{Virtual Coffee}

I came across this blogging community and love the concept. Virtual coffee! Since this is essentially what my life has been this last year: skype dates with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (depending on your time zone) my ‘coffee’ dates are nearly 100% virtual.

If we were meeting for coffee today, I would tell you what a crazy weekend this has been. Saturday is the day that the kids come to the Resource Center for English class and on our way home from picking up our English teacher, we had a pretty gnarly accident where a motorbike with three people crashed straight into the side of our truck. Everything turned out just fine – thank God. But we were really shaken up and emotionally exhausted after a long day at the police station, trying to understand a barely learned second language, and SO grateful for the community and friends on our side! Phew.

Thankfully Sunday made up for Saturday when our Scholarship Manager, Nim, and I jumped on a couple of motorbikes and wound our way up to the top of Doi Chaang Mountain where her village is. The roads went from dirt and potholed to steep and paved, and we could not stop laughing. There were moments where we were both in 1st gear and had to push ourselves and the bike up the mountain because they weren’t powerful enough to make it. There were moments when the red dirt was so thick that the bike kept slipping out from under itself. But. We made it! And wow was it beautiful. Their village produces coffee thanks to an overhaul by the Thai Government to get rid of Opium and replace it with coffee. Coffee beans drying in the sun were everywhere amidst the small shack houses propped onto the side of the cliff, with coffee trees dotting the landscape like fir tree’s are to Lake Tahoe.

We met one woman we’re hoping we can offer scholarships to. She and her husband are from Burma and speak no Thai – they are still addicted to Opium and are known for spending all their money on the drug rather than food. They have three children who often go without food unless Nim’s family (who lives next door) provide them with rice. It’s so heartbreaking to see beautiful children not given the opportunity to go to school as their parents make choices based out of addiction.

I can’t believe I leave here in 19 days. And Kevin in 8. Where has this year gone? I’m going to miss this place a lot. The kids. Our community. Watching them grow up. Being there to see their faces when they’re given new opportunity, or succeed at school, or are accepted into the University of their choice. I’m really going to miss these moments. I know I’m going back to where I need to be… but for now, it’s not making leaving any easier.

If we were meeting for real today, I would tell you how much I appreciate your support and patience with me this year. You guys mean the world to me.