Thailand [Part 1]

Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Adventures, Funny Stories, Sass, Traveling | 11 Comments

We’re back from Thailand! In fact, we’ve been back for a while, but I was too jet-lagged and distracted to do anything of consequence. My computer is on its way to computer heaven if I don’t get the new Mountain Lion operating system soon. It takes me like 45 minutes to load a page on Safari (it’s the only browser that will work with my old MacBook now). I feel like I’m using dial-up. (Edited to add: I have Mountain Lion now! It’s awesome.)

Anyway, Thailand was a grand adventure. Hands down, best trip I’ve ever been on. Lots of exciting things happened. So, let’s review with the first half(ish) shall we? After 16 hours of flying and a two hour layover in Seoul, we landed in Bangkok around midnight. We payed too much for a taxi and headed to our hotel. We promptly passed out.

The next morning (about 4 hours later) I was awoken by the repetitive speaking of someone on the loud speaker at a local temple. It was like a city-wide broadcast in Thai. Murderous rage ensued as I thundered around the room exclaiming, “REALLY?!” as I located my headphones and other sound muffling devices. Not much luck and we finally headed to breakfast and into the city to store our bags and wander around Bangkok before catching the train that night to Chiang Mai.

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We ended up getting approached by some Thai man who basically gave us a whole agenda for the day out of the goodness of his heart (or maybe a commission from his tuk-tuk driver). Either way, we were off on a river cruise!

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Ok, more like a gondola ride, but whatever. The water was quite smelly and I’ve heard it’s pretty contaminated, so I tried to avoid the splash zone. We drove by several beautiful temples stretching up towards the sky, we went past a floating market, and really just ook in the city. It was a beautiful, hot blue sky.

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Eventually, we were dropped in Chinatown where we wandered, ate, and wandered some more. I had strawberries with pink salt – very weird, kinda good? I ate my only non-veg meal of fish balls (think meat balls) and I was pretty grossed out before I made it halfway through. I didn’t really like fish when I was a meat eater, but we were hungry almost to the point of delirium and didn’t know our options as veggies. So, fish happened. Bleh.

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It was a few days after the Chinese New Year, so the city was buzzing. All the roads were filled with celebrations and we enjoyed just wandering and seeing all the new sights. It was another world, for sure. We finally headed back to the train station to take the overnight train to our first stop in our journey – Chiang Mai. We ordered train food which was slightly depressing and then just passed out.

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We were supposed to arrive around 8 a.m. in Chiang Mai, but it turns out there’s this thing called Thai Time, so yeah… we got in around noon. We quickly drove to our hotel, showered, and were out the door. I proposed just taking a nap and lounging, but Jesse had our schedule for the day out and was pretty adamant about us going to the temple we had planned for the day. I was so tired, I just threw on a maxi, put up my wet hair, and followed Jesse out the door.

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We were going to a temple called Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep on top of a mountain, so we had quite a bit of commuting. A tuk-tuk to the transport service, a truck to the top of the mountain, and then a load of steps to walk up. It was hot, I was tired, but it was another beautiful day and I was pretty filled with adrenaline. We were in Thailand and we weren’t going to sleep on a train! Hooray.

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We trucked up to the top of the steps, I covered my shoulders with my scarf turned shawl (can’t show shoulders at temples, it’s just not OK). Lots of cool things, a beautiful view of the city, and the realization we were finally on our vacation. Jesse suggested we start taking pictures now that we were officially on our trip and requested a photo from a German tourist walking by to snap us in front of the lookout point down into Chiang Mai.

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Little did I know as I was walking to the rail, Jesse had coordinated a special surprise with the photographer. We snapped the first photo and then Jesse said, “Let’s take a few more to make sure we get a good one!”

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The second photo, ended rather spectacularly. Jesse got down on one knee and said, “Will You Marry Me?”

After gaping in complete shock for a few minutes, I snapped out of my stupor and blubbered, “Yeahhhh!”

So, we got engaged in Thailand on top of a mountain. More to come.

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It’s Here

Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Randomness, Sass, Traveling | 6 Comments

In about 24 hours, I’ll be driving to the airport to travel to Thailand. This is a dream come true.

You may also notice that I haven’t been posting lately. This has been intentional. I’m on a blog detox.

You see, I haven’t journaled just for myself in years. I’ve been lax about creating art. I’ve done so much internal processing related to what I want to write for others, I’ve kind of forgotten about what I want to create for myself.

For the majority of my youth and young adulthood, I cared an awful lot about what people thought of me. In a way, this has greatly helped me on my path to self-awareness and introspection. In some ways, this has really hindered my actions to pursue what I want.

I guess I always figured that if I only considered what other people thought was best for me, if it ever failed, then I wouldn’t have myself to blame. I could point the finger, play the victim, and never get what I want, but at least know that I was never responsible for my own failure.

I’m no stranger to failure, but I’m also no stranger to success. I may fail or I may succeed, but I’m become more and more aware that I am tired of always wanting to know how others feel about my decisions, my choices, or my path. If I succeed, I want to own it. If I fail, well… at least I know I was doing something I wanted to do.

I’m trying to figure out what I want… what I really want from life. Do I want success? OK, what does that success look like? I always thought success was becoming a rock star, being famous, being adored. Now that I give a damn about what a small handful of people think, as opposed to the masses, my idea of success is shifting. My desires are changing. Heck, I’m 25. This is totally normal.

So, I hope you will pardon me while I go on an amazing adventure where I may or may not post. I hope this resonates with any of you who are still figuring out who you are, where you want to go, and how much you want to care about how others choose to think of you. If it doesn’t, oh well. I’ll be in Thailand, writing about my journey on paper, staring out the window of a train or laying in the sand. It’s time to unplug for a while.

See ya around here later.

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Life…Recently

Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Randomness, Sass | 1 Comment

For the first time since I was 18 years old, I live in a place I have no plans to move out of in a year or less. Pretty much non-stop for the last 7 years of my life, I’ve moved constantly. The first five times were fun, but then it just started to wear on me. I want to nest! I want to own furniture that actually matters. I want to come HOME, not just have a place to sleep.

This new place is going to be a home. I’ve been staying busy organizing and clearing clutter that has followed me around for years because I haven’t had the energy or the time to throw things away. I spent all of Saturday going through random boxes of junk and just tossing stuff out and cleaning up a storm.

I cleaned my make-up brushes, which I admit with some shame I haven’t washed since I purchased them in 2009. Blech. I know I’m not alone, all you filthy make-up brush owners.

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I found pictures of when I was chubby, when I was blonde, and when I was so young I looked nothing like I do now. It was fun to reminisce. I laughed at the huge box I found of mostly movie ticket stubs I saved through middle school with notes on the back of who I saw each movie with. If that isn’t meticulous… I don’t know what is. I wish I could devote that enthusiasm to keeping track of business expenses.

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Then I cooked a spinach alfredo. I was good, but not great. I shall update and then maybe I’ll post it here. We went and played Jenga. I did not know this, but I’m like a Jenga ninja. Challenge me, I dare you.

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Yesterday, I joined the rest of the masses and watched the Super Bowl. It was fun, I was happy the Ravens won. Watching the Wire has made me care about Baltimore. So, yeah. Less than a week till Thailand. Holy moly, it’s really happening.

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