The concept of time is constantly changing. When we (Americans) think of time we think of deadlines, punctuality, following a schedule, creating appointments and so much more. As someone who is familiar with other cultures, I think acknowledging the idea of time is important. Past, present, and future, physical and symbolic ideas of time are different for everyone.
As someone who is traveling to Thailand for the first time, it is intersting to be in an environment where time is precious but not strict or stressful. Though, we are following a schedule as part of a school curriculum, our sense of time has changed. Physically we are in a different time zone and are slowly adjusting to abnormal sleep patterns; symbolically we are living in the present and enjoying the days as the come (hopefully).
About a week ago, I was preparing myself mentally, physically, and emotionally for the trip. As I have been privileged to travel around the world before, something about this trip was different. I felt like I needed to get away and the trip couldn’t come soon enough (rushing). I hadn’t packed or really thought about what I was going to bring; yet,
I knew when it was time to get everything together, I would be fine. (procrastination). Now, when I arrived in Thailand, it was one of the most surreal feelings. I couldn’t actually believe I was across the world. I was officially 8,300 miles away from home. There was no turning back now (reality).
Over the past week, my peers and I have enjoyed a number of amazing experiences but the one experience that resonates with me the most was visiting the Monk Chat. Listening to Monk Jo-Lee was absolutely life changing. Not only did he share his experiences of becoming a monk but he also shared his knowledge about Buddhism, as monks practice Buddhism. “A way of living,” “action vs reaction,” “forgive and forget,” lastly, “we are the same family of human being.”
Relating everything back to time, time is of the essence. Here in Thailand, time is easy, time is special, time is experiences, and time is learning. Valuing every moment as it comes is a treasure. We live in a society where success, independence, wealth, good health, and so much more is measured by time and how much we “have.” Being able to take a step back and really enjoy the experiences had is so different. My reality for the next three weeks will be experienced by being present here and now. I will take what I learn and leave what I want.