Two days ago marked our 3rd anniversary in Penang. Three years, already!?!?! We signed up for two, and that went too fast, and there has been no slowing down with year three. So much has happened in the last three years, it's hard to summarize, share and reflect upon. It's been life changing, expanding, challenging, fun and the most amazing time of our lives. As I sit here, I am full of gratitude for this experience, for the island of Penang, for the people who have come and gone, who have been my teachers, my friends and family, but most of all how I am forever changed by my time here.
The changes from this experience became evident to me during a recent trip to Thailand, where a very special day that I spent weeks planning went not so according to plan. Here is the universe's reminder to me that best laid plans, are just plans and sometimes shit happens.
In March, my 75 year old Grandma visited us from the US for three weeks. During her time in SE Asia, we took her to Phuket, to spend some time on a nice beach and cruise the beautiful Phagna Bay. I hired a private boat that was able to accommodate all of our needs and keep us away from the hordes of tourists, while showing us the splendor of the Thai waters. The days started off as planned, a nice gentle cruise through the mangroves, complete with kayaking and a gourmet lunch.
Eric took grandma on her first kayak ride and Adalyn and I hung out on the boat, drinking coconuts and snacking on fruit. Once we were all back on board, we headed to a "deserted" beach that very few boats could go to because of the shallow coral reef surrounding the island. Our captain assured us that with his flat bottom boat and years of sailing experience, he knew all the best spots around Phuket, so we went. The beach didn't disappoint and it was very gratifying to give my Grandmother the experience of being on a deserted beach in Thailand. We all hopped into the crystal blue water and enjoyed the waves and powdery sand.
We were in the water about five minutes before the captain hurried us out of the water as the tide was changing quickly and we needed to move, so we quickly boarded the boat. Not long after we all made it back on board, we scraped a piece of coral, then we hit another, then Eric jumped out of the boat to help the captain and his girlfriend push, and then the inevitable happened... we stopped.
We were stuck, stranded, beached.
Beached on coral, on a private boat, in Thailand.
Beached with my 75 year old grandmother.
Beached with my 11 month old daughter.
Beached until the tides shifted and the ocean came back to our boat.
If this had happened three years ago:
I would have freaked out.
I would have yelled, screamed, swore, cried and ripped our captain a new one.
We would have been rescued.
I would have written a nasty review on every travel site and told every one I knew to never book a trip with this company.
I would have demanded and received a full refund.
I would have been a complete bitch.
I would have ruined everyone's day.
Instead this happened:
I showed the captain grace, and let his Thai girlfriend take care of the rest...
I made a memory with my Grandma that none of us will ever forget
And I did what my Mom always wanted me to do, I danced!
And you know what happened, the tide it came back, it lifted our boat and let us sail again. We may have been beached but it was only temporary. A short, in hindsight, six hours of my life, where I realized how much I have grown, change and shifted.
The best part of the whole day was the unobstructed sunset that we were lucky enough to see. We were alone in the big bay, sailing back to the dock watching the sun set on a day I will remember for the rest of my life.