Like a Gypsy
There I was writing and teaching online late one night. I was getting ready to call it a day and get some sleep. I was finishing up editing an essay about my quest to interview Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady. I wanted to revise several paragraphs with which I was having some problems. That process took longer than I anticipated, and it was long past midnight by the time I was satisfied with my editing. However, as often happens, I got past being tired. Therefore, I continued to work. I proofed the entire article. However, just before I completed the proofing, I noticed that, in the background, I heard Willie Nelson singing On the Road Again.
I sat back and merely smiled while listening to him as I applied his message to my life. I was on my road again in my quest to interview the Lady while listening to Willie Nelson singing On the Road Again.
I get that Willie Nelson was driven to be on the road again. I could identify with his desire. As I sat there dreaming my seemingly impossible dream of interviewing the Lady, I reflected upon the words and linked them to my feelings. Of all the hope-filled dreams of my entire life, the opportunity to sit down and talk with Aung San Suu Kyi would be the greatest event in my entire life. I kid you not; I am driven to be on the road again.
I have done all the necessary things to request an interview with the Lady. I have provided a formal written request, a video request, and a long list of other material. All of these items explain why I wish to sit down and talk with the de facto leader of Myanmar and the leader of the human rights movement. It was her father who had told the British to leave in the late 40s. She is for Americans what we would understand to be George Washington's daughter.
While wrestling with contacting the Lady, I wrote to Congressman Pete Visclosky about his emailing our embassy in Yangon. His email contained my formal written request to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. John Grouch, the Public Affairs Officer at our embassy, forwarded my email to Mr. Zaw Htay, who is the Deputy Director General of the President's Office.
Everyone in Myanmar has warned me that this process of attempting to request an interview with the Lady takes a long time before I will know whether I will get an interview. I am fully aware of that reality. Surely, many people would wish to talk with her. The Lady is the most important person in the world addressing human rights and who has paid dearly for her efforts.
While waiting to hear from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, I have been busy dealing with of a myriad of details necessary for me to get on the road again. I have updated all my shots. I have gotten a month's supply of anti-malaria pills and three mega dozes of antibiotics. I have gotten a new passport. I have spoken with the college about teaching online while outside the States. I have gotten additional memory sticks and batteries for my camera and videorecorder. I have gotten gifts for the Lady and several of my friends in Myanmar.
There I was listening to Willie Nelson sing On the Road Again over and over. The first phrase that resonated with me was "Goin' places that I've never been...." I love traveling where I have never been. After graduate school, I studied at New College at the University of Edinburgh. The summers before and after that year in Scotland, I traveled throughout Europe. However, once I experienced Europe, I was driven to see Africa, Asia, Middle East, Indochina, and the Pacific islands. I still would like to go to Mongolia and to what are called the 'stans: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. I'll wait until things settle down in Afghanistan before venturing into that country.
Then Nelson adds, as a postscript, this phrase of "seein' things that I may never see again." Man, that is a haunting feeling and felt that in my gut. At 73, there is a montage of places that I have been that I won't see again like Paris, Lhasa, Katmandu, Easter Island, Soweto, Edinburgh, Amritsar, Istanbul, Saigon, Tangiers, Tahiti, Timbuktu, the Alhambra, Dharamsala, and the list goes on and on. That is a major haunting. I am fortunate to have been to thousands of those places but not again.
However, three years ago, I spent a month in Myanmar, which used to be called Burma. Of all the places that I have ever visited, Myanmar changed who I am. Why? A part of my explanation has to do with its people. If I asked a local for directions, they would respond by providing the directions. However, then the person would ask where I was from, and we'd spend time talking about what they knew about America. I would answer many questions they had about the States. In addition to the people, the places like Yangon, Inle Lake, Bagan, and Mandalay, there were many little villages that were fascinating. However, being invited by Min Ko Naing to a protest rally near Sule Pagoda in Yangon, where the 8888-Uprising took place, was a profound experience.
Therefore, I hope to be on the road again and return to Myanmar to interview Aung San Suu Kyi and also Htin Kyaw, the president of Myanmar.
In addition, I want to see several of my friends that I met while in Myanmar the first time. I especially want to see Ti Ti who was nine years old when I was there for the first time. I view Ti Ti as my granddaughter. I felt the same protectiveness for my three children and adult granddaughter when they were young. However, it is the same protectiveness that I feel for Jack and Owen. I treasure my relationship with Ti Ti.
Additionally, I am aware of my finiteness, having danced with death a couple of times. While I would not wish to replicate either dance, I would not delete either from my life. Doing the dance caused me to come alive. That isn't an oxymoron. The reality of my finiteness resulted in daring greatly in everything that I do. I realize the extremely limited amount of time remaining for me. Trust me; it is haunting.
Nonetheless, facing death caused both Willie Nelson and me to come alive and to get on the road again. Poetically, he addresses our new lease on life to being "like a band of gypsies we go down the highway" of life.
Nevertheless, this essay about Willie Nelson and me is merely a backstory. This article hopefully will cause you to think. Some of you are roughly the same age as he and I. This essay should resonate with you. However, some of my readers think that they might have twenty-five or even fifty years before they might have to dance with death. Nevertheless, no one is certain when death will want to dance with you.
Hopefully, when death comes knocking at your door desirous of dancing, you will lead death. However, prior to that dance, live life to the fullest. My suggestion is to get on the road of life again before it is too late.
Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.
Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.
Visit the My Hauntings page to read more about this topic.
Visit the "Don Quixote" page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Man in the Arena page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Music I Love and Why page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.