I woke up today not knowing how I got here. It’s December 5th, I have to leave Mae Sot in less than a week and I feel short of breath, as if the calendar’s blaring number 5 punched me in the gut this morning.
I don’t know what it is about Mae Sot — maybe it’s something in the air, or the fact that it’s so easy to lose yourself in life here, or maybe even the weather, constantly hot, that deters you from feeling the passage of time. But finally the leaves have started to fall off the trees here, too, only not from winter moving in but from baking in the hot midday sun.
And with leaves spiraling down to the ground on both sides of the world, I have to say goodbye to one home, to one family, and reunite with another. Only now the home I left behind seems like the foreign, strange one, filled with things I think to be so trivial and superficial, now. I think about the simplicity of life, the beauty of the people and the distant mountains both, the sadness and happiness I’ve encountered here and my heart starts to break already. Leaving here, saying goodbye, will be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
And then as soon as I realize that, I also realize just how lucky I am that this is the biggest trial I’ve had to face in my (short) life. None of this would be so hard if it wasn’t for all of the amazing and beautiful experiences I’ve had here, the kind that have changed my perspective and my life forever. Or the wonderful students and teachers and community members I’ve gotten to know and really, truly love. It’s because of the incredible happiness that I’ve felt here that it will be so hard to say goodbye and for that, I am eternally grateful.
And I try to tell myself that everyday. To remind myself that yes, this goodbye will hurt like nothing I’ve ever felt before, but man, am I lucky to have it and all of the things that led up to it.