Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dreams Come True!: Thailand

“Dreams come true!”
Ask anyone I am surrounded by on a daily basis; I say the above statement quite frequently in regards to the silliest, simplest things.

Example: At work a co-worker will leave chicken for me to use on pizzas. She’ll say something like “Aelea, I left you chicken for pizzas!” and I’ll respond with “Dreams come true!”
Another Example: At work a co-worker will have taken out the compost already and my response will be “Dreams come true!”

I don’t know when I started saying it, I really don’t know why I say it so often, but a good part of me guesses it’s due to the whole ‘choosing positivity in every situation’ thing I try to do. Anytime something good happens I respond with “dreams come true!” It’s like giving an extra shot of enthusiasm to the little things that help make life awesome.

When I think back to the two experiences I’ve had in Thailand, I often think the perfect description to attach to the feelings and adventures is “dreams come true!”. Oh yes, that sounds cheesy, and it might be a little lame, but as I often mention, it’s the little things that make a difference—and it’s the smallest of dreams coming true half way around the world with special people that can make all the difference.

The first time I was in Thailand, on our final day at the Children’s home we had an epic goodbye party. Now, I know I shouldn’t compare the goodbye party from 2012 to the goodbye party in 2014 but we all know I do. The goodbye party in 2012, being my first, will always hold special significance in my heart. It was the day we said goodbye to these adorable little humans that changed our hearts forever in the way they so selflessly and unconditionally loved us foreigners. We came to help them, and they all helped us in more ways then we could possibly imagine and describe. It’s the special moments shared throughout the week which see their climax at the goodbye party. You play games, you laugh, you eat till you’re stuffed, you dodge bugs, you hug, people cry (I’m generally an exception), and you tell the kids you now cherish you hope to see them again one day.

The children’s home generally has quite the party planned—the meal is special, the games are special, everything about it is out of the ordinary for the daily lives of the kids. Two of the final activities involve saying goodbye in an organized manner so you have a chance to say goodbye to everyone, and one of the other activities are sending off lanterns into the sky!

Ahh the lantern scene in Tanged. Thanks Google image search.
I had always wanted to send off a giant lantern into the sky. Seeing it in movies like Tangled (what would we do without Disney to give us these romantic ideas of whimsy?) created in me a desire to live this magical experience. It was a dream of mine to release a lantern and this dream I held on to in my heart, never spoken out loud, became a reality on the night of the goodbye party. With the little girls I had gotten to know, we released a lantern into the sky before saying our final good byes. While this dream may seem small, it’s often the littlest things that carry the most meaning; the smallest moments creating the brightest memories. This unspoken dream of mine filled my heart with an indescribable feeling of joy, love and overwhelming enchantment—to this day I can close my eyes and I feel I am back in the moment. Releasing the lantern, looking up to the sky and feeling those same emotions grow in my chest.

This year at the goodbye party another unspoken dream came true on the very same night—the goodbye party. This may sound lame, and I’m OK with that, but I have this love for floral crowns. Yes, yes, I know, I know, what?!?! Am I seriously going to write about wearing flowers on my head? You know what, I am. Remember, the littlest experiences can hold the most significance—especially when shared with a little girl who has held a place in your heart since the first time you met her two years ago.

Thanks, Pinterest. We all knew you could never fail me in a search for
Floral crowns!
So, floral crowns. Have you seen them gracing magazine covers and bridal inspiration shoots over the past couple of years? They are an embodiment of regal grace, fairy-like magic, and the perfect rustic adornment. Floral crowns have a way of taking any model and turning her into a woodland creature you can’t help but be captivated by. Seriously, a floral crown does that and can do that to anyone. I admit, I wasn’t always sold on the idea, but as time went on I began to love it. It’s simple and beautiful.

A part of me has always wanted to wear a floral crown. And while I have always wanted to do so, there really aren’t many opportunities kicking around for your average lady to do so. However, since this had always been an unspoken dream, it was OK I hadn’t yet found an opportunity to do so. I would wait. Opportunities will always present themselves… and let’s be honest, it would be kind of weird to be actively looking for opportunities to wear one.

At the goodbye party I was hanging out with the special little girl I bonded with the most the first time I was in Thailand. Since we weren’t in the same ‘animal’ group, we didn’t spend too much time together during the trip. This, however, didn’t stop us from connecting whenever we had the chance. These connecting moments came in the form of showing me her artwork, tapping her on the shoulder and exchanging smiles and waves when we would cross paths, being partners in games when you could choose who you were with, and, of course, spending as much time together during the goodbye party that we could.

Photo booth style!
We did as much together as we could; she taught me a rock catching game, we watched the fashion show and performances together, took an array of photo booth style photographs… it reminded me of the first year I met her. It was so fun to see her personality grow and see her stronger characteristics come out in full force. She’s a leader, a mother-like figure, and always takes care of me as much as she can. She’s also athletic and silly and enjoys showing off too. She’s awesome. While hanging out during the evening she got her hands on some lovely flowers which had been strung together. One of the girls who lives at the home was wearing one of the same as a floral crown *swoon* with a gold dress for the fashion show. Oranut, in all her tomboy sportiness came over to me with the flowers and placed it on my head as a floral crown to wear for the remainder of the evening.

How did she know my little unspoken dream of wanting to wear a floral crown? She didn’t. All she knew was what she felt to do in the moment and acted upon it—a simple act of love that changed my world.

Back at the hotel after the goodbye party.
Floral crown still on my head.
We too often think dreams have to be these elaborate visions with grandiose plots and even bigger final achievements. Dreaming big is so very important to get you to where you want to be in life, but little dreams able to be fulfilled by the simplest acts are the ones that make day-to-day living worth experiencing. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of dying your hair some fun colour, or owning a pet, making an epic Jamie Oliver-esque meal, getting a tattoo, making it through a tough time in your life, or learning how to knit. No dream is too small, and no dream should be devalued. If your only dreams will take years to accomplish, what will make today special?

‘Dreams come true’ every single day, you just need the little dreams, the simple ones, to be part of your dreamscape. When dreams come true, no matter the size, the feeling can be indescribable except to yourself and the person who acted upon their instinct and can see you experience the joy the moment has brought.

A video of us floating away the paper lanterns at this years goodbye party!

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