Last Trip abroad?

This is going to be my last trip out of the country, I told myself as I packed for my eight-day trip to attend the Asia Christian Writers Conference in Chang Mai.

I had just recovered from two successive illnesses, throat infection and UTI, both debilitating, confining me at home for what seemed like years. They were traumatic! The thought of getting sick abroad spooked me.

I spoke aloud (within Tony’s hearing distance) that I needed travel insurance in case I fell ill in faraway Thailand. He laughed, of course, but encouraged maybe by being my beneficiary, he got me one.

With friends Ramon, Chair of MAI Asia (sponsor of the event), and Tito Dok, multi-awarded children’s book writer, I lugged my overweight bag in three airports: our own NAIA, Bangkok’s and finally Chiang Mai’s.

I imagined the place to be as cool as Baguio so I packed five thick coats, plus heavy pants and blouses. I also threw in a copy each of my books to show and give fellow writers. Those were, yes, over 20 kilos! I had heard about traveling light but I have senior moments.

I slept through all the hassle and delayed flights, except when Tito Dok took pictures and asked Ramon and me to pose before every conceivable matter or moving object. I’ve met photography buffs in my life but Tito Dok beats them all by a thousand mile. I didn’t have to bang my head for forgetting to charge my own camera.

Arriving at Suan Bua Resort, I was totally charmed—by every noun known in English: place, people, thing, categorized into common, proper, abstract, collective, etc. I should come back here with my boys . . .

I itched to post one blog after another but internet connection was non-existent. Journal writing, I thought, is different from blogging. Keyboard clicking and wrist flicking somehow capture peak, fleeting moments better.

Looking at it another way, though, the unconnection was unexpected grace. It allowed my fellow writers and me to soak in moments. We had time to look in each other's eyes and see the stories behind them.

Stories, powerful stories, would turn into verses or prose in novels, magazine articles, devotionals, children’s story books—and many more types of writing—telling of God’s righteousness; of His grace that saved Christian writers’ (and mankind’s) soul.

(P.S. Now that I am home, my insurance policy turned out to be an unnecessary expense, and not having enough faith.)


Gypsy said...

Hi Ate, so the unconnectedness was a good thing for all of us, hey? It was great to get to know you and Tito Dok better during the conference!! I hope I can actually get ahold of those photos in Tito Dok's digicam--without having to pay him any talent fee for being such a good photographer! Haha!

Grace D. Chong said...

Hi, Joji!

I have all of Tito Dok's photos in my laptop but I have not been successful in uploading them to Facebook. I need a techie's help. Hope to see you again sometime soon.