Paddy got home last night after three weeks in Thailand. He arrived bearing gifts (lots of gifts – his Thai host family was overwhelmingly generous!), full of wonderful stories about his adventures with strange food and the intricacies of communicating without a common language or point of reference. Although he seemed to find delicacies like fish stomach and soup with legs a bit challenging, his enthusiasm for fruit in Thailand is boundless. He has also developed a rather surprising interest in Buddhism.
He seems to have somewhat mixed feelings about being home again. „Home“ – meaning school, Linz, Austria, the people here – is too limited, constraining, and he is getting impatient to be out in the world on his own, making his own choices and decisions. It is reassuring, however, that he still likes his family and he is happy to be with us again. I have the feeling, though, that we have just about reached the point where we need him more than he needs us.
With Paddy’s wonderful sense of humor and the gift he has developed for telling stories, last night I realized how very privileged we are to have him come home and share with us his experiences and observations.
He might yet write something for this blog, but for now he needs to just go out walking around Linz. As impressive as it sounds to be driven around everywhere by a chauffeur in a car with at least one TV in it, he missed being able to just walk around by himself. Linz may not be the most exciting place in the world, but living here at least affords him a large measure of freedom that he can appreciate better from the experience of not having that freedom.