We are now in Bangkok after two weeks on the beach in Koh Chang, a large island in the gulf of Thailand.
Thailand was our first journey away from friends and without Scott. My hope was that it would be an easy transition, filled with long lazy days at the beach, eating tropical fruit and enjoying the ocean. It was that but it was also a big look in the homesick mirror for the kids and we hit our halfway mark while there….Tara had a huge cry in a café, Tejas started asking why this trip was so long and complaining that he wanted to go home. They both miss their dad, their friends and their home. It was here that I first started to doubt myself and also succumb to homesick feelings. But magically, after Tara’s big breakdown, she bounced back better than ever and has been a delight to be with. This buoyed Tejas and I as well. Still both of them seem more interested in fancy hotels, pools, and for Tara, shopping for imitation Abercrombie clothes, than chilling on the beach eating pineapple and watermelon from heaven. Go figure.
Our digs on the beach were, in my mind, practically perfect in every way. It was a simple, yet comfortable bungalow on Klong Prao beach with a hot shower and air conditioning. A family run place with good food, it even offered $10 Thai massages right on the beach on top of charming shaded platforms under the shady trees.
Tara chipped away at her school work, each day doing a couple subjects. She has an easy time completing the literature, writing and history assignments on her own, but she tends to need moral support with math. My math skills are limited but luckily I was pretty good with algebra so we are managing as best we can. Since she had some difficulties in her math class in school before we left, it’s been a pleasure to witness her having the opportunity to review topics she didn’t understand and have the “Ah ha!” moment on her own. It will be interesting to see how she does next year when she re-enters the Berkeley public school system as an eighth grader. French has been frustrating because 100% of the lessons are online and we have not had reliable internet so she has fallen behind. When we return home for the summer, the simple truth is she’ll have to do her science course and catch up on whatever she needs to before beginning school in September.
I’ve found the best way to stay connected to my inner journey is to get myself up early in the morning to do my yoga and meditation practices, sip tea and write and just be by myself. If I start my day like this, I’m usually in a good space to be with whatever comes our way. The moods of the kids change like the clouds in the sky and I’m finding myself intuitively holding the sky-like space for them to ebb and flow. Otherwise we all would be a moody mess. The most important fall back, whether cranky in the taxi, getting ready for bed or sight seeing, is holding them both with love and patience, easier said than done.
On our last day on Koh Chang we woke up early and walked down the beach to rent a kayak. We paddled out and around the bend to a private cove where we landed our boat and had fun swimming in the clear turquoise waters. The water was so warm and gentle that on our way back we all jumped out of the boat and swam back to our beach, tugging our boat along.
After being in a cheap place on a great beach for two weeks, I decided to keep the moral boat afloat by booking two nights in a high-end hotel in Bangkok to get rejuvenated for five weeks in Nepal.
Next is Kathmandu where we will be with Stacy, Damon, Satya, and Amara again for our Annapurna trek as well as with our Bay Area friends, Meg, James and their two girls. Also my mom and step-dad, both dharma practitioners, have decided to come visit us in Kathmandu and accompany us to Rome. So the outer and inner journeys continue to unfold.
For me, Nepal is the crown jewel of this journey. I had always wanted to go but when I had children, I postponed it. It is the land where the Buddha was born and reached enlightenment, where many Tibetans have rebuilt their lives, their monasteries, temples and spirit, and where many Westerners on the dharma path have created lives for themselves. I look forward to experiencing this land at the foot of the largest mountains in the world. Stacy and Damon say that South India is like the feet of the Goddess and Nepal is like the crown. We started at the feet, at our Ayurvedic ashram back in January, where we cleansed and rejuvenated and now, the Asia trip will come to completion at her crown in Nepal.
Here’s a look back at all the posts in our global homeschool adventure:
Homeschooling in Myanmar: Visiting Bagan
Traveling to Myanmar with Kids
Adventures in Homeschooling in India
The Benefits of Ayurvedic Cleansing
Homeschooling on the Road
Around the World in One Semester