|Grandma, sister Shannon, Kyla, Aunt Cathy, and myself at Kyla's 2nd birthday party almost 2 years ago. It has been so long since we have seen each other!|
My sister; two years my junior, newly married, impossibly beautiful, and one of the hardest-working, humble people I know...will be landing in my city in less than 7 hours.
It was easy to wake up with my alarm today because I am just. so. thrilled!
She will be here barely a week (Thank you, America, for giving our citizens impossibly short vacation allowances with our work. Can't we be like the French and get our 6 weeks?). We have so many things in the works for her here...fun Thai food, a trip to one of the waterfalls in our area, elephant riding, tuk tuks (what trip to Thailand is without one of these?)...weird-Thai-fruit-tastings, Night Safari, walking market, hot springs, coffee in the mountains...there is just so much to do in so little time.
With her trip, I didn't realize that I had so many pent up feelings about visitors. Her visit here has made me realize the incredible value I feel for having a member of my family (she will be the very first!) step into our world.
Sure, we aren't living in a stilt house on a rice plantation, with King Cobras slithering about our feet and riding elephants to school...our foreign predecessors have done that already. We live in a seemingly ordinary home with suburban neighbors and very ordinary things happening around us every day. In many ways, our lives are just like yours.
But, so much of our world here in Thailand has been so common-place that it is pure fun to have an "outsider" step into it and open up our own eyes to the wonder that is overseas-living:
...chanting and announcements from the local temple blaring through the loudspeakers...firecrackers every day, at almost any hour...the glory of sticky rice (how did I live without this before?)...fresh pineapple and such for pennies (or free, if you have a generous friend)...Thai smiles all around...the normalcy of cool water from the faucets and the lack of indoor climate control...trails of ants that can enter any room within a flash to swipe up that dribble of watermelon juice on the floor...then, the geckos that save us from a nightly attack of blood-sucking mosquitoes...cheap wares at the handicraft markets...and landscape views that some people only witness on the cover of a travel magazine...
We will relish every second of Shannon's visit this week. And, when she returns home (too quickly!), she will finally have a picture to remember and retell to my parents and kin when they ask about how it was "way over there across the ocean."