Saturday, July 7, 2012

Set Laao

June 12, 2012 was my last day of PC service. My mom is having some health problems and I want to help. Those of you who know my mom, know how much she was/is there for me and my family. She was there for all the trauma of illnesses and all the joys of family traditions. My kids loved it when Dougie and I left town – that meant Grandma was coming. I get immense pleasure in seeing my kids so close to my parents. Family connectivity through the generations teaches our children so many valuable lessons and enriches their lives in so many ways. It brings them warmth, security, fun, stability, a sense of connection and belonging to something special. So of course I am coming home. I will (do) miss PC, my village, my Thai friends, and my PCV buddies (we had funnnn!). I will come home to my family, my friends, and get re-acquainted with the Big Bear community – looking forward to that. I will start my business (send grant rfps my way please) and my next phase. So… Top 10 things I will miss in Thailand (no particular order): • My project – it will continue, but I wasn’t quite ready to launch it. The library is my joy! • My PCV buddies – what would I have done without you? So much fun. I have new lifelong friends. New adventures together still to come. Will miss our bpai tiaos to Bangkok and the beach. • My nickname – nothing like riding my bike and having the community yell out Baa Kare – Aunt Karen – in greeting! • My office – they would do anything for me and continually went out of their way to make sure I was happy – buying me bamboo plants (good luck and shade), hanging my mosquito net and hammock, bringing me food, driving me to the city, etc., etc., etc. • My bike – loved riding everyday. • The kids – so helpful, so cute, so willing to accept me into their lives. • Pineapple cookies – so good! • Thai fruit – mangos, papayas, pineapples, bananas…so yummy! • Storms – intense and beautiful. • My aerobics class – all ages, coming together in the afternoon, in the heat, working out to Thai music played at double time! And in the interest of fair and balanced, there are things I will not miss: • Bugs – yuck, too many and too big. Going to the bathroom without my mosquito zapper will be a welcome change as will not sleeping under a net! Centipedes and scorpions especially will not miss. • The weather – hot, hot and rainy, humid – so hot you sleep naked with windows open and the fan blasting…and you still sweat. • The fishbowl – I don’t like being the center of attention, everyone always knows your business. • The ambiguity – not knowing Thai, I frequently did not know what was going on until the last minute or never. I would go to work in the morning and maybe no one would be there, or they would all be there all dressed up for the occasion (there is always an occasion) and somehow I missed the memo. • Greng jai – agreeing so as not to confront, pleasing at all costs, never really knowing if yes is yes or if yes is yes just to make me happy but means no. • No water – a mystery, never knowing from day to day, from hour to hour, will it be on? • Storms – so intense sometimes I had to turn my computer off to save it from a power surge…and my life pretty much revolved around my computer. • Noise – Thailand is so damn loud! Roosters, dogs, cats, karaoke, trucks, TV, music – always blaring. • The food – salt, sugar, MSG, bugs! Enuf said. • Slow and unreliable internet. And…back to America, looking forward to: • Family – seeing my kids, mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews without a major investment in time and $$$. Just deciding to visit and having it be so easy! • Driving – not depending on someone else to get somewhere. • Shopping –not having to drive an hour to get good nonfat milk. Finding organic produce, good wine, really just about anything. • A set table – may sound silly, but I am looking forward to a set table with matching dishes and linens, inviting you to enjoy a meal, at a table (not the floor), engaging in conversation I can follow and participate in. • A comfy bed – Thai beds suck! • Nightlife – stay outside at night and not getting eaten alive by the bugs • Weather – looking forward to CA summers, winters, falls, springs! • Holidays – Thais have them, and they were interesting to learn about, but they are not my traditions and I am bound by my traditions (strings anyone?) • Work – with a paycheck!! Peace Corps is a vow of poverty! Although many PCVs may say I strayed from that vow now and then ;) • Being home – for all the ills our country is dealing with, it is a great place and its mine and I am happy to be a small part of it!! Peace Corps was an adventure. I felt valued and useful and the better for the experience. Signing off for the last time, Karen PCV Thailand ------------------------ Parting shots...fond memories!