Even if you are not a Guinness aficionado, the tour was fascinating and the live Irish music and crowd upstairs were so much fun!
February 2015 delivered some of the harshest, most bone-chilling weather conditions that I can recall from this area in Northern Virginia. But on the afternoon of February 21st, I decided to take a walk with my camera down to the waterfront. It was still snowing, so I tried out a new camera rain jacket that I bought for my trip to Thailand but never used. I don’t know if it was the camera, the camera rain jacket, the snow, that fact that I was covered in snow and probably looked ridiculous, or what, but yesterday afternoon, I think I had the most memorable and powerful moments with random people that I’ve ever had in a single hour.
Does it really matter where you are? No. No, where you are doesn’t matter at all. We are so connected. I love you, Mom, and I love you, Jaimie. You both are always with me, and I am so grateful.
This past spring, I had the honor of meeting a wonderful tour guide named Yande who introduced me to the beauty of Bali. Yande helped me develop a greater respect for other cultures and demonstrated genuine kindness and compassion that can only come from generations of practice.
During my visit, Yande had taken me to a little shop owned by friends of his where the whole family participates in the production of batik fabric. It’s an intricate, time-consuming, and sometimes painful process to create and draw the designs on the fabric, outline the design with hot wax, and dye the fabric to make garments and other items. In the picture above, Yande and the shop-owner are very respectfully enjoying the result of my first attempt at batik-making.
When I returned home, I had no idea what to do with this truly terrible example of the batik-making process. So I hung the ragged little 12-inch square fabric on my refrigerator with a magnet, and there it has stayed since April of 2014, just hanging there. But every time I see it, I am reminded of Yande and Bali, and the examples of kindness, compassion, and generosity that he modeled so consistently for me, as an ambassador to his culture, and I am still so grateful that I had a chance to meet him.
Chill Out House, a treehouse hostel in Koh Lanta, Thailand, is one of the most unique places I’ve ever seen, and it’s run by a great bunch of people.