May 1. An hour after I had left Bangkok I was to be found picking up my luggage and in the company of one of the coolest Thai dudes ever, Bay. His original plan was to leave for America on the 18th, but he stayed just long enough to send me out to back to Mae Sariang. We spent the night in Chiang Mai and the next morning I was waving goodbye to the coolest Thai dude ever through the glass of a public van.
Another student of the orphanage, Chat Chai, came with me. I had met him on only one other occasion and that was precisely a month ago when I had first come to Thailand. The public van was uncomfortably cramped, long, and smelled of vomit, so I had a great welcome back to Mae Sariang.
When I finally arrived back at the orphanage, I was half expecting a few kids to run out and say hello, but I was greeted by a palpable silence. Nobody seemed to even be around. I found P.A., Nan, Goe, and Doe back in the kitchen and received a warm welcome from them, but no kids. Upon arriving at the big house, I figured out why. Every single kid I had known for the past month left to go for a home visit and second half of the orphanage group was here. This was quite alarming, because it meant that I was starting from scratch. I had to learn new, hard to pronounce names and had break through the awkward shy stage that came with a new foreign student. Yet, I was ready for the challenge.
I met Bowjoe upstairs on the computer and he was accompanied by none other than Brian, one of the kids I had spent my month of February with! I was half surprised by his presence, but I was glad to see him nonetheless. He had told me he was coming to visit the orphanage at some point, though he never gave a specific date. Katie is also supposed to be arriving soon, but I believe she doesn’t come until the 8th.
The last few hours of the day were spent catching up with Brian. We both excitedly threw detailed stories of our past travels at each other and reminisced about New Zealand and Fiji, which we both agreed was the most fun month of Rustic so far. Even when he had just come back from Tanzania with Andrew, Steren, and David (who were also on my New Zealand trip) he could say that it couldn’t top New Zealand. That evening, we played an intense game of soccer and ate our fill of the delicious curry Nan had prepared. It wasn’t soon after that I passed out on my bed from exhaustion, but it wasn’t an unpleasant exhaustion. As I went to bed, I felt truly peaceful for the first time in a few weeks.