Music by the street

I’m waiting for my ride to pick me up for lunch today and even though I am next to a polluted street, with car and bus exhaust fumes blowing in my face, noise pollution hitting my ear drums, amidst all this chaos and gloom I am relaxing to the sound of music played from a man playing the flute at the base of the train station.

His music cuts through all the sounds and creates an atmosphere that is so much more enjoyable than the sounds of roaring buses and motorcycles by the street. I take a little seat on the bench by the bus stop and for a few minutes enjoy the music.

I feel like its moments like these that somehow remain in your mind even years from now. If you are in a rush going somewhere, sometimes just take a look around and watch the life. Enjoy the moment and see the flowers. Even by the roadside, if you listen, if you allow your senses to open up, you might just have a little more music in your life. ūüôā

Let the music flow ūüôā

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Old Bangkok Morning Life

Summer is coming soon to Bangkok and already I am dreading the summer heat.  Fortunately we have a few days of cool weather at the moment so it feels as if we are enjoying a short festive season.   I love it, because it is a short reminder to enjoy the little things in life.   This morning I had the opportunity to take a little walk before work and it feels good to just walk outside, feel the breeze in your hair, watch people going out and about and listen to the birds chirp.

Early morning walks just as the city is waking up for me are always one of my favourite times of the day because you don’t get rushed, or have to feel the hurry of the morning rush hour. ¬†Watching the sun rise, you get to observe how varying degrees of sunlight affects the way you see the colours around you. ¬†This is especially interesting in the old part of Bangkok where traditional wet markets still exist and with it the traditional way of life in Thailand. ¬†You see people carting baskets of fruits, vegetables and even fish to sell at the market. ¬†You see housewives out for their daily supplies, people passing by on their way to a destination or the lone dog hoping for a kind heart to give it some food. ¬†Markets, being typically the focus of action, often find shops and restaurants nearby. ¬†In Thailand it’s the same with stalls selling all kinds of food not far off from the market filled with people grabbing something to eat before another long day.

Coffee and croissant is not the typical breakfast here. ¬†No Cafe Solo nor Uma Bica. ¬†Here it’s Fish Maw Soup, Congee, Rice with Toppings, Noodles. ¬†Whatever you want to eat, its open since early morning. ¬†We eat our breakfast like a King, as the saying goes. ¬† I used to wonder how one could eat so much for breakfast, having grown up on cereal or toast coupled with a glass of milk. ¬† I now start to understand. ¬†If you start your mornings early since it gets quite hot later on (lets’ say breakfast at around 6am) by noon you feel like you could eat horse. A big one. ¬†It’s best therefore to have something slightly heavier than just toast so that you don’t go crazy and bite a chunk out of your colleague.

The great thing though is that food is available 24 hours a day in Bangkok. ¬†It still fascinates me how in Thailand, food is available everywhere no matter what time of day it is. ¬†It can be 6am or 4pm, you’ll find restaurants open for business with people inside. ¬†I used to ask what meal they were eating, now I find myself sometimes eating at odd hours of the day.

Watching life reminds us how special and wondrous it is. ¬†Each person has their own life story to tell. ¬†We have ours to tell so to live one’s life is indeed a blessing. ¬†Each and everyday, look at the life around you and think how lucky you are to be alive. ¬†Life is precious. Tomorrow there may be no more markets, ¬†no morning chaos nor dog wagging it’s tail…

 

Zoey, hunter. James, cute.

There are many stories, reviews of travels and eateries waiting to be told, yet tonight I feel like writing about dear James and Zoey, my two dogs. ¬†It’s been roughly three months since we’ve had James and four months since we’ve had Zoey. Time flies happily when you have dogs and I have to say they really are good for the heart and soul. I smile whenever I talk about them and if you talked to me about dogs, I could spend a long while discussing them with you. ¬†Make sure you have a chair. There’s something about dogs that is good for the soul. Its no wonder they have been man’s companions since times past.

James the labrador is a heart breaker. ¬†He has one of the most innocent looking faces especially when he is sitting quietly looking in quiet anticipation of a treat or snack. ¬†He doesn’t jump, nor does he offer his paw, he just sits quietly looking up (for that’s how he has been trained) at you hoping that whatever you are doing will provide him with some snack. ¬†Labradors have a voracious appetite and James is no exception.

If you are a bit late with the food, he doesn’t complain but just quietly goes and sleep by the food box, just “in case” you forgot. ¬†He would do anything for a snack so training him is easy. All I have to do is have a snack in my hand and go through the motions together with the words. ¬†Apart from sitting, rollover, heel, fetch and a few other tricks, ¬†my favourite is “Bang bang” where James temporarily acts dead.

I make my hand into a gun, point it at James, and he falls on his back with his paws up as if he were dead. After awhile his paws fall down and if you go “bang bang” they go up again. ¬†It makes me laugh just thinking about it. ¬†It’s incredibly cute especially with his big paws.

James’ babyish charms also get to me. ¬†When he was a puppy, I’d let him crawl onto my lap and sit on it looking out at the garden. ¬†Now that he weighs 18kgs he still attempts to climb onto my lap like a baby wanting to be hugged, only to be turned down because his head alone is as large as my lap. ¬†He hasn’t realized how large he has grown. ¬†It melts my heart.

Zoey, by contrast is a petite, light weight and delicately built Thai dog with a small little face and two black patches that give her a distinct look. ¬†She came together with the house is what we like to say. A sort of “free gift” that popped along with the house and we didn’t have the heart to just throw her out. ¬†She was a mere puppy with a wagging tail and two beady eyes.

Unlike James who runs through water and jumps in whenever he can, Zoey is a clean and polite lady. ¬†She dislikes water and rain and if the grass is wet, she’d walk on the stone slabs we have laid out. ¬†If she wants to walk around the garden, she’d jump onto the little ledge we have along the fence and tiptoe along its walls.

She is also easily distracted living in her own world like a little girl chasing butterflies. ¬†Once let into the garden, she’d run from back to front in a speed that’ll make you wonder if she was a tiny replica of a horse or maybe some sort of greyhound. ¬†She also jumps high. ¬†Sometimes just for the sake of it, she’d jump over James while running as if he were some part of an obstacle course.

Oh and yes, she can also play “dead” with the “bang bang.” ¬†Her tiny legs come up into the air. She too can be cute when she wants to.

Don’t be fooled though by looks and behaviour. ¬†Amongst the two dogs, Zoey’s function in life is to be a guard dog. ¬†She instinctively barks at any strangers with a bark that’d make you wonder how it could have come from such a small dog. ¬†She doesn’t trust people easily and is a fearsome hunter. ¬†My garden has no lizards or crawling insects. ¬†She kills them all. ¬†Sometimes she jumps up in the air to snatch a flying insect. ¬† In the mornings, she looks up into the trees longing to get that squirrel by the mango tree. ¬†Zoey is a hunter. ¬†She lives to hunt.

James’s purpose in life? ¬†His purpose is to just be cute. ¬†He melts your heart into a soft gooey slush and puts a smile on our face. ¬†He fetches balls and frisbees, acts dead and do rollovers. ¬†Nothing useful, nothing with a purpose, but just pure FUN!

So that’s Zoey and James. ¬†Two dogs, two characters. Two different barks. Wolf! Wolf!

 

 

 

A Balancing Act

Sitting in my study looking out the window, I am still thinking about “The Descendants” I wrote about yesterday. ¬†That movie was about a man, a successful lawyer and a land baron who had devoted all his time to his career, to making money only to later realize he had “lost” his family. ¬†Although his wife was now seriously ill from a boating incident, he had lost her years ago. ¬†They had ceased to talk, to spend time together, to go out and enjoy each other’s company. ¬† They had grown apart. ¬†His daughters, he had hardly seen and could hardly remember the last time he was alone with them. ¬†They too had grown. ¬†So that was Matt King who spent his life focusing on himself. ¬†Then there are opposites: ¬† those who spend their time completely devoted to other’s lives until they forget to have a life of their own.

It happens sometimes.    It happens more often than I would like to acknowledge.

It happens in relationships and in families. ¬† They believe that family is number one and that nothing else is more important. ¬†They¬†find themselves unconsciously assimilated into the other person or persons. ¬†They forget everything about themselves and focus entirely on the person or persons. ¬† They must spend their time taking care of the family, taking care of their needs and anticipating their needs. ¬† They¬†serve each and every need in the belief that this is right. ¬†This is the “right” thing to do. ¬†This is what is “expected” of them. ¬†They devote their entire time, their entire life to others. ¬† Guilt prevails if they want to do something of their own. ¬†Guilt, self-inflicted. ¬† So the cycle continues, on and on.

Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying that it is a bad thing to care of others, it is good to take care of loved ones and people around us.  What is most important though is that there needs to be a balance.

There needs to be a balance between taking care of others and taking care of your own needs.

Your own needs are equally important, and your life is equally important. ¬†You have dreams, you have desires and there are things you want to do, places you want to go. ¬†Don’t push all your own needs out of sight and hide them somewhere deep inside your soul. ¬†One day you might just erupt like Mount Vesuvius.

And when your erupt, or if you just stay dormant.  One day you may find yourself on your deathbed looking back on your life and thinking about all the things you could have done, all the things you wanted to do, and all the places you wanted to go.    You might feel a resentment at others, why they had done the things they wanted to do and did all they wanted to do.  Yet all these emotions come too late and your life has passed you by.  You will just have to wait for your next life to do the things you want to do.

Find a balance in your life.   Have some time of your own, have some time for others, have some time for your dreams.

The Descendants

 

I love the weekend. ¬†It’s time for relaxing and for thinking about how to relax. ¬†It’s been awhile since I last watched a movie and it’s been an even longer while since I last sobbed watching a movie. ¬†Watching a movie on DVD at home where there are not another hundred or so people next to you, you find yourself fulling immersing yourself and embracing the emotions that come with it. ¬† You can cry and laugh as loud as you want. ¬†You aren’t going to be disturbing the person next to you. ¬†So yes I cried when watching “The Descendants”, but it was a good one.

“The Descendants” isn’t one of those action movies that keep you grabbing to the edge of your seat or hiding behind a pillow, when it gets all bloody. ¬† It’s one of those movies where you watch a family, lives and emotions unfurl. ¬†It’s harsh reality beautifully portrayed.

It’s about a family, a husband and two daughters and what happens after the mother is seriously injured in a boating accident.

You might think, so it’s another one of those movies when everyone sobs and gets through it. ¬†Well there’s more. ¬†A possible death of a loved one or family member brings up all kinds of emotions. ¬†There’s anger, denial and most often regret.

In the first scene of the movie, the lawyer husband and land baron, sits by his wife who is laying in bed in a coma and hoping that she wakes up.  They had not spoken in days and months.  He wished he had lived his life differently and spent more time with his wife.  But life has passed by and he cannot bring her back.  Their marriage had quietly disintegrated despite a seemingly happy life with a large house and money for all their needs.

There is no one cause, but a mixture of reasons. ¬† He was probably too focused on his work and his wife busy raising the children. ¬† Matt King discovers he hardly knows his daughters. ¬†He doesn’t know what they like, don’t like nor what kind of persons they have become. ¬†He didn’t know his wife in the past ten years of their life together. ¬†He had neglected her needs. He had been too self focused. ¬†He lost touch with the personal and emotional aspect of his family.

It makes you think really.

What is it you want out of life?  What is important in your life?  Families like a tree require regular pruning and watering.  Once absent, they will wilt and die.   Relationships and emotions have to be handled with care and nurtured with love.  Only then will the tree blossom into a strong and beautiful one.   Think about what you really want.  Once you have it, focus and do not lose sight.

Life once lived cannot be taken back.

Don’t end up sitting by the bed of someone you love full of regrets about all you hadn’t done, thinking about all you should’ve done. ¬† Live your life and do what you want to do, but don’t forget about those most important to you. ¬† There’s more to life than just fame and money.

It’s no wonder this movie won an Oscar and several other awards. ¬†It’s reality beautifully made.

A Doggy Sunday

Today I leave flowers and¬†Amsterdam for a day and instead want to talk about dogs.¬† There is just something about these loyal companions that make your heart warm and your soul soft.¬† For the past few months or so Alex and I have been enjoying the loving nature of our skinny black and white dog that came along with the house.¬† (Yes, once the house was finished we found ourselves with a wagging tail puppy that just looked at us with beedy eyes and melted my heart. I wondered what would happen to her if we didn’t look after her?¬† All the workers had left and the only living thing at our house was the dog.)¬† Today, in a few hours, we welcome another new member a Labrador Retriever.¬† It’s going to be a busy Sunday afternoon playing with the dogs.

First about our black and white dog. When¬†we took her in and due to her white body yet two black patches on her head we called her “Zorro.”¬†¬†¬† We had the vet give her injections, bought her¬†a bed¬†and gave her a bath.¬† She became our little “Zo.”¬† She’s a Thai dog that means she isn’t any particular breed.¬† One of those local dogs you see running around the streets in dog gangs.¬†She’s a gentle¬†dog that wags her tail and has a bark bigger than her body.¬† The first time I heard her bark, I thought it was another dog.¬† As time passed, ¬†“Zo” became “Zoey” when she seems to somewhat be like me and a little clumsy at times.¬† She’s a dog that sometimes misplaces her footing when running up the stairs.¬† Super excited, always hyper she just wants to be near her “pack.”

To make sure she knew what she can do and not, she is now slowly being trained, in English. Yes English.¬† So Zoey is a little clumsy Thai dog who knows how to “Sit”¬† and “Turnaround.”¬† Love her.¬† She doesn’t walk on carpets, bite our furniture or act inappropriately in the house.¬† (Outside is a different matter..she loves biting my plants!)

Now the Labrador retriever is going to be a different story.¬† I’ve never had a dog so big whose size even as a puppy is larger than Dyzio and Zoey combined.¬† It’s going to have to live indoors while its still a puppy though¬†we have already prepared an enclosure for it as well as a nice little dog box where he can sleep mosquito free in the case that indoors is not a good option.¬† He also got a cute bed with a cherry design (there was only a limited selection left at the store!¬† I’m excited and looking forward to our new member.¬† We’ve temporarily called him James but lets see if the name will suit…

Now its time to read up on dog introductions. Do you have dogs? Would love to hear your stories this doggy Sunday!

Supermoon shining bright

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On the plane I spotted the Supermoon shining high and bright above the Earth. It’s a beautiful sight to see that reminds me of Murakami’s iq84. How mysterious it is indeed and how it has provoked countless imaginations and stories across the centuries.

The moon is both full of power and beautiful in its own quiet unmoving way. Its romantic when seen together by two lovers and scary if you are alone in a quiet cemetery with dogs howling.

I wonder if the moon knows its power.. Maybe not. What do you think about the moon?