Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole

In America, I’m Allyson. In Thailand, I’m Alice. (The Thais love a good nickname.)

Today was an Alice day.

Since I didn’t have school, I was sitting in my apartment wasting time on Facebook when my landlady popped her head in my front door. She asked me a question in Thai-glish, which sounded an awful lot like “do you like fit?” Thinking she meant fitness, I said, “yes I love fit!” Her face lit up and she beckoned me to follow her, pointing to her motorbike.

“Wait, where are we even going?? How long is this going to take?? I don’t understand what she’s trying to tell me.” Cried Allyson.

“Girl, chill out. It could be something cool.” Replied Alice.

And so, I hopped on the back of her motorbike and 15 minutes later we arrived at a long dock on the river. She guided me down to the water where dozens of people were feeding what had to be thousands of fish. It occurred to me then that “do you like fit?” was actually “do you like fish?” and I just had to laugh at how a simple miscommunication had brought me here. After we watched the fish for a bit, she took me across the road to the most indescribably beautiful temple I’ve ever seen. Really, the most indescribably beautiful THING I’ve ever seen. Made completely of mirrors, sunlight streamed in through a couple strategically open doors so that the entire inside sparkled and glittered. It was early and we were the only visitors there so the air was heavy with silence and serenity. I walked around slack jawed in amazement as my landlady simply stood at the entrance smiling, as if to say, “I know, right?”

I truly MARVELED at this place. I don’t think that I’ve ever marveled at anything before. Or even said the word marveled. But today, I marveled all over that temple. Suddenly, I felt my throat catch in what can only be described as an emotional response to such overwhelming beauty. It’s something that I don’t quite understand and certainly can’t articulate well enough here to do this amazing place justice. I tried to capture it with a couple pictures, but none even came close to how it looked in person. Some things are just too beautiful for photos.

On the motorbike ride home, I couldn’t get over the fact that if I had said no because I didn’t understand my landlady’s question, I would never have seen that beautiful temple. If I hadn’t “gone down the rabbit hole”, I would never have had this experience!

“Alice’s adventures in Thailand”, I thought to myself, smiling. And then it struck me that Alice might be more than just my nickname in Thailand. Alice seems to be the laid back, patient, spontaneous version of myself. Alice doesn’t dwell on negativity or stress about things she can’t control. At least, she tries harder not to. I have been pushed right on out of my comfort zone many times here, and I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to go with it. There’s no changing the situation, so you just have to adapt. And through adapting and learning, I’ve become a much better version of myself here.

A happier version.

I hope that returning to America won’t be the equivalent of Alice awakening from her dreams of Wonderland- where the adventures stop and I have to do my lessons properly and things are difficult again. It’s so easy to be patient and kind here because everyone else is patient and kind. America is different though- it’s fast, competitive, stressful. I hope that who I am here isn’t restricted to Thailand.

I really don’t know what life will be like when I return to the States, but I’m honestly (and surprisingly) not super worried about it.

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