I arrive, to spend much deserved time with my partner. I had worked 6 months on my house, found a renter and it all seems like it was falling into place. The first weekend he had a four day break from his work which was great since my jet lag abated, but it was not as expected. He and his workmates had prepared for the Thai flood as much as they could, now it was just a waiting game.
He goes to work on Tues Oct. 18th and it is dry, but just starting to bubble up from the sewer drains, By Friday, it was a swimming pool, and he surveyed the water on the company floor and said we should start pumping now, to save the equipment, because even with the sand bags and walls built — it was seeping inside slow enough to enable pumps to keep up. The boss was busy with all the chaos, and he did not have time to do it all. My partner doesn’t come back that weekend, and he says I should prepare to get out of my condo, because the water is coming there next. I rush out and buy what I can to store water in from the hardware store, because by now all bottled water was sold out everywhere. There is a chance the city drinking water, which we filter for our use, will be either lost or contaminated. I fill four huge plastic bins, but in reality that is only enough drinking water for two for one week. I was not fearful, I figured It would play out and I could just ride it out. He says you should get out, because my boss has set-up a temporary office in a city south of, and now I will have to work there until the water is gone.
So much for seeing each other, so I picked a temple nearby where his new office was to escape to for two weeks referred to by nuns at my home temple. Blessings to the nun that suggested this, as you could feel the joy from the abbot. I knew he would not come to visit, because quite frankly you don’t visit someone on a meditation retreat. He took the weekend, following all the work and slugging around in flood water, at the beach with his workmates, while I settled down into peace and acceptance.
I was not the only one there escaping the floods, and because I was the only farang there, I got a few English speakers questioning me. The abbot along with his daily dhamma talk would turn and face the sangha and with a smiley demeanor, tell the flood update. So, it was the talk around temple, even though we are supposed to be quiet. Nobody reprimands you in the Thai style, it up to you to let whoever spoke to you with a gesture of finger to the lips know that you would like to keep this silent. But around lunch and late night temple hot drink after prayers — it was hard to do, everybody talked, “flood.”
FInding it pretty easy to settle in, my own private kuti, with a mat on the floor and fans made it almost cool, and even nights I needed a light blanket. I did morning clean-up following others and I worked on cleaning on huge open air sala which you can see in the post before this one. All the ants, mice and birds make a mess in one day, so you have to mop it every morning....a great way to clear your mind. But also to made the morning meditation sleepy since you are up since 3 am, and have had breakfast you first meal in 15 hours. Many times I would find myself slumped over, folded in half ...snoring. A yogi knot, and a few times fellow meditators would come wake me up.
I can eat most all Thai food and spice is generally no problem, and I liked the Jok in the mornings the best. It just felt right. But after a week there I could tell something wasn’t right with my digestive track, and my mouth never felt clean after eating even when I brushed my teeth. Could it be the water I am using to brush my teeth, or the filter water I get from the free Thai osmosis machine? I tried not to obsess.
Well, 10 days into meditation I passed a worm, and it was such a testimony to meditation that I was fairly relaxed about it, yet did call my sis to find out what drug is best to use. This was the first time ever in all my travels, so it was a new experience. At dawn, I ran into one monk was helpful to me and with the help of one female Thai attendee, and they got me a strong pill to get rid of them with them. Later, when I was talking to an elder mae chi about my meditation and a Thai lady told her about my worm. She said I should have kept it alive and fed it while I was there meditating. Taking the precepts a bit far, I am saying in my head, considering that they eat pork, chicken and fish and are not vegetarians. I later figured it out that is most likely caused by slightly undercooked pork I got from the street in Bangkok, before I went to temple, but the food quality at the temple was less than safe.
All of the while I was think this trip is meant to trip me up, to throw more delicious challenges to see how far I have come with meditation. It has again proven again that all this does not affect my partner and I love for one another. We are dealing with a natural disaster, and I don’t want to throw any more stress into the picture. These photos are all his, click on them if you want to see them bigger.