02 May 2009
a glance behind
One year ago I had just received 30,000 baht for teaching four overcrowded classrooms and two less-crowded ones, and was nearly on my way out to visit other wonders of Thailand. At that time I think the only thing I was afraid of was my neighbor and fellow teacher, Mike, the one who looked like a week and a half old cadaver despite his being only a few years older than myself and who was constantly having fairly intense arguments with his own self. There was no doubt in my mind that he could try to kill me one night and send me to heaven. And just to be honest, I was also a little afraid of Greg even though all he ever did was talk incessantly about loving the apostle Paul, earthquakes, pot, and his search for love online, the latter being the result of his unsatisfaction with his pregnant girlfriend, whom he left just as teaching finished up. So that was the sum of my fears a year ago - two strange men I interacted with as little as possible and will hopefully never see again. The fact that I didn't have tons of money and very limited language skills didn't seem to bother me considering the fact that I had extensive plans to get rid of the money and put my self in situations of even greater linguistic diversity. I had the Unknown right where I wanted him. Sometimes he won sometimes I won, and it all turned out nice enough.
This year I'm off again. Tomorrow I head out to Italy for a month to be with someone that I don't want to be without, and the adventures seem ever more challenging and intriguing. This time around I have to like pretty much everyone I meet. While meeting people is easy, liking them all and wanting to spent time with them often creates some challenges. The language barriers that were ever present last year will no longer be around, and the lack of people to rely on in time of need will no longer be a factor this trip, but still the presence of the Unknown comes seeping into my dry skin like an unwanted but, oh, so effective lotion. I imagine that, much like last year, sometimes I'll win and sometimes he'll win - either way, it should be interesting.