(23 Sep 17)
‘Happy Birthday to Slim’
Today is Slim’s Happy Birthday. He was born on this date in 1969.
He died prematurely as I described in an earlier post (‘My Lhasa Apsos’).
Of course, had Slim otherwise led a natural life, then he still would have been long dead.
I still miss Slim.
I shall add or edit to this post in due time. My current priority was to issue this commemoration today on Slim’s birthday.
I have been reminiscing on Florence + The Machine, ‘The Odyssey’ (full film, directed by Vincent Haycock) as I have been designing this presentation.
Her video and music was instrumental in the completion of my own Odyssey as I prepared for my long-awaited travel to the Chetttawut Clinic (Bangkok, Thailand). My how these past two years flew by so fast! Listening to this makes it seem as if this were Summer 2015 all over again:
- months corresponding with Dr. Chettawut, accepted for August 2015,
- finishing my medical prep for the trip (EKG, blood draws, X-rays, physical exams),
- preparing for travel, making reservations, packing, flying,
- meeting Dr. Chettawut and his medical team,
- getting settled at Baan Siri Cottage #4085,
- getting to know my neighbours at Baan Siri,
- site-seeing Bangkok,
- taking care of my own business,
- helping my Baan Siri friends as their patient companion,
- returning home,
- getting settled at home and sharing my excursion with friends.
I had a great time meeting and getting to know all the people at the Clinic and at Baan Siri. Those three calendar months passed too quickly. I actually expected, and made plans, to return within six months, then maybe within a year. It’s two years on, maybe next year at Songkran 2018.
We of this Thai Experience have great times sharing our journey among other friends who made this same path – whether to Chettawut Clinic, or PAI, or Suporn – and with others who want to make this part of their life journey.
I had a night-time dream one week ago. I was flying on an airplane and taking aerial photography of the scenery below. The batteries ran out. I went to get my batteries from my on-board bag, but they were not there. Then I realised that I forgot to pack my rechargeable batteries; I told myself to buy a new set when I get to the store. I do not know my destination in this dream (Thailand? China? Mongolia?). In my dream, I did purchase a new pack of rechargeable batteries from the same display that I recall at Tesco when I saw them there two years ago. When I travelled to Bangkok, I priced them at the Tesco store near our Baan Siri recovery residence to determine whether or not the Thailand price is comparable to the price here at home (yes, the price is much the same both here and Thailand).
To we Americans who made our trek to Thailand, Tesco is the British version of Target – only bigger and more. While it may be somewhat generic Thai cuisine, their food court serves quite a variety of yummy Thai food. I bought my meal card and ate there a few times – whether with other Baan Siri companions or alone. There is also a doughnut shop and ice cream stand at the left front entrance for you who might be jonesing for Western food.
Actually, the numerous street restaurants serve authentic Thai meals. Enjoy the food at those small eateries packed along every street and ‘alley’. Jutta and I savoured ‘fish stomach soup’ at one small diner – delish. And a memorable experience with a Thai Experience friend.
Another dream woke me two nights ago – I was at the airport packed and at my departure gate ready to travel. My persona in my dream is a current me. This airport did not appear familiar to me – it was not an airport where I have previously or recently travelled and my recollection of this dream tells me that it was not a domestic American airport. My sense is that this dream was me travelling to my destination, but it did not seem to identify my destination. Does this mean that I shall be travelling overseas in my near future? Was this dream wishfull thinking of my return to Thailand?
(Update: 25 Oct 17):
Maybe this is the answer.
I browsed the various booths at Phoenix’ ‘Rainbows Fest’ (22 Oct 17). I came upon the Peace Corps booth and chatted with the people there. I told them of my international travels and maybe would like to do more. They registered me for the Peace Corps.
- Dunno what will happen next.
- Will they contact me?
- Do I submit a resume?
- Where might they send me?
Maybe this is how I came to have my travels dreams? I am on my way to a new adventure.
My apologies, Dear Friends.
I felt compelled to limit my life narrative to my counsellors: do not lie, but do not go into too much detail that might provoke their ‘gatekeeper’ knee-jerk responce that they conditioned me to suspect (‘gatekeepeer’, a term that I learned in 2015). My apologies to you. You did not make an incorrect diagnosis or approval, it was that weight of 40 years of gatekeepers who tainted my ability to be as open to you then as I have been since then.
Dear Reader, you have read at this web-site how I had been living in ‘stealth’ since the time when I began my official transition in 1974 (‘stealth’, another term that I learned in 2015). Other than my medical ‘Team Sharon’, I informed few people of my journey to Thailand that began March 2015: my sister, one cousin, two local friends (one of PAI, one of Chettawut), one out-of-state pen-pal. I had been under the force of the ‘gatekeepers’ from the start of my transition; I felt that imposing weight of the ‘gatekeepers’ forcing me to remain mum for my own sense, uncertain about my prospects, and reluctant to celebrate too soon if something went unexpectedly very wrong.
That part of my ‘stealth’ was quite difficult, being stealth exacerbated once I travelled to Thailand. I had to play it to the un-knowing as though I was leading my routine life at home. I had to present my facade and mix up my activities so as not to give away events of my true location. Can you begin to comprehend living a life on the other side of the Earth 14 hours different while pretending to be located at home?
There is a certain comedy about this duality that I balanced during that span of three calendar months when I was residing at Bangkok, but pretending to be home at Phoenix. It was not easy simultaneously living my two lives separated by those 14 hours and more than 10 thousand miles. I set my computer screen to show both Bangkok time and Phoenix time so that I would not make a mistake keeping track of both home time and away time whenever I needed to correspond to friends (wherever they may be on Earth) using my Phoenix home time.
I participated as a regular at a now-defunct chat room. My dual life was complicated at this chat room. I had to modify my whereabouts to the members and limit the times when I would post to only the same corresponding hours as I had previously participated when residing at my home time zone. I have no home Internet or wi-fi; I must use Public Library wi-fi (closing time at 9 p.m.) or grocery store wi-fi (closing time at 12 midnight or 1 a.m., depending upon where I was using it). No way could I post my chats at 5 p.m. Bangkok time (3 a.m. Phoenix time) without arousing their suspicion. Noon time at home Phoenix meant getting up at 2.00 am (the next day) Bangkok time. Yep, yesterday was today and tomorrow was yesterday. Or something like that – tee-hee.
I had been corresponding with other Chettawut Clinic sisters who either preceded me or followed me, but I could say nothing to them. I wanted to visit them at the Clinic or at their recovery residence, but could not do so because I could not tell them that I was there. So close, yet so far away. My apologies to you, my Chettawut Clinic sister friend.
One Chettawut sister departed Baan Siri perhaps mere days before I arrived; it also appears from our Baan Siri pictures that she and I would have been next door neighbours had we resided at Baan Siri during any overlapping time. I did not tell her in advance that I would be travelling to the Clinic. I became circumspect to her about my travel: I tested her to determine if she could figure me out by making exact referrals about the Chettawut Clinic that only a Chett sister knows, I posted a picture of me embracing the Baan Siri Dragon to one of her Facebook posts, I shared my excursion with her patient companion. She did not respond; I reckoned that if she could not ascertain my truth (or, hey, she has her own busy life and maybe she just had no interest to respond), then others could not, and my stealth would be safe until I was ready to reveal it. Was that relief or disappointment? Dunno. It has yet to play out if she has ever read these web-site posts. Of course, if my Chettawut sister reads this post, then she now knows for 100% certain if she otherwise still held any doubt (lemme know, eh). My apologies to you for what you might define as my deception though to me was my ingrained ‘stealth’ imperative that I explained to you so many,many times throughout our correspondence..
Forces took charge, the graces of the Dragon came to my rescue. I felt compelled to come to the assistance of one of my support group’s Chettawut sister earlier this year. I then extended the revelation of my prior whereabouts to my support group in general. Then came more Chettawut sisters, more Thai Experience sisters, more SRS / GCS sisters, more members of the support group who had that right to know. Eventually, I no longer had any reason to continue my ‘stealth’. Now I could take my proper place among my community, I could comfortably share both my long ago past experience as well as my recent experience.
I gradually brought relatives, friends, and associates into my ever-revealing stealth secret. By now, everyone should know.
That weight is lifted. Freedom!
Today is marked among certain Christian beliefs as a ‘Rapture’ day. Some hold the belief that an un-identified planet in our Solar System will crash into Earth and end all life as we know it.
One of my dear friends here at home whom I’ve come to know through our support group is among those Christian believers. We have discussed this topic at various times, she shared her certainty of this event, and I accepted her sincerity in her belief though it clearly held no sway with my own reasoning.
Alex Jones, one of your own Christian Conservatives, calls you ‘absolutely nuts!’ (his radio show, 22 Sep 17). Yes, Dear Reader, they demean each other then blame we on the Left for their poor attitude.
This calls to mind such innotables as Jim Jones and David Koresh.
This ‘Rapture’ belief also reminds me of a neighbour family of nearly 10 years of my childhood. They were mainstream Protestant Christian, they seemed to be reasoned people, the father held a responsible career as their family’s breadwinner, Alan and I played Little League together for several years. One day in early 1971, they announced that they joined a Christian group who believed in this rapture; they quickly sold all their household and personal possessions, sold their home, and effectively disappeared with their religious group. One day perhaps a decade later when I again asked my dad if he knew what happened to the family, my dad told me that he finally heard about them, that they were personally devastated by following such false Christian prophecy.
To my Dear Friend here of the Thai Experience, please know that, while I hold different views than you about this ‘Rapture’ and that I sincerely doubted the viability of your expectation, I shall always hold you in respect for your beliefs and take empathy for your plight. I am always here for you any time whenever you need me.
Our difference of religion or belief systems does not exclude us from friendship.
I am concerned for you. You have your deep-held belief that you expected to be raptured.
- Do you still believe that it happened?
- Do you believe that you were not raptured
- Do you now believe yourself to be in what you designated as that religiously un-worthy category of people whom you believed that your deity was leaving behind?
- Do you believe that you were conned by people who took advantage of your religious vulnerability?
To believe the event happened, believe that you were left behind, that you were played, all those feelings, must be a devastating blow. Ouch!
But please, Dear Friend, don’t deny that you were duped, work through it so that others do not fall to those cons.
On a humourous note to viewers of ‘Law & Order’.
A recent episode that replayed on Ion TV’s ‘L&O’ binge day (22 Sep 17) still shows an original typo error: ‘Febraury’ instead of February.
If you did not catch it, then you’ll have to wait for that episode to come around again in a few months.
Kapung Khaf. Thank you for coming. Please come gain.
Please be patient as I try to schedule wi-fi time at the local Public Library.