Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Flashback November 18, 2007"

"Departure from Thailand"

This is my last post from Thailand. I will check in again during my layover in Hong Kong. Thank you everyone for being a part of this. Enjoy.

When I first arrived the voices and faces all looked the same. The language alien. But as time went on I had began getting to know the fighters and the trainers on a personal level. I am not only leaving behind a gym that I had been training at but also the new friends I have made. From my pad holder to the pancake man and from the fruit lady to the man at the pad thai stand. I am leaving it all behind.

I originally posted my first blog asking what I would be training. Was it my body? My mind? All those things I had originally listed. It was all there, and more. I had been training myself not only to learn how to kick faster or stronger, but I was learning how to grow as a person and bend without breaking, like bamboo in strong winds. I wasn't only training to throw vicious elbows, but was also training to think quick and respond in the heat of the moment.

There were times when I had to dig deep. I wasn't only visiting a new land here in Thailand, but I was also visiting a new land within myself. I've seen the Temples of Thailand, and in return seen the Temples within me. It has been a journey I will never forget. Some people back home told me before I left that the flight there wouldn't be so bad because I have it all to look forward to. And that the flight home would be the killer because there would be no reward. But I find this untrue. I realize after being here that I have it all back home. I have everything to look forward to and everything that I could ever need to live my life. I feel somewhat of a simpler man nowadays. I ate at places that I wouldn't dare to eat at if I had seen them back home. I've ate things that I wouldn't even think to touch as well. I became use to the ants in the white rice and on the plates and cups. I remember when I first arrived I would pick the ants off the spoon before scooping into the rice. The other farang who have been there a while would say "stop being a lady boy". After 2 weeks I was saying the same to the new guys coming in.

There were also times when I had been training so hard for days on end that I would often forget if it was the morning or afternoon session. They would sometimes feel like they merged right into each other with no rest. I've worked through pulled back muscles, ran for countless miles with swollen feet, destroyed the tendons in my knuckles, and did thousands of sit-ups. Some people go to an island or a cruise for there vacation, but I chose this. Anything but. I've come to realize what the human body is capable of doing and how it adjusts so quickly. I feel like a fine-tuned machine.

When I first arrived the Thai's weren't impressed by my presence. We would walk right by each other without saying a word. But after a while we had grown like family. We would teach each other bad words in our respective languages during situps. Often times I would be out at the store far away from Talingchan and I would run into a couple fighters. When we seen each other we would start going crazy and laughing and share a taxi back to the gym. We couldn't communicate through language, but I learned a smile breaks all barriers. There wasn't much to do when not training so we would hang out at the seven(7-11). We would try to talk with the girls that worked there in our best Thai and thier best English. I had bought a book on Thai phrases and we would eat pad Thai outside and laugh back and forth for hours. I even went out to the movies once with Ning. Phil had once said, if shes a good Thai girl, she'll make you wait 2 months just for a kiss. Turned out she was a good girl. She requested to come with me to the airport and see me off. I feel like I'm leaving home....again.

I've had close to 650 views at my blogs over the last few weeks. I could have never imagined it would be like this, the feedback was great. I learned I have a decent talent for writting. Maybe something I will pursue in the future. I often thought over the last couple of days what I would write for my last blog, my last hu-rah, but I don't like to force or premeditate anything. So I just sit here now, typing away whatever comes to mind. I'm almost at a loss for words. Looking back it has came and gone so quick. And this is all it, right here, right now. Everything that I had learned about Muay Thai, Life, and Myself. Life is about the journey and not the destination. Thailand was not my destination, neither will be New York. They are all part of the journey, this journey called life. Everything ties together in some way, shape, or form. It's funny, because just today I had wondered why it is I love this culture so much. What was it that drew me to this sport and wanting to learn more of the people and the land. And it had hit me. I remember when I was about 6 or 7 my grandfather would take me to the asain store all the time. And everything there seemed to fascinate me. The artwork, the dragons, the whole culture. So I wondered if it was that, mixed with the fact that both my grandfather and father were boxers, that had meshed and molded my love for this here.

At noon today I packed my bags and took one more look around the room. I sat down on the bed one last time and just happen to look up at the plywood holding up the top bunk. On it, someone had wrote "Live Your Dreams", and underneath it was a list of names. I grabbed my pen, looked up, and underneath it I wrote:

"John Wolcott 11/19/07 Dream Lived"