Try as I might to stay in Denver, maybe I didn’t try very hard, in August I’ll be headed to Laos as an English Language Fellow. A few weeks ago I had an interview with the folks there via Skype. They laid out the challenges to the assignment and asked if I’d accept the job if it were offered. I said I would, despite my aversion to sea level, bugs, heat, and malaria.
A little about Laos, it’s a communist country and the capital where I will be posted is Vientiane. Buddhism is the predominant religion. It is one of the least developed countries in the world, similar in size to the state of Utah, sandwiched between Vietnam and Thailand. If I need medical care, between the hours of 6AM and 10PM, I can cross the Mekong River via the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge into Thailand. I don’t know a word of Lao at this moment, but that shouldn’t be the case for long.
The design of the Laos flag includes some interesting symbolism. The white circle is the moon reflected in the blue Mekong River. The moon stands for the unity of the Lao people. As a landlocked nation the river is particularly important to economic prosperity. The red stripes symbolize the blood the people shed in their struggle for independence from France.
It’s going to be a great learning experience, and unlike any place I have visited. At 80% humidity and 100 degree temperatures, I’ll probably never get the smell of mold out of my clothes. My contact stressed that I should pack lots of cotton. I’m excited to see what life there is about. Conveniently, Vientiane also happens to be a Texas-sized stones throw from Kathmandu. Until it’s time to go, I’ll be here in Denver Googling images of Laos, soaking up the sun- whenever it returns, the mountains, and the micro-breweries.