This is a time of celebrations. Christmas is a few weeks out, the long weekend of New Year’s, a student’s birthday this weekend, two co-workers’ birthdays within the next week, and Kelly’s completion of her B.Ed today. But in all that, there was something that caught my ear last night. A celebration that I often walk past, and even more often overlook.
In the house across from my apartment, there is a group of people who sit outside every day and night, drinking and talking, and seemingly just enjoying life. They’re the type of people who invited me, a random foreigner who works down the street, to join them for drinks one night, even though the only way we could communicate with each other was through attempting charades.
I walk past this group at least once a day, but it wasn’t until last night that I really reflected on what I take to be their approach to life. What was different last night was the singalong happening to the tune of an acoustic guitar. Seeing and hearing them last night made me realize that the attitude they take toward life is one of joy and celebration. Their nature as individuals and as a group is to offer of themselves and to invite strangers in to enjoy life with them.
While this time of year can be a marathon of celebrations, it’s this attitude of celebration that we should be focusing on.
I don’t want to lose sight of that in my life.
There is much in Bangkok that jumps to mind when talking about waiting. There is sitting in a car in a traffic gridlock, sitting still for an hour over the course of a regularly 30-minute drive. Or waiting in lines in one government office or another. Or any number of other travel or traffic-related waits.
In this case, though, we see parents lining up, waiting to pick up their children at the end of a school day. This line of cars winds down the road and into the side-streets around the school twice a day, like clockwork. It then feeds into the gridlock of rush hour I mentioned earlier.
Living in Thailand presents some interesting challenges when it comes to eating your favourite Western meals. While breakfast itself has often been an optional meal in my life, breakfast foods have been anything but. I remember fondly the years of 3-am runs (or six-hour sits that turned into late-night food orders) to our 24-hour Perkins for bottomless soft drinks and — for me, at least — pancakes.
I’ve expanded by breakfast repertoire over the years to include quite a few other standards, but I still love using my pancakes as a syrup sponge from time to time.
In Thailand, the option of Western breakfasts is always there, but sometimes there actually means way over there, or if you happen to live near a joint that offers “American breakfasts”, it will be at best very expensive.1 So in Bangkok, my breakfast on the way to work typically consists of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a personal-sized container of yogurt. And coffee.
Not having a kitchen severely limits what you can make for breakfast, but I’ve recently come to enjoy the simple breakfast of muesli on yogurt. The comfort of a nice cup of coffee is always a good addition, as well.
When the opportunity to have a cheap(ish) American or English breakfast comes up, I’ll still take it as a treat, but when it comes to breakfast I’m learning to not underestimate the small and simple.
This post is participating in The Daily Post’s #postaweek2011 weekly photo challenge. To find out more, see:
I recently purchased my entrance ticket into the world of digital photography, in the form of a Pentax K-x.
It had been nearly five years since I last owned a working camera, that being an Asahi Pentax that my dad was nice enough to let me co-opt in the late 90’s. He had owned this camera since he bought it new in the mid 60’s, and it finally wore out around five years ago.
In my glory years with the Asahi Pentax, I fell completely in love with photography and with SLRs, and near the end even started doing some wedding photography and dabbling in a darkroom. Then the camera stopped working to the point where the local repair shop told me it wasn’t worth fixing. I’ll probably challenge that diagnosis in the future, but at the time I couldn’t afford a new SLR so I’ve been without a camera for too many years.
Enter the K-x. It’s just under two months old, as I bought it just before going on vacation in October. Vacation was a great test run for it (and me), getting me back into the swing of things and into the love of capturing beautiful photos with an SLR.
Now that I’m going back into the daily routine of work and life, the abundance of photo opportunities that were a part of vacation aren’t likely to throw themselves at me anymore. To keep myself sharp (and to keep learning my camera), I’ll be taking part in a weekly photo challenge, through the folks at The Daily Post. This means I’ll be receiving a theme for my photo post each week, and I will have a week’s time to post my photographic interpretation of that theme.
This is the first step back toward being a perpetual tourist in my own city. My general goal is to find and record beauty, while this weekly post will be a good way to challenge myself in going beyond just recording, to set specific thematic and technical goals for myself when heading out the door with my camera.
If you want to join me on this weekly challenge, head over to The Daily Post’s photography challenges page to get the weekly theme for yourself.
See you in the viewfinder…