Tag Archives: Lists

Kaleidoscope

Close to a year ago, I wrote a poem about my world being on my desk, here. This is a similar poem, now a year later, and this time, it’s in my backpack. 

Photo credit: Pexel

 

My world is in my backpack

Stuffed into pockets and corners and zipped compartments

Crammed until I can hardly close it.

 

Every now and long forgotten items surface

Like the chicken bones my friend found in a pocket one day

Or the little bag of sticky rice I forgot for weeks,

Not unlike the skeletons in the proverbial closet.

 

My world is in my backpack, or at least a ¾ part of it.

 

Crumpled on the bottom is the linguistics quiz

With the mysterious .5 marked off of it,

Several baht coins scattered about unceremoniously

With one lone Abraham Lincoln penny still holding its ground;

Flashcards from aforesaid linguistics prep,

Harmonica that helps release the ache on lonely moonlit nights,

And a long-forgotten packet of fisherman’s friend lozenges;

Socks for when the air-conditioning becomes too much for me

(And when I need the comfort of something cozy again).

Notes from doing a movie analysis needed for my final paper,

And my faithful Kindle which is to me what Friday was to Crusoe;

Crumpled up paper about faith with a chocolate smudge

With a list of children’s names on the back from VBS, reminding me that yes, I was at home this summer.

Breathsavers that I think must have come from my sister’s dresser drawer

From back home in that creaky second story that turns frigid on cold winter nights

(And I really should give them back to her because I completely forgot I had them.)

A crumpled-up business card for a souvenir shop that I can only think came from that Thai lady

The one I met at the airport in China when my flight home was canceled

And she made me cry with her kindness  when we heard the news at 2 AM.

My phone, my key ring that holds 7 keys (of which only 2 I use),

2 USB sticks, eyedrops for when the long drives on my bike are too much;

A receipt for a latte at Start Up café, and at the same time, one crumpled up receipt from

Dunkin Donuts at the Dwight D. Eisenhower airport in Wichita

When I bought a latte on my way back and drank it while reading the card from my mom,

And crying while I ate the cookies that the little blonde boy brought over for me

Just before I left, and he asked me matter of factly,

When the airplane was coming to pick me up?

A lone key that used to be for the old lock on the gate,

A leftover paper from English class with a list on the back

Of items I need for my residency papers.

A flashlight, a pencil a friend gave me just before exams

And a post card my Japanese friend gave to me of a cityscape from her trip to Hungary.

A scissors, a set of watercolor pencils, and a pad of watercolor paper

Just in case, you know, I ever find myself somewhere with nothing to do.

Sunglasses for those long drives to IGo at 5:15 PM,

And two energy bars to sneakily eat at coffee shops when I am too stingy to buy food with my coffee;

Two packs of cards to play games with my English students;

Crumpled and folded and fingered notes from the presentation on nonverbal communication,

When I bent and crushed the papers in my hand, no, not nervous at all.

The planner my friend gave to me at Christmas

That says “The Best Year Ever,” and I think I believe it

Even though the year has been thrown into a backpack

And juggled around through customs and airports and classes

From farm world to city world, from one life to the other.

 

My billfold with 3 different drivers licenses, 2 Thai and one American,

My blood donor card I haven’t used for years,

Along with my student ID and my Bangkok Bank card

And about 10 others I rarely use.

My little catch all bag from a Thai friend for Christmas, full of pens

And a spinner, and highlighters and pencil sharpeners and sticky notes,

With the keychain that has the word “Jesus” on it,

From my friend who has left for the cornfields of Indiana;

A paper left over from Aj. Tony’s survey about how many languages we speak

(And I still can’t decide how many it actually is);

 

Then finally the little miniature airplane I made out of the gold foil

That wrapped the chocolate my friend from Ho Chi Minh City gave me last weekend.

I finger it and lift it up, give it a whirl,

Watch it glimmer,

And wonder.

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I Spy

My world is on my desk, defined partially

By items that pull spaghetti thoughts to encompass

Not quite the whole of my life, but a three-fourth bowl of it:

Two nails leftover from attaching northern Thai instrument to the wooden wall

Of my new room that is perched atop the wobbly outdoor stairs

That are so slippery in the mornings when I creep down in my stocking feet;

Acer Service receipt from my Alpha Switch 12 that died in its sleep

But arose again Lazurus-like under warranty covered repair.

Playdough that helps spaghetti brain concentrate in composition class,

And 3 empty envelopes that were intended for repaying friends for bills

Incurred in the moving into said new room.

Note and a card from two kindred spirits living in the same house,

And hot chocolate from a friend who left the tropics of Thailand for the snows of Minnesota.

Scrap of paper with a half-finished poem about hunger,

Which reminds me of the half-finished coffee with milk on my desk that the ants have found,

Which makes me wonder if ants on a coffee high can sleep at night.

A glass bottle from short lovable friend with contagious laugh who teaches K2 students,

Passport that enables me to go home in a few days (which makes me wonder

If they remembered to trim the hooves of the donkey with the long ears that waits at home),

And “to-do” list of things to do before I go.

Tablet full of college notes from friend that says on the front, “Say ‘yes’ to new adventures,”

The electric bill that needs to be paid by the 30th and I wonder if the new Seven Eleven people

Are as friendly as the ones at our old house.

White phone with the Thai number 9 on the back to represent the late King of Thailand,

Sticky note with new password for gmail, Kindle with leather cover, and 4 pens,

Easy to read version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which I used to teach English to little Thai boy with the laughing eyes,

Who liked to use Donald Trump as his subject when making up sentences for practice.

Journal to my future husband who hasn’t shown up yet to read it,

A plaque from a friend who moved to Malaysia that reminds my soul to be still, instead of constantly tracing spaghetti;

A hammer for problems that need hammers, duct tape for something I cannot remember,

Cheap sunglasses from the SanPathong market man on the day we went to see the buffalo and cows,

And Breaking Free, a book I should return to the church library after having it for 3 years;

A Thai Bible that I still stumble through as I read, in the rare times I read it,

A book called “How to Study in College” that hasn’t been read because I am too busy studying,

Article by Toshi Yamamoto at his presentation at Payap, which helped restore my hope for modern Christians,

And a cup from Pong Horse Park that previously held green tea, (and I wonder if they got my message about tomorrow).

A receipt of money withdrawal, a candle that has been lit only once or twice,

And finally a tiny glass ball with dandelion fluff to remind us to follow our dreams. I lift it high.

Watch it spin in the air.

And wonder.

 

 

Picture credit: Pixabay

 

Lists

Because lists are fun to make, especially when you’re waiting on your wash to finish so you can go to bed.

And they’re random, not neat little lists of ten.

Books I have read lately: (Not an exhaustive list, and not all read all the way through. Just books I’ve read in the recent past)

  1. Go Dogs Go, by Dr. Suess
  2. The Thread That Runs So True, by Jesse Stuart
  3. Growing Up Amish, by Ira Wagler
  4. The Atonement Child, by Francine Rivers
  5. Belles on Their Toes, by Earnestine Gilbreth (this is a sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen. I reread it recently and embarrassed myself by squealing with laughter at a coffee shop. This and anything by James Herriot never fail to make me laugh out loud. Henk, henk, henk)
  6. Intended for Evil, by Les Sillars, a book about a Cambodian Christian who survived the Khmer Rouge.
  7. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalinithi
  8. Rivers to the Sea, by Sara Teasdale
  9. Saving My Assassin, by Virginia Prodan
  10. Nang Ai, a Thai novel
  11. Reclaiming Surrendered Ground, by Jim Logan
  12. The Insanity of Obedience, by Nik Ripken
  13. The Wall, by Gloria Jane Evans
  14. Anne of Avonlea, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  15. Curious George, by H.A and Margret Ray

 

Things I love:

  1. Mist on mountains and rivers
  2. Airports and the excitement and pain that go with them.
  3. Snowflakes falling down in little whirlwinds, under the glow of our yard light at home.
  4. A young man helping an old lady or a small child.
  5. Familiar faces waiting at the airport after a 36-hour journey
  6. Lisped “I love you’s.”
  7. Rain
  8. Hot lattes on rainy days with a good book
  9. Speaking languages other than English
  10. Poetry that says exactly what you were feeling when you didn’t even know that you felt that way.
  11. Kind people at immigrations

 

Things I dislike

  1. People complaining about foreign food, and worse yet, making faces (woops, just a few weeks ago, I found myself doing this)
  2. Loud karaoke coming from the bars in the backyard at 11:30 at night
  3. Reckless drivers, usually those with Bangkok license plates, careening down the road. (If you kill yourself, that’s one thing. If you kill others, that’s another.)
  4. Seeing young Thai girls with dissipated old rich white men.
  5. Losing my keys, again
  6. Having no milk in the fridge
  7. Racist or ethnocentric attitudes
  8. Pens that don’t write smoothly
  9. Cool people who belittle the less cool as a way of climbing up the social ladder

 

Things I miss about home:

  1. Fresh chocolate chip cookies and tall glasses of raw milk with windows opened to green lawns and fresh air
  2. Snow, snow, snow
  3. Abundance of cheese
  4. Family (really that goes without saying)
  5. Long solitary horseback rides in the moonlight
  6. Being able to go anywhere or do anything that you want to (like lying out in an open field) without fearing that it is either: improper, dangerous, or weird.
  7. Magically having food in the fridge without having to be the one to buy or make it.
  8. Cows
  9. Living off the land, instead of the grocery store, or even the market
  10. Youth group
  11. My mom’s pies and cinnamon rolls
  12. The sound of horse feet on the highway
  13. Nice cuddly pussycats
  14. Talking Pennsylvania Dutch