A Coffee Chat

IMG_0120My husband is a collector. He collects rocks and gems and fossilized bits. He collects Hot Wheels (but only the cool ones). He collects photos from artists he admires. He collects mementos and pieces of nostalgia. Me, I don’t really collect things. Even mementos…with a few rare exceptions, I might hold on to things for a while, but then when the mood strikes, I purge and out it goes. I travel light.

But I recently realized that there IS something I would collect when the time is right. Something I never fail to “ooh” and “aww” over, something that always makes me happy when I see it. Can you guess what it is?

Beautiful coffee cups. If I had some space where it would be practical to get a nice curio cabinet to keep them safe in, and I knew we wouldn’t be moving too often (and thus wouldn’t have to worry about packing and shipping them all), I would start collecting coffee cups. Not just any ones, mind you, even of pretty ones. It would be a carefully curated collection. And I’d probably keep my collection on the down low as I wouldn’t want to encourage people to buy mugs for me because I’d be a total snob about my collection and wouldn’t want a bunch of random ones taking up space.

I figured out this is what I’d collect when now, a year later, I realized I’m STILL kicking myself for not buying the stunning, gorgeous, hand-painted latte mug I found at an open air market in Krakow, Poland. It was a little bit expensive and I talked myself out of it then, thinking it was probably a ubiquitous tourist item. Nope. Haven’t seen another like it since. Kicking myself, I am.

IMG_0131Anyway, we had a lovely weekend getaway for Toby’s birthday. I made ginger pecan cinnamon rolls as a surprise for breakfast in bed. I used this recipe and just added chopped up bits of crystallized ginger, pecans soaked in a smidgen of maple syrup, and some grated orange zest before rolling them up.

Then we went to a resort called The Nest, aptly named as it is nestled just below Chiang Dao mountain. There’s plenty of rock climbing, hiking, cave trekking, temple viewing and other fun activities around the area. What did we do? We slept. And ate. And read. But mostly slept. We did visit one cave, but seeing as how I’m 7 months pregnant, I pretty much just popped my head in and then waited outside while Toby explored a little deeper. The sleeping part, though? That was tops.

IMG_0144And this weekend, we’re off again! We’re headed to Chiang Rai as I need to do some work for SOLD. I’m running some workshops on how to manage conflict within interpersonal relationships, which will hopefully expose the kids to examples of healthy relationships and introduce them to the values and strategies they can employ when problems crop up.

I got the idea for this when fellow staff members saw how conflict between the kids and their parents can distance them from loved ones and leave them more vulnerable to traffickers hoping to prey on them. Culturally here, women aren’t always valued equally as men, and, socially, there are few positive examples of equal, mutually respectful, and loving relationships between men and women. All of these factors contribute to the kids’ susceptibility to abuse, feelings of worthlessness, and lack of personal agency.

By teaching the kids how to create relationships built on trust, equality, and mutual respect, and to approach conflict as a means to strengthen relationships through honesty, openness, and collaboration, I’m hoping to continue teaching the kids that they are valuable individuals who deserve respect and love, and that they have the ability to choose how they respond to complex situations. They are not just passive victims, but active stewards of their own lives.

Photo by Rachel Goble. Available for purchase at: http://thesoldproject.storenvy.com/products/1793326-power-meditation  All proceeds go to supporting SOLD's prevention work.

Photo by Rachel Goble. Available for purchase at: http://thesoldproject.storenvy.com/products/1793326-power-meditation                   All proceeds go to supporting SOLD’s prevention work.

Speaking of SOLD, we have some big news! We’ve just premiered a brand new video–it’s a short, couple-minute clip, but we’d love it if you’d take a look at it and feel inspired by its message of hope. It’s called “Travel With Us” and we hope it’ll serve as reminder that none of us travels alone–and that we all can be part of something larger than ourselves.

Check it out here: http://thesoldproject.com/travelwithus

Okay, my coffee’s growing cold now. There’s a lot to do today as I need to run some errands to prepare for my workshop this weekend, and this week is a busy one because (aside from the launch of our video and a couple of other big developments we’re working on at SOLD), finally after all this waiting, my parents’ new car is ready so we can go get it AND the shipment from the U.S. has arrived in Bangkok and will be here on Friday. Of course, my parents’ house isn’t done being built yet, so where we’re going to store all this stuff is a question…but at least there’s forward movement and things are starting to fall into place.

How’s your week looking? Is it a crazy busy one too, or are you getting in some good summer vacation time?

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