When the whole world opens up for you, how do you decide where to begin?
When the whole world opens up for you, how do you decide where to begin?
I like scary movies, always have. But i’m more of a Supernatural kinda gal versus The Human Centipede. I feel like scary movies are meant to make you scream, not feel mentally disturbed (yikes). Lately I’ve been living a scary movie of my own.
Here in Thailand they have a these creatures everywhere .. ants. I know, ants are not really scary. But its not about what they don’t do, its about what they could do. I watch millions of them march from one corner of the wall to the other, I watch them scatter around the kitchen when I do the dishes, and I watch as they dart in and out from under the desks at school.
Most of them are harmless but sometimes when I’m sitting and I catch an ant walking down the length of my thigh, my heart stops and I suddenly feel a terror creep up on me. My skin feels itchy all over and as I smack at it and flick it off my jeans, I quickly examine the rest of my body to make sure there aren’t more. My fear comes from the fact that ants stay mobbing. If there’s one, there most definitely is more and no matter how hard you try, you will never get all of them.
Once you attract their attention, they come upon you swiftly and you begin to feel like an elephant under attack. At night, when the lights go off and my eyes get heavy, I sleep for about 3seconds before my foot tingles with the familiar crawl of ant feet. I shift and a tingle begins on my shoulder. Before I know it I’m swatting all around determined to get rid of every last one. Panic turning to terror, I turn on the light and find .. my bed is clean as a whistle. Throughout the night this episode repeats itself several times and finally when the roosters crow and the sun creeps over the horizon, I yawn and pray I can catch a couple of hours of sleep. Luckily I do. And I dream (something that has become more common lately).
I dream that I am lying in bed covered in ants from head to toe and I watch as they enter and exit from every hole and crease in my body. I dream about a suffocating death by ants invasion. Finally, I awake brushing quickly at myself and checking the perimeter of my bed. A breath of relief escapes.
This isn’t fear. This constant knowledge that I will never be 100% safe .. This is terrorism in the first degree.
When I was told this past April that I was accepted to go to Thailand for a year, aside from stories about the ‘ladyboys’ what I heard most about was the political tension between the Muslims of the south and the Buddhist population.
Like most things in life, I figured it was blown out of porportion and completely irrelevant to my trip. This past week I spent several days in Pattani province. A small town close to the boarder, I spent my days relaxing, relaxing and more relaxing.
Today when I arrived home, I was asked about my trip. I mentioned that there were a lot of check points because the province was so close to the Malaysian border. Oh boy was I wrong. Those checkpoints had nothing to do with border control.
It turns out that those tales about political tension and violence were not just a rumor. Pattani Thailand is known for random car bombings and shootings. My assumption was that all of the Military Personnel, and the large guns had everything to do with the location of the Army base and nothing to do with the actual safety of the province. Again, I was reminded not to assume.
So the rumors turned out to be true, and me? Well I’m not sure if Pattani is on my list of future travel plans ..
This morning I woke up in a small town in the South East of Thailand. Known for farming rubber trees and the national park, I was a city girl taken completely out of my element. I stayed there for 3 nights and found out something very important about myself. Too much peace and quiet will eventually drive me crazy.
Tonight I head to bed in a dorm room in Hat Yai, Thailand. One of the largest beachside cities of Southern Thailand. Again, I found this day to be full of surprises, unexpected challenges and awkward attempts at communication.
But as the day progressed, I found something worth remembering. We walked through the streets of Hat Yai and I saw a quote under a sign that said Lucky Notes.
"If you often have a smile on your face, good luck will naturally come to you."
And so I smiled. And I can say that tonight I am going to sleep a very happy person.
The Olympics is proof that if we cut out all the bullshit, quit all the talking, and really put our minds and bodies to the test, we can achieve what was once considered impossible. Its not about winning or losing. Its about competing.
I don’t know what to expect from this trip. In fact, I’ve never been good at having expectations. But as the days turn into weeks, routines have developed but are never followed. Connections I’ve built are constantly evolving. And when I look at my past, I can say I am thankful for the changes.
I have this obsession with change. Since before I can remember I have been consistantly inconsistent. A curse and a blessing, but now an obsession. I think about the future and I see ten different possibilities, and when I think about the present I undertand that one word can change the course of my destiny.
Most people find comfort in routine and knowing that things will remain the same. My comfort has been found in knowing that everything will change. You either go with it or get left behind.
Tonight for dinner, I don’t know what we’ll be having. But I do know that between the time I write this, and the time I sit down to eat, a million things can go wrong … or depending on how you look at it, just right.
Every morning all government schools assemble the students in front of the school where they sing the National Anthem and raise the flag. This morning in honor of President John Atta Mills of The Republic of Ghana, all flags were lowered to halfway on the flagpole.
May he rest in peace.
I’m not into sports. I like the idea of them, and occasionally if I have nothing better to do, I don’t mind watching them on t.v. I don’t remember watching the Beijing 2010 Olympics, but I also don’t remember really rooting for the US teams. Because of America’s diverse nature, I felt the Olympics were a time for me to represent my country of origin, Somalia. To be proud of my blood.
This year as I spend the London 2012 Olympics in Thailand, it is quite different. This international event made me realize more than ever how much America is in my roots. From the moment I set foot in Thailand, I find myself learning more and more about America .. from myself. The little things that make my everyday life, though definitely carrying the accents of my Somali heritage, are proving to define my way of life.
So as I sat and watched the opening ceremony with my family, I waited through the alphabets, occasionally commenting on one country or another. I waited and when Somalia came to walk, my heart beamed. Eventually the announcers called United States of America and I thought to myself, “Here come my people.” I was claiming my association. They walked. Plentiful, diverse and proud.
Now as each sporting event begins, I will still be carrying the Somali flag in my right hand. But in my left will be 50 stars of red, white and blue.
God bless America.