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Pono

Another incredible experience: Today is my last day here in Chonburi (unless a certain typhoon that is scheduled to land at Tokyo the same time our plane does – actually does …. grrrr).

So today I had the last visit by the staff. Again, I do not want to mention her name because all of them are so very special, so this post is dedicated to staff of Dr. Suporn’s clinic.

She made a comment about my optimism and enthusiasm – about how that has helped the staff to remember just how much of an impact they make. It is so difficult and hard to work with people from all over the world, all of different cultures and personalities. Some not prepared psychologically – not about transition – but about being in a situation far away from home, having such a radical surgery performed, being in a foreign culture (maybe for their first time) – all these things add up and a person can become quite negative and demanding.

But this staff tries hard, not just surgery related, but as a helping hand, someone to listen to, someone to give advice and help, especially in this culture.

I can commiserate with them: for 13 years I was a director of international training. I was overseas 1 out of every 5 weeks! One heck of a lot of travel. Many time, the overseas offices in the entire region would send their students to where ever I was teaching. For example, if I was teaching in Singapore, the Thailand office, the Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokoyo offices would send their students to Singapore or where ever I was.

As a result, I was the ‘only’ common person they had with the country and culture of that venue. I had to not only teach, but take care of these people – much like the staff here does for us. Same as the staff here, personalities range from demanding to enthusiastic. I have first hand experience of what they do and I commend them highly! It can be so difficult.

Ok, small story: was teaching in London and had a handful of French students in the class. They ‘hated’ English food – so who did they ask for suggestions and help – me. That was scary: an American giving culinary advice to the French – the top of the list experts on food !! They liked it, only one hitch: the English always have a condiments tray that has about 5 different mustards, etc., one of these was called ‘French’ mustard. Oh boy – the comments: “Dis is NOT ze French Muesterd ….” etc.

Can’t help it – another small story:  I was teaching in Seoul, Korea in the winter.  We had people from all over the region including Singapore up there.  For many of the Singaporeans, this was their first taste of very cold weather.  Well on the 2nd day of training, they are all looking to the front of class but I’m looking out at them and the windows beyond, and noticed it started to snow.  I stopped the class and brought the people from Singapore outside to experience the very first snow fall in their lives!  What an experience to watch the joy and happiness in their faces!

One only has to look at the experiences and blogs of others that have had surgery else where, especially in the US with it’s tight Insurance grip resulting in minimization of expenses, to see how wonderful we have it here in Chonburi. Back there, they do not have a clinic staff to hold our hands, sit with us all night after the surgery, pick us up, arrange medicine and care in the middle of the night …. etc.

So once again, I am thrilled that someone noticed kindness and joy and as she said – brings back the feelings of why they choose to be and do what they do – to balance out their hardships with others and to again demonstrate how much of a difference they make in the lives of others.

And for me – what an affirmation of my spirit – that for me, is the best and most important experience I take away. I, in some small way have helped.

In Hawaii we have a saying about pono (do what is right and show respect) and do everything with and always show aloha (love):

“When a person is Pono they have the feeling of contentment that all is good and all is right in their life, a life of full integrity: Ma‘alahi is a Hawaiian word we’ll often use to describe this feeling, for it’s “a pervasive persuasion toward calm, peace, and serenity.”

With much aloha,
Sifan Kahale
Hoku Wahine (Hawaiian: literally “star woman, eg. woman astronomer)

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