It was a like a revolution happened over night. My host mother asked me the other day over my quite delicious and refreshing cup of “Milo” or, if you are Thai, “My-Low”(A rather nice chocolaty drink with, what I gathered from the picture and my host father’s explanation, “veet-a-meens”) that if I had time she wanted to learn English. I kind of giggled which I think offended her. The giggle was not meant to have been at her expense it just made me happy to think that the relationship we have means something to her, so much so that she would like to learn to speak my native tongue! After the giggle, I told her that if I was at the house I would gladly attempt teaching her English. Little did I know she spent what I can only imagine to be hours on writing over six pages of Thai words that she wanted translated to English so she could study during her free time. I sat down and we began. The problem is the word has to be translated three times, I have to be able to understand the Thai, then I have to write the correct English word down, then she has to hear it correctly enough to transliterate the word to
To make a long story short, we finished what we could. After a long day on the farm she came home and sat down to watch the family favorite soap opera. A baby appeared on the screen and proudly my host mother states, “naa-rak” (the Thai word for cute) followed by what she presumed to be the English word for cute, “eat”…. Thai.
My English teaching ability is obviously awesome….Thank you very much as I bow, “I will be here all night and all month and all year and the year after that”.
I also got my first “village” hair-cut. What is interesting about a “village” haircut is nothing. But when a foreigner gets a “village” haircut it can be interesting…I guess…at least it was to the ten people outside the shop watching and talking about it for a good thirty minutes. The barber was careful to be precise when cutting every piece of hair on my head. The fact that I chose his house to get my haircut he thought was a nice gesture and of course I needed the cut fairly bad. The bad news is, if you know about me and my barber shop/salon experience I do not have any. For some reason when I go to the salon or barber in the States I freeze up, like they are speaking a foreign language. I say what I think is correct in salon language, “taper the sides, thin the top, they usually use the razor guard #8”, ect. Ect. Then I stop talking. It is uncomfortable I can feel it, I know they feel it too. The person cutting my hair must think I am a mute as I answer all the usual salon questions with one word and a smile. I cringe with each snip of hair because I know what the end result will be no matter what I say. No matter what, I come out looking like a 12 year-old boy that has his fresh new hair cut and his ball cap with his piece of bubble gum in his mouth that he got for sitting so still in that big scary chair.
Hopefully you know where I am going with this. If not, just wait longer (dumb and dumber reference anyone….yes, no, is this thing on?). So I am scared of the barber, scared of requesting, scared of talking, scared of the end result. A “village” haircut was so easy… I walked to the house, I asked in broken Thai, “is that guy who cuts hair here?” and he said, “I am that guy” then I sat down and he cut my hair. He did not ask what I wanted, he did not ask where I was from, he did not ask what I studied in college or what I did for work. He just wanted to cut and let me tell you, cut he did. He cut until I was Thai….and now, Thai I am, shaved sides and goofy top. But all is good.
I also had a fishing experience that brought some memories back of when I was little and me and my best buddy Donnie Crawford would got to the pond with our bb guns, our fishing poles, a bucket-o-worms and our 4-wheeler. Man did we get up to no good, but it was always a good time. I was invited to go fishing with a man from the convenient store just up the road; the convenient store is generally a house and the residents sell things. I had to of course explain that I could not ride a motorcycle (peace corps policy), so he loaded up the truck with all of the essentials…energy drinks and fishing equipment…and we were off. Once again I felt like I was incapable of doing even the things I was capable of doing back in the states. The man I was with pulled at least 10 fish out of the river compared to my 0. I felt like I was back at home, 9 years old, and my buddy Donnie Ray tied on a lure that had broken hooks so he would easily beat me in our competition. I began to think what could possibly be the difference (because surely it was not the operator, I mean I am awesome J). I looked at the rod, the reel, the lure, the hooks, all the same. I began to lose hope. I figured if I did not catch a fish before the sun went down I would surely not be invited back, something I desperately wanted, fishing is great stress relief for me. At last I pulled out 1 fish. Just in time. It felt so good, the fight of a fish and the excitement of finally catching one is something that, for me, cannot be compared to anything. The sun had gone down and we loaded up the truck, we shared laughs although I do not know what they were about and when we arrived back in the village my new fishing buddy gave me five fish and an ice cold beverage that may or may not have contained alcohol. The wrap up is, I did not feel like the only American person in the village for one day. It was refreshing, I felt comfortable and I hope that continues.
Also and update on the eating because that is always an experience and people generally like to hear about it…
Dinner with some teachers from the school:
Stir Fried Veggies
Baby Chicks….Somewhere in the explanation of what I was eating they asked me what we call them in English. They explained to me that they were not quite chicks but they were not eggs either…”Fetus”, I said, “you are eating a chicken fetus”…and they went right along “ChiCK-Hen Fee Tuuu”….yes chicken fetus…
I also saw that Dr. Dre is making a comeback…It looked scary and gangster and stuff
I listed some things that I would love from back home if one was to make a care package. I hear some people wanted to do so and for that I am very gracious and thankful.