A Coffee Chat

Happy Tuesday everyone! So, I normally write these posts while sipping a cup of coffee, but today is one of those days that just kind of got away from me – you know what I mean? – so I’m actually sipping a Coke at the moment. Another thing I almost never do, but I had pizza for dinner and it just does not work to follow pizza up with water. So, a Coke it is. But a chat over coke probably sounds like something it shouldn’t, and I figure a lot of you are probably reading this over coffee anyway so it’s not that big a stretch.

I’m rambling. I do that from time to time.

How was your weekend? Mine was intense. The SOLD Project, the NGO I work for, was participating in a challenge hosted by Nike & The Girl Effect. The organizations with the most donors would win. We were just hoping to be a finalist, but in the last hours we suddenly jumped up to a neck-and-neck race for first place against last year’s winner. They were giving us a serious run for our money BUT our friends, families, and supporters are AWESOME, some of them even going so far as to pull over to the side of the road in the middle of the night to donate and we won with a margin of just 15 donors (we had 660 donors total). So each donation seriously mattered. PLUS we raised over $18,000 – not including the grant we’ll get from Nike and the added exposure which could result in more donors coming our way.

The Thailand Director and I were sitting up in the wee hours watching the leaderboard and having a mini heart attack every time our competitor surpassed us. Then, when we won, we sat in shock and a sense of overwhelming gratitude for all the people who had helped us out along the way.

(If you’re one of them, by the way, I’ll be sending out a proper thank you note with details of what these means for SOLD as soon as we hear the specifics from Nike, which they said they’ll send out on Dec. 6.)

So that’s exciting. The fun didn’t stop there this weekend either. I was at SOLD, spending time on Saturday teaching the kids how to bake Christmas cookies and cut snowflakes. And it snowed in Chiang Rai!

Haha – just kidding. If there was any snow in Chiang Rai, it was the window spray kind:

Photo by Tawee Donchai

But I did build a couple of snowmen for the kids.

And then I scurried home because we had (yet another) visitor come for the weekend. The night I got back, we went to see The Impossible. Have you seen it or heard of it? It’s with Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, and it’s about the tsunami that hit Thailand (among other places: India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, etc.) the day after Christmas in 2004. Do you remember that?

It’s a time I can’t forget because my husband, Toby, was actually down at the southern beaches in Thailand right when it hit. He was on a 7-month trip around the world with his best friend, just after college. I had gotten an email from him two days before saying he was on one of the islands – one that, when I saw the news about the tsunami, I knew had been decimated. I was at work back in the States when I got the news, and I literally went nuts. Seeing the death toll rise into the tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, and not being able to get in contact with him while I saw scene after scene of absolute terror and destruction, I couldn’t work I was shaking so hard and feeling so nauseated. I have a vivid imagination and it was doing me NO favors just then. It was a few days later that I found out a friend had convinced him to go to a full moon party on the gulf side of Thailand just the day before the tsunami hit, and thus, he was completely safe and unaware a tsunami had even happened. Full moon parties are notoriously crazy…but that one might have just saved his life.

Seeing this movie, then, was super intense. It’s already an intense film with what happens in it and knowing all that was real. It was even more intense because it made us relive that time again. It was also both poetic and strange to watch it in Thailand, where it happened, and to sit in a theater full of Thai people who were all in tears – many of whom know people who were hurt, lost, or killed by the tsunami – and have the movie be almost entirely about foreigners. Whoever made the film made it about foreigners traveling to Thailand, and there were seriously only about 3 Thai people in the whole thing with any speaking parts. It was like the tsunami happened to the tourists, not the Thai people who were there as well.

So it’s been quite an emotional weekend. But I’ve recently started getting back into yoga after a few years away and I’m remembering again how much lighter, and more energized, and more at peace with myself I feel when I’m practicing yoga. And I discovered I’m much less stressed driving through crazy Thai traffic when I sing. So, if you see me out there, I’m the nutty woman belting Christmas carols into her helmet as she nonchalantly swerves around the motorcyclists going the wrong way up her side of the street.

Hey, whatever works, right? Do you do anything funny to help reduce stresses?

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6 thoughts on “A Coffee Chat

  1. Congratulations on the win!! :)

    I don't think I want to watch "The Impossible." I so remember the tsunami and how devastating it was. I had a colleague who was there at the time, Luckily he made it. Hubby's cousin's wife's sister was not so lucky. The one (real) story, though, that stuck to me was about this mom who had two kids and she could save only one of them and she had to choose. That was beyond nightmarish.

    • Oh god. What a nightmare. That whole thing was such a nightmare. I'm sorry to hear your family was also touched by this tragedy. So many people, so many lives. I certainly wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to see “The Impossible.” Part of me kind of wishes I hadn't, especially since it seems to glorify the nightmare without adding much else.

  2. Oh, I remember that! I got up and saw the report. I was freaked! But Toby emailed me very quickly and I didn't get too many new gray hairs. I should have thought to contact you. I am so sorry I didn't. I didn't know that he had not let anyone else know that he was o.k.

    • Oh, that was really just a crazy time in general. There's no need to apologize – he and I weren't exactly on speaking terms around then, so it makes sense that you might not have thought to contact me, and I did find out he was okay soon enough. Of course, just a few days later he got drugged & robbed, so maybe "okay" is a relative term. :) At least he's safe now right?