• Nathaniel G. Sands

Initial thoughts from my trip to Myanmar

Mel, Rod, Karchi, Cassie and I handing out food to the local villagers

I recently returned from a short trip to Myanmar. Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar sits under China and borders a few other countries. Five of us formed the group: Cassie, Karchi, Mel and myself, lead by Rod who has been consistently visiting this same village twice a year.

When I was asked to come along I eagerly said, "Sure."

I'm not an overly excitable person, and although I didn't show it much, I was very excited to have the opportunity of tagging along.

I packed for the trip after I got off work on the day we were to set off. After dropping my dog Bradley off at Lucas' house, I went to triple o's to have my last greasy burger before heading to what I knew would be mostly rice and chicken.

I never quite finish a meal. Bradley knows this and loves it. Throwing my burger scraps in the garbage, I instantly missed my best friend. But I didn't revel in my loneliness. I knew I would make more friends shortly.

We drove to the airport at 10pm that night but after that, I lost track of time. The earth flipped. I was tossed into a new world with an eager sense to fit in. I predicted a warm welcome and certainly found it. Each day Rod, Cassie, Karchhi, Mel and I would wake up and have breakfast together. We would then ride our mopeds through town to the Zomi Baptist Church, where we would have tea and donuts with the community. Then Rod would begin his daily teachings, the remaining four of us would spend time with the kids. We played games, told stories, made crafts and sang songs. The boys loved soccer, and the first day was a muddy one!

I have been home for a week now. And to be completely honest, I found it initially harder to adjust back to life here in Canada then to adjust to life in Myanmar. Anyone who knows me knows that for years I have expressed my concern with our lack of communal sense here in Maple Ridge. And I know I'm not the only one:

We as humans are always changing, and our environment effects us tremendously. A trip across the world is certainly no exception. I fell in love with their communities way of living as a family, something I doubt we will experience here anytime soon, but continue to hope for. I think it's safe to say I left a piece of my heart in Myanmar, and only hope to get the opportunity to go back.

Coming home has been physically challenging. I can't sleep on airplanes, and after all the adjustments to time I ended up losing days of sleep. I have never been so jet-lagged before. To add to my difficult adjustment home, I got in an argument with management at work. I was intentionally belittled and insulted by my boss. His lack of care for his employees was never more evident. All of these experiences calls me to wonder the state of our lives here in British Columbia, what my purpose is, and how soon can I hop on a plane and get the hell out of here again.

A layover in Taiwan. Me rockin the longi.

After our spat I decided to book my remaining holidays for the year. I will now have more days off in December than I will be working. I am planning to visit my dad's side of the family in Toronto, and take the time to rethink my choice in careers. I will also think deeply on what I learnt on the other side of the world, and do some more blogging about it.

Life is too short to be in a state of discontent. Know your worth and act accordingly.

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