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two years ago to this day, jason and i were arriving in bangkok to launch our 3-week journey thru thailand with jason’s uncle scott and his beautiful wife, nym.  what a trip!  not only did we see some of the most breathtakingly gorgeous sites and landscapes and eat some of the tastiest (and spiciest!) food on the globe, i also learned something that i will always cherish as one of my most important life lessons: that, contrary to the american way of life, we humans do NOT need to work ourselves to the bone in order to receive life’s blessings and moments of fulfillment. 

i remember during a long and very bumpy drive out of the jungle with scott and nym and three new thai friends, i had an epiphany that all of these people squeezed in tight next to me in this pickup truck each had many more years under their belt than i, but yet many fewer lines on their faces.  and i don’t just think it was their diet or their genes….they were all truly less stressed than i.  and after spending three consecutive nights in the jungle, i also realized i had experienced three separate work-related dreams (or nightmares) each morning before waking up to the sound of the village schoolchildren’s morning hymns echoing throughout the mountains.

something struck me as completely wrong about that situation, and it was then and there that my aspirations changed: i would no longer fret about the overly competitive nature of my co-workers; i would work out for my health and to feel more alive than to achieve that perfect bathing-suit body that i will probably never have; i would only run dreaded errands on weekends to provide us with necessary food or toilet paper, but maybe not those shoes that i saw are on sale at the mall….

basically, i decided to live a simpler, more meaningful life that day.  now, two years, one layoff and then an entirely new way of working, one perfect newborn baby and a whole lotta new gray hairs later, i am still working at perfecting this new attitude toward life.  it is not easy to do while living in america, with all the reality TV shows you could ever want to watch at your fingertips. (and i do love my TV!)  but i am enjoying each moment i have to spend with arden when most people i know are rushing off to work in an office each day, and i am even moreso appreciating every moment that jason spends with his nose to the grindstone, so that we can raise our daughter in a way that will hopefully teach her that life isn’t all about money and who has the most ‘stuff.’  it is also about ingesting the spiciest red chili you could ever imagine, riding on an elephant with your loved one, exploring the intricate details of palaces and temples, swimming over a sea of menacing urchins just feet below you, meeting people who speak an unwritten language and taking rides thru the jungle with friends squeezed in tight around you in a bumpy pickup truck.  you gotta just hang on and enjoy the ride!

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IMG_2311so to scott and nym:

KHAP KHUN KA… for providing us with the opportunity and encouragement to take an awesome life-changing journey, and for helping us add many wonderful memories to our memory banks, from which we can pull on those especially fast-paced days back here on american soil!  you both are delicious.