A (literal) drive down memory lane really forces you to look back and see the blessings that you’ve had throughout your life…
As I’m back in my old Thai hometown, Phitsanulok, I’m seeing all the different progress and changes that has happened to this place. It has developed and grown to something that is almost unrecognizable. It’s familiar, but the changes are distinct.
The changes are drastic. What used to be a town with tiny roads, a Makro and a small meager department store that only has 1 KFC, 1 Pizza Hut and 1 Swensen’s Ice Cream Store, it has transformed itself into a small city with highways, tall buildings and new malls. (Apparently they now have movie theaters with English films!!!) The university where my parents used to teach and where we used to live looked so much smaller. It has grown from 2,000 undergraduates back then to more than 20,000 undergrads now! And the back roads of the university are now cemented!!!
Initially, I was quite bummed out. Why were all these developments not present when we lived here? Why did we have to suffer through dingy public buses that literally takes half an hour? Why were the university roads dusty back then and we had to walk for almost an hour to the bus station so that we could actually go to the city?! Why were English movies so hard to find then?!
I remember we used to drive to Chiang Mai, my home now, and stop first of all, at McDonald’s just to eat a “real” burger. The whole family used to get super excited! Now, you have to force us to actually go. But as we’ve been driving around town these past couple of days, I find that Phitsanulok is still that same town. It’s like coming back to see old friends who may look different, but still show that same relationship that hasn’t changed a bit.
What really struck me the most was passing by the baking shop last night (I know! This post is still loosely related to food!) and saw the owner watering her plants after closing time. My mom got so excited, she told my dad to stop and they got off the car to greet her. And the ‘flour lady’ remembered us! And she was quite happy to see us! I was like ‘Man! This was a small town!’ Mind you, our friends were one of the very first Sri Lankans here and my family was pretty much the first and ONLY Filipinos here back then, we kind of stood out, but it was still such a shock that a random shopkeeper could remember you.
I find it quite fitting though that as I got my last grade of college today, officiating that I have passed my undergraduate degree, I got it while I was here. Back then, I thought I would be stuck in this dump forever, without much options for an education or even a career. But coming back, I see how much I’ve accomplished, how far I’ve gone and most importantly, how much God has blessed me. He has blessed me beyond my wildest imaginations!
My high school repertoire included an education in the United States and an education in an international school! I’ve worked and interned with the Christian Broadcasting Network Siam (CBN Siam), Holiday Inn Chiang Mai, the ASEAN University Games, and the Philippines’ Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG)! I’ve done a student exchange program to Taiwan and I’ve traveled around Singapore. I’ve survived and thrived in a fully Thai curriculum in Maejo University! And these are just my worldly blessings!
I’m not some world-traveler, nor am I some living expert who knows how to cook, clean and speak many languages. I’m just a girl who is figuring life out and learning more about life and myself as I go. I’m just a mere human being that is blessed by Someone who loves me. Sure I forget that often enough, but He always brings me back a tad bit just to show me how far He took me and for that I am thankful!