The reality of Me – Here

I have thought of one hundred different topics to post this week. Instead I gave myself a break. Writing is good, but maybe I needed to remember to breath, too.

I want to write more about what a topsy-turvy week this has been, but I’m scared to begin for fear of making each one of you terrified of travel. I want to tell you about my Thai family. Explain why I love my church. Take pictures on my commute, introduce you to more Thai food. Show you my workplace, discuss cultural sensitivity. Talk about instant communities. Describe my days. Present Thai money. Consider how non-offensive, and easy to live around, Buddhism is for a Christian. Ponder the merits of forcing my coworkers to speak in a second language, for me. Present my funny stories. Relate how much I love my job, and how lucky I am to not be questioning my career choice.

I will. I plan to do all, but right now I’m still pondering how hard this week has been and how often I’ve wanted to scream. How much of a headache I have right now from pressing my tongue to the roof of my mouth, so as to alleviate tension elsewhere (doesn’t work, fyi).

For now, though, I’m just going to tell you a short story about my poor Grandmother-host, with whom I can communicate – but we can’t really speak. We like each other, and I know we wish we could converse. That’s an impossibility, though, so we simply live around each other some days. Other days, we try to interact through motions or forceful demonstrations, or Mod Dang playing interpreter.

A few weeks ago, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. In this particular entry, she was describing the difference between men and women, especially regarding children. Here’s a link if you’d care to read and decide for yourself if you think it’s funny or not.

This particular evening, Baby Moo Dang was fussing quite a bit and hadn’t gone to sleep easily. Finally, after lots of snuggling and cooing, all was quiet. Typically, once she’s nodding off Grandpa takes her to his air-conditioned room so she can sleep more comfortably. Lying on the bench by her play area, as all was quiet, I assumed that’s what had taken place and continued reading my blogs.

Grandma-Dang was sitting on the floor next to me, watching the news silently. We didn’t talk, of course, and I TRIED to be reasonable with my giggles. Until I wasn’t, and erupted in a loud, near-choking fit of laughter over Pioneer Woman’s description of communication with her husband. And Moo-Dang howled back.

Baby was NOT in the other, soundproofed room. She was 5 feet from me, awake and unhappy. Grandpa came out of his room, picked her up wordlessly and took her into his room, as she continued howling in protest. I sat up, stunned and said I was sorry in Thai, I didn’t know in English.

Grandma-Dang sat up straighter, glanced at me silently, nodded her head and left the room.

I don’t blame her, she’s a Grandma caring for a teething infant who suddenly will not be soothed. Add to that the giggling giant of  an American who barely speaks, disrupting fussy infant’s sleep. I’d walk away, too!


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