This is surely one of the most overdue assignments I have had in a long while (middle school math excluded). You see, in the days following the Erewan bombing in Bangkok, I was filled with many emotions, and I thought, “I must write these down.” And of all these feelings, perhaps the most profound was that of gratitude.
But to my surprise, I was not so much drawn to gratefulness because our timing had made us miss the bombing, but rather it was something larger. Encountering the area just ten minutes after the bomb had destroyed the intersection, the memory of the scene still sends chills through me. With burnt wreckage in the streets and some bodies being attended to by bystanders, the scene was one of the most confusing and somber in recent memory.
Furthermore the complete chaos of the situation made it really hard to understand what was happening, both at the time of the incident and for the next couple of days. In the moment, the recentness of the tragedy had made it so unclear what was occurring that Alex and I actually tried to walk through the blast site (because it was our route back to our flat). With no barriers or warnings, the only thing that stopped us was a suited doorman for the Hyatt hotel that told us we had to leave the area immediately. We checked the news back at the flat, but there was nothing. It was not until several hours later that we learned it was a bomb.
Yet if this was not confusing enough, in the days following, everything became even more unclear. From the motives, to the number of bombs, to the actual danger of staying in Bangkok, a slew of biased government propaganda and poor news reporting left us all wondering what was happening. In the morning following the bombing the intersection was reopened to traffic, even with reports of blood still on the streets. Thus, the following day it was cleaned for a second time, and in a few days the cement pillar that was destroyed was replaced. By the time we left the only reminders of the bombing were flowers left in front of the shrine and the searing memories we had from that night.
With this, feelings the emotion of gratefulness surged through me about the many amazing things in my life. And in the days following our departure from Bangkok, I jotted a few that came to mind….
My Family & Friends. Not only am I blessed to have an amazing caring family, but unlike many caught in the bombing, we are all still here to love and care for one another. Family & friends are amazing and I could not be more grateful to have mine.
My Country. Until witnessing the ineptitude of the military lead Thai government (which has been in power since the coup earlier this year), I had never really appreciated how safe, secure, and confident, I feel with my government back home. I may not agree with every decision, but until you witness first hand how bad some governments are, it is hard to really appreciate the true value of democracy.
My Language. This has very little to do with the bombing, but the trip as a whole made me feel an abundant appreciation to speak English as my first language. With it being one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, and yet one of the most studied, it is a blessing to have it as my native tongue. While it may not always be pretty, English allows me tremendous opportunity to communicate (often primitively) with people from all around the world. A real luxury.
My Brother. Throughout the craziness of the bombing, Alex was always a calming and reassuring voice. Even as I spent hours online researching where, when, and if other bombs had gone off around the city, Alex calmed me down and was a vital part of getting through those difficult times. I could not have done Bangkok, or the trip without him.
– Robert Yeagle