While we were in Thailand, we spent three days on an island called Kho Khradan. We were staying in the middle of the island, which put us a five-minute walk away from three different beaches. Baki’s favorite beach was Sunset Beach, which we reached by traipsing through the forest and then down a hair-raising flight of stairs. It was a small beach surrounded by rocks and towering bromeliads. Fallen coconuts sprouted saplings and there was a family of driftwood sunbathers clothed in detritus that had washed up over the weeks, months and years. But what Baki loved the most was the waves. There were very good waves at Sunset Beach, and we did a bit of body surfing together. I love being swept up by a wave, and how if you time it just right you get tumbled and pulled and finally deposited on the beach, not quite sure where you are.
That is a bit how I am feeling now, more than a week after returning from our trip. Between jet-lag and the mountains of laundry that greeted me upon my return, I feel like I have only just fully arrived back home in both body and mind. The first week back I spent in a sort of hazy nostalgia for all that we had seen. It has been a while since I traveled somewhere just for the sake of going there, and this is the first trip that we have made as a family (i.e. not just me and the boys) which made it different from any other traveling I have ever done.
Traveling with the boys was great fun, and they had a whale of a time. I worried that it would be overwhelming for Kaya to be in a place so entirely different, but I needn’t have; he was delighted from the minute we stepped off the plane and he goggled at all of the murals, giant TV screens and other shiny stuff in the airport. The boys didn’t tear each other to pieces, none of us grownups wanted to wring each other’s necks – it was all pretty mellow.
Which is fitting, since Thailand, even in the midst of political protests, feels like a thoroughly mellow place. I felt this in the way that people were so gentle with the boys; in how we never got stressed out while we were traveling from place to place, usually the most joyless process imaginable; in the way that people in the markets were perfectly calm in dealing with us, even though we couldn’t speak more than three words of Thai. It was one of the easiest places to be in.
The whole trip left me feeling like I had just had a lampful of wishes granted; that’s what happens when you have the right people by your side. Which brings me to you, dear reader. I have had a wonderful year, and it is because we have been able to share all the ups and downs that have been dealt us. I can’t thank you enough for reading, writing, and being such a support. Happy 2014 — I can’t wait to see what this year bring!