It’s a pretty simple theory: anything that whittles the world down into a smaller, more intimate and manageable size does the soul good. We regain our balance from anything that forces us to slow down and focus our awareness on the little things in life. These are my little things: my photos from my 2-year Peace Corps experience. Each week I’ll choose a small sample of photos and share them with you. Themes? Nah, I’ll just choose the gems and you take what you can from them.
Enjoy. Happy traveling to all the wanderers out there. And for those who’ve found that their heart lies at home, like myself, try to look at your world with a new set of eyes each day. It’s never the same as it was and it will never be the same again.
**CLICK ANY IMAGE TO VIEW AN ENLARGED VIEW**
The above photo is a group of high school girls I had the pleasure of teaching every Saturday mornings for three hours at Wat Chansen School. Here they are putting their critical thinking skills to the test in an activity we did where they grouped opposites together based on their opinion (aka no right or wrong answer). Thais tend to think in a linear fashion; so me having the opportunity to challenge the students to think for themselves was one of the most incredible moments of my service. That reminds me, I should probably write a blog post about it. For now, there’s the sneak peek.
The above photo is a ground shot of the longest wooden bridge in Thailand in the province of Kanchanaburi. At the end lies the Burmese border, Burmese village hill tribes and a small, sloping mountains. My host family took us on a family vacation in October of 2012.
The above photo is a close-up shot of tiny, handmade clay figurines that represent each member of the family. Aptly, I’m the one with the name “Julia” attached. They wait inside a small boat made of banana leaves next to other offerings such as money, sticky rice, and other foods. Symbolically, the gifts are an offering to the spirits. After chanting with the monks in the morning, we set the boat in the river to floats away and take the bad spirits away and bring good luck our way.
Now I couldn’t just show you my little, plump, yellow clay body now could I? Of course not. Here’s the banana boat in all its glory. Did it take bad spirits away? I sure as hell hope so. Did it bring good luck my way? Ehhhh, the jury is still out on that one.
After the fun doozies above I hope it’s not too late to appreciate the sheer beauty of the above photo, and of my favorites among my thousands of images. This man was a stranger I sat next to on the third-class Thai passenger train. We didn’t speak a word together. I don’t think we ever needed to. He’s beautiful and his soul shines. He looks out into the never-ending rice fields as the sun casts shadows on his face. I was so moved by this image that I rendered it in charcoal.
That’s it for this week, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll see you again next week with more photos from my time in Thailand. Don’t forget to follow along (click the blue “Come Along Now” button on the right) and get updates via email so you don’t miss a beat. Or follow me on twitter @JuliaSchulkers for daily photos of Thai village life and the average life of a Peace Corps volunteer.
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P.S. Peace Corps Thailand group 126 invitations are now being sent out. Please feel free to contact me and touch base to get a firsthand experience of what the next two years of your life will be like, especially if you have questions related to serving as a LGBTQ volunteer (email: julia.schulkers[at]gmail). I’ll do my best to answer any and all questions. Get ready for a life-changing experience.