Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just another day in fracking paradise....

Okay. So today hasn't been one of my better days. I should have seen it coming but got hit unexpectedly and hard by a depressive episode.

This stuff is chemical and I know the best thing to do is just wait it out. It goes away on its own. Physical exercise helps more than almost anything else.

This morning, I was feeling pretty crappy about several things, the main one being this damn isolation. Hearts in SF asked this morning in comments, "It's hard being an ex-pat in your own country, isn't it?"

Well, yeah. Actually it is. Most of the time, I deal with it pretty well. That's just how it is right now and there's no sense in bemoaning it. It won't change the circumstances in the least. I have good housemates and good friends. Additionally, I am pretty good at balancing it out and know when I've had enough American culture, American attitudes and just the swirl of American life around me.

I hibernate.

That didn't work this time because of the double-whammy of a depressive episode and the other feelings colliding.

Physical exercise is the best solution. There's a little Thai restaurant three or four miles from my house. That would provide an 8-mile walk and, by damn!, I wanted sa tay chicken on a stick! And jasmine rice!

So I put on my walking shoes, grabbed my book and headed out the door.

The walk did help and some of that feel-good chemical started hitting my brain. By the time I got to the restaurant, it really wasn't all that bad. At least I didn't feel like my head was full of hot water.

I sat down, ordered my meal and began to read while waiting.

I heard a voice from behind me.


My friend Ba came in! Now this was completely unexpected and I can't tell you how happy I was to see him.

"Chaaah-nah!" (He doesn't call me Chani because chanee is a really nasty animal in Thai. He calls me Chana or Chada, depending on his mood apparently.) He gave me a big smile. I admit that I smiled for the first time today, too.

He was alone. That was even better!

I invited him to sit with me and we talked for an hour or so over good food. Ba has a bad habit of being able to read me pretty well and I wasn't fooling him with cheery talk. He bluntly asked me why there is "sadness in your eyes". Being a lousy liar and lousy at covering up, I began to tear up even more. Crying really isn't part of my nature and when I do, it's very quiet and not usually noticeable to anyone else.

I hate to dump on people and wasn't going to do it with him today. He can be trusted with many things that I can't say to others who surround me. He is here from Thailand for a fixed period of time, just to make money. He works his proverbial ass off and saves fifty percent of everything he earns. That's no easy feat in this part of the country. He plans to return to Thailand by the time he is my age. (He's 44 now.) There are certain things I know he "gets" about me. In other words, he's safe.

So I explained that I miss Thailand a lot. I told him that today in particular, I feel brutalized and battered by my surroundings. I feel it physically. It's like I've been beaten up by some angry punk in an alley. My muscles hurt. "That's why," I told him, "I'm here for some food. A taste of honey is better than none at all, eh?"

I kept trying to change the subject and he kept coming back to it. For a guy who only had an hour for lunch before having to go back to work, he was certainly persistent! He wasn't going to let me get away without talking which he knew would shift my energy.

It did. It shifted it enough to make this bearable. My next step is to spend 20 minutes or so in the spa. The hot pounding water will hopefully take the ache out of my muscles.

It really is extraordinary how we are provided with exactly what we need at exactly the right time. If there is a happy ending to all of this, that's it. Serendipity.

Tomorrow, Ba has the day off. We'll go to lunch again and he has agreed to be my Thai instructor. It is hard to learn a language with just CDs and practice. Due to his work schedule, we'll only be able to meet every few weeks but I'm certain it will be a great help.




Laurie said...

Sometimes I feel the world is spinning too fast around me, even though I live in a small town with a population that hovers around 2,000.

My job is extremely gratifying, but it is also extremely fast paced. We are making decisions that can and will affect our soil and water for hundreds of years and sometimes it gets to be too much.

That's when I head home. I'm very lucky that it is only 170 miles away.

Since you couldn't go home right now, I'm glad home came to you, if only for a short while.

I wish you peace and contentment Chani, both here and in your homeland.

Lucia said...

It is so amazing how we get what we need when we need it. You're so right there. I fear the day when that may not happen, and I'll collapse in a heap somewhere.

You have been blessed with this friendship.

KC said...

You call it serendipity. I might call it faith.

Whatever the name, I'm glad it happened for you today.


meno said...

The exercise is a huge help for me too. When i am feeling down it is hard to get off my duff and do it. Good for you for taking charge and walking.
And how lovely that your friend was there for you too.

Thailand Gal said...

Laurie, I am very sensitive to environment. Lights, noise ~ all of it. The fast paced life is something I can't even be around very long.

Montana is beautiful and I can easily imagine taking refuge there.

Thanks for your wishes. I appreciate it very much. :)


Lucia.. yes.. it does feel like a blessing. I was not expecting him. He hasn't entered my mind for weeks! We're (perhaps 'were' at this stage) casual friends.

I fear the day, too, that any of us would never experience serendipity, blessings...


Thanks, KC. Faith works, too. Somehow, Ba chose that restaurant today at the exact time that I went there to eat. That is something inexplicable really.


Meno, it is really hard to get off my butt when these things come. I know from experience though that it gets much worse if I don't. Even with an 8-mile walk and time in the spa, the improvement is still only 50% or so. Without it, it would be 50% worse.


Peace, all :)


jen said...

oh got what you needed today. i love it when the universe listens to us.

and now tomorrow is brighter, too.

i wish i was closer.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Well, I was just thinking that we are really given exactly what we need when you said just that in your next paragraph. In that respect, I think that we all have the capacity to be guardian angels to one another.

I am sure that you are also an oasis on the same frequency as Ba's home to him amidst all the noisy, bustling Americans. So he got what he needed today, too, probably more than you know.

Isn't it beautiful when life asserts its own balance in this way?

flutter said...

if it's any consolation to you, you do have some Americans who think you are pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Hope you're feeling better by now. Knowing it's chemical helps some, but it's still hard.

Good luck with the language instruction. I was thinking of you Saturday night when I encountered a number of Asians speaking in their native tongues. Such difficult languages.

QT said...

Chani - Sorry you are feeling down, but glad you found the remedy you needed.

Even though we "know" ourselves and what we need, sometimes it is just sweeter when we get a suprise boost out of nowhere.

Peace be with you today, Ms. Chani!

Potato Print said...

How great that you took care of your Self by taking her for a walk. And having that lead to a serendipitous encounter makes it even better.

Pam said...

You must be so glad that you decided to take that walk and taste comfort food. From the dark into the light by way of your own strength and the help of a friend.

Melissa said...

Serendipity indeed. I'm glad things worked out that way for you yesterday!

Ginnie said...

I've always liked the little saying, "move a muscle, change a thought". It never fails to work for me.
Another saying "Share your woes and it cuts them in half, Share your happy times and it doubles their impact."
And you were able to do both in one day...

Thailand Gal said...

Jen, thanks. I always come through this okay. Sometimes it's just a bit overwhelming. :)


Susan, Ba and I have an odd relationship. We are not best friends. There is no romantic content. But we are always brutally honest with each other. There are things I can say to him that would not be acceptable with anyone else in my life. Ba is very clear about why he's here. He doesn't let the culture affect him. He's Thai. Very Thai. Traditional. He has not rejected Thailand in favor of the Gilded Ghetto. His working here for these few years is helping his family, putting relatives through school, paying for houses and so on. Maybe that is why the universe brought him to me ~ instead of someone else.


Flutter, thank you. There are lots of Americans whom I consider cool, too. Sometimes there's a lot of space between them ~ but I manage to find them. :)


De, Thai is actually an easier language than any of the other Asian languages. Example: there are no tenses. It's pronunciation that's my greatest weakness. Thai sounds silly with a thick Los Angeles accent. :)


Thank you, QT. Sounds like we could both use some peace.


PP, there are times when nothing works as well as a simple walk. We can all do it.. and it releases all sorts of good chemicals into our brains.


Pam, that's basically how it worked out. :) Comfort food and a safe friend. Who can ask for more?


Thanks, Melissa. When it's hardest, that's when we are usually provided with the best.


Ginnie, I wish I'd known the benefits of exercise long before now. It's been a lifesaver.

Yoga next :)


Thanks, everyone :) I know some of the things I say are hard to hear under the circumstances. Your open-mindedness and support both mean a lot to me.



MotherPie said...

Thanks for your nice comment. On happiness - my mother used to say, and it is now proving to be true that if you smile, the good feelings will then come.

Friends are also a keystone of contentment.

But the American culture. Yes, it can be depressing.

MsLittlePea said...

That's so nice. I hope you're feeling better.

amusing said...

What Lucia said. Perfect timing.