Saturday, June 13, 2009
This morning I find myself thinking about home ... my roots. It's an interesting question. When someone asks me "where is home?" I have no consistent answer. Sometimes, it's Thailand, sometimes it's the Philippines, sometimes it's St. Paul, Minnesota (for some time after we migrated to St. Louis, Missouri when I was 16 years old, home became St. Louis, gateway to the west. In my heart though ... home is Bangkok. I was born in the heart of Bangkok city, in what was once a small hospital, Bangkok Nursing Hospital. Now, like Bangkok itself, the entire city has become a thriving metropolis.
Bangkok is called "krung thep" by Thais, and means City of the Angels. Bangkok is also known as the City of Smiles. What I also vividly remember, is how there was a philosophy that permeated amongst the Thai people and my relatives ... mai pen rai is a phrase heard daily. It's the philosophy of life back home, and translates to "it doesn't matter, let it go, bend with the wind, like a bamboo tree." There's a great blog post I found on Mai Pen Rai - A lesson on letting go.I remember the day my mom went in to tell my dad's family that our car has been stolen how my auntie and uncle said "mai pen rai". Nothing ever seemed to stress my father's family. It was such a contrast to my highly emotional, vocal, expressive way of my mother's family. Acceptance and calmness resonated in the Thai Buddhist way of living. Looking back, I think of Thailand and I think of introspection and looking inward for answers and for a sense of peace. Contrast that way with a very Catholic upbringing with my mom and a Filipino way of life where religion and God was our savior.
What's incredible about all of this is that I have discovered just in this past week and a half ... that returning to my roots, returning to the City of Angels and to a way of life instilled in my being and my cells in a land almost 15,000 miles from here ... is what has brought me back to life. I have gotten caught up in the rat race of western society ... my wake up call had to come in 2 major ways: pre-cancer cells and fatigue that completely knocked me off my feet.
So ... where is home? I don't know. It can be anywhere and everywhere ... for me, I'm being drawn to reclaim my roots.