Nothing I can say can do my experiences justice at this point. It's like writing an essay for a university class and overpreparing for it.
Do you know what I mean? The kind of essay that you want so badly to do well in, so you read up way too much on the subject matter. You enjoy every excessive book you read, experiencing so fully every aspect of your research. Then, when you try to sit down, the different experiences don't congeal with one another to tell a comprehensive story. Truthfully, I feel like I simply need more time to experience this place, think about it, and come to you with a comprehensive look at what my time here has meant to me so far. Two days haven't been enough, and I doubt three weeks will do me any better. I already feel like I want to be here for at least a year, writing or teaching. Assimilating.
I suppose a few little things that I've experienced can follow my honest, aforementioned admitted inability to convey at the moment how my experiences here have affected me:
I just had an incredibly spicey dinner of Pad Thai with Steph, my friend and travelling comanion for this trip, and now find myself trying to describe the past two days I've experienced since my arrival in Bangkok.
Coming here, I had no expectations for, indeed, I had no idea what to expect.
"I'm going to Thailand," I would say. "But what does that even mean???"
Now, two days into my three week sojourn, I find myself with a bit of an idea.
In a city with about 8 million people, in many ways, this place is like another Jasper (my current home-town of 4,500 people). It's a tourist hot-spot. So many people come here from around the world to experience something unique. I'm pumped to be a part of this scene for a brief period. I'm already thinking about coming back next fall for a longer period.
But for now, how to describe the things I've seen...
The flight was long, but went by quickly.
Dillon drove down from Van to meet Steph and I in Seattle for a visit. Love that guy to bits, I do. After that we hopped on a plane bound for Tokyo. The craziest thing about that was that we were flying into the sunrise, so it was blindingly bright out for the entire 11-hour flight. I had "Harajuku Girls" in my head the whole way there.
Now as i sit in this cafe I can't think about what I want to say. No description can do justice to the bombardment of stimuli to my senses. Walking through a market and busy downtown street today was overwhelming. The sights: thousands of people walking in every direction, eating, driving, elaborate temples of red and gold, people with no fingers begging for change, traffic in every direction. The sounds: honking, screeching, yelling, food sizzling, tuk-tuks screeching over to the side of the road, yelling at Steph and I to make use of their services. The smells: smog clogging up my lungs, street meat burning, people heavily scented in heavenly perfumes, sweaty tourists sticking to the mess in an effort to take home a taste of this moment.
No sense of culture shock yet, only a deep appreciation for how lucky I am to be able to travel here to experience this place. I can't wait to head to Cambodia in a few days to visit my Aunt Jo (although we did already meet in Bangkok last night: she put Steph and I up in a luxurious hotel... not "travelling" in the rugged sense, by any stretch!), then make my way back to southern Thailand. More info to come.