Bubbles and Beans – 13th December 2022

Comfort is the refuge of the petty man
Trudging along without a plan
Distracted by familiar patterns seen
You’re a human doing not a human being
Can you find within your space
A place without a human trace?
Quiet the symbols and the words
Talk to the rocks and the birds

The concept of greatness entails being noble, wanting to be by oneself, being able to be different, standing alone and having to live independently.


Today I’m feeling:
Ok, mellow enough
Today I’m grateful for:
Nong Nam and Nong Aoi for testing my patience today. I asked them to do something in class and they refused so I asked them to leave, to which they immediately complied. It was a little comical but it was good that they just left. Better for everyone.
The best thing about today was:
I got home early again and went off for a bike ride with Bruno and we actually ended up at the place we intended for once. When we got there there was a big building and a sign for the area: ‘Non-Hunting Area’. It was the end of the road and we were kind of interested to walk up the mountain a bit behind the building. It seemed we disturbed the people ‘working’ there as the five or six dogs they had came running and barking. I have no idea what these people do there and I’m pretty sure we woke most of them up!
After a few minutes, the dogs settled down and we talked with ‘the boss’ for a bit, who suggested coming in the morning time when it’s more pretty. The dogs started sniffing and licking around us and had now become very curious and friendly. They were well-kept and beautiful.
It was a quick and nice ride all-in-all, through the valley and to the edge of the mountain. Another little part of the area explored.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Last night I slept very poorly though it was mostly a case of being uncomfortable and tossing and turning through the night the result of which had me expecting to feel very tired today. To try to ward this off though I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and told myself I was feeling good and I would feel good all day. I knew I had two classes and planned to go for a ride in the afternoon, which I could have easily blown off if I wanted to rest but somehow today I felt a little more motivated and wanted to try to overcome this recent lethargy.
Something I learned today?
I learned from Bruno what a tapioca tree looks like and that under each tree can be a great number of large tubers from which a few different things can be made. When I was little my mum used to make tapioca pudding for me and for some reason as Bruno was talking about these tubers I was imagining them to be full of tapioca pearls which simply fell out of it. I realised my stupidity once I saw a picture of a cut tuber though! Duh! Apparently, they are easy to grow and of course, as soon as we rode around a bit we saw them everywhere.

I took this picture because I had had enough of two of my students who were rude and disrespectful to me in class (see above) so I told them to get out. I was upset with them but I wasn’t in a bad mood and I laughed even more when another student (Jet) handed this drawing to me.

Cave Words – 5th August 2022

In a world of its own
Adjacent to meaning
In a place of potential
Thoughtful gleaning
For there lies a greater truth
Just beyond our understanding
A song has its own life
Awe and wonder in tension demanding
Vibrating words hold a promise
A metaphoric form concealed
Trusting to intuition
That someday will be revealed
Sometimes truth is too severe
To even live upon the page
So take this poetic radiance
As your courage to engage

About 90% of these words were pilfered from Nick Cave and his Red Hand Files in a response to a question about lyrical meaning.

If you kill a cockroach you are a hero, if you kill a butterfly you are bad. Morality has aesthetic standards.


New day rising – 29th December 2019

This morning I am filled with a quiet happiness. Determined to get up early on a Sunday and to do something, whether it be a walk, a meditation, writing or studying, I rolled out of bed, fed the cats and opted to walk to my favourite local coffee shop, Utopia.

As I prepared food for the cats a light rain appeared. Unusual for this time of year but accurately predicted by our weather apps for once. Undeterred, I set out. The temperature still cool but the minimal exertion keeping me warmed I chose to listen to a reading of a Chekhov short story. The relative quiet around made for clear listening to the beautiful words of the story as I walked through small fields of wet grass and aspiring mud. Was I still in Thailand or transported to that Armenian village?

Before I knew it I had arrived at the shop but it was too early and as I waited on the porch I listened to a primer on Nietzsche and then an imagined conversation between Fred and Jane Austen where, despite their differences they arrived at a philosophical agreement and appreciation for each others works. Inspired by this I contemplated how everyone is different but we must be able to find some common ground.

The Nietzsche primer mentioned his text’s difficult reading but also highlighted his humour. Something which I had not been previously aware of. Friends have told me they preferred to read works about Nietzsche rather than his own. I will try this approach sometime. Sometime when I can add those books to my ever growing library.

The shop opened and I lazily drank through 3 coffees which produced a wonderful buzzing awareness of all the subtleties around me. Soon an acquaintance of Amy’s arrived, a Thai lady who runs her own English school. As this was our first meeting we talked about our shared experiences with teaching here in Chiang Rai.

Coffee and conversation

I lead the conversation for a while before realising it was time to let her speak and so I asked questions about her school and so the conversation flowed. I set myself a small challenge to try to talk to a stranger every day and thought to myself that I can cross this off today’s challenge list and it’s not even 10am.

Later though, as I was walking home, the rain a little heavier than before, I realised that I had failed in another of my personal challenges. Inspired by a Tim Ferriss article I read this week I have challenged myself to not complain about anything for 21 days. To remind myself about this challenge I have started wearing a bracelet, the purpose being that every time you complain you have to swap the bracelet to the other wrist. I have made this doubly difficult for myself by choosing a bracelet that is awkward to attach to oneself with one hand.

As the bracelet effect kicked in I thought back to the conversation in the coffee shop and asked myself if I had been complaining. Despite my mind’s protestations and justifications I sadly realised I had, indeed, been complaining. Perhaps only mildly but there is a fine line between stating the facts as they are and infusing a negative into the narrative.

In fact, the hardest part of this challenge is actually recognising that you are complaining. So long as it pushes to the forefront of my mind more and more it will help me become more aware of my own words and to try to understand how someone might feel whilst listening to me.

The walk home was still wonderous as I contemplated all this and listened to the description of beautiful Masha and the joy and sadness the narrator felt. This description was thought-provoking as I also was feeling so happy with life, despite the fact I was getting cold and wet in the rain. The walk crowned by the view of the feathery grass that spikes alongside our driveway, suddenly weighed down by the heavy drops of water, pointing towards the path home.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be inquisitive. To want to constantly learn and understand myself. This morning I listened to a primer on Nietzsche which was interesting as an introduction because I don’t know enough about his philosophy. I then listened to an imagined conversation between Nietzsche and Jane Austen where there two apparent so different writers end up agreeing on many things. I walked to Utopia this morning too. A nice gentle walk and gave me chance to listen to these articles.

On Friday I kept my challenge of playing with the kids so that I would get some exercise. However, after a while, they asked me to calm down. I was a bit rough and too competitive. I felt slightly aggrieved at that moment but did calm down some. When I thought about it afterwards I realised they were right. It probably wasn’t as much fun for them as it should have been. I need to learn about the consequences of my actions – even the small ones.