Happiness, something as hard to chase as the sun, yet so close you can reach out and grab it.
It all started with an Uber car picking us up in Berkeley with all our bags, heavy and laden with everything we would need for the trip and just a little bit more. Then the 11 hour flight to Beijing, China where we had an hour and a half layover, then to Thailand on Thai Airways and finally to the Rambuttri guesthouse and restaurant in Bangkok where we stayed for five days. Each day we would discover a monastery or two and a couple of shrines. Finally, we took a very disorganized taxi, to a van (the driver called it a limo), to a very expensive speed boat, which took us to the island of Koh Samet where we are now.
The whole time we had unexpected ups and downs — Dad lost his bag for 5 days, which was hard, yet we also found a hidden shrine and a old fort in the middle of Bangkok. I am learning not to expect things to go a certain way, and instead letting things play themselves out as they will without worrying too much about how.
On Koh Samet we are staying at a beach bungalow called Sangthian Beach Resort. We are staying in a little cottage that overlooks the sea and smells of hundreds of years of sand and wild life that have collected there. From our beds we can hear the constant waves lapping at the shore sounding like at any minute they could break down the door and flood the house. Luckily, this has not happened so far.At breakfast I ate a warm pineapple pancake — as we later found out it was just cake batter with pineapple slices cooked in a pan, since the taste tells the same story (a record: for 6 days straight now I have eaten one for breakfast, healthy!). More than any other time on this trip our family has felt content and blissful.
For the next six days we walked from beach to beach while I swam in the ocean, and Mom, Jonah, and Dad played on the beach. At one beach we found a barge anchored in the ocean for diving off of. From the barge I successfully landed a front flip, back flip and a backwards dive. On the barge there were people from all backgrounds : German, Thai, French, British, American, and Chinese. I talked with all of them and noticed we all had many things in common, most of all, we were all trying to find happiness, no matter what form it came in from swimming, to talking with friends, to sleeping, to reading, or just making sand castles on the beach. And even though we were all different ages, sizes, and from different backgrounds we were all connecting, and that’s what counts.
At another beach Jonah and I swam over a coral reef which was full of fish that we followed and examined as we swam over them. One beach had a foosball table which Jonah and I played on until finally the ball got stuck in the inner recesses of the table (the next day we got it out). After that we just found a couple of beach chairs and rested for about half an hour.
I am writing this blog post from inside our cottage, under a worryingly large lizard with orange spots who has been crawling on the ceiling of our bungalow for about two whole days! None of us has had enough courage to confront it and move it outside, plus we figure it is probably doing a good job of eating mosquitos for us.
It is time to move on from Koh Samet and I will be sad to leave, yet happy to get to chase new adventures up north in Chiang Mai.
(P.S. I bow to you pineapple pancake god. 🍍😋 )