Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coming to you from Bagan, Myanmar.  In the short duration I have spent here in Burma, it has been wonderful.  I recieve smiles from nearly every local I pass by.  The english isn't great, but I have also met some fantastic characters who speak it.  One just a couple days ago who was 62.  One of the sweetest men I've met.  We spoke of political reform and the current state Burma is in.  I gave him that book I snuck in and he was overjoyed.   He teaches english as a private tutor, and I mentioned to him that I was seriously interested in coming back and living in Pyay (the town) to teach english.  I truly hope he emails me (doesnt have email, will use a friends) about information.  I know the current situation Burma is in will make that difficult, but I think that makes it all the more worthwhile pursing.  I have been giving teaching abroad some thought.  I messaged Kelly Cox the other day cause I missed him.    He is hopefully heading to China to teach after Alaska.  It seems like too good of an opportunity not to utilize.  With that said, Burma needs it by far the most.  The people here are completely shut out from outside resources (besides the internet).  According to this man, they learn English in school, but it is rarely used afterwards, and they don't retain it.  Not to mention they can barely speak it, because the professors themselves just write out the translations on the board.  I see an incredible desire to learn here.  Most likely because of the past they have, and how information is a source of exploration.  The old man told he his favorite author was Charles Dickens.  I need to read some of him.  Anyways... I think coming here to teach w/o pay would be much more fulfilling then going to Korea or China.  (Although Japan may be my #1 choice)  

Just yesterday a man who rode the bus with me invited me to stay at his families house.  I of course accepted the invitation, only to be interrupted by police at 10pm questioning my rights to be there.  I in fact, had none.  It's amazing how quickly freedom can become invaded, and even removed.  Even in a country like America.  I am sure it is much worse among a minority lower class.  If these police wanted to fine me x amount, or take me in I'd have no choice but to concede my position and follow suit.  Fortunately, they were just following protocol, and no damage was done.  I was escorted by the police from their house to a governmental run guest house, where I have no doubts about the money that is allocated towards this governance.  

The elections are in 10 days, and could be a defining moment in the future of Myanmar.  Aung Suu Li is running (the political woman who is leader of the National Democratic League) for a seat in parliament (wiki her.  A pretty amazing history).  It's not a huge seat, but a step in the right direction.  I feel so fortunate to be here at a time like this.  In 5 years this country will be completely different.  It is already in the process of westernizing in the big cities, and becoming a much more capitalistic society.  The government while corrupt, is giving way to reform, and opening itself up to the world around it.  Just another reason why English is so necessary here.  This country has so much potential.  It is one of the most diversely rich in terms of resources.  Oil, teak trees, rice, natural metals, as well as gems. Not to mention it's location is prime for trade.  It is positioned between Asian giants.  Thailand, India, and China.  All within reach for land or ocean (has to be a word for this) trade. 

I think part of the lore of this country is it's religious and ethnic diversity.  I can walk down a street, and see people with Chinese, Indian, and Burmese ancestors.  Each distinctly unique.  There are mosques neighboring Buddhist pagodas.  

I constantly remind myself that I am in fucking Burma, and it brings a smile to my face.  I never fathomed the idea of even comign here.   It's ironic that I considered it too dangerous and remote when I the prospect of a visit was brought to my attention, and it is conversely, the most safe I've felt among all of my travels.  I'm quite sure the people here don't even have impure thoughts that relate to theft or violence.  There is more danger in walking on an unpaved road then being harassed in Yangon (the biggest "city") at night.

Anyways, that's all I have to say for now on Burma.  I really need to write something formal up about it.  Every time I want to write it's on the bus, where it is quite the feat given the discontinuity of the road.

How have you been doing?  I miss the hell out of you.  It's pretty surreal to think I only have one country left. (INDIAAAA)  I think if it was anywhere else in the world but India I would have the itch to come home. The thought of seeing you for the first time in nearly a year brings tears to my eyes.  

Give me a life update when you get the chance.  I still need to talk to you my thoughts on a career.  Another time it seems.

I love you and can't wait to hear back from you.