I cannot express how beautiful our trip up into the mountains was. Here are just a few of my favorites pictures:
I cannot express how beautiful our trip up into the mountains was. Here are just a few of my favorites pictures:
Saturday evening we traveled into town to visit the local “store.” None of us realized what it was until Mae Sod’s uncle pulled the truck over and got out! (We all thought he just stopped to chat with friends.)
We apparently were highly entertaining, as the gentlemen sitting up front kept mimicking our English and laughing.
In their defense, we were taking a ridiculous number of pictures.
We also hiked about.
I am back from Mae Sot! I had a great trip and got to peer into Myanmar/Burma (looks a lot like Mae Sot! Or maybe Mae Sot looks like Burma?)
This post is partially to let you all know I am back safely and partially to “road map” my next few blog posts. I plan a profusion of posts about my weekend adventures, but I am actually going to schedule them for next week. A friend of mine is flying in from the United States and we are headed to Krabi for my Spring break!
Beaches here I come!
Since I am not sure how much time I will have for posting, I plan to take her trip “off” and I’ll schedule everything beforehand. I will then post about my Krabi experience in May, when I go on another trip! Can you guess where?
Lots of adventures secondhand coming your way! Thank you all for reading!
For the final day of the trip, we visited a ceramics museum.
First we painted pottery (I made a mug and it further confirmed my lack of artistic talent)
Then we toured the museum. Turns out, Lampang is famous because of this ceramics company and more specifically, the chicken bowls this company makes!
(Fatty chicken is my favorite)
I like chickens.
We then piled back on the bus for a very long trip back. We left around 1 pm didn’t arrive back till close to 9:45 pm. I used the local version of Uber to call a taxi but the driver got lost on his way to get me.
Thankfully, one of the Thammasat staff persons stuck around to make sure all of us students got home okay. She called my driver when he didn’t show up at the right place. I think I was probably actually in the wrong (my GPS showed me in the wrong place) but from the gist of her tone, I think she chewed him out for going to the wrong location! She then very firmly told him to deliver me safely home.
It was very nice to not wrangle with a taxi driver for once. Especially not so late at night. I arrived back safely and quickly crashed!
If you find yourself in northern Thailand, I do recommend visiting Lampang. I haven’t been anywhere else so I can’t say how it compares to the more famous destinations like Chiang Mai, but it has lovely views and interesting architecture. Here are a few random shots I took that didn’t really fit into my posts:
(the view from my hotel)
At the end of my adventures in Idaho last summer, I wrote a blog post where I talked about finding a new side of myself. I, bookworm and indoor aficionado, learned to sleep under the stars, hike for fun, and white water raft. Part of the appeal of going to Colorado this past summer was the idea of further developing this new side of myself.
And in a way, it was. I camped. I hiked. I white water rafted. (It is a lot more fun without the raft of paranoid middle school girls.)
Yet looking back, I would not say this was a summer of discovery. Rather, it became something more precious: a summer of remembering.
Law school is stressful. It is a melting pot of emotions and nuances and feeling like a failure. I emerged war-torn and exhausted. Going to Colorado felt like a terrible idea. As the weeks leading up to my departure became days, I kept wondering if Young Life would really would miss me too much if I just…didn’t go? After all, they’d told me there were two legal interns. Maybe they didn’t need me?
I knew better than to bail last minute, though, so I got on my plane, read 4 books, and started a truly amazing internship. What made it amazing?
The theme you should notice is that I was spoiled this summer. I was spoiled because people treated me like someone remarkable, someone smarter and funnier and more pulled together than I ever felt. They made sure to invite me to all their activities and never took offense when I declined to instead stay home and read. I always felt included but never pressured. And considering how many times I turned them down to read, that is saying something.
Yet while I felt beloved for my reading and bug-killing abilities, I also felt the love did not stem from my personal attributes. I was surrounded by God-loving people whose love for each other stemmed from that love for God. Certain personalities might mix better and certain skills be more praise worthy, but at the end of the day, those things mattered less than the fact that each intern represented someone loved by God and thus worthy of love.
I was spoiled this summer because I felt unconditionally loved. I was spoiled because I got to do work that interested and excited me. I was spoiled because I got to live in the incredibly beautiful mountains with no humidity.
I called this a summer of remembering. Why? Because it was a summer of remembering that my worth is not in what I do, or where I live, or what grades I get. It was a summer of remembering who I am when not stressed, not busy, and not networking. A summer of just being…me. Was it hard sometimes? Oh, you bet. But for all that, it was a summer beyond my expectations.
The thing I want to take away, the thing I need to take away, is that this path wasn’t the most natural, the most prestigious, or even the most sensible. But in the end, it was the most fulfilling. God knew what He was doing even when (especially when) I doubted the most.
(And because I couldn’t find the right place for it in this post, extra grateful shout-out to my awesome fellow legal intern, John, who now knows a lot more about Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, public sector labor law unions, and agency deference than he ever could have wanted, but who always let me interrupt him and patiently listened while I rambled away. Thank you.)
At this point last week, I was wandering around a campground hoping someone would eventually notice me missing and come find me.
For the first, and last, weekend of the summer, all 14 of us interns were in town. We decided to then all leave town and go camping in Buena Vista, Colorado.
As those who know me well, or not so well, know, I’m not a big camper. But I did spend all of last summer as a camp counselor in a wilderness camp, so I thought, how hard can it be? I felt particularly scornful of the mattress pads and tents. I was a real mountain woman! I did not need such luxuries! (Though I’d take ’em!)
Sunday morning I woke up and needed to do my business. I started walking away from the campsite to find a convenient bush…and kept walking…and walking…and eventually it dawned on me that I had no clue where I was.
I listened for the sounds of my somewhat loud compatriots but could not hear them. I looked for familiar landmarks but suddenly felt unsure. Was the house on the hill behind us? Or did we drive pass it when entering the campsite? And where had that river come from?
I considered my options carefully. I could follow the river but, as there was definitely no river by our campground, this would get me nowhere. I could sit in one place and wait for someone to find me. However, I was not confident they had even noticed I was gone yet, or would think to walk this far out in search of me. Further, I was not dressed for the heat and already felt myself sunburning.
Worse, the only thing on my feet were cheap, Wal Greens flip flops. Every rock and thorn punctured them and went straight into my foot. No matter how judiciously I avoided the cacti, they somehow found me.
After wandering for what felt like days but in reality was only 30 minutes, I realized that if I could find the road that looped around the whole campgrounds, I could find our specific campsite. So I shoved my way through the brush until I located someone else’s campsite, and from there the road. I started walking on it until I heard distant shouting. Up on the largest rock they could find stood three of my fellow interns shouting my name.
Apparently, they were the 4th group sent out in search of me.
We made it back just in time for breakfast!
Moral of the story? Always take a buddy when you have to pee.
I am currently flopped on my bedroom floor staring at pictures from camp and trying not to cry. It is an unnerving experience. I didn’t expect this sudden, unexpected influx of emotion. Camp was wonderful, but come August, I was ready to leave. I arrived desperate for a break and camp gave me just that. It gave me time to recharge and refocus. By the end of the summer, I felt energized and eager to tackle the world (or at least, law school.) I was ready to go.
Perhaps because of this readiness, I didn’t mourn leaving too much. I knew I would miss several of my fellow staff members, but I’ve said goodbye to people before. It was a great summer but one that had now come to an end. I was happy to stick all my emotions and thoughts into a “Summer 2017” box and move on with life.
I guess, though, that I should have realized that a summer like I experienced needs to be processed through. It needs to be remembered. The good, the bad, the fun, and the painful…all those things are valid and part of my experience. White water rafting, hiking, horseback riding and big base kickball, those are things I did. Me! The girl who previously ranked hiking alongside cavities, or rush hour traffic.
Turns out, I really like mountain biking and kayaking. I love the mountains. I’m not half bad with kids (though I’ll never be an elementary school teacher!) I really like Idaho and Montana. I proudly wear Chacos. You know, before leaving I wrote a blog post where I said, “At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m also excited to find a new side of myself.” Turns out, I did!
Camp was everything I hoped it would be and more. I found a new side of myself. I relaxed. I was challenged. I made friends. I learned to live more freely and more fully in the moment. Going forward, my hope is that the lessons I learned and the peace I experienced over the summer will stay with me. God is good. It was wonderful to be daily reminded of that this summer. Whether in the mountains of Idaho or the streets of Madison, may I always remember that God is at work and that He will accomplish great things.
(Photo Credit goes to Joe Jank who did an amazing job with pictures this summer)
One of the downsides of moving to the middle of nowhere Idaho to work at camp is that I will have limited access to the internet. My blogging streak which has now lasted almost a year and two months will come to an end after Wednesday. The upside of this is that when I do have internet, I’ll be uploading amazing pictures of mountains and nature. Stay tuned for that! The downside is, well, no more daily posts from me.
This really is the end of a season. I’ve grown attached to these daily posts. It has kept me consistent in a way journaling never could. Thank you, readers, for being part of my life. I hope you’ll stick around for the next adventure!
(And don’t worry, you’ll still have me on the weekends.)
P.S. The other downside to camp is that I won’t have time and/or access to books like I do now so I probably won’t make my goal of 170 this year. *sob*