[Note to readers: this is all personal stuff. If you’ve just come for the travelogue, keep browsing]
The Thai phrase at the top means “I love you so much.”
I’ve made numerous references to my “traveling companion,” Esso. Our first meeting was expected to be a one-shot adventure, but it proved too intense to stop there. I was already hyped about going around the country, so Esso arranged a leave of absence from her job to join me for a few days.
After a few days, I am adoring her so much that I give her my bracelet. I have been wearing it 24/7 since buying it in Nepal, four years ago.
Our stated agenda is gradually changing from “finding a fun adventure” to “looking for a place to settle down together.” At first, it’s a trial balloon, more fantasizing than planning. The balance shifts gradually. One night, I put some of my choice dance music on a boom box from the street market, and we dance in our hotel room. She lights up! I light up in response. She is as fluid-limbed as Astaire, funky as MJ, radiant like a child with the delight of newly-found freedom. We are ecstatic together.
That tips the balance. I want this to keep going. There is too much joy I am not claiming, in my current, familiar life.
Finally, our next-to-last day in Bangkok, we go to the market on Khao San Road, and I buy her a ring. Silver, to match the bracelet. We are engaged.
So who is this amazing catch? Well, I’m still in a “what you see is what you get” sense of relationship. So here’s some of what I see…. (the stuff I can’t show is exponentially more lovely, of course)… I will say no more.
At the end of this year, I will fly to Chiang Mai, picking up Esso in Bangkok on the way, and we will look for a house together. We’re planning to spend 9-10 months a year there together. In the spring, Esso will go back to her family farm to help with the rubber harvest, and I’ll come back to California to visit. The rest of the year, we will live…
Happily ever after!
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