Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Tourist In My Own Country

Me at Target going wild over the latest and greatest.  America - you have EVERYTHING!  My friend Tiffany captured this shot of me taking pictures of stuff last week.  Shopping with her was like Christmas.

What makes you think you've spot a tourist?  Camera in hand?  Socially awkward?  Speaking a foreign language?  Ooh-ing and Aah-ing over the latest technology or processed food wonder?  That would be me.  Yes, that would be me at Target, at Walmart, at the park, at your home, at your local church, driving on the wrong side of the road.  That would be me.

That would be me - taking endless pictures of foreign food.  When you haven't had a Schlotzky's Original or a Cream Soda...coleslaw or fresh lemonade...crescent rolls from a can in over three years - you would too. I shoot my pictures and savor each bite without shame.  And just between you and me, we Americans eat some weeeeeeird food.  Corn casserole?  Like something from another planet.  At least it feels that way.

We were driving down a downtown Chicago highway our first day on the American road.  We realized we made a wrong turn and promptly made a u-turn.  The.  Wrong.  Way.  I yelled to Treavor, "There's a car coming right at you!"  (There was!)  We laughed nervous laughter and tried to recall where we were supposed to be and in what lane and in what direction and at what speed and with our turn signal.  Geez, we Americans also have a lot to think of while driving.  You would think it would be simple for us!  Oh no - now every time we get on the road, you will hear the chanting, "Right side of the road - right side of the road - right side of the road."  In Thailand, it is the left side - and now the right side feels wrong and the left feels right.  Left = right.  Right = wrong.  You confused, yet?  Yeah, so am I.

That would be me freaking out as I wash my hands in warm water every day.  Every faucet is like a home spa.  Seriously.  In Thailand, where you have to pay for individual water heaters at each bathroom or kitchen just get used to washing your clothes, your dishes, you hands, your bum...with cold water.  Warm water - every time - is like a surprise as I wash off the grime.  Don't even get me started on dishwashers.  What?  Jeshurun had to ask my sister what they did while she and Huy were loading it the other day.  She thought he was joking.  Oh no, girl.  He wasn't.  In my house, the dish washing machine is me.  Most of the time, it is broken.

Being a tourist in another country, unfamiliar with local currency, causes one to feel like the money you use is play money.  Hey, I am sure that if you're a credit card or debit card user that you can understand what I am saying, right?  But, really, every time I pull out my George Washingtons or a fistful of change, I am out of touch with the real cost of things.  What?  That bottle of shampoo is just a dollar more than the other one?  Who cares!  Let's just buy it and get out of Target before I have a panic attack or a joy fit - both look a little like the same thing to me.  Why do we need 500 different kinds of shampoo, anyway, people?  Trying to choose makes my brain hurt and almost makes me want to succumb to greasy hair and borrowing my kids' baby wash.  Just please don't make me buy another bottle of shampoo while I am here.  I remember the first time I bought food in another country and realized later how much I had overpaid.  If you shop with me ever over the next few months - remind me that paying $5 for a dozen eggs is way too much.  You have a confused tourist on your hands.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

5 Ways to Make Our Day Lately

Looks like Treavor is going to enjoy American cuisine just fine.

Comment on how skinny we are.  In Thailand, anything other than rail-thin is “fat.”  This will especially make me feel better considering my jeans are already fitting tighter than normal after only a week of being here.  Looks like some exercise or a fast from cheese is somewhere in my future.

Ask my kid to tell you a fun story.  Jeshurun and Huy feel not as shy if they are asked to tell you a story from their home in Thailand.  And please make grossed-out or scared faces to go along with your listening.  It validates them and gives them incredibly joy.  Seriously.  Just ask Run if he’s ever eaten a fish eye and he’ll be on top of the world.

Kyla ate a lot of Ba Noit's (Grandma's) rice when we went to eat Vietnamese food.  She even was a good Thai and ate with a fork and spoon simultaneously.  I was so proud.

Steam some rice.  If we get to eat together, rice will make Kyla jump for joy.  Bread is just not her thing.  And if you have some fish sauce handy, that makes it even better. 

Uncle Ricky gives great bear-hugs!

Give us a hug.  We have missed the bear-hugs that go along with American culture.  It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.  Don’t hold back!

Be a teacher.  Keeping up with the latest sport teams and their victories, pop culture and such is simply not our forte.  If we look clueless when you reference Lady Gaga or your favorite football team, you are heartily invited to fill us in on what you are talking about.  Most of the time, we’re lost.

We are enjoying our time in America - and I feel like I am finally recovering my brain after a week of being here.  I think I left it in Thailand and God air-mailed it back to me a few days ago. Back to blogging!  Here's to another four more months full of adventure!
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