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Paul's Random Vent Spot

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About this blog

Anything and Everything Imaginable

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First Thai Funeral

I have been to countless American funerals through the years... No issues whatsoever. I think something inside of me is either broken, or not tuned in correctly anymore.


I had the honor today to attend a very close Thai friend's mother's funeral. I knew of his mom and had met her a couple of times, but we were not close. I do however, love him like a brother. The fact of the matter is, I am a little fucked in the head from working in Afghanistan for 6 years. It has a tendency to do that to people. You get used to living in your little cage and you know what to look for in order to spot something that is out of place. Of course people shoot at you and you get the occasional suicide bomber on base or ground attack yadda yadda yadda. I have been back in the city now for a little over a year and still cannot unscrew some of the little things (Another blog another time)


So I'm standing outside of the building at Wat Chai and up walks my friend. I literally watched his eyes going from being ok to being filled with instant sorrow the second that he saw me. We were very close before and have not seen each other for about 4 months. He also did not know that I knew what was going on. So up he walks, no words were spoken just that long embrace of two people who understand and are on the same emotional level at that moment in time. We finish the hug and he keeps saying thank you.


After about 15 to 20 minutes of catching up, they do the ceremony for the wake where you go in and over the pool of water is the deceased's hand and you pour a water on the hand to say your goodbyes is what I took away from it. I didn't feel like I belonged. I wasn't completely sure what was going on with me but I knew if I went inside of that room I would fall apart and I had a feeling that his family would look at me weird (what the hell is the Farang crying about). So as everyone went inside, outside I stayed. When your best Thai friend (who doesn't speak a lick of English) looks at you and says "Paul, please" with his outstretched hand, what can you do. I went inside and let myself fall apart.


To my surprise however, when I walked out into the light from the building I was not met with awkward glances... I was met with looks of acceptance and understanding. Nobody knew me, the only white person at the funeral from before except my friend, yet everyone looked at me with the eyes of family. I have never felt more respected in my entire life, honestly. It was the most spiritual and amazing experience. I could not bring myself to go back to the second ceremony today. One day of that kind of sadness over someone that I barely knew is enough.


I did however promise that I would attend the burning tomorrow... I'm sure that will kick me right in the feels too..


~End Rant~


Outside Looking In

Keep in mind, these are just my thoughts as they flow. Mainly a way for me to see if I am the only one that feels the same way as me:


I was born in 1983. I am fortunate enough to remember a lot of my childhood for some weird reason. I remember drinking from the hose, getting the first Nintendo when in first came out, selling chocolate bars door to door for my school, and riding my bike. I grew up in a time of Parent Teacher Association meetings and parents that cared about their children's education and educators. As I grew up I did not realize, but America was changing all around me and I adapted to the times. Looking back, I remember owning one of the big pagers (beepers we called them) where you could ping someone to call you. They were hip, everyone had them. We saw the largest growth of any system in the world with the masses gaining access to the world wide web (Who the hell knows what we would do without it today... Could we ever go back?). I remember riding in the back of trucks, I remember my mother and father telling me that I was no better or worse than anyone else in the world. My brother's and I grew up on the wrong side of wealthy. Mom and dad traveled just to keep jobs and we moved from California, to Alabama, to Kentucky and Back to California in the process. No matter what state us kids were in it didn't matter, we did all the same kid things back then.


I have now been outside of The United States for the last 7 years. I spent 6 in Afghanistan as a contractor for the Marine Corps and have lived the last year here in Pattaya after severing all ties that I had to the states (wife, car, motorcycle) other than family. Looking at America from the outside in is enough proof for anyone that America is no longer what it used to be. Where have the children playing in the streets until after dark and following that porch light home at dusk gone? Now it is too dangerous for children in the streets because every single day multiple kids are getting snatched up. Now the kids are all stuck inside the house with their video games and cell phones (even a lot of schools homework now requires your kid to have a computer to complete it). Kids today are forced to be sheltered due to parents being worried about them. Why can't we drink from the garden hose anymore? Oh yeah, now everything causes cancer! Um, back when I was growing up all of the houses had asbestos, everything had lead paint, and we drank from the hose just fine (clearly as you are reading my story...) What the hell has truly happened to American values and the "American Dream" that we heard so much about growing up; that we were even taught in schools. In mad this dash towards life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have really kind of killed the true meaning of these words. The Statue of Liberty used to be a beacon that beckoned to the huddled masses of poor and sick immigrants. She stands there still but if she could move, I'm sure she would have packed up and hopped off that stand a long time ago. The truth is, you have to be able to take care of America before you can take care of all of the people that WANT to be Americans. The so called "American Dream" to me now as an outsider is a propaganda recording that has been on repeat since we needed settlers. It's time to stop the recording temporarily and fix the problems at home before we try to handle those abroad.


Being here in Pattaya, I have met so many free souls that are TRULY living. The ones who have broken away from their country's data feed and escape. A report I was reading said something like 64% of Americans never leave The United States in their lifetime. I don't know how accurate the percentage is but it is definitely believable. Out of my whole family (and grandma had quite the litter of children) there are only a handful that have ever left the place they were born, let alone the country. The facts that I have learned since I have come to Pattaya are this:


1. You don't have to get married like society tells you.
2. You don't have to go to college like is the norm.
3. You don't have to settle for an average 9 to 5 job living paycheck to paycheck.


So far, I am the youngest business owner in Pattaya that I know of. I am thankful that I learned how to truly LIVE at a young age. Now to sit back, relax, enjoy the weather and watch the rest of the world fall apart from Thailand. Tips for Americans:


1. Don't listen to the TV.
2. Be civil with everyone.
3. Take a trip somewhere, anywhere outside of the US.


-End Rant-

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