I can still remember my first few hours in Chiang Mai, walking into a cultural mirage like no other. Jet legged, tired, excited, and out of my element I met the other three interns that were starting that day: Bo, Gee, and Top. Though I didn't know it at the time, these guys would become like family to me over the next four and a half years, along with so many others.
It is hard to explain how difficult and rewarding the last few years have been. How cross cultural learning and growth can effect the entirety of a life. How being vulnerable and surrendering yourself to an experience can lead to paths unknown.
The last few months have marked a countdown to an enivitable departure date: March 29th. Nostilga and reflection have been my life lately. The latter being difficult to wrap my head around. Perhaps the most striking difference has been how much I have grown on a human level. Patience, understanding, commitment, failure, and human connection were things I had never confronted before moving here. The slow process of relearning and breaking down elements of myself that limited my capacity and potential has been awe inspiring. Life skills that I will take with me for the rest of my life. It will be sad to say goodbye, but I believe that all those connection points with so many people here will be remembered fondly by both sides. And anyway, it is not goodbye forever......
Another mile stone this year was when Katie agreed to be my wife. It took a few months to source the stone and get the ring made, but it was all worth it when I proposed to Katie on a recent trip to Hong Kong. We took the tram to the top of Victoria Peak and on our way down I popped the question. Commitment was never a question for us, but it means a lot to us to follow the tradition of marriage. Now everyone is asking where and when, which is to be determined but most likely in the next 2 -3 years.
As this chapter closes, a new chapter is opening in Seattle. The first stop is a AMGA Rock Guide Course in Smith Rocks, OR. Fortunately I know most of the people that will be there to some extent, including my good friend Brad. It will be an amazing course and time to learn tons of new techniques. The other big news is that I will be making my way up to Alaska to guide a trip on Denali! Baby steps have paid off and continue to do so. Within the next month Katie should know which graduate program she wants to be in, and who knows where we will be?
The last few months have also afforded some amazing experiences, including developing some climbing areas in Chiang Dao. Below are a few photos: