no ordinary days

Yesterday felt like something out of the Jungle Book. A perfect Sunday filled with muddy feet and magic. I use that word a lot, aye? 'Magic.' But there is no other word I can think of in my limited vocabulary that does this place and these people and this life justice. 

It was a casual day. We decided to hit the waterfalls since it was boiling outside and neither of us had ever been to Tad Sae. We grabbed picnic foods, filled our water bottles, and hit the road on the motorbike. 


As soon as we saw the hoards of tourists at the first {bottom} waterfall, we made the easy decision to hike to the second and see if it was less crowded. The narrow trail was made of thick sludge. We both looked at each other and said, "screw it", as we took off our shoes and walked barefoot through the sloppy mud. We slipped and slid our way to the second waterfall where the only other people were leaving. 

We had the whole waterfall to ourselves. Heaven. 


And that's when a pretty ordinary Sunday turned into something legendary. 

All of the sudden, a line of orange was seen running through the water toward the second waterfall. A group of Novice Monks. They claimed one of the two bamboo picnic tables and tied up their robes into suitable swim attire, knotting it at the front in a sort of Mowgli-fashion. 


I looked at Luke, wondering if we should still swim, and he nodded. "They knew there'd be other people here." And, wouldn't you know it, we knew one of the novices. And, of course, he recognized Luke in an instant. 

Luke quickly joined the Novices climbing up trees and hiking to the top of the waterfall to jump off and into the pool beneath. The water was ice cold and its current was formidable. I dipped my feet and took in the sight: orange dots at the top of this beautiful waterfall in this perfect place.


I had taught novices while volunteering in Laos in 2015 and had had the chance of chatting with many of them thanks to my previous job here. So running into a group of them for a day swim shouldn't have 'wow-ed' me the way it did. 


One of the novices grabbed my camera from the picnic table and snapped some candids of Luke convincing me to swim in the water despite freezing temps and a current I wasn't strong enough to stand up against without his assistance. 

Man, I'm glad I got in the water. 


There are so many days in this life that I have spent in ways that seem ordinary. Nights after work spent watching Netflix or whatever documentary has been recommended to me by my friends, snuggled up under my duvet with my pup. Waking up and drinking tea on the porch of our Carolina home, watching the sun come up over cotton fields. Mornings spent making breakfast in a certain Remuera kitchen after dropping Lachlan off at school. But this chapter of my life has me realizing how extraordinary those moments are. How important they are in their own right. 

I don't live a life of ease and comfort. It's privileged, obviously, but it's not easy or comfortable. I live a life that puts me in transit to the next adventure or the next place. Constantly moving. Constantly re-packing. Constantly with a suitcase in one hand and my passport in the other.  I've built it that way. So, nights spent with Poppyseed curled up on my lap watching a Lifetime movie with my mom become luxurious memories, ones I'll always hold on to. Especially now that Poppy is no longer there for me to cuddle. Mornings spent drinking tea and blogging from a familiar porch become cherished calm for me to retreat to. Walks around Orakei Basin are held onto in a loving place of my heart where I only keep the most extraordinary moment-keepsakes. 


There are no ordinary days as long as you look for the magic. Because each day spent breathing and moving and loving and working towards your goals or setting your life's intention is a day to honor. There's something special in every day, whether we chose to acknowledge it or not. And I see that now. 

It could have been a Sunday spent in waterfalls with boys dressed in orange robes. But it wasn't. It was a Sunday in one of my favourite places, surrounded by smiling novices jumping in and out of icy water. 


Luke and I finished the day by stopping at the tree house cafe for some well-deserved fruit shakes. We watched elephants bathe in the pools below the waterfalls and sat on purple cushions. It was a typical and ordinary Lao Sunday, except that it wasn't. 


There are no ordinary days. Not when you look with the right eyes.