One list that really felt like I could write forever and never truly be done with was ‘Kind Memories’. I just tried to think of things that I remember witnessing or being a part of that I felt were kind acts or evoked a sense of kindness in my memory. Some things were simple and happen often, such as drivers and cyclists coexisting on the narrower streets in the Fan. One was just thinking of my mom and how she always was so hospitable to all of the kids I grew up around. A lot of my friends commented on how warm she was to them either when they would come to our home or if she just ran into them somewhere. She holds a kind presence. My favorite item on the list was the memory of a monk I was lucky enough to work with this past summer in Thailand. I never learned his name but I worked with him for two weeks in the hills of Northern Thailand, helping him first paint a crematorium and then later plant 500 plants so he could turn his temple grounds into a medicine garden for the tribe he lived by.
The monk was different than the ones I observed in the cities. He worked just as hard as me and a handful of volunteers that found ourselves there and he interacted with us and with the villagers like an old friend. Traditionally, Thai monks cannot touch women, but when I was sick he blessed me with no hesitation.
He was even kind to a pack of wild dogs that lived in the forest. He would give him scraps from the village each night, which baffled most of his neighbors. On the last day, he made noodles and wrapped them in banana leaves as a parting gift and meal for my friends and I. I will never forget the kindness of the monk that spoke few words in broken English but knew the essence of kind living out in the middle of the jungle.