How interesting it is to be comforted by being known.
I’m sure the thrill of travel for most people is in the newness of it all. New people. New places. New foods. New sights and smells and energies. New photos for their Instagram and videos for their TikToks.
And I can understand that. But what I’m realising now with this trip back to Thailand is that I am thoroughly enjoying the familiarity. Landing at HKT and knowing where to go, what to expect, how to get to where I’m going, and being able to direct the taxi to the nearest 7-11 so I could grab my late night trash food felt really great. It wasn’t the routine of it either. It was the comfort. And as my first full day comes to a close, I settle more into a feeling like I’ve come back home.
That is both warming and scary.
Regardless, I am enjoying the process. I have been greeted so warmly since I landed in Phuket. It feels like two great big arms have wrapped themselves around me and whispered “we’re glad to have you back” into my ears.
I took a 20-minute walk to the ashtanga yoga sala for the 7:30 class this morning. The walk there took me past the house where I lived for the first 1.5 years on the island and toward the school where I walked to and from every day during that time. It was in a clubhouse of a neighbourhood where a good number of my former students live. I was greeted by one of them once the class ended. I was wiping my mat and looked up and saw her jumping up and down with excitement through the glass door.
I was also greeted cheerfully by the yoga teacher (I later came to realise) who knew me by name and asked if I remember her (I didn’t) and for how long I will be back. She also later asked me what age group I teach because she is looking for a daycare for her 3 year old.
I then spent about an hour catching up with my student and her mother who ensured they let me know how much I am missed at school, even if by nobody else. Then, they offered to give me a lift back to my place and in the car ride I asked about another student whose house we passed. Within minutes, they were behind us blowing their horn until we pulled over and saw it was them. I got to see 2 more of my former children and the smiles on their faces were large enough to fill me up completely.
Soon, my car was delivered and with it my freedom and off I went to meet up with a friend for lunch. She hugged me strongly and cried and said she felt this was coming somehow. She wasn’t sure if she had dreamt it, but she knew I was here. And she was so so happy to see me. We caught up over delicious Thai vegetarian food and she made a post in the Acro group that I am back and that it was time for a revival. No sooner did she post than another old friend who’d been MIA since I left replied in a pleasant shock. There was a plan set in motion for everyone to dust off their Acro clothes and meet at sunset tomorrow.
Warmth warmth warmth.
Then, I went to the beach and sat with a kilo of mangosteen and watched the sun go down on my first beautiful day on this island of peace and joy.
How can I not be filled?
I have been here just one day and already feel more at home than I have in a long time. And in my alone time, it’s been pleasant to remember that I did have my own journey and experience here, despite the fact that I was in a relationship. This has served as such a good reminder that maybe I don’t need to take Thailand back this time around.
Perhaps, it can’t help but remain in me. From this life, and maybe many lives before.
It is not mine. No. It is not something to possess or keep or own. But I am it. And we are one.