There and back again

My first trip to Thailand was when I decided to join the Peace Corps a year ago.

My second trip to Thailand came at the end of several weeks spent with family during the bliss of the holidays.

By complete happenstance, I flew in to Suvarnabhumi International Airport on the exact same day on both occasions.

January 7th.

Both times I’ve landed in Thailand have been incredibly difficult experiences for me– between the tears and the uncertainty, convincing myself that this is a good thing has been a lot of hard work. What kind of person leaves their perfectly good life to be so uncomfortable on the other side of the planet?

Yet both times, I did indeed follow through with my decision to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. I got on the airplane. I wept. I thought a lot about how brief life is and questioned the value of this work.

And both times, despite the pain, I found relief and comfort in the people of Thailand. I was greeted with smiles and hugs and handmade cards– not to mention more food than I could ever eat at once.

January 7th.

I think there is something very powerful about choosing to do something more than once. Before I left for my visit home, another volunteer told me that her experience traveling home helped her affirm her decision to be a PCV in the first place. It was only when I returned to Bangkok that I understood what she meant.

Choosing this work the first time was a total gamble– I knew nothing about what I was signing up for. Conversely, choosing this work the second time around was an intentional act of love. I now know just how hard my life in Thailand can be and I’m choosing it all again anyway. Because love makes less and less sense the older I get, that’s why.

January 7th.

This day has come to signify deep heartache and weird transitions for me. It also signifies the beginning and continuation of the greatest adventure of my life to date. In the future, I hope to celebrate this date as a personal holiday of sorts. This date, not unlike my experience as a PCV, is both joy and sorrow, excitement and terror. And isn’t that a funny thing indeed?


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