BACK IN HEAVEN Ahhhh…what a fabulous feeling to awaken, look out the window from under my mosquito netting in bed and see a small lake (huge pond?) surrounded by lovely green vegetation (banana trees, low and tall bushes) with my porch hammock in the foreground. Beyond the fringe of banana and other trees out the front window and the flowering bushes and banana trees out my back window, there’s only morning fog in the distance. It’s like being a cocoon—surrounded by gray mist in the distance. It reminds me of my year in a high-rise apartment in Milwaukee (first of five years there on 10th floor, 1974-75). Occasionally the fog from Lake Michigan (about two kilometers east of my building) would roll in. Sometimes (rarely) it would reach all the way to the high-rise. I loved that! It made me feel like I was being bathed in the mist and/or like I was back in the womb or in a cocoon. However, let me assure you there were NO banana trees or green vegetation. Haha.
Yesterday afternoon I checked into Bueng Pai Farm (www.paifarm.com — its website has lots of photos). Will be back tomorrow, Friday, also. Before the rates double on Nov. 1 I want to take advantage of my out-of-this-world place to stay that’s only a 9-10 minute walk from the school house. A new Australian friend came by around 5:30 and we took a sunset walk to the wat (Buddhist temple), a 10 minutes walk from Bueng Pai Farm (20 min. from school house). It’s one of my favorite walks from school/temporary home. We arrived as the monks were gathering for sunset prayers. One came out of the wat and in English invited us to join them. He told us that there were visiting monks from England and New Zealand there. Carolyn, my new extremely adventurous friend, said, “Let’s do it!” and we did. Stayed about 15 minutes, kneeling on the floor, listening to the chanting and bowing to Buddha when the monks bowed.
Carolyn is amazing! She’s about a decade younger than I and has had the most fantastic adventures. She’s toward the end of 3 months of traveling, heading back to OZ (how some natives from there abbreviate Australia) to spend time with her 84 year old mum (British/OZ spelling). We met because her 21 year old daughter is staying the bungalow colony where I take yoga. Maddy (daughter), Carolyn and I had lunch together yesterday at Charlie and Leks, one of my 3-4 favorite restaurants in Pai. Anyway, Carolyn rented a motorbike (told you she was adventurous) and came out yesterday evening to see this “bit of heaven on earth” and take a walk. She and Maddy are returning this a.m. to go out for breakfast and Sunset View Restaurant, halfway up a mt. (Kitchen is still closed here—re-opens Nov. 1) Maddy just completed TEFOL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language—or something like that) and was looking for a volunteer project. Turns out she’ll be our first volunteer at the Banyan School. She has loads of gardening and outdoor experience. Thus, we’ve purchased a shovel and will buy a rake. Her first project will be to combine 3-4 piles of brush/vegetation debris into a one pile and create a compost area.
Next she—and possibly another couple from Australia who want to volunteer somewhere—will probably create a few raised vegetable beds. Nothing will be planted until the students can do it. Additionally, Maddy has experience in house painting (her father’s in the construction and renovation business in OZ) and might help with repainting the school kitchen a small upper area in on of our learning areas. (Most of the walls are wood paneling which will remain as is). As if that’s not enough, if the Australian couple does decide to help us, the man is a professional artist (and trained musician—university music major) and wants to paint a mural. Having a mural in the classroom would not be appropriate. However, there’s a water tank outside (to catch rainwater in case the well dries up—-very unlikely this year with all the rain and flooding in the south). It’s really ugly now with black something (mold???) on part of it. I’m hoping the landlady will give us permission to clean the exterior and have Marty create a mural. [LATER: Maddy worked about a week and then had to return to OZ, the other couple from there never was able to volunteer.]
Well, this is nearing 800 words so better stop for now. Undoubtedly there’ll be another blog post during this or Friday’s overnight at Bueng Pai Farm. Whoops, one more thing. (Columbo from the TV series and I have that trait in common.) After two nights of lousy sleep, last night my eyes refused to stay open past 8:15 p.m. Slept nearly 10 peaceful hours.