1. The lizards in Thailand, the ones that I see on the walls, floors, stuck between the windows and screens, these lizards can change color. I am now terrified of them.
2. Thailand is home to the monitor Lizard. And there’s one in the little swampy meadow behind my house.
3. Some of the gecko lizards come with 2 heads. I screamed so loudly when I learned this that Mod Dang covered her daughter’s ears, and apologized (to the baby, not me).
4. Thai Pumpkin squash tastes delicious without butter, sugar, spices or other flavor-enhancing accoutrements.
5. My favorite streetfood snack is, in fact, fish cakes. I insisted they were NOT fish cakes, I was just describing the vegetable incorrectly. Never mind, they’re fish cakes.
6. I was wrong, Thailand has three seasons, not two. My friend calls them, “Hot, Hotter and Hottest”. I call them, “Wet, Dry and SO HOT”.
7. Because I’m not in control of almost any part of my life here – I’m limited in my communication, transportation, food, food preparation, drinking water, exercise, and comprehension – I hold tightly to the few things I CAN control. It’s not much, but when I have the option of filling my free time (not being pressured into doing something I don’t really care about), I grasp it. When there’s freedom to have a strong opinion, instead of bowing to the fact that a) I MUST respect my boss, etc. or b) I don’t actually know much anyway, I’m loathe to graciously give it up. Maybe it’s just not arriving early, or for selecting my own music, or eating my own breakfast – but I stubbornly stick by my few autonomous decisions.
Now, don’t worry – I haven’t flown off the handle at anyone for taking away my limited freedom, or even told anyone to stop. I’ve just realized if someone overwhelms me with time constraints, organization, plans, or ideas different from my own – I don’t just tell them they’re annoying me, like I might back home. Instead, I hope I don’t ever have to see them again, and by the time I get home – I’m extremely irritated. I don’t have that buffer of controlling my next meal, choosing to watch TV at will, or calling a friend to vent. So, right now I get irritated. This needs to change, but that’s what’s happening.
8. Fresh squid looks like this:
And the rings in my seafood green curry? Those are squid, too, from the tube. I had no idea.
9. I can buy a potatoe, 8 cherry tomatoes, 10 mini-eggplants, a hand
ful of shitake mushrooms, and a large piece of ginger for 65 cents. Add some paneer and – Lunch today!
10. Half the transition to living in Thailand is not about Thailand, but also living with a family, starting a new job, moving to a very densely populated city, and joining one of of the most Atypical group of Christ-lovers. Knowing them, that’s life-changing in itself.