I am finishing up Day 16.

Of being by myself.

For the first time EVER.

Crazy, right?

It’s true. I’ve never spent time alone. I’ve never lived alone, I’ve never spent more than a couple days without seeing someone I loved, and it’s been 7 years since C and I haven’t spoken to each other for over two weeks. Yet I’ve always considered myself to be an independent and capable person.

I’m certainly not saying that I was deluding myself, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to prove it. I’ve gained a new appreciation of what it is to feel lonely. I’ve also gained an appreciation of my own company, of the beauty of familiarity, and of the knowledge that I really can take care of myself.

The first few days were heart-achingly lonely, the last few days were super fun, and the middle ones were a mix of both. I thought a lot about Cole, off meditating, and gained a new appreciation for his company. I often feel as though I depend on him too much, and I still think that’s true. But I feel thankful that he is willing to be there to be depended upon, whether I actually need it or not.

Skype conversations reminded me of the love that pours across continents to find me. My mother is wise, and so willing to be my rock. My Dad catches me up and makes me feel as though I’m there with him. My friends are beautiful, and never more than a call away if I need them.

I was disappointed with myself at first for not taking a bigger risk and finding adventure in this time, but I think now that I did the best thing I could have done. I found a rhythm, I worked hard every day, and I watched a lot of bad television. I made this place my home away from home, and that is exactly what I needed.

I feel rejuvenated to find adventure, to see all that I can see, and to continue finding inspiration in all of it.

To see what I did with my time here, check out my new website- http://www.tehyamackenzie.com. I also have a new Facebook group that would love your support- http://www.facebook.com/TehyaMacKenzie. I am so excited to see what the next few months hold, starting with seeing my man tomorrow in Bangkok. How exciting.

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I really like these, I hope you do too!

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In the afternoon I wandered over to a group of kids playing marbles, and immediately came down with a case of exploding ovaries. They were the absolute cutest. They taught me how to play (I’m terrible, it’s much harder than it looks), they took turns taking pictures of each other with my camera, and then they paraded me around town. I was shown all their houses, as well as offered food, drink, and I can only imagine a place to stay forever if I wanted. We were all quite taken with each other.

Sandy produced some stickers she’d brought (a true stroke of genius), and we all had a good time finding new places to stick stars of many colours. It was a fantastic couple of hours.

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The ceremony started with Ben leading a procession into the village… dancing, drumming, loud speakers- it had it all. There was chanting, dowry giving, sassy old ladies (my favourite kind of old lady). The whole thing felt informal- at one point a kid wandered through without pants, like we’d interrupted his usual morning tradition- but steeped with tradition and meaning and love. The best part for me was when everyone tied blessed strings around each others wrists for good luck.

The rest of the day was set-up for dinner and dancing for the whole village. They set up a stage with unnecessarily large speakers, and ran tables all down the main street. There were performers, and speeches, and lots of drinking.

Tuk’s family and the rest of the village were incredibly welcoming and sweet to us. They also had really incredible bone structure and beautiful faces, which I attempted to photograph. I think on some occasions I may have captured it.

It was truly an honour to be a part of the day. Thank you Ben and Tuk!

©Tehya MacKenzie 2013

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