My family came to visit, my family came to visit! They arrived on Monday afternoon and left Wednesday afternoon. My parents have been traveling around South East Asia since October and they called me last Tuesday to tell me they would be coming back to Thailand and would swing by my site again. They first visited my site in November during the Loy Kratong festival and I wasn’t expecting them to make a second trip to my site. On top of that, my cousins were with them too.
The email my mom sent said they’d be in town at 2. So my host dad and I went into town to meet them at the bus station. When we didn’t see them there we decided to wait at our favorite coffee shop, where we could sip some beverage in AC and watch the road from the front window. 3:15 comes and goes and still no sign of a bus from Chiang Mai. Eventually, we leave the coffee shop and wait at the bus station. 4:00 comes and goes. At this point I was so fed up with sitting in the sun that I decided we should just wait at the house and hope they find their way into the village.
On our way home my host mom called to say my family had already arrived. Somehow we had missed meeting them. Luckily, they had planned on taking a cart into my village, so they hadn’t been waiting for us.
We relaxed for a bit before grabbing a bite to eat in the city and then calling it a night.
The next morning we hung out around the house booking flights, relaxing and talking before heading out to the Sukothai Historical park. I was surprised by the little things that were comforting about having my family around. Like, hanging out in the morning instead of starting at 6 am with all engines blazing.
The Historical Park was a hit, despite the humidity. My host dad was able to practice his tour guide skills and my family enjoyed the sites.
For dinner that night my host dad cooked a killer meal and showed us the steps to some of our favorite dishes, like cashew chicken and fried rice. We also used dinner as an excuse to bring out some wine. Thais don’t normally drink wine. I’ve heard everything from the climate is too hot, to the grapes aren’t good as reasons for this. When they drink with dinner the drink of choice is typically whiskey, beer or wine coolers. Drinking wine with my family and my host family turned out to be a fun cross cultural experience. My host ded even showed off his McGuyver skills (his words not mine) by opening the bottle with a nail and a hammer.
The next morning it was time to send the family on their way to the South of Thailand. Sending the family off brought out a wealth of mixed emotions. I so desperately wanted to go with them on their travels, both to spend more time with them and to get out of the village. But for the first time, the shortness of the time I have left here felt real.
I’m always hyperaware of how many months and sometimes days I have left of service, but regardless of the number it never really feels like less time. This time it felt different. We were in the airport that I will be in exactly one month from today with all my bags and memorys in tow. We were joking with each other about how the next time I’d see them I’d be a “free woman” and then on the car ride back to site it started to seem really, really…real. And that was exciting, sad and a little bit scary . The changes will soon be real, the goodbyes will soon be real and the new journeys will soon be real.