Day 21: Tearing up on the tuk tuk ride

Today is Sept. 14, 2016, my 21st day in Myanmar.

Sunset on the Dala Ferry on my way back into Yangon | Somehow it felt like coming home

You can say I’ve been gone for too long, but it’s only three weeks since I first arrived in this chaotic and intriguing city, where I still often feel like a headless newbie.

Many things have taken place in the last three weeks. Many of these things stopped me from being able to give more instant updates: I have had one major diarrhea and one major rash outbreak, already been to the hospital once, destroyed a water pump in my apartment, and cried dozens of times (not all of which was because of the things I listed above, and not all of which stemmed from sadness).

But I’ve also had my first Myanmar outing, in the Ayeyarwady Delta in Southern Myanmar, visiting the small villages that are weaved together by acres on acres of rice fields and miles after miles of water routes. The different types of public transport I took on this trip, from tuk tuk to steam boats to ferry, is a good showcase of our very interesting paths during those three days.

What I will never forget, however, is none of the seemingly difficult part, but the fact that I was welcomed by fresh coconut, papaya, mango and more unnamed delicacies wherever I went (foodie at heart), not to mention an extravagant welcoming ceremony in a riverside village where all the women came out to greet us, wearing their most festive traditional clothing. That was an overwhelming experience, one that stirred up all the gratitude and curiosity within me.

But now, in the office at 7:30 p.m., Delta region seems like a world away, and the still brand new Yangon seems oddly familiar. I guess somehow, this is home now. This is where my life is and will be.


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