Greetings from Chiang Rai! We bid our farewells to the Dhamma Center last Friday. The day before we left the monastery, we took a vow of silence for the better half of the day. The purpose of this was to reflect on what Laurie and the monks had taught us during our stay at the center. Most of us took the day to journal, read, meditate, and explore the grounds. We all gained an insight into the ways our minds work, especially in a situation where you cannot communicate immediately with others. This day of silence made us more mindful of the thoughts that precede our actions and the way we interact with others.
The following day, we took the long and winding bus ride back to Chiang Mai. There, we all enjoyed a rest day. Some of us went to the Saturday market outside the city gates and met up at an wildwest-themed saloon to watch Chris attempt to eat 4 racks of ribs, beans, and fries. If he ate all of this in under one hour, the meal would be free. Unfortunately, he did not prevail, and 590 baht was spent that night.
We just arrived at the Mirror Foundation last Monday. After our orientation in the morning, we immediately got to work. Our mission is to build a wall along the side of the main access road to the Mirror Foundation. Every year during the rainy season, the river floods and undercuts the road. This wall will protect the road from further damage. For the past few days, we have been digging holes, twisting wires, mixing cement, and breaking a sweat! Although the work is tolling, we all feel a sense of reward at the end of the day. We look forward to the rest of our time here in Chiang Rai!