>Today I was walking through the mall after seeing a movie with friends. My three friends were talking to each other in Thai so I was people watching when suddenly it occurred to me that THIS is my life now. Me being the sole farang (non-Thai person) amongst a world of Thais. This may seem like an odd thing to say since I have been living in Thailand for over a year and a half now. You are probably thinking, “Isn’t she often surrounded by Thais?” or something similar to that. And the answer is, yes I am. Every day I spend my time with Thai people and I love it. They are my family, my best friends and my students. I have spent countless hours being the sole farang in a group over the past year and a half. But today it occured to me that it is different now. Since I moved to Thailand, I have always had someone to talk to at the end of the day who comes from the same culture as me. This has been important because it is refreshing to sit down and process with someone without having to slow down my speech or watch what slang or idioms I use. I am often mentally drained by the end of the day and I need someone who understands me without explanation to listen. Today is the first day that I am on my own, without someone from my culture to talk to.
This is not a bad thing, although I am not sure that it is a great thing either. I have amazing Thai friends. I don’t mean to brag but I just happen to be friends with the coolest Thai people in the world. And maybe this is an oppurtunity to spend more time with them. Maybe this is the time for me to integrate myself into the culture more. Maybe this is a chance for me to spend more time with my students. I am not sure what this period of my life is for but I know that God must have a plan.
I do have other farang friends from church, but their schedules are all different from mine and we only see each other on the weekends. The thing about doing ministry like I do at The Centre is that you have to put your whole life into it. I spend every waking moment at The Centre or hanging out with my students. So the fact that there are no more farang at The Centre and no plans for any, leaves me feeling pretty lonely and honestly, a little scared. I wonder if I can make it on my own here. And then feel guilty for wondering that because a)God is taking care of me and b)I am not on my own, I am surrounded by wonderful Thai friends. I know this but I still feel lonely.
I said goodbye to some friends yesterday as they left to go back to the states. I stood there crying as they drove away and was once again overcome by the need to shut down and stop loving so much. I see A LOT of short term volunteers come and go at The Centre and I have a hard time figuring out how much to love them. I am really good at being superficial and not letting myself care or get attached. I am also really good at loving and getting really attached. So, is it better to be lonely all the time and never feel the pain that comes when someone leaves or is better to love people and feel my heart break every someone leaves? I need to find a middle ground. This is a problem that I have been trying to figure out all year. Maybe this time of being the sole farang is for me to get attached to more people who won’t be leaving Thailand. I don’t know, but I do know that I am tired of saying goodbye.
I am going to look at this in a positive light and assume that this period in my life is a growing period. God is going to teach me things and change me and I know that it will be in good ways.
I realize that I am rambling and I am sorry for that. I haven’t written in a while because my computer is broken and my internet has been down. I guess being able to write again left me so excited that I can’t stop rambling. Fortunately for you, my computer is still broken so I probably won’t write again for a little while.
Please pray for me during this time.