A Lesson From Monkeys

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I look frightened, and it’s because I actually was. I was frightened out of my mind! A few days ago we visited the Monkey Temple in Lopburi. It sounded fun on paper, but actually being there was a very different thing.

The monkeys were smelly, rough, and some were hideous beyond belief. The image you see above was my attempt to protect my hair from being ripped out of my head and used as floss. Yes, that’s actually a real thing. My blanket-shield method worked for the most part, but the really motivated monkeys would find a way to wiggle through my protective barrier. They got to my head. And when they did I freaked out, but not in a screaming my head off kind of freak-out, more of a body-clenching, heart stopping, tears very close to falling, inner turmoil kind of freak out. I’m not sure if my friends around me were aware of just how much I wanted to get out of there.

It wasn’t the worst experience of my life. I’m glad I went, but I definitely don’t see myself going back anytime soon. So, why am I telling you all of this? Funny enough, those smelly, rough, hideous monkeys taught me something.

I’m scared. Frightened beyond belief. Freaking out, the body-clenching, heart stopping, tears very close to falling, inner turmoil type of freaking out about what’s next.

I’m probably getting a little too ahead of myself here, but I’m a senior and a dreamer, it’s inevitable that I’m going to think about the future. Tuesday-Friday I volunteer at a local coffee shop to teach English, and I enjoy it so much. I go an hour early every time, not for the sake of being early, but because I love being there. During the weekends I can’t wait to go back, and while I’m there I take my sweet time to leave. I’m never in a rush.

I enjoy being around the others there, and I like getting to know my students. They are really shy, but every day I see a new beautiful part of their personality. The days when they really understand the lesson are my favorite, and the days when they struggle hurt me the most.

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Every time I reminded of the impermanence of being here my heart drops to my stomach. I realize it’s still only the beginning of being here, thus I’m gearing up myself for the crushing boulder of culture shock to drop in. Until then, I’m having too many positive thoughts about the future and it’s scaring me.

The thought of being here (maybe even long-term) is so nice, but that’s just too nice for me. I’m too cynical to believe that such a good thing could happen. I’ve tried to wrap my mind in a blanket of avoidance, not allowing myself to say I love it here because it’s way too soon, and I don’t want to set myself up for a major let down.

In a few months I probably won’t be here. Thailand will be a memory, the coffee shop will be a dream, my amazing students will only be reached virtually. This is frightening, utterly frightening, and my little blanket of avoidance just can’t shield me any longer. Fear still wiggles itself to my head. I have to be honest with myself. I’m scared, and I need a new method of protection.

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I think I might try this thing called trust.

 

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