Larissa Delgado, 130 YinD
Last week, a thought crossed my mind as I laid on my woven hammock.
On my quiet late night, with the quiet view from my second-floor porch,
“Maybe, I can buy this house someday.”
This sweet thought was promptly followed up by, “That’s ridiculous.”
It was as if the idealist and realist parts of my brain were talking to one another,
and I was just a third party eavesdropping on the conversation. Don’t mind me.
The killjoy, realist part of my brain continued without invitation, “Why would you buy a house in your remote Peace Corps community? Why not in Chiang Mai, or better yet, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where you have family and where you will likely visit much more often than you will visit Thailand? Or in Istanbul, Turkey? Your favorite place to live in in the world!”
I guess I didn’t truly mean it, but it came from the realization that I will someday have to say goodbye to this house, this job, these kids, these friends and this place, and these intimate spaces that I’ve grown to love and to call home.
(But, I also live in a pretty spectacular house for a Peace Corps volunteer.)
I’ll miss this two-floor pink home and how grounding it feels to see everything from my porch.
I’ll miss my group of street dogs that let me pet them and visit my gate for food.
I’ll miss my dog buddy, Gaafee, who doesn’t even ask for food, but walks up just to get pet.
I’ll miss feeding my tiny little fish I have just outside of my house,
And even my creepy flowers that open and close.
I take a bite of my market-bought fresh mango,
And think how I’ve never had a mango that’s tasted as good since my last visit to Brazil.
I think about my visits to my Suphan host family,
And similarly, how whenever they fed me sugarcane, I was reminded of the memory of having sugarcane in my own grandma’s backyard in Rio.
I’ll miss how much my Suphan host family ACTUALLY feels like family.
It’s almost bizarre; we must’ve been related in another life.
I hear a motorcycle zoom by, interrupting the peace of the night.
I’ll miss jogs with my Thai church friend, Pi Dtho, in the park,
And visits to the waterfall with my other Thai church friend,
Who is always so intentional and has such a big heart.
I’ll miss my Thai convenience store snack lady, Pi Lin, and my market people.
I’ll miss my bike rides with my Thai best friend, Bum,
And my wonderful incredibly supportive SAO counterpart, Pusadee,
And two of my co-teachers, Kru Kiaw and Kru Passaree,
And all of my friendly and helpful anamai staff,
And all of the students that I teach.
I take a drink of Yakult, and my memory flashes back to having one as a child on a visit to Brazil.
I’ll miss showing up at my Thai friend Pi Duan’s house on Sundays and inviting her and her daughter, Meen, on our ritual swim in the river followed by a bike ride in the fields.
I’ll miss my bike rides in general and that feeling of never getting over how beautiful everything is.
My precious valley is surrounded by mountains on the North, West, and South,
With fields for cows and corn and rice and Pelicans, and water buffaloes perched on by birds,
And with a river that follows your bike rides as much as the far-off mountains do.
I’ll miss walking on the bamboo bridge two towns over and feeding the medium-sized fish that live in that part of the river.
I’ll even miss biking to my local bus stop that isn’t even a real bus station,
And small-talking with the ticket seller lady, Paa Peuu,
As she waits in the dark with me for my bus to arrive,
“I’m waiting with you cause we’re friends,” she says, “I don’t wait for everyone.”
I’ll miss visits to Muang Tak where I’m reunited with my old bhalat, Pi Gung that I wish never had to leave,
And I’ll miss all of my trips around the country with my fellow PCVs.
I’ll miss coming back to site and feeling like I’m coming back home,
And how I’ve learned to be so okay alone,
I’ll miss my playtime with the twin girls, Pin and Pai, that live a block away from me,
And their sweet games and genuine longing to connect.
I’ll miss my neighbor’s daughter, Wankao, stopping over for snacks and a dance sesh,
And I’ll miss all of the quiet nights I’ve had to swing on my hammock on my porch.
I look to the left, and there’s the mountains and the fields.
I look to the right, and there’s the town and where the three roads intersect,
And watch the gang of dogs hanging out on the street getting into their usual trouble.
I look at the palm trees and feel the breezy wind of night,
And in the morning, I’ll awake to the sounds of four different kinds of birds,
Until the day comes when I won’t,
Because, well one day, I won’t.
I guess I thought if I could someday buy this house I now live in,
That if it were mine, I could hold onto all of this,
And on my visits, go back in time,
To what means so much to me,
To relive and cradle all of these things that I miss,
Because I will truly miss it all,
Because I’ll miss this.