A Perfection of the Arts

PCVs spend a lot of time alone and many of us develop hobbies during that time. In the case of my buddy Jay, that hobby has been the obscure combination of poetry and Microsoft paint art. A few weeks ago we got to discussing what a half human, half shark child would look like. We figured the child’s father (human) would likely reject the child due to its voracious biting and the fact that its part shark…and that would be weird. Eventually Jay suggested capturing this creature of absurdity in the arts, and so he wrote the following poem and I took to Microsoft Paint. The following is the result…

An abomination of unholy proportions

Fins, black beady eyes, and rows of razor sharp teeth
Yet all the nuisances of Legos strewn about the floor, myriad “why” questions, and an open door while the air conditioner runs
What could have compelled me to partake in such impure and base actions?
Those with two legs and none at all should never mix
What have I done?
He clumsily approaches, I can hear his voracious biting and feel his burning need for my affection
Quickly, think! How do I avoid him? Where can I hide?
Oh, too late…
*CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP* “faTHr” *CHOMP* “i lUv u” *CHOMP* “pleEse…”
Oh, uh, son, how utterly… happy I am… to see you *CHOMP*
Who am I kidding? His mere appearance invokes bile, and its faint aroma incites an attempt on my life
He doesn’t belong in my land dwelling home
He certainly can’t survive in the sea
What’s a father to do? My only comfort, my solitary confinement, wrestling my unending torment
A soccer ball kicked, he flops miserably on the ground, his gills now bruised
At the zoo we pass the seal exhibit, he goes into a blood frenzy, a child now without limbs
My face in my hands, despondent, I hear through hundreds of gnashing teeth…


Poetry by Jay Kean Padzensky, check out his blog here (http://rarelyhaveinever.blogspot.com.au/)

Meeting with a Monk

I had a pretty interesting experience last weekend. I was waiting at the train station after an awesome couple days, and naturally my train is an hour delayed. I decided to shell out the 3 baht it costs to use the bathroom and take that little relief trip I had worried would cause me to miss my train (had it been on time). Now, with a small sea of time lying before the train’s actual arrival, I saw no reason to put off this trip to the toilet any longer and so I didn’t. After leaving the bathroom I begrudgingly scanned the waiting area for a seat, and briefly made eye contact with a Monk sitting alone. He motioned for me to join him, and so I did. I introduced myself in Thai and we conversed briefly in Thai for a few seconds before he asked me in perfect English, “How did you learn Thai?”.
It turns out this particular Monk not only spoke English but had done a fair bit of traveling, teaching courses in meditation around the world. He was currently teaching a course nearby, and was taking the train six hours each way every weekend to do so. He explained that he lived in Chumphon, and when I told him I lived in Surat Thani and found meditation to be a pretty interesting practice, he gave me a card with his phone number and name along with instructions to call him the next time I was in Chumphon.  I agreed, thinking I would likely never follow up on that offer.
This Monk was different than many of the others I have met in Thailand. For starters, his demeanor was jocular and he had this high pitched giggly laugh that erupted every time I said something remotely humorous, or not humorous at all but that he in his wisdom was able to detract some humor from. Before long I couldn’t help but get caught up in his infectious joy, and I too was laughing at just about everything. This guy just radiated happiness. He told me he knew where New Jersey was because he had taught a class in New York for a little while, and that he had also spent time in Europe, Canada, Central America and other parts of Asia. He said he loved being able to travel and teach. He told me that monotony was boring, and that change was good. He elaborated by saying that change was a necessary part of life, and that in his 60 years on this earth he had seen a lot of change. He then went on to say that the most important factor in meeting this change was to be able to control one’s mind. This takes great work, he said, because the mind is very difficult to control. But he said once the mind can be controlled, the body is easy. He smiled, “Just give it some food and its fine!” before erupting into another fit on laughter.
The hour delay flew by, and eventually our train (we were both headed in the same direction) pulled into the station. He popped up from his seat and darted off towards the door, motioning for me to follow as if I might sit on that bench forever. I wasn’t sure which direction my car was in, so I just followed him (turns out I was at the wrong end of the train). When we got to his seat, a sectioned off area reserved for Monks and the elderly, he turned quickly, bid me farewell and that was that. I shook his hand, and bowed, and said thank you (for a reason that may not have made perfect sense to him, but somehow probably did) and turned to try and find my car. I walked a few more cars in the wrong direction before getting off and asking a conductor where to go. Turns out my spot was about 12 cars away. He hurried me along and as I sprinted with my backpack past the crowds of people that had just departed the train, I couldn’t help but start laughing to myself. Yea I was running in flip flops and thus the loud ‘thwap, thwap’ sound was attracting the attention of every person nearby to the goofily sprinting foreigner. And no I didn’t have my iPad so this train trip was going to seem longer without tunes, and yes the only food I had for the next 9 hours was a few small kanoms (deserts), but it didn’t matter. After the amazing weekend, I couldn’t feel anything but happiness. Control your mind, and the body will follow.

Back to Blogging

BACK WITH A VENGEANCE…and an inability to use certain punctuation marks thanks to a very confusing keyboard (in which I actually have to hit z to type y). So where have I been? Living in an internetless abyss reminiscent of the Dark Ages. I only have access to internet at work, and even then it crashes if more than one person uses it, or I open more than one window, or a bird flaps its wings too hard a mile away, hence the lack of blog posts. However, I have cultivated this void so that it might allow the most minimal amount of boredom. For instance, I get a lot of reading done. I’ve also began experimenting with all the things I can make in a rice cooker (mangosteen and rice was a weird first choice). And of course, I have become fantastic at throwing a tennis ball against one wall of my empty house and catching it upon its return…its almost like having a friend to play catch with…almost.
I have gotten to do a bit of traveling which has been awesome! I worked in Chumphon, the province just north of mine, at a leadership camp for young Thais. It was a really cool experience. The kids were hilarious and the camp itself was held on the beach so overall not a lot to be complained about. Then my friends Lauren and Jay and I headed to Krabi for a little R & R. We stayed on a small beach only accessible by boat due to the high cliffs surrounding it. Here’s a picture:

Yea you have to click it.

We did a little swimming, and a little hiking (which inadvertently turned into some serious rock climbing), but mostly we did a lot of eating. I think I had at least 4 pizzas, probably 3 packs of cookies, several ice cream bars, some curry and rice…and other delicious treats that left me looking like a woman in her third trimester for a day or so.

So now I am back at site. The kids are crazy/entertaining as ever. No one has bitten me yet, but there is always next week. I saw a grasshopper the size of an Apache helicopter outside my door yesterday. Literally, I opened the door and one of those massive shadows went across my wall, like when a dragon or some airborne monster passes in front of the sun in a movie and the heroes find themselves enveloped in its monstrous shadow…that’s what it was like….but it was a grasshopper. Luckily he was more content with patrolling the porch than actually coming inside…which was good because I wasn’t ready to go to war with a foreign beast at such a late hour of the evening.

I just noticed the punctuation and keyboard have magically repaired themselves. I feel like I should write more…

Nope gonna go have breakfast.

Alright that’s all for now! I’ve got an army of chickens to deal with.