There is an art to finding beauty in things that you don’t have any emotional attachment to.
Life is different here for that precise reason. There are many things that are beautiful. I see them every day, but it’s different from being back in Montana. For the majority of my life I have resided in places where every time I turned a corner I had a reason to appreciate what I saw that was completely devoid of the aesthetic appeal of the scene. My life was full of meaningful relationships and events, spread out around the places that I spent the most time.
Uprooting and moving across the world, I don’t have those connections anymore. It isn’t a straightforward switch, but I’m slowly learning to appreciate and enjoy it in it’s own right. It makes me stop and think, it makes me really look into a place for what it is devoid of the emotional connections I’m temped to inject into it. Then it forces me to make them anew, to create relationships and experiences that inject the value into the environments. That seems to be a big part of traveling, a big part of making new places home. It doesn’t happen easily, or overnight, but it’s incredibly worthwhile.
Big cities have always struck me as impersonal and humbling. For the first ten days or so I love the excitement and adventure they inherently bring along, and after that I begin to miss the small town values and personable demeanors that come with a rural Montana upbringing. After spending more time here, however, I’ve realized more than ever before that cities are really just large conglomerates of many small communities. It seems like some parts of Bangkok have stronger community spirits than others, but my part is damn nice. There may not be 35 miles between us and the next community, but that doesn’t mean that the people are any less willing to band together and nurture the collective.
I’ve also come to realize that because of that, not all communities are geographic in nature. In many ways some of the communities I have found here in Bangkok are more personal and friendly than those back home. Though the man from the bookstore an hour and a half away from my house may not wave at me when I pick up my mail in the morning, he is slowly getting to know what books I’m interested in, learning about me in an intellectual and very personal capacity. Learning how to develop relationships and create such varying forms of community has been a largely trial and error process, but it’s a skill that I suspect will serve me well through what I hope is an adventurous life.
Here is one of the beautiful things that I see every day. It’s the view from the ferry I take to school each morning.
And this is the view from the bridge when I walk home from the University around 4:30 p.m. on school days.