I do my best to take mental notes of the things that strike me as interesting or unusual or painful throughout the day, but the list tends to fill up rather quickly and I’m afraid I probably forget most of it by the end of the week. When I have the capacity, I pull up my phone and dump my stream of consciousness only to return to half-thoughts that I don’t understand later.
Still, some images remain intact.
Like the dogs. There are so many of them here. Roaming about….seeking refuge from the sun, begging for food. I scan quickly over them more often than not…afraid to linger. They are wild and not groomed and no one seems to be bothered much by them here, but where I’m from, they are best friends and companions. I wish I could take them all home and give them names and baths and tennis balls and my entire heart, but I cannot.
Then there’s the women. The older ones in the villages with wrinkled faces and kind eyes. They sit at tables outside of their humble homes selling jackfruit and vegetables and Thai goods I can’t pronounce. I smile at them and say hello. They grin back and let me pet their cats. I get frustrated with my inability to speak their language because I want to know more than just their name, but where words fail, eyes suffice. I look down at cracked hands and can tell that they have labored hard for many years. No doubt some of the wrinkles around their eyes are from years of squinting at the sun. And those smile lines might just be from the joy (and stress) of having children…and grandchildren…the loud ones running around the street barefoot playing tag. I smile at them and wave. They giggle and hide their faces behind their mother’s legs.
I am learning how to exist within the tension of beauty and brokenness.