Today during our staff meeting my “English teacher” responsibility was to talk about the proverb “Home is where the heart is.” As I was explaining the meaning of this quote to my Thai co-workers I felt myself getting highly emotional. It again brought up the internal conflict I have been struggling with. My heart is in two places that are 8,129 miles apart (13082 kilometers). I literally don’t think it could be farther apart. I have two homes that are on the exact opposite side of the world. My heart is divided.
Yesterday morning I was speaking to my 8 year old niece and all she could say is that she loves me so much and that she misses me so much. She said she didn’t know how she can wait until January to see me, but then admitted that time has flown by already. She thanked me for not “staying forever.” At that moment I realized how much I am loved in Minnesota and how much I do miss my niece and nephew. They mean everything to me and all I could think was my home is in Minnesota. My heart is in Minnesota.
Fast forward 9 hours later and I am attending a staff meeting with my wonderful co-workers and explaining the quote “home is where the heart is.” I live in a room here in Phayakkaphum, far different from the 3 bed room house I sold in Minnesota, but I have never been so happy in my life. Teaching at Iam Sook has been by far the most rewarding career I have ever had and words can’t explain the joy I experience here every day. In Phayak, I have amazing friends, a job I love and an overwhelming sense of happiness. At that moment all I could think was that my home in in Phayakkaphum Phisai. My heart is here.
When I chose to move to Thailand never did I imagine that I would find a home. People kept on asking me “why Thailand?” and all I could say was that I had no idea. I just had a feeling that something was there and it turned out I was right, but I had no idea another home waiting for me across the world.
My heart is in two places. I have two homes. Two homes that could not be any farther apart. The trip from Minnesota to Phayakkaphum requires three different flights (Minneapolis to Detroit, Detroit to Tokyo, Tokyo to Bangkok) followed by a 7 hour bus trip from Bangkok. This trip takes nearly 2 days of travel each way and costs nearly $2,000.
Now I am left with having to figure out how to make both homes part of my life forever. I guess one could say I am blessed to have two homes, two places where I am loved and appreciated, two places where I can be myself and have the support of others, but right now I struggle with what the right solution is. I want everything. I want my family and friends from Minnesota in Phayak. I want my Thai friends in Minnesota. I know that neither of those things is going to happen so I have to find a way that I can split my time and create a realistic future for myself that will allow me continue living in two homes 8,129 miles apart. I am uncertain now what that means, but the one thing I do know is that when I am in Minnesota my heart will always be in Phayakkaphum Phisai and when I am in Phayak my heart will be in Minnesota.