Hey everyone,

For clarity's sake, CanuckJonny(me) and Jon(also me) are the same person. Yes, that's right. Except, I think maybe CanuckJonny is a bit better looking than Jon, and can cook pretty well after cooking school.

After reading so many new things on this website (I just got home internet back after an 8 month period of 'christ, this thing's not working...again,) as well as conversing with Nampeung (a friend of a friend of ours/mine) I feel compelled to write about how I feel now that I've been home for almost two years now.

When I wrote that first post, I was freshly back from Thailand, little neurons firing every which direction. I felt like writing gripping/sensitive/honest/'Oprah's book club' things. I was also still quite bitter with the Rotarians there and had been having some personal hurdles of my own and most of what I could write down was a lot of the baaaaaad things that happened. So that's what I did. Personally, it was a heartfelt reflection of what I was feeling at that time. If I could put it into something visual, here's how I'd put it.

You're sitting underneath a tree while people watch you from all angles, poking and prodding. And honestly, after the initial shock, you get used to it. Then all of a sudden fruit starts falling into your lap. Most of it's really good - rose apples...green mangoes...pineapples. But occasionally, you get this over ripe, hairy, and rock solid coconut.

And *very* occasionally, an extra large durian.

But that was then. And this is now.

Whenever I think back to Thailand, I have almost nothing but fond memories. Eating lunch with classmates. Dancing on the school field during the yearly gala. Skipping school to go to the newly opened branch of 'The Mall.' Standing on the highest point in Thailand, watching the sunset at Promthep, nearly fainting when I saw a Karabao impersonator, and of course, being waterboy for the cheerleading team are all of the things that immediately come to mind.

And then there's the stuff that comes only if I think about it really hard.

What about Rotary? The bitter discussions they had behind closed doors about the fate of the exchanges. The sneers hidden behind forced smiles. The 'Jon cannot speak Thai, even though we just spoke Thai with him' and the 'No hanging out with Jon' rules. What do I think about that?

At first, I'm really bitter - my heart starts racing. I clench my fists and grate my teeth, but only for a moment. When I really think about it, *some* but not *all* of that stuff was done for my own good. Maybe if I had done a few things here or there and taken some choice bits of advice to heart, perhaps I would have accomplished things beyond my wildest dreams. Although I still feel some animosity to them, I really honestly thank them for the job that they're doing - us exchanges can make co-ordinator's hair turn white in an instant!

So what's the new analogy I have?

Same thing. With the fruit. And the durians. Except now I remember all of it and either let the stuff bounce harmlessly off of my head (I use a coconut for protection; those things are *great* shock absorbers&#33 or duck out of the way and catch it in a burlap bag...like on a durian farm.

I suppose now, you could say that I have a healthy balance and medium in my life, even if I don't exercise much beyond walking to the store for milk or train tickets, or bringing a beer bottle to my lips. But now I think I've incorporated my adopted Thai culture into my Canadian life; respect your parents, pull your weight, admit when you're wrong, forgive others, be sure to wash your underwear and socks separately from your other clothes......okay, maybe not that much.

In retrospect, I know that I did my very best; the best I could give them at that time. I hope to visit them again soon...and maybe they'll enjoy seeing me grow up as much as I have.

Jonny

PS - I *do* indeed look better than Jon...even if I gained 5 kilos during cooking school.

View my original post here