Artist Living

The Jungle Called, and I Decided to…

Me Ra Koh

The Gibbon Apes were singing in my dreams the other night.  I could hear their whooping sounds echoing, Thailand’s jungle called as the sun rose in the distance.  The morning heat was already thick, and I pushed back the vegetation with hopes of seeing the Gibbons up in the jungle’s canopy.  They spotted me as they moved through the trees, every so often turning to see if I was following.

A small hand holds mine.  I look down.  Pascaline is in my dream.  She is smiling at my side.  We are not worried about mosquito bites that can give us Dengue Fever.  I’m not concerned with how remote we are.  I am fully caught up in the pull I feel, the call I hear to venture home–a home where my heart unfolds and I feel beautiful, alive and replenished.

I’ve been carrying that dream inside me for months, unsure of how to act.  On one hand, I am terrified of the idea of going back.  I couldn’t even talk about it with Brian.  The Dengue Fever and all it’s pain still feels close.  I hesitate to see the bed that I twisted and turned in, night after night, with bone breaking pain that left me and Pascaline delirious for days.  I don’t want to recall the memory of Brian and I holding Pascaline down, as she screamed with fierceness because she believed her nose had broken off.

Instead, I want to be lulled to sleep by the soft purring of the long tail boats that head out to fish in the evening. People looking for boat loans know that it can get quite difficult to find low-interest financing these days, mainly because there are a number of restrictions when it comes to boat financing, especially when you have a bad credit boat loans. So that’y why,  I want to close my eyes and hear the Cicada beetles singing, so loud and so powerfully, that I can’t hear my own thoughts any longer as I drown in their song.  I want to watch my kids play with the Langur Monkeys, who with white faces, turn the head back and forth, trying to assess our funny habits of living–watching me shower every morning.  I want to break out in laughter, clinging to Brian under the mosquito net, as we watch the big fruit bats swoop over our heads and pray that they won’t rip through the thin white divider that separates us.  I want to wake to the Gibbons sunrise songs, make my way to the lonely, blue waters, and swim–feeling all my senses awaken.

Is it worth the risk of a mosquito bite carrying Dengue Fever–again?  Odds are that it will not happen again, but those were the odds before.  Are all the things I love and miss, the things that make our home on stilts in the jungle worth the unknown that awaits us?

Six weeks ago.  We are finishing up dinner.  Brian poses the question of returning.  Pascaline sits quiet.  She ponders the question.  I can tell she is recalling her own memories of being sick, and then her big brown eyes look up at me with wonder.  “I miss the jungle mom.  I miss running through the trees and then realizing the monkeys were right above you all along.  I miss playing in the water.  I miss the Thai people calling me Gasoline because they can’t say Pascaline!  I miss the jungle singing me to sleep.  Yes,” she looks at Brian, “Yes, I think it’s worth the risk.”

My brave little one.  Her courage leads the way.

This morning I get in from NY at 10am.  Tonight at 8pm, we board a plane to Thailand.  I have pictured myself backing out a hundred times.  But as a family, we have decided to return to our house in the jungle.  We are all a little unsure of what it will feel like when the first mosquito bites.  But in our hearts, we know that the idea of avoiding this second home–this place our family has come to love…is not an option.

Brian, Blaze, Pascaline and I sat in the living room together and recommitted to traveling abroad–to taking risks–understanding more than ever that some trips will be WONDERFUL, but not all trips.  And yet, every trip will shape us into the creative people we were meant to be.

I fell asleep last night with a smile that came from deep within.  I’m returning home.  And even though fear gripped me when Brian first proposed the question…peace greets me now.  The time has come.  It is a deep peace that waits for me on the water’s edge, where the jungle grows tall and the apes play and sing in the canopy, and the heat is thick and the laughter and singing and dreaming are all rich.

I will see you on the other side friends!  While we make our way back home, taking four planes and a long tail boat, Genie and Wendy have wonderful things up their sleeves for the blog this week.

I’ll be updating you from the jungle soon!  Cheers to not living in fear!




  1. Lisa Novitsky says:

    Safe travels beautiful family! May you find new adventures, peace and renewal. I can’t wait to see all the wonderful new images, and hear all the stories that this trip produces. “Cheers to not living in fear!” – LOVE it!


  2. Kellie says:

    Safe Journey Me Rah. I look forward to your new entries and new photos.

  3. Kellie says:

    lol sorry I was multi talking while I was typing and I typed my question into my comment. LOL

  4. Keisa says:

    MeRa, I love that you and your family are going to go back to Thailand! I have lived there for months at a time for many years. It sounds like Dispite all the painful memories you guys have had there ….that beautiful place, the land of smiles as it’s called is calling you home. Its amazing how a place so beaitiful makes your senses come alive. Be safe & enjoy!

  5. Billie says:

    You inspire me every day Mera. Safe travels for your and your beautiful family. Can’t wait to see the images and hear the stories of this trip.

  6. Christina says:

    Cheers to not living in fear indeed!!
    Can’t wait to read about you adventure 🙂

  7. Claudia Constantino says:

    Wish I could give you all a great big hug! Have a WONDERFUL time!

  8. Carol says:

    gives me both tears and fears…may God journey with you and go before you and behind you, MeRa and family….have a blessed adventure! 🙂

  9. Melisa says:

    MeRa, I always knew you would go back…….Just didn’t know if you would take a while 🙂 Have a wonderful time! I will be praying for you and your family. You are so strong I am proud of you.

    p.s. I gave a friend your book at a baby shower this weekend! It was a hit!!!!

  10. Tammy Snyder says:

    Safe travels to you and your family. May God protect each of you and bless you with such an amazing time.

  11. Katherine says:

    Have a wonderful time – the pull was too strong not to go back. Look forward to reading your updates. Safe trip to you all – Me Ra, Brian, Blaze and “Gasoline” 🙂


  12. Charisse says:

    Me Ra,
    As always, you inspire and amaze me with your sense of determination and your refusal to live in fear! I love the legacy that you are teaching your children, that not only can they do/be anything they want, but that they can face fear head on and conquer it creating beautiful memories in the process. I too eagerly anticipate all of the beautiful images you will share as well as the stories that accompany them. Be safe my beautiful friend. Recharge and renew. God is with you all!

  13. BreAnna S says:

    How wonderful! I’m so excited for you and your family. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in the jungle. May you all have a safe travels and amazing experiences! How long do you get to stay this time, or will you decide once you’re there?

  14. Kari at MamaBloo says:

    So, weird. Last night at dinner I could not get the image of you in Thailand out of my head …. I will be praying for you, my kindred spirit! XXOO!

  15. Melissa says:

    There was such a sense of peace throughout your blog post. Like others stated before me, I am also looking forward to reading your blog posts and seeing your beautiful images from Thailand. Safe travels to you, Brian, Blaze and Pascaline. Have a wonderful trip! 🙂

  16. sarah says:

    Wow, that is SO exciting! Can’t wait to read all about both the new and familiar adventures!

  17. jeramy says:

    oh boy! 🙂 have a fantastic trip. new memories coming your way. enjoy.

  18. Michelle says:

    I had no doubt you would not let your last experience stop you from going again. That is who you are and that is why we all adore you and the things you share with us. Have an amazing time!

  19. Emily says:

    love it!!! You go, have a blessed time!! My prayers will be with each of you!! I can’t wait to read your updates and see pictures!! God bless your travels and adventures!! xoxoxox

  20. Kris says:

    Have an awesome adventure with your beautiful family! I’m praying for a safe and blessed journey! I can’t wait to see and hear all about it 😉

  21. Kara S. says:

    Wow, I enjoyed reading this. This was beautiful. I could almost picture myself there, too. I’ve always wanted to go “somewhere else.” Not sure where, but we got passports as a family for the very first time this year. Prayers for your health and safety, and please don’t forget to come back to the Chicago workshop! 😉 I can’t wait to see your photos!

  22. Cathy says:

    Hooray for ALL of you! That takes courage — and you will be SO rewarded with new, much happier memories and experiences. Sending our love and best wishes for a safe journey to your “other” home! 🙂

  23. The adventures of a lifetime left undone still await you. Thailand will indeed smile to greet your family once again. May this time be full of rest, forever fond memories and thanksgiving for all that has transpired since you were there last. So much has happened since you lay so sick under mosquito netting. Think of His Goodness,Grace and Mercy, most of all be filled with His LOVE and ENJOY!!! Love you all so very much.Have Fun!So excited to hear and see all that the jungle wants and needs to speak to you this go round!

  24. Melinda says:

    Wonderful adventures await! Have a fantastic time and I can’t wait to read all about it. Love to you all!

  25. Karen says:

    have a great time! I cannot wait to read about your adventures!

  26. Wendi Solari says:

    Have an amazing adventure. I hope your hearts find what they are looking for.

  27. Sarah C says:

    Always full of faith. Wishes for a restful trip. Hugs to you and your Alpha!

  28. Kelly says:

    I was just wondering about this the other day – I’m so glad you and Pascaline have made peace with Thailand and are ready to go back. I wish you safe and rejuvenating travels! Have a wonderful time!

  29. Katie Jordan says:

    You know you’ll be grateful that you made this trip the moment you arrive! I can’t wait to see all the pictures and read about the adventures you’ll share. Pascaline and Blaze will remember these trips forever, and will always treasure the time you spent in the jungle.

  30. ajira says:

    safari njema rafiki yangu!

  31. andrea S says:

    Wishing you and your family a safe, fun and restful trip! I am looking forward to hearing all about your adventures on the blog. I remember reading your blog posts and seeing your pictures from your last two trips there and I felt as though I was transported to a different world for a few minutes a day. Wishing you health and rejuvenation!

  32. Fiona says:

    WOW! Cheers to not living in fear? Absolutley!

  33. I’ve been wondering if you were going to go back!?!? So excited for you … paving the way of pressing beyond our fears! Can’t wait to hear what’s on the other side!

    Much Love,

  34. Kellie says:

    Hurray! I’m so glad you guys are going back. May you pain be redeemed into peace.

    Love you all!

  35. I cant wait to hear the amazing stories, and see the beautiful pictures! Enjoy your trip!

  36. Theresa LaFrance says:

    VACATION! What a beautiful word. Rest, relax, enjoy….just be you. Treasure every quiet moment with the kids. They grow up so fast.

  37. Monica says:

    Have a wonderful trip, I still recall the posts from last year and how I cried even though we haven’t met yet 🙂 It’s inspiring how the children led the way and how they, having less baggage, are able to take that step and embrace the future. I look forward to your posts from your paradise.

  38. I will be praying that this trip is filled with joy and relaxation. Over a year later and so much has happened. May peace, love, and joy fill each moment. All my love!!

  39. Laura Hanis says:

    You guys are so beautiful. Have a wonderful trip filled with peace and family moments 🙂

  40. Addie says:

    Safe journey, beautiful adventures and love to carry you all the way home and back.

  41. Safe travels, brave MeRa & family! Breathe a deep breath of rich jungle air for me!