Remembering Gratitude

I haven’t had an internet connection this week, so some of these posts may come all at once whenever I do manage to get a connection.

We are now almost three weeks into our trip, and it seems a few of us, me included, have reached our breaking point. We have been moving from town to town every few days, with only our only constant being our teammates. The English is becoming less and less, and the drain of being away from home, friends, family, and familiarity is growing.

I hit my breaking point this week. Tired of being at dinners and in cars with people who are speaking to each other in a language I don’t understand, laughing and carrying on while I sit there, pretending to be content to just be there… There is only so long I can put in a fake smile before I just don’t want to play along. It is hot here, we are tired and we just want some time to ourselves where we can be cranky, we can vent, and can just be.

We got that break this week. In the last town, our hosts put us up at a private house, and we had time to be cranky at night, not needing to put on a show for anyone. Well, it seems that didn’t help anything! Once I gave in to the crankiness, I couldn’t get rid of it! Until this week, I was able to just appreciate the opportunity I was given, and ignore the stresses.

Our hosts arranged an overnight stay for us at a fishing village in the middle of the sea. The five of us were taken by boat and left there for 24 hours. We weren’t sure what to do with our time, so we vented to each other. None of our hosts were there to risk overhearing us being whiny brats.

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This was our home for 24 hours

One of my teammates who had had a harder time the first few weeks adapting to the tight schedule was the one who fared the best at our little getaway on the sea. He was able to find peace, and was able to help me to get back to bring appreciative. The day before we went to the fishing village, we had gone to Tioman Island and he had told us to just take in the moment. That’s what I kept reminding myself of when I hit my breaking point. That’s what I keep reminding myself of now.

I had a moment of realization yesterday, in a car with no air conditioning, in 30 something heat, after waiting in the heat for an hour for a ride back to town. I was tired, needed a shower, bored, and was annoyed that the car didn’t have AC. Then I looked in the rearview mirror, saw the driver’s eyes, and could see the kindness in them. Then I remembered that this man, a stranger, had taken us to a one of a kind experience, and was now taking an hour out of his day to drive us back to our home stay. And I was annoyed that I was still warm. All of a sudden, I really did feel like a spoiled brat, unappreciative of all that was being done for me by very nice people in a beautiful country. When the stresses of travel start to get to me again, that is the moment I am going to remember. That will help me to get back to reality and appreciate the amazing opportunity I’ve been given with this trip.

In case any of you are wondering what types of things I am reminding myself to be thankful for, here are just a few pictures of the last few days.

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The sun rising on our way to Tioman

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The view from our overnight at Kelong Fishing Village in the sea

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The setting sun on the ferry back to Mersing

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The beach at Tioman

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