I’m fairly certain I mean it when I say that I would rather feel everything than nothing at all. Even though feeling everything, the full magnitude and strength of every event and scenario, is incredibly scary and tough sometimes.
These days I’m learning how to reevaluate what matters and what holds meaning. I’m also learning a lot about uncertainty and the unknown.
“The unknown carries with it a mirror of all our deepest, most inexpressible wishes. The unknown is the fatal proposition that a face seen across the room will always hold out to the known.” – Alain de Botton, On Love.
Certain days from this summer stand out more than others.
My first full day at Inle Lake is certainly one of those memorable days. I hopped on a boat and explored until my eyes were tired and overwhelmed by beauty.
I’m glad places like this exist.
The other day, he shared this quote with me.
I think it fairly summarizes how I feel right now.
“What we want out of a vacation changes as we age. It changes from vacation to vacation. There was a time when it was all about culture for me. My idea of a real break was to stay in museums until my legs ached and then go stand in line to get tickets for an opera or a play. Later I became a disciple of relaxation and looked for words like beach and massage when making my plans. I found those little paper umbrellas that balanced on the side of rum drinks to be deeply charming then. Now I strive for transcendent invisibility and the chance to accomplish the things I can’t get done at home. But as I pack up my room at the Hotel Bel-Air, I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.” – Ann Patchett
All of these images are from just one of the many boat rides this summer –> this particular trip was the one from Ao Nang to Railay.
I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go after all the time spent in Yangon, but realized I needed to be around water. I woke up the other morning and decided Inle and booked a bus a few minutes later. I packed only a tiny bag and left everything else in Yangon. It is a strange but comforting feeling to know you’re completely free and open to anything life throws at you.
It was a good decision. And I’d recommend the place to anyone.
For now, its back to Yangon and to the city I’ve learned to love. I must admit being able to tell direct a taxi to an address over an hour away felt quite rewarding this morning.
This last week will be crazy and filled with trying to squeeze everything in and learning how to come to a good stopping point. . . I’m still learning that. . .
If there is one thing I can count on these days, is that eventually the rains slow and there will be a brief moment each day when it becomes a slight drizzle or simply stops. I find those moments to be the most quiet in this city. Everyone knows the rains will start back soon enough and there is a gentle calm that overtakes most everyone. All of these photos were taken during that in-between time.
The rains have become routine, expected, and daily. I have grown to like them (in part) and am thankful that despite the constant wet, and constant damp, the heat doesn’t overpower and the cooler, rain-weather normally wins.
The streets have started to flood and there have been more reported cases of people getting sick and dengue fever (this becomes far more prevalent during the rainy season).
Even in the in-between rain moments, most people still walk around with their umbrellas open. Although I’m not particularly tall by most standards, I’ve had one too many jabs and pokes to the head and face, and cannot handle it anymore. I’ve learned to patiently wait for the crowds and their open umbrellas to pass before I make my move, or be bold and make it clear that a taller person and her umbrella are also trying to make it through. I feel that there is a certain bond with all the other umbrella holders (most everyone) when a crowd tries to pass through a narrow sidewalk at the same time. The taller people raise their higher and the shorter ones lower. Often, this nonverbal communication between strangers works and most people pass what feels a good deal like a gauntlet.
All this to say, life in Yangon is filled with meetings, short-distanced taxi rides (*but, ones that involve a long-time sitting in traffic), long walks with heavy gear, too much coffee, and trying to find creative ways to make everything in my life less damp (no solutions yet).