Standing on a cement causeway, admiring the design of the arched terminal of Suvarnabhumi Airport, waiting for a 2:30 am flight to Mumbai, I thought about the time I'd just spent in Thailand and the sharp pain poking into my chest now that it was time to leave.
It had been an amazing nine days, though even after a third trip, going in and out of the country half a dozen times, I still didn't manage to make it south. I spent most of the time north, in Chiang Mai province, exploring forest temples, hill tribes, and old sights of Chiang Mai City. I'd made some great new friends, one who'd just come back from a trip volunteering at a Tibetan refugee community where she'd had the honor of hearing the Dalai Lama speak. But I couldn't help feel some sadness about the way things had turned out with May. I'd met her in Bangkok in 2005, traveling back from Cambodia with some friends, and we had about as functional relationship as could be expected for two people who could barely communicate, lived in two separate countries, and only saw each other three times over a two year span. Our relationship hadn't been very functional at all. My first night in Bangkok, she came to see me but kept a few feet of space between us. We met for lunch another time, but my last night when she said she would come see me, I'd waited a couple hours outside the guesthouse, but she didn't show up.
I knew it was for the best. I was willing to move to Bangkok at some point, but still wanted more time in Korea, and she' had enough experience serving Koreans as a hotel receptionist that she refused to come with me to Korea. She used to tell me, "When many Koree'ans stay in hotew, staff is big big headache. All night, too busy!" I knew it had to end sometime, but it didn't make it any easier when it did. Little did I know that before my return to Bangkok on my way back to Korea, she would have a change of heart, and we'd relive the inevitable all over again, at the time it was a painful ending.
I spent the day with my new friends at their riverside huts overlooking the Rama VIII bridge, feeling a bit down but excited for the trip a head. Now thirty minutes from take off, the reality of my long awaited trip to India was about to unfold. I'd had vivid visions of India when I was young and since then I knew that I'd one day travel there but I still couldn't believe it was happening. Aside from all the romanticizing, the reading I'd done and conversations with friends who'd been, was enough to know it was also going to be a difficult few months.
As would become expected with the trains over the next few months in India, the India Air flight was delayed, leaving me that much more time to be distracted by my thoughts and feelings.