This was my first trip to Asia and is a complete emersion into Thai culture and life.
Initially I was a bit overwhelmed by the dramatically different environment I found myself in but by the end of my stay, I felt such a deep appreciation for everyone who had welcomed me with open arms. It was as if I had a new branch of family who I will never forget. I decided to just be open to experience and soak up as much as possible and said yes to every trip suggestion and every new and wonderful dish of food. It was a wild and wonderful adventure.
Everyone I met there welcomed me with kind, generous and friendly curiosity.
I spent the first month alone at the residency but everyday my kitchen and table was full of food, lots of Chang beer, laughter and stories.
Art was an incredible guide and delightfully funny and sweet. On and the rest of the family worked tirelessly to ensure I had everything I needed, took me all over the place, introduced me to what seemed the entire village and made me feel that I was so incredibly welcome. They shared their culture, their food from the gardens and ponds, their life stories and welcomed me into their homes and lives. I miss them and think of them often with great fondness.
I have read some of the detailed reviews from other artists who have stayed there and know that they too have experienced the warmth I did.
This experience has informed my work in ways I would never have expected and continues to do so. Living and working in New York city in the hustle and bustle of anonymity could not be further from life in the rice fields and temples, lizards and elephants, but it was exactly the reminder of how simple community and family, love and laughter, food and traditions bond many people together in ways that should be echoed everywhere.
One day I would love to return, not just to again see the vibrant colors of the costumes, the markets, the flowers, taste the fabulous fiery food and roam the ancient temples, but to laugh and hug those amazing friends, especially my Thai sister!