|P. Fon, myself, sweet Charis, Treav and P. Ton hanging out last Saturday at our place. I have an eight-year old and bad lighting to thank for this grainy shot...but I am so thankful to have a memory of that night.|
Every once in a while, you find a friend that fills you with the good kind of heartache. Do you know what I mean? That kind of heartache that you feel when you miss the person so much it hurts a little (and sometimes a lot). For reasons such as, well, life...you can't visit them very often or chat on the phone or sit and have tea and talk about all the sorts of little things you've been storing up inside your heads.
About four years ago, I met a fabulous woman who almost instantly became that kind of friend. P. Fon wasn't just my new Thai language teacher. She was my helper in all my incorrect and cultural faux pas. She showed me that Thai people didn't all fit into one neat little box. She delighted me with her parenting skills and humbled me with the way she respected and honored and cherished her aged parents. She had fun with me and our family. She helped me to feel free to share about the tender things of the heart with the ability to finish my sentences in English where I was incredibly insufficient in using Thai. She laughed at me when I mixed up all my Thai letters and rolled her eyes when I said them all wrong. All wrong.
When we left our first home in the south of Thailand, she was among the handful of people I was so tearful to be missing as we moved on to another city. And, when I lost my cell phone with her number in it (before those long ago days of pre-Facebook...well...before I ever got on Facebook, anyway)...I had a brief scare that I would never get to talk with her again about a stupid question or a even just a story to share. Thankfully, Treavor had her number stored in his phone and I was able to keep in touch just a little (with a forgetful brain like mine, those conversations were few and far between).
To my delight and utter surprise, we heard through a friend that she and her family were going to be visiting our city over New Year's! Really?! What joy!
And when I finally got to see her, her kind husband, her suddenly grown-up little girl and the new son I had never laid eyes on, my heart leapt. My friend was back. Even if only for a day or so, I could connect again, face-to-face with one of the only Thai people that I could imagine being the most perfect big sister a girl could ever ask for.
I missed you, P. Fon! Hope to see you again very, very soon! I think another trip down south is in order for this New Year. By God's grace, we will brave the day-long trip again and get to sit again, drinking instant coffee, asking each other language questions, laughing at our children and smiling at each other with big, free smiles.