Meet Ticky, one of our coordinators at our Laos location! Before working with us, he was a monk and lived in a Buddhist monastery for twelve years. Leading a monastic life is something Ticky still misses and plans on returning to in the future. For now, however, he is enjoying learning about the outside world and experiencing every bit of it.
We leave you with a short interview, where Ticky talks about the transition from living in a monastery for over a decade to discovering the ins-and-outs of the “real” world.
Hi, first of all, thank you for meeting us! So, what’s your name?
Ticky: Hello, my name is ติกกิ. In English you can call me Ticky.
How old are you and how long were you a monk?
T: I am 26, today actually! I was a monk for 12 years.
When did you leave the monastery?
T: I left the monastery 3 years ago when I was 23.
T: I graduated from the university and I wanted to know about the outside world… What do they do? What is happening? Because we, monks, are always inside the monastery, we don’t know anything about the outside world. To me, inside meant the temple, which had been my way of life for years. Outside meant the “normal people”. They study, go to work, eat dinner, do sport… In the temple we can’t do sport, we don’t have dinner, we don’t drink… I guess I was curious.
Was it difficult for you to adapt to this new way of living?
T: I remember the first day I left the temple. It was quite difficult for me… I was wondering, how can I go somewhere? I was quite scared, I did not how to drive a motorbike because in the temple we never drive. Bicycle was okay though.
Everything was new to me, I didn’t know to drink (laughs), how to play sport… Two weeks passed, a month and I got used to it. I got use to the people, made a lot of friends, met foreigners and got a job.
Why did you go to the monastery in the first place?
T: After I finished the primary school, I could not go to high school because there wasn’t one in my village. Besides, we were living in the countryside, quite far from the city, so going there to study was not an option. Therefore, I asked my parents to see if they were okay with me becoming a monk. Of course they were, because I needed to get an education. If I didn’t become a monk, maybe I would be working in the rice fields or making sticky rice all day long… Most of the boys from the country side go to the monastery and they get an education thanks to that.
What do you miss from the temple?
T: I really miss wearing the orange robe. I miss the temple too, my friends, chanting, praying, meditating…
What about something you don’t miss?
T: To be honest with you, there is nothing I don’t miss from the temple.
So, do you see yourself going back to the monastery in the future?
T: Definitely, yes. I think when I get older, maybe around 60 or 70, I will go back to be a monk. In the temple, the life is peaceful. You meditate, people come to offer you food and you chant for them, bless them. It is a simple life and I love it.
How did you learn English?
T: I started to learn English in high-school. Monks study English in the monastery and in high-school as well. We don’t go to regular schools or universities but we have the equivalents for monks only. After high-school I went to college and my major was English to become a teacher. I then continued studying to the University of Vientiane. I stayed 9 years in Luan Prabang (my home town) and then moved to Vientiane (the capital city) for 3 years.
What other language would you like to learn?
T: I would like to learn French and Chinese.
Is there something you absolutely want to do before going back to the temple?
T: I want to travel. I would love to go to Europe. In Spain, Germany…