I am sitting in a small cafe at my Inn on Ko Samui. I am drinking the last of a cup of hot breakfast tea, no sugar, no milk.
If I stop and listen, I can hear a wide variety of birds and insects proclaiming their existence to the world. I can hear water splashing as a couple plays in the pool fifty feet behind me. The trees talk to me as the wind passes through them. A group of ladies that work here are having a conversation that I cannot understand, but still it is beautiful.
If I stop and smell, I catch a whiff of curry from the kitchen and a light touch of salt from the ocean. Underlying those smells is the purer air of a natural place less touched by pollution and human hands.
Everywhere is green. The sun is shining. It is eighty-four degrees, or twenty-nine in Celsius. A not-so-stray dog lies nearby, content with his own patch of sunshine. A gardener is watering the flower garden. The gravel in the driveway crunches as a delivery truck arrives.
It is not the same for everyone. This is paradise. It is the daily grind. It is an escape. It is a last hurrah. It is the goal of years of planning. It is an opportunity. It is home.
For me, it is one in a growing list of temporary homes where I try to capture a piece of the local spirit and hold on with all my might. It is a place where I shape my understanding.
And I smile.