Friday, November 23, 2012

Alphabet Blues

Okay, so I think it's about time I did a bit of reflecting.

In the middle of my senior year of high school I stood in front of the whiteboard in Mrs. Collins' classroom. Rainnie was standing slouched with her head tilted to the left, the pen in her hand playing with her hair. She looked perplexed. Poom's lips were pressed in a firm line and his eyebrows had scrunched down behind the frame of his glasses. He looked perplexed.

"What comes next?"


A line of squiggles and swirls danced across the bottom of the whiteboard. "Ahahaha. You can't remember what letter comes next? It's your alphabet!" I giggled and thought "Good luck to whoever goes to Thailand."

That, my friends, is ironic.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hula Hoops and Green Bananas

I didn't know what to expect when it came to being accepted into the family.

Lifelong process would be an easy description. It's one thing living with, listening to, and talking with these new siblings and parents. It's another thing understanding why they say and do the things they do. It is "boka-teet"-"normal" to misunderstand. Argh.

My Thai mom looks terrifying when she is talking on the phone. Reasons being- she uses the earpiece instead of her cellphone so I can't tell when she is chatting away... She has this interesting habit of staring directly at me when she is talking with someone and she is always having to yell into that tiny bit of plastic. Take away this bit of technology and you have a beautiful lady who loves to be a kid when she has the chance. Basically whenever I step into the room=Awesome!

I always eat dinner with my mom. If I don't it is because my night revolves around doing my laundry or talking with my family back in the U.S. of A. If we are feeling particularly free and giddy we tend to do 4 things. Hula-hoop, cook peeled green bananas in a sugary syrup, watch the daily Thai drama, and/or go and rearrange/prune/hang my mom's collection of over 400 orchids. This collection is a year old.

Tonight I went to the movie theater at Big-C. I skipped across the sidewalk and realized I should be skipping all the time. There are so many of my habits which I haven't introduced to Thailand. I recieved 4 hugs and initiated 3 hugs today. A total of 7 hugs. Very Healthy. Made my Thai teacher laugh at my pronunciation of...well...everything. Finished my Thai final and ran out the door. Ate just enough to make myself full. Wished green apples in Thailand were tart. Thought about everyone at home. Wanted a bowl of cornflakes. And am currently up past my bedtime.

3 days ago I asked my Thai mom for advice. HUGE STEP! I won't tell you on what, but the way she answered turned on a new light in our relationship. Definitely for the better.

Papaya tastes like jasmine. Green bananas are very sticky; definitely wear gloves when cutting them. You can make grasshoppers out of leaves. "Doll/Statue" in Thai is "Duk-kada."

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Giant Pink Teddy Bear

My room could possibly be a mess if I didn't clean it every other day. There is a lone doll sitting next to my bed. When the first grader gave her to me she exclaimed "Ow hai P' Elle."-"This is for you." "Pom yeek muan P'Elle."-"She has curly hair just like you." "Kao longhai duai!"-"She's also crying!" I chuckled, thanked her, and helped her class make beaded hearts. Halfway through a little boy's heart I was surrounded with no chance for escape. "P'Elle rujak pleng "Que Sera" mai ka?"-"Do you know the song "Que Sera"? "Rujak ka, dtee mai mag"-"I know of it, but not a lot." "P'ELLE RUJAK!!"-"SHE KNOWS IT!!" (The surroundees doubled.)-"Roong noy dai mai?"-"Can you sing a little for us?" "" "Ka...dai nit neung ka."-"Yeah...I can sing a little..." Those next 2 minutes were the quietest of all my time here. The smallest of the group had squeezed through two quite stout boys and was resting her head on the back of my seat, mouthing the words until halfway through the song where she and the rest of the kids started to join in softly.

I left the school with 2 oranges, a banana, and a permanently unhappy doll. "They bring me food every day! I will be fat very soon!"- Ajaun Nee whispered and patted her slim waistline. "You will come again? My students don't usually see farang. They are all very nice. They want to learn more about you."

Coffee Joy

We sat on a woven mat eating our chunks of chocolate cake. Three slices. Two people. Someone miscounted and we ended up having to push the extra four spoons off to one side as we scraped the dark streaks from our styrofoam plate. "Mot ru yang?"-"Is that all of it?" "ahaha. Mai ruu, mong mai hen."-"ahaha. I dunno, I can't see." I pushed my flipflops out of the van's shadow and leaned forward with my legs crossed, elbows resting in the worn heels. I could just make out Ajaun Doe. Her rather plump figure swayed back and forth with a little shake of her head as she crooned into a wireless mic from the edge of the deck. My mom had taken a seat and sat with her own microphone. Her feet rested on top of her red and blue crocs and she leaned into the side of the table. She picked at the food there. Green vegetables, chinese rice noodles, roasted chicken, pork, and egg filled squid. Her creaky voice was barely audible except for when Doe would take a break to shout something to my sisters and the night would giggle.

Tonight is my sister Joy's birthday party.

"Thwack!" A sharp tap to my knee made me pull back. "Arai nia?"-"What's this?" "Ben arai, luk?"-"What's the matter, child?" "Mai ben arai. Elle du Maeh ka"-"Nothing's the matter. I'm watching Mom."

Everyone spoke in low mutters. Bpa-Dad had, much to the glee of the employees, lay down and stuck his head through the railing on the deck. His laugh is deep, loud, and always ends with "ahahayeee" when he talks to me. Jang, my 25 year old sister came and leaned against Bpa. Resting her head on his shoulder and splitting the low mutters with her higher pitched jokes and giggle. Jang is a sweetheart.

When we didn't face the light from the deck we could see all the stars. "P'Joy chop dao arai?"-"CoffeeJoy, what's your favorite star?" "Du si? Anan."-"See it? Those ones." The tiniest dipper lay just on the edge of our sight. "Me too." I said to myself.

CoffeeJoy and I poured more orange Fanta and chucked ice cubes at P'Wad and one of the other employees. I didn't have much time to get lost in my own thoughts. An excited shout caused CoffeeJoy to grab my wrist and pull me down to the other end of the deck where everyone had whipped out there cell phones and focused their dull beams on a long, thick, slithering mass snaking it's way through the current. "Anaconda!" After watching it float off down stream we shook off our shudders and made our way back to our mat. "Elle yaak wai nam mai?"-"You want to go swimming?" "Eeeek!"

The "Happy Birthday" song is more like a chant in Thailand.