Thai Elephant Home
It was a difficult morning. Jason wasn’t sure what hurt more—his throat from fighting off sickness, his head from drinking too much the night before, his chafed knees from squeezing too hard or his heart from having to say goodbye to his elephant. We were all dragging, knowing we would have to say goodbye today. Breakfast was very quiet as we toasted our bread over the open fire. The excitement of Ella performing in the show that day played as a good distraction. She was equally excited and nervous because this meant she would have to perform her least favorite approach to getting on her elephant in front of many people—over the head. After the morning prayer to Ganesh—her show went off without a hitch. It was great to watch everyone in complete amazement as the girls spoke Thai commands to their elephants and got on and off with such ease and grace—we had all come a long way since just 2 days ago.
It was all so funny to watch the elephants herd towards everyone as they panicked and fumbled, surrendering their entire bunches of bananas. (sound familiar?) This had to be the best entertainment for the elephants everyday!! We felt such a kinship with our elephants. I really was struggling to imagine how long it would be until we could return. The transformation was nothing like what we expected… who knew 3 days could be so impactful and life changing. It was refreshing.
As we boarded the bus back—my feelings could not have been more opposite from the first day when I questioned whether we could last the full 3 days. The fact was we were attempting to figure out how we could stay even longer… as we pulled away we all strained peering out the back window attempting to say one final good bye.
When we arrived back to our luxurious hotel in Chaing Mai we were greeted with cool fresh mint rosemary soaked towels and a refreshing cocktail of our choice. As we sat in the air-conditioned plush lobby—waiting to be escorted to our room by the Bellman carrying all of our luggage–our two worlds were colliding. I struggled to figure, which I preferred. The longer I sat soaking in the luxury, the more the past few days began to seem… simply but a dream.