D: Is my town what you expected?

Me: I expected it to be more in the willywhacks.

D: What is willywhacks? (😆)

Me: It means countryside and sometimes includes a very small town.

I knew from photos that there were other houses on his street but didn’t realize he was right in town. It’s mere steps from the market and the town is much bigger than I expected. It has a lot to offer, even a hospital. As the Universe would have it, we had stayed at the farm when D went to the hospital, which is a couple miles away and not super convenient to get to town.

With D still in the hospital, I had the day to myself so I walked toward town looking for a temple but, of course, found many other interesting sights along the way, including a tank of koi fish, spirit houses (Thai Buddhists believe every home has one or more spirits and you keep them happy by building a spirit home placed anywhere on the property and adorn it with offerings), aromatic jasmine trees, beautiful “rain of gold” trees, coffee shops galore, a botanical garden, and a cafe that looks like a meditation center. I never did get to the temple but found an alter being cleaned by some locals. The emptiness of the day was a great opportunity to read, meditate, and practice yoga on the patio. One would think that after 30+ hours of traveling I would have had my fill of meditation opportunities but the Universe continues to nudge so lovingly, knowing what I need is a good long meditative sit. The more I fight it, the more she insists. I hear you, U.

Koi tank at a local “convenience store” located inside someone’s home

Do you meditate? If so what got you started? What motivates you to stay consistent? If not, what holds you back?

Later, D’s son drove me to the market to explore, eat, and revel in all that is. It’s Friday night and downtown is festive. People filled the streets eating, walking, shopping, taking selfies. There is so much food from which to choose: miang cam (stuffed leaves- had to have seconds!), meat skewers, mushroom sprouts wrapped in a ham strip, seafood stew, sticky rice on a stick (looks like a popsicle), fried potato slabs, and fruit juices (I grabbed the best tangerine juice of my life, fresh watermelon juice, and finally passion fruit to help me sleep tonight; it’s used in South America to calm the nervous and cardiac systems*). Phew. And let me say: the vendors here are hard working folks! I’m in awe of the hours they put in, the many tasks they juggle, every day. Wow. Check out my instagram for more photos of beautiful, delicious homemade Thai street food.

Seafood stews
Thai street food
Here’s how your smoothie begins. Tropical fruits of all kinds

At dusk the scarlet sun hung in the air, thick with smoke from the jungle fires, shimmering off the Mekong like a beglittered ball gown. A number of market goers rested quietly on the huge hillside steps overlooking the river, like an amphitheater to nature. The energy of this river is powerful- I feel instantly calmed in its presence. A couple hours later, I’ve had my fill and am ready to call it a day.

Mekong at sunset

Other interesting facts:

Note the banana leaf liners on these baking pans and serving plates

Before Thailand discovered plastic, banana leaves were used for everything. Did you know:

✅you can line a baking dish with banana leaf to create a nonstick surface instead using oil or parchment? See photo above! No, they don’t burn and they are compostable! Find them in the freezer section of any Asian market. You’re welcome

✅wrapping small leftovers in a banana leaf and pinning it with a toothpick keeps food fresh and eliminates the need for plastic? And when folded properly, it’s waterproof nature keeps moisture in and prevents leaks 🙌🏽

Miang cam – leaves stuffed with ginger, lime, peanuts, coconut, and sweet sauce

✅instead of garnish, you can cut a square of banana leaf large enough to cover your plate and serve your meal atop the leaf? Not only does it add a nice pop of color but it makes cleanup a breeze. This works great for messy, sticky meals. You could also use them as a placemat in a pinch. Wash them off and reuse!

✅banana leaves are great for making sushi rolls? The nonstick surface doesn’t collect sticky rice so you can roll them up if you don’t have the bamboo roller

✅banana trees produce suckers around the parent plant, reproducing themselves?

✅banana leaves make a great mulch because their waxy, waterproof nature inhibits weed growth? They will take longer to breakdown than non waxy material so you don’t have to redo the mulch as often.

Delivery trucks take many forms here, the most common being motorcycles with a sidecar or a small pick-up with rack body made of piping. It’s the pick-ups piled high with green bananas or a mosh pit of workers heading to the fields or construction sites that pass by all day. And while I understand the value of having folks fastened with seatbelts, I admit it brings waves of nostalgia from my Peace Corps days when it was the cultural norm to hitchhike in the bed of a pick-up and saved me many miles of walking. Can you tell this part of Thailand reminds me a great deal of Peace Corps and Paraguay?

The Thai language is impressive and I’m normally fairly adept at imitating accents but Thai is a challenge for me. On meeting D’s brother and friends, I tried to repeat their names only to see them stifle a giggle and gently repeat it for me, as indication I’d missed the mark. The hard part is that I often can’t hear the differences between my pronunciation and theirs so we all have a good laugh. Have you had this experience?

New words:

Soi= alley (side streets are called alleys)

Hello =sawadeé

Excuse me= K̄ha anuñāt

Thank you= khap coon

You are welcome = yindí

Yes= chai

No= Lek̄ teē

Today may you laugh much and revel in your blessings. And make time to meditate before madame Universe gets bossy.

Love, Wen

*note that I am not a healthcare professional and this should not be considered medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before trying something new.

10 responses to “The Universe Continues to Deliver – 3/25/23”

  1. Lynnelle Avatar

    Just love this! Do you have to soak the banana leaves or are the always naturally pliable? Also, pics didn’t come through. My browser? Keep going, girl. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wen Avatar

      Thanks much for the feedback on the pics. It’s on my end; I’ve had trouble today with cell service and no internet. And I’ll verify the answer to soak or not to soak and get back to you 🙏🏽

      And as always, thanks for your encouragement 🌟✨💫


  2. Diana Robicheaw Avatar
    Diana Robicheaw

    Thank you for the meditation reminder, I find myself challenged to put down technology to make that space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wen Avatar

      I hear you there. I noticed a huge shift in how I felt after traveling here this week and a forced tech break just from being on planes for so long: I felt lighter, happier, and didn’t want to come back to the tech. And yet I often struggle to get to the cushion despite knowing that. Know you’re not alone in feeling this way! Someone had the kind, compassionate foresight to call a practice for a reason 😊 Cheering you on from here 🙌🏽


      1. Diana Robicheaw Avatar
        Diana Robicheaw

        Cheers to you and your inspiration! So wonderful to see your vibrant photos and be reminded of the larger world that exists!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wen Avatar



  3. hunbunx2 Avatar

    Wen…..as usual your descriptive writing made me feel that I was along with you at the river’s edge. I found your explanation of banana leaves interesting. Enjoy every minute of this new adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wen Avatar

      Thank you for all of that 🙏🏽


  4. Lisa Wolff Avatar
    Lisa Wolff

    Do you meditate? Yes!
    If so what got you started? Joining my first sangha – Peaceful Harbor Sangha in Portland, Maine, in 2013.

    What motivates you to stay consistent? I find that a weekly sangha practice keeps me very consistent. I do not meditate every day, but do try to use apps and podcasts to inspire me throughout the week as well, such as The Way Out is In podcast, the Plum Village app, and Insight Timer. I also use movement as opportunity to practice mindfulness, such as washing dishes, walking the dog, making it wrapping soap, or gardening. I am a firm believer that meditation does not only happen on a cushion or kneeling bench, but in movement as well!

    If not, what holds you back? I find that the rich life of activities on our wee homestead sometimes take priority over my meditation practice, but then I remind myself that my “to-do” list can be my “to-be” list and I can come back to my true home in all that I am being throughout the day. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this magical and delicious journey, Wendy! Fascinating tips about banana peels, and I am very keen to learn more about the Thai traditions of Buddhism. 🙏🏻🪷🌱

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wen Avatar

      Thanks for your beautiful and thoughtful reply. I love knowing I have meditating readers out there and it helps all of us when we share what we know and how we stay consistent. Thanks for yours 🙏🏽


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