Well after many days (I may be being a bit drastic) we are finally stationary for more than a day and does it feel good to not be moving.  I think that I wasn’t in Bangkok long enough to really take a lot of things in, other than the smells that were constantly there.  The city was very quiet because of the holiday that the Thai’s were observing.  Coming into Chang Mai, there are no words for what I am experiencing.  The Thai people are so kind and love to try and speak English with us and help us and are very curious as to what we are doing here.  So far we have visited a Thai massage place, participated in a Thai cooking class, a monk chat, and then a visit to the elders’ home.  The Thai massage was interesting how they looked differently at the body and how massage healed.  The cooking class was a good introduction to the Thai food and gave me some ideas on what to eat and to order.  It also showed me how spicy the Thai people like their food!!  The monk chat and elder’s visit was so eye opening.  How the monks view their happiness versus how I knew happiness was so different.  The monks speak about living in total and complete happiness, but their happiness is only within themselves.  They believe that if they are in a relationship, it can cause pain and suffering and they want to avoid that.  For me, pain and suffering means personal growth and growing towards the future.  The words future and past are not apart of the monk’s thoughts, like we, as American’s, are always thinking about.  We are constantly reflecting, and writing, about how our past experiences affect us now, and have changed us.  Visiting the elder’s house was so uplifting, so far one of the best things I have done here.  It was so warming to feel how happy and excited they were to see us.  Some even knew how to speak a good amount of English!  It brought tears to my eyes more than once to see how happy they were to be living in the elder’s house, when all I could think about was how miserable my grandmother was to be living in the same situation, but it a much higher quality place.  It was so different how the elders loved being with company and cherished their food, and my grandmother would pick apart her food and hated almost every meal.  It was so miserable to watch her pass away in that setting a few months ago.  Being with the elders made me think about my grandmother and her happier spirited self before she passed.

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