Tag Archives: Seattle

Thai Association of Washington at Folklife Festival

Every Memorial Day Weekend in the Puget Sound, hippies gather up their sneak-a-tokes, djembes, and Birkenstocks and head for the Seattle Center for Folklife Festival. It is four days of drum circles, vendors, musicians, artists, and other performers all in the heart of Seattle, and it’s pretty much all free. I’ve had lots of fun there in the past, though I’m not sure if we’ll head that way this year or not given that there isn’t much space for my 2-year-old to run around there.

If we do head down there, I’m sure to be checking out the Thai Association of Washington. From the Folklife site:

This year we are excited to welcome the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai Association of Washington to the Northwest Folklife Festival.  Visit them on the south side of the Fountain Lawn for a taste of Thailand!

At the Thai Village, there will be cultural demonstrations and authentic Thai cuisine including BBQ Pork, Thai Ice Tea, Crab Delight and an array of foods from Thai Heaven. For more demonstrations, catch the Thai Showcase on Sunday, May 29, from 4:00-6PM in the Center House Theatre for classical music and dance by the Chaopraya Ensemble.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was established in 1960 by the Royal Thai Government to be specifically responsible for tourism promotion. In 1965, TAT opened its first overseas office in New York. Since then, TAT has established 21 offices in different parts of the world including the Los Angeles office.

The Thai Association of Washington are exclusively a non-profit charitable organization.  They hope to be the central point of contact for both Thai-Americans and Americans alike in the State of Washington and also maintain and promote the Thai language, arts and culture within the Washington region.

Asian Americans have made a huge impact here in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s nice to see some representation at a festival like Folklife. I’ve made some acquaintances with the owners of a local Thai food restaurant that we sometimes frequent, and hope to see their small chain represented in some way down there. There is also a Wat about halfway between here and Seattle that I hope to see some sort of representation of as well. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and I think that this is a great way to showcase how diverse and inclusive the community can be in the Puget Sound area, as well as how important the Asian American community has been to the culture and development of this area. Maybe I’ll see you down there this weekend.

Cheers.

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Home, part 1

Recently we drove down to Seattle so that my wife could do a photo shoot at a favorite old park of ours (it’s the one I proposed to her at…). It’s been 4 years since we lived in Seattle. The dozen or so times we’ve been back since moving away, it always feels like a piece of my heart was ripped out when we left, and that going back puts it all back together, if even for a moment.

The bench that I proposed to Alex on. On the ground there is a plaque there that reads: "A respite for those who see beauty in all things"

The particular neighborhood we were in was Queen Anne. It is a very wealthy, beautiful neighborhood just North of downtown. On the street we were on, I could almost smell the money along with the cherry blossoms and dogwoods that lined the sidewalks. I don’t know that any of those houses were worth less than $800,000; many of them were worth more than 5 million. Part of this comes from the view many of the homes there enjoy. The homes also enjoy relative security from passersby such as myself. Many of them had gates in front of the driveways, or even in front of the walkways that led up to their front doors. Some are on a steep enough incline that you wouldn’t even bother looking for a way in. The separation was plain as day. I was welcome to look, but not to touch.

Walking down this street with the kids in tow in their double stroller, I ran a gambit of emotions.

Anger that people could live like this, so secluded from the rest of the world.

Jealousy because a part of me wanted to know what that type of life would feel like, to not have to worry about finances, to be able to enjoy the finer things in life and send my kids to a nice safe little private school.

Despair that I’ll never be able to provide that type of life for our children.

And then I turned that stroller East up a hill and huffed and puffed the three of us to the top. All those churning emotions just kind of faded away. Corbin got to see a fire truck with it’s lights on parked on the street to provide support to an EMT team that had arrived in at some public gathering for a medical emergency. We sat there, eating PB&J and talking about the hoses and lights and everything else that made his face light up.

Then we headed back down toward the park as Alex was finishing up her shoot. This time though, I didn’t feel jealousy or anger. No resentment. I’d rather be there on the street, talking to the passersby about the flowers along the road, the weather, the kids in prom outfits walking around getting their pictures taken. I realized then that it wasn’t the houses and the economic situation that had made me upset. I didn’t want to live so isolated as these people seemed to.

What had really been bothering me was that I was homesick. Deeply, desperately homesick. If you’ve followed this little blog at all, you’ll know that I lived the first 20 years of my life in Michigan, then moved to Seattle where I met Alex and we lived for 5 years. When I say I’m homesick, it isn’t for Michigan, but for Seattle.

In Seattle I could walk down the street and breathe in the city. There is life there, but more than that is a feeling of being alive. Seattle fits like my favorite hoodie. Comfortable and warm, but loose with enough breathing room that I’m never really restricted. When we go back there to visit, it feels like I never left. Seattle feels like home. If home is where the heart is, I’ve been missing a piece of my heart for the last 4 years.

At the same time, I feel right at home out in the middle of nowhere. Places where the only sounds are from the birds chirping and cedars creaking. Places where bon fires are encouraged and where a babbling stream serves as a sink and shower.

These two places share one thing in common; when I’m there, I feel alive, I feel surrounded by life. Out here in the suburbs, I’ve only ever felt like I’m living in a way. There isn’t much magic to be had in the ‘burbs. And where there is magic and life, that is where home is. In finding “home”, I look to something other than a place. It is something ethereal that can’t be touched, yet I also find it linked inextricably to my environment. I’m starting to find more and more that this great spiritual quest has everything to do with finding “home”.

I’ll have part 2 up in the next week or so. It will examine a bit about a connection to “home” and Zen.

Cheers.

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