In my life, I have had the privilege to know and to learn from many a strong woman: my fiery mother, my deceased Italian grandmother, my active and vibrant Grammy, my various aunts who surf, bike, craft, create, farm, cook and have all, my various teachers who have encouraged me to learn, to push my limits and to lead, my former forward-thinking and compassionate boss, my current PC staff headed by brilliant feminine minds and hearts.
Additionally, during my last 3 months training in Thailand, I have gotten to know the many older women volunteers who are daily going through the same arduous bike rides, language trainings and cultural challenges despite 30 year age differences. They are a source of wisdom, comfort and inspiration to us all far away from home especially the young female volunteers who are just budding and blooming into our own self-awareness.
Furthermore, I have been fortunate to live with a wonderful Thai woman during PST. This woman has the strength of a firmly rooted tree withstanding a tsunami. I have observed her go to bed long after me and wake up long before me. I have interacted with her jokes, learned from her cooking and shared in her love for cats. I have depended on her to cook for me each night, to wake me up with the sunrise, and to patiently converse with my broken Thai. I have been treated by her naam-jai (generosity) daily and I have enjoyed watching Thai soap operas and news reels with her nightly.
One of our last nights together, she opened up to me about her past, peeled back her tough, witty exterior to reveal a tired and lonely interior bursting with altruism and self-sacrifice.
I am proud to call my host mother. And I will not forget her, even though I have joined a new host family down South.
Over and over again I can see examples and feel support from these wonderfully strong women in my life. When I receive compliments from others about my own strength, I always refer back to those who have supported me and allowed me to grow into my strengths.
Thank you strong women of the world.