Sometimes I wonder how lucky I am not only to travel this world but to meet the people that I do. Then I remember that it was a choice I made, I could be at a desk somewhere looking at my screensaver just day dreaming like I was back in 2009.
Today I woke up to my daily ritual then sat contemplating what community service work I would do in Laos as I am on a quest to volunteer in each country that I visit. I suddenly became overwhelmed with the sensations. I suddenly became frustrated and somewhat upset with myself. I questioned “What am I doing here? Why does it matter?”
Then I stopped, put down the pen and paper, took my camera and headed out the door in a frustrated yet wanderlust bolt. Where to, I had no idea.
I explored a little outside the main tourist hot spots in Luang Prabang, venturing deeper into the local scenic route, then found myself passing by a warn down yet beautiful white, maroon, and golden Wat (temple).
I decided to venture into the premises to say a few prayers and meditate for a short sit. I don’t really have a particular religion but I do believe that there is something out there far greater than just me, and that I give great respect to. So I said some things for the people around the world, sending out my best meta. Then for my cousin and his wife who are going through a tough pregnancy who were rushed to the hospital last night. I gave thanks to everything that I have in life and the people I have connected with. I lit a few candles and just listened to my heart beat. I then felt better and left the temple, walking around the grounds in peace.
This is when I met a few monks resting in the shade under an old warn down building. Feeling calm and relaxed, I said my greetings “sabai di” (“hello-good health”) and pressed my palms together in a prayer gesture known as a “nop”). They reciprocated with smiles “sabai di”.
There were a few younger monks passing and coming interested in the big white foreigner, as for two of them spoke decent English enough to hold basic conversation with me. After standing a little I sat with them on the old wooden bench shown in the photograph above. I spent a couple hours talking with these monk about their lives and the city. They in turn asked me about my travels. Only an handful of them speak English out of thirty monks at this temple some passing and interested to see what was going on with us. The elder monk said they are eager to learn and asked if I could come back to the temple and teach basic English classes. I thought about what I was doing, could I thought? I was smiling and thinking this has got to be one of those moments, a sign as I flashed back to this morning when I had been contemplating my community service/ volunteering initiative for Laos. I said we could work something out.
Thrilled, the elder monk (I forgot how to pronounce/ spell his name) asked if I could come back and teach them classes in English conversation tomorrow already. I laughed, and said how long do you want me to stay? He told me however long you have sir. I told them I would arrange my schedule to see what I can do.
How could I turn him down? This was a sign if there were any signs floating around from my troubled mind this morning. I wasn’t planning on staying in Luang Prabang longer than a couple days, however to teach English at a temple in Laos might be more rewarding than any sight seeing experience.
Maybe I should warn them ahead of time that my grammar in writing is sub par.