Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Special Delivery

This is the only picture in my house. It was delivered to me by people I have never met. I had to take this awkward downward shot so the flash would not obscure the image because it is nighttime. It is, as most of you know, Van Gogh's room at the asylum in Arles, painted in 1899. He wrote: This time it is quite simply my bedroom- here color is everything; objects are given greater style by simplifying them; thereby giving the impression of peace and, in the broad sense, sleep. Talk about simple. At least he had 6 images on the walls! Of course he made them all and he was delivering the purest messages in the universe, but all the same, when I look at this image it looks back at me like a  strange mirror. I consider when I saw that very room some 25 years ago when I lived in Southern France, and how distant the reality of my present room is from that moment of my looking. And how I wish I could travel back in time and deliver myself a premonition of this space- a flash forward to me sitting in front of this not half bad reproduction. Then I would travel even further back and deliver Vincent himself a dream of me sitting in Thailand looking at his painting, his painting looking at me. Today was fine day. I spent it in town, eating a delectable red curry with my field director and discussing her pregnancy. The nicest part of the lunch came when she said,"It is so nice to talk with someone who is a parent." Jes is truly an astonishing and powerful woman. I cannot imagine the strength is takes to be here, thousands of miles from her home, husband, and family and be pregnant for the first time. Let's hear it for competent bosses!
I also got to the post office to pick up my 4! packages from home.

Here are the drugs that were stashed in with the Crocs and the childrens' videos:
I suppose the irony is that they had to send that Indian Malabar to Rockland Maine to be roasted so they could send it back across the world to me to drink. There is not much that I miss, but at the sight of these three shiny packages at my feet, well, you may know the Andy Samburg video but I'll just say it made me extremely happy.  Thanks Monica! Thanks Mom!

Here is what else I managed to buy- a longer seat post for my bicycle. That made a huge difference.  I went out for a ride and my knees were actually below my arms for once. At the bike store I salivated over the bikes for sale. There is one French bike on which I obsess because it is the only one without a front fork shock (I wouldn't need one) and it has Shimano components. It is 4500 Baht but I think I could get it for 4100 or so- the dollar has dropped a bit to 29 baht per so that comes out to about $142. That seems very reasonable, but I am trying to get out of the habit of thinking in dollars and instead thinking in terms of my local salary, which is only 7000 baht a month. Thus that is no longer just 142 dollars but over half my salary. That salary is actually plenty in some ways considering I have room and board (minus meals on the weekends). It is an old conundrum- a hair cut that is $14 at home is only $1.20 here, but the second I start indulging in American comforts, I get into trouble; a good cup of coffee at Merangue is half the price of a haircut, which would translate into $7 at home- and a jar of peanut butter, small, is 120 baht, the price of three haircuts, or $42! That is why the Rock City is such a godsend. Finally, I went into the English lending library at the governor's mansion and traded in my Short History of the World (Thanks Elizabeth!) for a copy of a history of the Mekong River. Now, if I could just do something about the height of this mirror...maybe that's why Vincent had that ear thing. It was a simple shaving accident! That shirt was given to me today at the festival I attended. It is XL, if you can believe that.

1 comment:

  1. i'm diggin the pink collars, pfister.
    you can definitely pull it off even if your halfway across the world.