Tuesday, January 26, 2010

last night on the town in bangkok for erika

In case you missed the news, I (Erika) am leaving Bangkok soon (Thursday!) to go back to the US. For my send-off I had a few of my closest friends from here in Bangkok over to our favorite lounge in the city, Tuba Bar, which is conveniently right across the street from our apartment. It's a funky place with retro American decor, many semi-tasteful pictures of historic scantily clad ladies (like WWII era pinups), cheesy English-language music, delicious Italian food with lots of cheese, truly artful cocktails, and a plethora of well-appointed couches and easy chairs. Expensive by Bangkok standards, but a real treat for those nights we have wanted an oasis. Our dear friends Maria, Milena, and Kwang, as well as Kwang's sweet boyfriend, spent a really great evening with us in a cluster of said couches, feeding on cheese and sipping at cocktails, discussing theology and art and ghosts, and laughing. I'll truly miss these lovely ladies, and feel blessed to have been able to meet each of them. While we've gotten very good at goodbyes, it doesn't make leaving behind good friends any easier.

last visit to the refugee center

I stopped by the Bangkok Refugee Center (where I have worked this past year) for the last time today, to say goodbye to my friends there and to finish up the mural we had started months ago. It was great to see some of my students again (those who are not imprisoned), and I got the great news that a good friend of mine there will be relocated to the US, probably Indiana, by next week! Lots of new faces at the center, too, as more refugees continue to pour in, especially from Pakistan. Everyone was very touchingly sad to see me go, and had many kind words that I'll remember for a long time. Altogether a fun but heart-wrenching day.