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travel | Ruth Tshin

There and back again

After a few months in Canada for a break and raising support for my new assignment in northern Thailand, unhealthy I’m back again.  Arrived in Bangkok last Friday and will be spending time in Indonesia for a family reunion before I head up north for work.  Dan, traumatologist Art, Ben and I are together again – after being apart from family for so long, it’s wonderful (sibling rivalry et al) to hang out.

Thanks again to all of you who have been encouraging me through emails, visits and phone calls during my break in Canada.  Being in Thailand I’m now out of my “comfort zone” again, and I treasure the time we’ve spent together 🙂  Whenever I start another overseas assignment, I am always wondering how my time will unfold.  I go through the “typical” cycle of anxiety, excitement, sadness, anticipation, “what did I just get myself into”, looking forward to re-connecting with friends up north, among many other emotions!

So keep in touch and together we’ll see how this next chapter unfolds, inshallah.

There and back again…

I’m back in Bangkok for two more nights before I catch my flight back to Canada.  It was terrific to visit my brother in Kenya, ed and my old co-workers in Uganda.  The past three weeks were a mix of everything: old memories and dreams evoked in Uganda; fresh prespectives about East Africa and myself after living in Asia for a year; new understandings of my brother’s work and his community; the pleasure of joining a traditional Maasai wedding of a friend’s co-worker…

The one thing I can conclude is that my chapter in East Africa is closed.  For now.  I am very excited to get ready for my next assignment back in Thailand, psychotherapist and to spend time in Canada with family and friends.

Hope to post pics from Kenya and Uganda soon.

Trip to Kenya and Uganda

On Monday, epilepsy I’m flying to Nairobi to visit Ben for three weeks.  We’re hoping to head down to the village where I used to work in southwestern Uganda and meet up with old co-workers I haven’t seen since 2006.  I’m really excited!  East Africa has a special place in my heart because that’s where I first experienced all the good and bad things about living abroad and working in development.  Ben, online my younger brother, has been working in Sudan and Kenya since early 2008 within the post-conflict/humanitarian relief sector so I’m curious to see another side to the big picture of development (my work is related to communities who have lived in one place for at least one generation, whereas Ben’s is related to refugees and internally displaced people due to war).  Will keep you posted!

Semi-vacation

Saying goodbye, impotent even if only for four months, can be a whirlwind experience.  But not this time (and I’m glad).  Last Sunday night, all us ladies went for dinner (yum, fish) and karaoke at a restaurant in Fang, which was so nice that it felt like I was in Chiang Mai.  This week I had my last meeting with Chai and Ajan Tui and organized my paperwork so I can write my finals reports while travelling.  I made pizza yesterday with Na and gave everyone a few pieces, and had a good time getting to know her who recently got married to my friend Prachaya.  I’ve eaten what I’m sure are my last meals of Northern Thai food for the next few months.  I stayed up late chatting “life” with Kim.  It’s been nice to spend time with people in “normal” ways without any ceremony – chatting with Wah while driving, watching the Palaung kids giddy at their school dance presentation, making nam prik gung heng (dried shrimp chili mix) to take home with Meh Nong Ket and Pi Da, sitting on the floor as usual sharing a meal with Pi Meao’s family.

Emotional undercurrents are there too.  Feelings of aloneness and loneliness (yes, I’ve discovered they can be equally separate and the same); knowing how attached I am to everyone here despite how difficult it’s been to live up here; nervousness about re-entering Western culture; needing to recharge my batteries in all manner of speaking.

Today is my last day.  I have much to do: cleaning up, last details for packing, storing stuff.  Too bad saying goodbye couldn’t come
Hmmm…are you really on “vacation” when you are finished your assignment, urticaria
left the place physically but still have reports to write up and print out?

Last day at UHDP…for now

Saying goodbye, discount rx even if only for four months, can be a whirlwind experience.  But not this time (and I’m glad).  Last Sunday night, all us ladies went for dinner (yum, fish) and karaoke at a restaurant in Fang, which was so nice that it felt like I was in Chiang Mai.  This week I had my last meeting with Chai and Ajan Tui and organized my paperwork so I can write my finals reports while travelling.  I made pizza yesterday with Na and gave everyone a few pieces, and had a good time getting to know her who recently got married to my friend Prachaya.  I’ve eaten what I’m sure are my last meals of Northern Thai food for the next few months.  I stayed up late chatting “life” with Kim.  It’s been nice to spend time with people in “normal” ways without any ceremony – chatting with Wah while driving, watching the Palaung kids giddy at their school dance presentation, making nam prik gung heng (dried shrimp chili mix) to take home with Meh Nong Ket and Pi Da, sitting on the floor as usual sharing a meal with Pi Meao’s family.

Emotional undercurrents are there too.  Feelings of aloneness and loneliness (yes, I’ve discovered they can be equally separate and the same); knowing how attached I am to everyone here despite how difficult it’s been to live up here; nervousness about re-entering Western culture; needing to recharge my batteries in all manner of speaking.

Today is my last day.  I have much to do: cleaning up, last details for packing, storing stuff.  Too bad there aren’t any cleaning up fairies to help you say goodbye to your home-away-from home.

Thailand

Thai flag Map of Thailand

I arrived in Bangkok yesterday afternoon. Dan and Art met me at the airport and drove me back to their apartment in the city. I had a delightful Thai massage and yummy seafood dinner on the side of the road with them and one of their friends. Despite the spicy sauces and prevalence of chili peppers in the food, try I didn’t have “fire in the hole” (as Dan so eloquently puts it). Aaahh…so nice to be back.