By Overseas Educators Rachel and Sheldon
It’s such a strange feeling, an odd combination of elation and loss at the end of a journey like this. On the one hand, we did it! Made it through all the homesickness, doctor’s visits, long, hot, crowded bus rides, squat toilets, hard floors, and personal tiffs, and now we get to go home! On the other hand, we did it! But now what? Where are my friends? And those hard-working, humble and happy people who opened their homes and hearts to us? Where’s the structure that’s so comforting? The constant challenge, and change, and doing something new every day? And again, most of all, where did everyone go?
Our initial homestays in Mae Rim feel both like such a long time ago, and like they happened yesterday. The crying jags, the desperate flights to a friend’s house to avoid being alone, Thai classes at baan Ajaan Petchara (“Tay-Lor, suay mai?”), riding around on town on janky bikes like the kids from “The Goonies”…and now look at you. It will take awhile, a lifetime maybe, to process everything that happened from that starting point to sitting together in our hostel room in Ho Chi Minh City the other night, saying goodbyes, shedding tears of another kind.
It’s a good thing we went to Plum Village, and left as a bunch of dharma bums equipped with the basics to handle moments like these.
Master Tai said, “Impermanence does not lead to suffering. Without impermanence, life could not be. Without impermanence, your daughter could not grow up to be a beautiful young lady. Without impermanence, oppressive political regimes would never change…It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”
We have loved our time with every single one of you. (And time may not actually exist.) Keep watering those flowers, including your own. Happiness is here and now.
Ps: “Do, be do, be do, be do be do be do.”