Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fruits, Flowers, and Feathered Creatures

A few months ago, I was getting ready in the morning, I absentmindedly listened to the singing of birds, croaking of frogs, and the noises of various wild creatures outside our open windows. I suddenly became quite aware of these soothing sounds that I was hearing, and realized that it was February -- the middle of the winter season back home, where snowstorms had closed schools for days in a row. I suddenly grasped, quite clearly, the wonders of life in the tropics, and recognized that I had already come to take it for granted in the short time we've lived here.

Now that it's mango season, our mango tree has been producing fruit like crazy. We have to pick them almost every day, and have been giving them away and eating multiple mangoes every day ourselves just to keep up with the tree's production. They are sooo sweet and juicy, unlike the mangoes in the U.S. Having our own mango tree has been a fun and delicious experience. It reminds me of my grandmother's mango tree back in Taiwan, when I was a little girl. Similar to the mango, all the other fruits in Thailand are amazingly juicy and sweet. And there is nothing compared to the fresh juices and smoothies made from these fruits. It is going to be a difficult adjustment eating the comparatively anemic American fruits again.

Another aspect of living here I've come to enjoy is being in an environment full of color year-round -- green trees and bushes with bright flowers, and flowers that are bright red, yellow, purple, pink, orange. It is something that has made a noticeable difference in my happiness and quality of life. Back home, the dreariness and darkness of the winter months were depressing, something to endure and get through. Now there is sunshine and color in my life almost every day. Even when it's overcast, there's still a brightness to the cloudiness that makes it essentially unnoticeable. Here is some of the beauty that can be found just in our own yard, street, and neighborhood:

I've also come to love listening to all the different kinds of birds that live around us. Back at home, I never really paid attention to the birds. But here, there are all kind of different birds with very distinctive and pretty calls chirping from morning to night, 365 days a year. It is so relaxing to listen to them The birds are really pretty, too. I've even seen wild parrots flying around outside at school. And because all the school buildings are open to the outside, I've even had birds fly into my classroom. Here are the pretty calls of a few birds we've seen here:

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