No, three. Fine, four. Dammit.
This will probably be the last entry I will write while I’m based in Lao PDR, unless my friends get married after Ork Pan Sa (End of Buddhist Lent, meaning it’s the Boat Racing festival, meaning it’s Wedding Time again!), then I guess I will still be making a cameo in one or a few events here.
As I was struggling to pack tons of stuff I have accumulated for the past two years, memories that came with every clothing and every item came rushing back. Leaving my hometown, for some reason, was easy. I sorta waited 20 years for my life to start. It was the turning point, so to speak, and I was sure that it was the right thing to do.
Indeed, it was. My two years in Vientiane has been the most amazing years of my life yet. Exploring new places, meeting new people, working until the building closes to get the job done –it wasn’t what I imagined my life would be because everything was so much better. I have to admit that at some point, I got tired. I got bored. I got sick of my “expat life”. But a “good job” at work or when a newfound friend arrives, it’s as if everything is perfect and I couldn’t ask for more.
I am writing this post to 1) Thank everyone who became part of my life; friends, superiors and colleagues, and party-crew. I could have never EVER stayed in the country this long without the laughter, the talks, the parties, the shopping sprees, the travels, even the simple food-trips we had. You don’t know how much you have helped me grow in terms of cultural understanding, and widened my perspective about career and independence. You taught me humility, you taught me how to trust and believe in my own abilities and you taught me how to have fun. I wasn’t the same person that I was two years ago, I can assure you that. I wasn’t this “thin”, either. Life in Laos is not going to be this momentous if it weren’t for you.
And 2) To thank this country for nurturing a restless foreigner. The first time I set foot here in 2008 as an intern, you already made me feel welcome and gave me opportunities that prepped my CV. You have embraced my abilities as contribution to your growth. You have made me see a different world beyond what I knew. You have busted my myths about career, professional and personal relationships and making my own choices. You made me realize that living life is not about waiting for things to happen but it’s about making things happen. You continue to make me believe in dreams, in myself. You made me what I am right now, an aspiring writer and traveler that believes life need not to be complicated. Sometimes, overanalyzing things is not the answer to the game of life.
Leaving “home”, apparently, is so much harder. When I thought cleaning my bedroom was the most difficult task I have ever received, clearing my desk was more painful. Packing my stuff was heartbreaking because it’s like zipping the best years of my life in a luggage. And the fact that I know I will be executed at check-in for skyrocketing excess luggage fees. I hope Thai Airways will be lenient. I have been a frequent flyer for seven years, for crying out loud! Now that I have cleared everything spotless, I don’t know if this is the right decision–but it’s time to face a new chapter.
I love you, Vientiane, til we meet again! Pai kone der.