Finding your work/career of choice is such an important piece of life. So often, I find myself in the company of individuals that are stressed out, negative, and simply unhappy in the work they do. Both Bob and I feel blessed to have parents that really loved what they did as professions…in fact, our dads continue to work (with enthusiasm and positive attitudes) in their retirement. My two oldest nieces are just beginning their journeys to choosing wisely (Jill heads off to Indiana University in a few weeks to pursue a degree in Recreational Therapy so that she can work with individuals with Autism…Meg starts a teaching job in a 4th grade classroom at Sunnyside Elementary in Indianapolis.) Both are excited, and filled with anticipation to begin!
As we have traveled about this week, we have encountered some incredible workers…positive, respectful, friendly and kind. Each has a story to tell…from the architect traveling with us on the subway (who had been an exchange student in Missouri) that chooses to work a later day to avoid the morning rush, to the taxi driver that moved from Bangkok to Chiang Mai to get out of the traffic and stress of the city, to the villager stitching piece work in her home to be sold. With every tale, there were reasons for the choices…some intentional and some by chance.
Our new friend Linda (sister to Gary M from WCC for those following along back home!) is also PASSIONATE about what she does. Her love of language and words, weaves in and out of her conversations. We spent 8+ hours traveling with her, as she shared stories from her village with such incredible love and compassion for the people of Thailand. She lives humbly with a brilliance that exceeds many, as she fluently converses in various languages, always desiring to know more…she was sure wishing she had a bit of local language-or at least a phrase book to assist with communicating. Her colleague was quick to pull out his language lesson from the day to eagerly share with us…what a gift to love what you do for a living with such passion! (She also introduced us to such a lovely cafe where I savored a bit of mango sticky rice in a pool of sweet coconut cream…yummo!)
And finally…the elephants. Wow. The workers that have trained them to play soccer…to dance…to paint. Wow. The relationship between elephant care taker and elephant was sweet. We imagined the conversations those elephant trainers must have behind the scenes…”Hmmm, what do you think? Should we teach them how to throw darts? What about kicking a soccer ball? That would be cool. What about painting? Do you think they could do it? Why yes! Mine can paint a beautiful flower…mine can do a self-portrait!”
Upon returning to the US, my vacation time will be coming to an end and my work life begins again, with planning and training, as the school year approaches…and I hope to demonstrate the same level of positivity…to be the best I can be…to find the joy in each opportunity…to love what I do.