“Very little is needed to make a happy life” – Marcus Aurelius
Since the first day we moved into our condo, we have been surrounded by a caring, kind community of staff and residents. A security guard on duty was quick to help us carry our suitcases from the car to the lift when we arrived. We soon discovered the pool area is a good place to meet and mingle with other residents. While lolling in the pool to escape the Thailand heat, we were greeted by another resident who provided us with so much local knowledge and tips as he realised we were new to the area. He and his family are part of our lives now and recently we spent a delightful couple of hours sharing time together at the Cold Rock Ice Creamery.
The staff in the Juristic Office are happy, thoughtful people and they make me smile. Every day they greet us, smile at us, wave to us and we discovered that one of the girls had lived and worked in Australia so whenever we need assistance from someone who speaks English, we always wait until we can talk to our “Miss Australia”. Every time we enter the property, the security guards stand and salute us, always with a huge smile. The cleaning staff drop the equipment they are using in order to greet us traditionally with palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion (the wai).
We were invited to join the community for a special blessing ceremony when ten Buddhist monks came to the complex to pray and bless the property. Together with residents and staff, we joined the monks as they chanted and prayed and then blessed the buildings, the office, the staff and everyone. For days prior to the blessing we had watched the staff prepare for this significant occasion, in particular, how white cotton had been hung around all the buildings so they were joined as one. This joining together with the white cotton was a significant part of the ceremony as the monks joined each other together at the wrist with the white cotton. This sacred white thread is called “Sai Sin” and is a symbol of protection and good health. White cotton is used to represent purity. After the monks had eaten, we then joined with everyone in a magnificent banquet and had the opportunity to talk to so many interesting people.
Regular activities are held at the complex which are organised by the office staff and I recently attended a Saturday afternoon craft class where I learnt how to decorate a glass container with coloured sand and sea shells. Believe me, it looked easy when the instructor was doing it but trying to get the minuscule grains of different coloured sands to form layers at the bottom was the first challenge. Then it was time to place the tiny shells on top of the sand and even using tweezers it was a difficult task but one which made all of us laugh and laugh. During the afternoon I mingled with other women and children, shared stories, took lots of photos and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
There is an atmosphere of peace and calm where I live. Even though there are hundreds of condos and hundreds of residents and staff, it is a very quiet place and it is rare that I would travel in the lift with another person and usually there are only just a few people in the pool. Everyone is happy. I watch the staff working in the gardens and grounds and though it is hot and their work day is long, they carry out their duties with respect and love – just watching them water the garden is a delight as it is done with so much care. Every day there is something new. Hundreds and hundreds of new plants and shrubs have recently been planted; dozens of ceramic pots have been given a fresh coat of paint; new signage has been erected; the security guards have new uniforms; there are new birds nests being built in the trees I can see through the gym windows. This is a happy place.