Truth: The first post on this blog (which until today was the only post) was made when this whole thing somehow still felt distant. This trip has been a dream so many years in the making that the imminence of its arrival is still a bit of a shock to me.
Since my last update, I have found a monthlong workstay in my beloved Penang, Malaysia. The last time I was there, it was for three days, and it included burning gigantic paper ghost kings with incense sticks, belly dancing for special needs inpatients at a care home, trekking through heavy jungle in pink Nikes and hearing the crash of extremely close saltwater crocodiles, sleeping on an open platform with the mosquitoes and ocean in a fishing village, receiving a snake-possession ceremony on the traditional clan jetties in an unvisited snake temple, watching Chinese opera at TOP volume in the streets, whizzing around on a teeny motorbike, visiting the most beautiful and quirky art gallery of my life, spending half a day with an Italian tourist, washing my clothes with some homeless guys in the Chinese cultural center temple, wearing one of those big lion masks and learning the traditional Chinese lion dance….just to name a few. So just imagine what a month of living and working with a farm cooperative will bring. And they have asked me to perform and teach belly dance, too.
We also landed a three week workstay at a farm on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Am I weird that I decided that that was the place that I wanted to stay based on the incredible light in the lead photo for their profile? It shortens my originally planned time in Armenia and Georgia, but about 10 days each is nothing to sneeze at.
The reality of all this, though, set in this evening. In the morning, I said a fond farewell-for-now to my last couchsurfer at this apartment. Her name is Konstantina, and she is from Greece, but currently lives in Bangkok. She offered for us to stay with her there three months from now…but we will see her in Chiang Mai in April, since we will both be there at the same time. Saying, to this lovely new friend, “Okay, see you in less than two months”…but then realizing that will be in the 3rd country of our itinerary….whoa. Further, today was the day I had to sprint to the Indian visa center after work. Now there are China and India visas all glued into our passports and shining. Those were the tricky bits…now it is just running through the end game. Final things, moving out, kindergarten graduation. Sangbyeong’s last day of work is only two days away, and mine only a few days after that. Less than ten days…and then this big, ridiculous dream will commence.
And I am just sitting here, overwhelmed with gratitude for every little step that led us here.