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Reisverslag Sabai sabai, life is great!
10 maart 2014
Sabai sabai, life is great!
One week ago I found myself crossing the border of Thailand to Laos - because my visa was running out and because it might be time to see something new after three months in Thailand. :)
So let's rewind a month or two…
After having left Koh Phangan in January I had a little bit of a hard time. I left a lot of amazing people and a place that started to feel like home, and suddenly I was ‘alone' again. Decided to take my time in a quiet, non touristic place, Ayutthaya,a small city 1 hour north of Bangkok. Drove around on a bycicle for two days (wich made me feel quite nostalgic) visiting temples, ruines of temples and reading, writing and walking around in parks.
It was there that one evening i found myself admiring a stunning sunset at the side of a beautiful lake, with the silhouette of the ruin of a temple in the background. In this moment I figured it was time to remind myself how lucky I was to be there, and that I had no reason to be sad. Amazing experiences will continue to happen and the beautiful people I meet along the way are a gift and will stay a gift in my life, having more and more reasons to travel around the world to go and visit every one of them;)
My journey through Thailand continued, to Chiang Mai and further on to Happy Healing Home, a beautiful place to stay, volunteer and learn an amazing amount of things from PinaanJim, PinaanTea and their little sun PinaanTun (everybody's called Pinaan- followed by their name, easy when you get in a place with 25 volunteers with lots of names to learn;) A Lanna Family - Lanna means Kingdom of Million Rice Fields, and is an old kingdom situated in what now is North Thailand - you could learn about Buddhism as PinaanJim has been a monk for 16 years, about gardening, permaculture, medicinal plants and herbs(PinaanPa, the granddad, is the medicin man of the village), jungle survival skills and much more…
One of my best experiences in Thailand would be, that when I arrived at Happy Healing Home, ready to work for a while, it was too full, so there was no place for me and the two other girls I arrived with.
We got sent to another farm, to friends of the Pinaan-family, to stay there overnight until the next day there would be a place for us - we ended up staying 3 days and it was such a nice unforgettable time.
It was a family of around 8-10 people - they didn't speak English but were the most sweet and caring people I met so far. Cooking delicious food, making sure we would be warm at night with many blankets, making campfires at night, playing the guitar and singing traditional songs - and ‘Zombie' from the Cranberries over and over with us, because this was the only English song he knew, and one of my favorite songs now ;)
We learned to make bamboo mats, and we planted our own banana tree. Somewhere next year ‘my' tree will deliver bananas somewhere in the north of Thailand!
It was an amazing experience to finally see something real of the culture and experience a situation in which you don't speak each other's language but you find many ways to communicate anyway, and in which smiles are the most important, and biggest part of communication…
I wasn't sure if I had spent enough time in happy healing home as I wanted to, because there was so much to do and learn - but two weeks later I had to continue my journey for the next amazing experience, my 2 weeks Thai massage course in a small Lahu-Hilltribe village in the mountains between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Thai massage is not the kind of massage we tend to think in Europe, the one with the happy ending… Let's make that clear first ;) It's an ancient healing technique, and the first roots of it actually lie in India, even though now it's called Thai (yoga) massage. In this technique you work with acu-pressure points and energylines running through the body… pretty pretty interesting and beautiful technique.
And so it was, a pretty interesting and beautiful course, 12 days, 6 hours of practice everyday. Next to meditations and yoga in the mornings this resulted in really full days and a really intense course.
After this I decided to stay a bit longer in the village -to let everything from the course sink in, to get to know the surroundings and the Lahu-hilltribe culture living in the village. Lahu people (lahu = hunter) used to be nomads, originally living in Tibet and trekked around towards Thailand. Now situated in the mountains in north Thailand - and, to spend more time with ‘the crew'-, Michelle, Lilliana, Shananigans/Chris, Corinna/Coconut and me/Hibiscus Biscuit - some incredible amazing people I got to know during the course. We got so close together, if we wanted it or not, and so it was so good to spend some more - free - time together, and pretty hard to say goodbye when I left 10 days ago.
Without a plan - finally again - I crossed the border from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai, Laos, last week. I had no clue what would happen this time and felt once again a bit insecure.
Of course I had no reason to feel like that - wondering if I was still doing the right thing - how could I forget that life happens to throw opportunities at you all the time, you just have to be aware and look around you.
In this border town where I crossed one week ago, and nothing special seems to happen, I bumped into a beautiful local project, of which I had read before a long time ago, but totally had forgotten about it again.
It's called Daauw Home/Kajsiab project. It's runned by a Lao man and his Dutch wife.
It's a homestay/restaurant and a shelter for people from the mountainvillages and surroundings to come and stay, whenever their family is in the hospital here in the 'city', so that they can be close to them.
At the same time around 30 people, families, children, older people etc, live all together and run this place. It's such a nice, easygoing community. They learn important skills to be able to stand on their own feet and maybe one day start something for themselves, like running the restaurant/homestay, being a cook, making their own soap and coconutoil to sell etc.
All the profits made here go to these people working here, so they have a full paid good salary.
Besides all this, the local women can come here and make and sell their handmade clothings, bags etc.
So much is happening in this project, it's really incredible. The initiators of the project, and the amazing long-term volunteers Mike and Evy with their sweet kids Django and Charlie put all their effort in it to make this a big success, which it is already for years. I'm so impressed by how they make so many things happen here, and the past week is been so great volunteering here… Learning to make coconut oil, soap, cooking, painting, going to a Lao college to give an English ‘lesson', going to the fishpond to fish, enjoying the free day at the waterfall having an incredible picknick…
Please check their website to know more about the placeand project!
I miss ‘home', wherever that may be - close to dear family and friends… I feel that more and more often. But I'm not done yet and it feels like there is much more waiting for me on this way, so for now I will go on…
Life is great - sweet Corinna-Coconut and our beautiful ‘crew' at the Lahu-village taught me to remind myself everyday and so I do -Everybody should remind themselves, it helps you appreciate everything you have, also all the little things, and it helps.
I'm feeling lucky to experience all this and some moments I am overwhelmed when I realize and think about all these experiences and wonderful people crossing my way. And then I get really excited about what else there is to experience and learn (there is so much..!) and who else there is to meet…. :) I can't wait..
Pictures will follow.
Much love and once again, don't hesitate to reply to me and tell me how things are going with you, I love to hear about it... :)
11 maart 2014 00:20 | Door: Hueshy
One word : Perfect
Two words : Go on
Three words : we will follow ;-)
11 maart 2014 13:34 | Door: tante Elly
lieve Francis, heerlijk om weer van je te horen:) het is een geschenk, om via je verslag en je gloedvolle woorden mee te voelen hoe vol je hart is; hoeveel waardering je hebt voor de ontmoetingen, het leven zelf, je vertrouwen in het bestaan dat je blijkbaar langs de juiste paden leidt...
hier is alles goed, iets gewoner en rustiger dan bij jou :) ik ben, net als jij, dankbaar voor mijn leven, precies zoals het zich aandient.
kro-kus , elly
11 maart 2014 19:09 | Door: Els :)
Elly is mijn voor, met precies het gevoel en de woorden die door mij heen gingen tijdens het lezen van je fantastische blog. Fra, echt zo mooi om deze tekst te lezen, zo uit je hart! Wauw!!
15 maart 2014 21:55 | Door: Malou
Lieverd, overweldigend mooi. Een prachtmens, een prachtreis. Een hele dikke knuffel!
17 maart 2014 20:26 | Door: Mareike
Hey Fancis! Ik zat net mijn mail te checken en daar zag ik jouw berichtje weer verschijnen! Ik vind het erg leuk om over jouw ervaringen te weten te komen en hoe het met je gaat! Het klinkt als of je het naar je zin hebt en ook is het soms wat zwaar en eenzaam, jij houdt vol..!! Dat is heel fijn om te horen, ook omdat het even duurde en natuurlijk ook moeite kostte om de knoop door te hakken en te vertrekken. Ik wens je verder vele leuke en mooie indrukken en mensen op je reis. En ik ben trots op je ;)