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Since we left the United States, Tareen has been pestering me to write something on her blog. If a friend asks me for advice, travel tips, or general highlights, I have no problem sharing. But I’d much rather have a casual conversation about where I went, what I liked most, and the best ways to deal with merciless diarrhea rather than putting pen to paper.
I guess since marriage is all about compromise, I can spare some insight:
This is the first time Tareen and I have had ten weeks of uninterrupted time together (no friends, family, or jobs). Thoughts of leaving her on a quiet country-side road have popped in my head at least four times (I assure you, her count is much higher.) After a smooth sailing approximate two years of marriage we discovered very quickly that this much time together would be challenging.
We are perpetually learning from each other and figuring out the roles we must play. For example, I now wear the title of “Designated Bug Killer” and am tasked with charging into rooms and eliminating any unknown threats. Tareen is the picture-taker, puts up with my political venting, and forces me to dance when I don’t feel like it.
You should take any opportunity to experience the unfamiliar and confining with a significant other. The Asia trip has reinforced so many great qualities about Tareen while forcing me to accept some hard truths (i.e. her arachnophobia is very real). Altogether, it has made for a stronger partnership.
My Trip Highlights Are the Nonevent
People watching outside a busy street will never get old. Listening to a band that livens a dull room or simply stirring up good conversation with a stranger in our hostel are my favorite moments.
I’m not the type that makes a daily itinerary of museums/sights to visit each day. Fortunately, neither is Tareen. I’m less sedentary while traveling but I still have no problem justifying doing nothing all day. Off days brought better active days.
Asia’s beauty has left me speechless. I saw a nature and history that I didn’t know existed. But at the risk of sounding cliche, the most gratifying experiences were reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.
Victor was a friend I met in Austin who recently relocated to Tokyo. Hanging out with him made our lives significantly easier. He spoke Japanese fluently and gave us the low-down on cultural norms while we slurped on ramen that God would envy.
Colby was in charge of my dorm my freshman year at Baylor. He did a profoundly terrible job, I think we all had the worst GPA’s on campus. We did, however, forge a great friendship and always stayed in touch. He’s been stationed in South Korea with the US Air Force for over a year and we got to visit him in Seoul. He and his partner, Brandon, made the freezing temperatures of South Korea’s winter bearable by taking us to a Texas themed restaurant and introducing us to one of the best damn burgers I’ve ever had. Meeting them up was a much needed slice of home.
Matt and Rachel are new friends that would have sucked to say goodbye to in Chiang Mai but we found out that they’re coming to Austin from Seattle/NYC next month. Tareen and I agree that we could’ve travelled the rest of the trip with them in complete harmony.
On this trip, I tried to talk to the locals to get their perspective. The language barrier is one worth getting over because it made me culturally sensitive and a better communicator. We went to a restaurant twice and the second time was just to talk to Red again. He told us about how he used to own a bar and his philosophy was to focus on quality and service. He did so well that the landlord tripled his rent after his contract was up. He had to shut it down. Red’s advice is to bet on yourself and sign longer contracts.
I could go on but Tareen told me that she has a word count limit.
I already feel rejuvenated with a renewed sense of purpose; charged with making my community and country better. See you in one week, P’Terry’s... and also America.
PS: Tareen here. We've been in Krabi the last 10 days in Ao Nang (the party district of Krabi) and Koh Lanta (one of several remote parts and islands in Krabi). As beautiful as these beaches are, the creatures had me less than relaxed all week. Since it is my last night in Thailand, I was brave enough to look up what creature made a particularly haunting sound. It sounds like the noise that comes out of a hollow rubber animal when you press it. I assumed it was a bird. Someone on Lonely Planet had the same question and I found the answer too quickly and hate this.
It was a Tokay Gecko. A LIZARD. And it looks like this and sounds like this. BYE THAILAND.
Pictures: This was the "vacation" portion of the trip and included a lot of nothing. It also included a lot of experimenting in photography. Taking pictures has led to a newfound appreciation for all the color in the world and has forced me to slow down and take it in. I think thats evident in this weeks pictures.