Articles

Tatted in Thailand: Dalton, Kali, & Clarence

Larissa Delgado, 130 YinD

During Group 130’s Reconnect Conference a lot of us throughout the two weeks got tattoos. Prior to that I had also heard of volunteers from Group 129 getting tattooed during their service. I’ve always loved tattoos because they can be spontaneous or well thought out, hold meaning to someone, and are essentially permanent works of art that people commit to on their bodies. The particular time and place in one’s life that someone decides to get a tattoo also intrigues me, and I believe that tattoos can help preserve your memory of where you were when you got it. So upon finally getting my wave tattoo in Kanchanaburi, I was very curious to hear the stories behind some of the tattoos that other volunteers had gotten while in Thailand, and if there were any connections to their service as Peace Corps Volunteers. After hearing many experiences we’ve decided to start a series featuring PCVs and their tattoo stories. The following is my story, along with the first few participants that have agreed to share their own.


Dalton Striedel, 129 YinD

1. Describe your tattoo, and give a brief story about when and where (in Thailand,) you got it done. and 2. What is the meaning of your tattoo, if any, and does it connect you to your Peace Corps service?
Since I’ve been in Thailand, I have gotten three tattoos:

The first one was sanskrit lettering that you see in traditional monk writing.
It’s a blessing for good luck and fortune.image12

Secondly, I got a band around my wrist. I just thought it was cool.

image4

My latest tattoo is an arrow. Really, I just liked the way it looked and got it on my side.
Nothing special really.

image10

3. What inspired you to get it, and do you think that if you weren’t a Peace Corps Volunteer, you would have still gotten it?
I already had several tattoos before coming here, so I definitely would still have gotten them regardless. What makes them special is that I got them in Khon Kaen with my best friend, who is also a 129 volunteer. We had a deal that every time we went to KK we would get a tattoo. We stuck to it for the first few trips, but soon found out it it would be way too expensive to keep it up. They will always be a reminder of this Peace Corps adventure and all the good times enjoyed.

4. If you had to sum up the tattoo in one word what would that word be?
Movement.

 

Kali Ask, TESS 130

image8

1. Describe your tattoo, and give a brief story about when and where (in Thailand,) you got it done.
It’s the start of a complete back tattoo I have in mind: a ~4 inch tall ankh. I got it in the middle of Reconnect at the Sugar Member Bar from the same artist that a couple other PCVs went to.

2. What is the meaning of your tattoo, if any, and does it connect you to your Peace Corps service?
I’ve always been more partial to symbol tattoos because of their explicit meaning and the ankh follows that idea. It’s an hieroglyphic icon meaning life. I’m a bit particular about tattoos, so I don’t usually get anything unless I’ve thought about it. The only thing related to service is that it was originally slated for my left shoulder but another volunteer inspired me to line it up on my spine.

3. What inspired you to get it, and do you think that if you weren’t a Peace Corps Volunteer, you would have still gotten it?
I wasn’t planning to get it until I returned to America, but I found out a few others were bound for a shop so I tagged along with them and decided to get one myself. Also, I gotta talk up my boy in Kan, Jo. He was an awesome tattoo artist and a pretty fun guy to talk to; I definitely plan to get more from him in the future.

4. If you had to sum up the tattoo in one word what would that word be?
Let’s go with “layered.”

 

Clarence Say, 129 TESS

image1

1. Describe your tattoo, and give a brief story about when and where (in Thailand,) you got it done.
My tattoo is a compass with some crazy geometric designs all around it. I originally got it at Koh Lipe, which is a really beautiful island off of Satun which you should visit sometime if you have the time, but got it cleaned up in Bangkok at a really dope spot called All Day Tattoo by the homie, Frank.

2. What is the meaning of your tattoo, if any, and does it connect you to your Peace Corps service?
I have a tattoo for every place that I’ve lived as an adult, so this is my Thailand tattoo. It was important for me to get it in Satun, so Koh Lipe was the logical choice. I wanted it to be a bamboo stick and poke as well even though the lines weren’t quite as clean as I had hoped. It’s perfect though in its imperfection, which is my big Peace Corps take away – that I am enough just the way that I am.

3. What inspired you to get it, and do you think that if you weren’t a Peace Corps Volunteer, you would have still gotten it?
The inspiration for this tattoo came from Henry David Thoreau who once wrote that “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will be met with a success unexpected in common hours.” Since my getting this tattoo is tied to this place and time in my life, I don’t think that I would have gotten it if I was not here in Peace Corps Thailand.

4. If you had to sum up the tattoo in one word what would that word be?
Imperfect.


Read about the other volunteers featured: Larissa, Bethany, Natalie, & Janet and Elizabeth, Berline, & Celete.

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