Christmas Day in the Rai ...

Yes, Thailand celebrates Santa in all his commercial glory.  To the point that our favorite lunch venue is sold out and we are forced to staying in on this cold and grey winter day.  So much for our going with the flow and not planning things far enough in advance.  The upside is, my wife is preparing a special meal just for the two of us, though I am sure Cookie will get a bite or two.  So there is time today for thought and reflection.

I am not what you would call driven or goal oriented in my pursuit of happiness and the good life.  I do not traverse life’s highways and byways astride an iron rail with relentless determination that takes me from point A to point B without deviation.  Think of me more as raptor soaring through the sky, searching out updrafts to stay airborne with as little effort as possible.  I am already where I want to be, so there is no need to point myself steadfastly in one particular direction.  Maybe just drift a bit higher to broaden my view and expand my horizon.  My style is to take advantage of opportunities that present, not to cling to the past or fear change but I do keep track of the choices I make and the reasons for making them.

This is the time of year when we think back on what has transpired over the last year and prepare to turn the page and start anew.  I have turned, or had turned for me, many pages during this last year and no doubt will turn many more in the year ahead.  I have turned the page on the hash, the expat club, the potluck, early mornings at the coffee shop, group motorcycle rides and surely a few other things that don’t spring to mind at the moment.  For now we have an ever expanding circle of friends though some have wondered off along the way, perhaps having found more satisfaction elsewhere.  I have focused more on my own fitness, the happiness of my family and doing things I enjoy.

There have been those who found it difficult to understand, that Village Farang for me, was like a character in a play of my own imagining.  He was distinct and different from me in important ways. Over time those differences that existed early on, have all but disappeared as the two melded into one.  Village Farang has taken me on a journey of discovery through writing.  Some may write what they know, paraphrase others, or journal events with facts and figures.  When I write, really write, it becomes a journey of discovery for me.  Occasionally I know exactly what I am going to say before I begin writing and those are often the occasions when I don’t bother.  Really what is the point if it is already clear and I have worked through everything in my head before I start.

I am often surprised by what VF writes and he has taught me a lot about life and about myself.  With wonder I try to imagine where the words come from and how a turn of phrase found its way on to the page.  At times I didn’t know I knew certain things until I read them on the page in front of me, written in a way that is VF’s alone.  At first VF was an alter ego freed by anonymity to express himself with abandon.  As the gap between VF and myself narrowed, I began to guard my own identity less closely.  There was a gradual coming out as it were, to the point that many now know my face, especially here in the Rai.  In the interest of cyber security certain things are never divulged but I am no longer reluctant to be known as Village Farang, online or in person.

My wife and I have had some very productive discussions of late, covering where we have been and some options for where we might be going, both short term and long.  With age this kind of pondering seems to hold more urgency and gravity.  We feel it is important to communicate and not let things drift, especially when you sense a transition is in the offing.  Someone talked my wife into volunteering as an English teacher at a local school and now they are encouraging her to get a teaching degree to backup her already impressive grasp of the English language.  She seems happy and this looks like a path worth exploring.

I am contemplating doing more strenuous things that she might not be interested in and are therefore better done alone.  After the New Year I am considering a multi day motorcycle adventure back in the direction of Pai, for example.  I will try to get my visa taken care of early to allow more time for the many things we still want to do during the remainder of this wonderful season of action and adventure.

It is all I can do to restrain myself when I overhear others ponder how to fill their time when they retire or fantasize about moving to Thailand.  Often for us there just aren’t enough hours in a day, or days in a week.  I guess we all live our lives differently.  For me the main shift has been from focussing on a world distant and vague, to one that is present, immediate and real.  In a way I have turned to the micro setting on the camera.  I read volumes in the faces around me.  The world overflows with sights, sounds, smells, the exhilarating dance of life and what sometimes feels like a headlong rush toward death.  The mind is never idle no matter how relaxed the body may appear.

With that let me recall those famous words, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.