Well, here we are in San Francisco airport awaiting our departure. These last few weeks have been a very strange period of waiting. One minute we feel courageous and excited, the next minute we feel like little babes who are way too young to be going on such an adventure. For example, just now a kindly old gentleman told us that were at the wrong gate. Thanks friend.
Saying goodbye was more difficult than we had thought. Instead of simply looking forward to the year, we thought of all the daily things we will be missing here, especially time with family and friends. But we are confident that this is a good decision. Being able to experience another culture and live there for an entire year is such a unique opportunity.
(Picture to the left is Mo using the crazy hand dryers at the airport)
At the airport, Amy's bag was too heavy, so a few books had to be sacrificed. One of them was her beloved copy of Adrienne Rich's The Fact of a Doorframe, a collection poetry from the 1950s until now. As she flipped through the pages, she found the poem she was looking for, a poem describing leaving and trying new things. It speaks of possibilities, of regret, of the moment before embarking on a journey.
Prospective Immigrants, Please Note (1962)
Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.
If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.
Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.
If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily
to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely
but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?
The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.
For those of you who don't know what this journey is about, we will be working at Payap University in Chiang Mai. As resident assistants in the Thai nursing dorm, we will help develop the student life program, as well as develop relationships with students. We will also be co-teaching Introduction to Poetry and Drama, a class for English Communication majors, and tutoring english. Although Payap a private Christian college, the population is predominantly Buddhist and we will be leading aspects of Christian ministry.
(Picture to the left is a statue in the Taiwon airport)
We're glad to report that other than being at the wrong gate, there have been very few mishaps. The only scare we had was an hour before heading off to San Fran.
Here is the frightening tale:
Early this afternoon Amy and Sarah went to Staples to buy a transformer and make copies of passports. It was a lovely outing filled with indecisiveness and watt and volt confusion. We also found some lovely neck pillows for the flight that I'm sure will come in handy (thanks Sarah's mom!). We drove back down the hill to Sarah's house and spent the rest of the afternoon playing with ipods and computers and such. As Amy was about to take the last shower she will take for a while, she came to a sudden unpleasant realization: her passport was not there! We frantically searched and Amy remembered that she probably left it at Staples. We called them up and sure enough it was there. Hooray! So we drove back up to town, retrieved the missing passport, and the crisis was averted. The end.
We've had so much support in preparing for this trip: Whitworth faculty wrote letters of recomme
ndation, our parents struggled through helping us finally attain visas, Ozzie (a fellow Whitworth grad who has been at Payap for 4 months) answered countless questions via email, Omi made us skirts, family and friends purchased webcams and struggled to figure out how to use them, and so many people have been praying for safe travels and a wonderful experience. Talking to Anna on the phone before we came was particularly meaningful to us. Being able to see the home and country of this beloved best friend and hearing the excitement in her voice as she prayed for us meant so much. We look forward to talking with all of you and we appreciate your prayers as we begin this new endeavor.
(Pictured below is Chiang Mai from the airplane window)
sawadee kaa (goodbye in Thai)