jungle” that I realized it probably wasn’t my smartest move wearing sandals…snakes! Luckily it wasn’t a big one, but then again, was probably just as venomous. I’ve read about those little suckers! I felt a little Indiana Jones-ish.
Here I am in the middle of this “fruit jungle” (a couple of acres) …too far away for my screams to be heard, and I hear voices. No, not in my head. These were real voices. Two men speaking Thai. I froze. What if they were lunatics? What if it would turn into an X-Files episode? Or worse, what if they were serial killers and would cut my body into little pieces never to be found? Hey, don’t laugh – I watch Criminal Minds! Well, I did when I had T.V. For a second I thought about it…then I remembered the Systema videos I just watched in Hat Yai. Yes – that was the answer! I would just get all Russian-like on them if they tried anything. (Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but really, I watched 5 videos – almost the expert now.) As I approached the two men, I wai-ed them and asked in my best sign language yet: “Can I help cut fruit?” One of the men nodded his head, showed me which ones to cut and which ones to leave on the tree, then hands me *gasp*: MAN TOOLS – now, this is more my speed! And the two men, ahhh, so polite and always smiling (Well, I am in the “Land of Smiles). I later learned that one of the men is actually my landlord’s husband.
There were so many ants! Big red ones – crawling on my hands, my feet, and my clothes as I was cutting! I’m certain they were as big as the ones that used to fight Godzilla during “Creature Feature” on Sunday mornings.. Surprisingly though, the only things biting me were the mosquitos. I figured it was almost dark so these mosquitos were safe…still bloodsuckers, but safe. It’s the daytime mosquitos you have to protect yourself from – if unlucky, you’ll get dengue fever. Despite the numerous swats to my arms and legs and all the buzzing around my ears, I still managed to cut and pick an entire crate – taking only what I thought I could eat in a week’s time, and leaving the rest for selling at the market. I did eventually find ripened Mangosteen – only two though, which I snagged!
Funny how the little things can free your mind. For these few hours, I was transported back to a time when I would run around in my grandparents’ garden, digging for potatoes and turnips, picking corn, pecans, greenbeans, figs, oranges, and cucumbers. Mustard greens and Lima beans – which I loathed. Finding the perfect watermelon and my grandfather pulling out his pocket knife, slicing it open, and eating it right there. And of course, his sugarcane – which, as a sugar addict – this was always my favorite. Then there was my ma-ma…a true animal lover, to say the least… so many cats and dogs (50 or more), a few ducks, sheep, cows, pigeons, a horse, a monkey (that I can’t seem to remember), and a chicken coop (where once I was chasing after a chicken and was attacked by a rooster – like really attacked. True Story! Thank goodness for “monkey blood.”) I do wonder though why we didn’t have pigs…seems we had everything else. All these warm memories were ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
It was getting dark and knew I needed to head home. I found myself smiling as I made my way back, singing in my head – just follow the yellow brick road. And it was the best sleep I’ve had in a while. So next time loneliness makes a beeline for my mind..I think I’ll just run to my fruit jungle…I know my grandparents will be there, waiting.