Well, I’m home now. Unfortunately I brought a souvenir that I wish I hadn’t. Putting that aside, spending the last ten days in Canada has really put into perspective the Southeast Asia trip. I find myself noticing things that I would have never batted an eye towards prior to the trip. I walk in and out of stores and see those charity baskets that promise better lives for those living impoverished in third world countries and I think to myself “I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, I lived in the midst of it.” I feel as if I could have done so much more to make a difference. I think I’ve begun to realize that simply existing in my own life is no longer an option after this trip. I need to exist with a mindfulness for the rest of the world.
I can definitely say that the home-stay experience that I had while in Laoag and Chiang Mai will not leave my memory. The privilege to live in the home of a local and live life as they did, to a certain degree, is actually indescribable. However, I know that won’t suffice for readers of this blog so I will dive into some detail. In the Philippines I was woken up every morning by roosters and dogs. I hated it at the time but recalling it now I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I just need to say that there is something refreshing about an ice cold shower.
While in Chiang Mai I had the opportunity to go with my home-stay family to an eight hour, traditional Buddhist service that has forever changed my outlook on and respect for Buddhism and its followers. Their devotion to their faith is without question the most devote I have ever seen.
So as I try to assimilate back in to Western Culture I’m having a hard time. I see and attempt to do things that were so natural, and even innate at times, and just can’t in right consciousness do it. I’m more aware of my place in the world and how it effects others. Something that wouldn’t have been possible without SSU’s Southeast Asia travel term.