Friday, October 2, 2009

Wat? Women have to kneel to give alms?

So I'm not packed. I'm packing mentally. What I'm really doing is watching a lot of Youtube videos on the places I'm going and thinking about what to bring. Or not bring, since I can only take 10 kilograms. I've eaten snacks that weigh more than 10 kilograms, I'm certain. And so much for thinking of Asia as an adventurous fat camp... everything I watch refers to all the amazing food everywhere I'm going.

In Laos, I'll go to Luang Prabang, which is known for all of its temples, called wats. One of the rich cultural experiences there involves getting up before sunrise to take food donations to the monks. They eat only one meal a day, primarily the rice they receive in alms during this dawn ceremony.

I'm thinking "sounds fun" and remember that I need to pack a tea-length skirt. Nothing above the knee for wat visiting. I'm down with the whole women's travel skirt situation - fine. They're cool and comfy and look better than shorts anyway. Because I lost weight and don't work out enough, I have the thighs of a flying squirrel. Overshare.

But then I hear that, if I want to participate in the alms offering, as a woman, I'll need to kneel. Men are welcome to stand and greet the monks at eye level.

Now we all know that I'm lazy enough that if I do manage to drag-ass out to the ceremony before dawn, I'm certainly going to be in a relaxed / reclined / at-minimum seated position. It's not like watching Aussie's monks walking by. It's chill.

If I'd had a job in the last year and actually made the money to buy the rice to offer to the monks, I would be riddled with riotous indignation over this patriarchy. Misogyny.

Though I am constantly humbled by how fortunate I am in so many ways. Kneeling is certainly a physical manifestation of gratitude. Gak. What to do.

I should probably just start packing.

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