Hello, dear readers.
Last night, Nawng Joy said that she had checked every item off on her fantasy list.
Some of them might surprise you:
**We four women (Nawng Joy, Aey, Ur and I) have been singing.. A LOT!
Mostly sweet oldies like :
One night, Nawng Joy requested that we all hold hands and asked her nephews to listen while we sing them the song, in the dining hall. She has more courage than I….to withstand the teenage rolling of eyeballs 🙄 🙄 .
Our repertoire includes a refrain in Swahili about Mother Mary, poems composed by Hafiz and Rumi…. medieval Persian poets – We often wandered around singing 🎶
** Chinese Spa:
Aey packed many tools and Chinese healing techniques in her bags. As a vocation, she spends her time doing commerce on behalf of older Chinese residents in Bangkok who never learned to speak Thai.
These practices involve healing herbs and fire (literally) to bring heat to the afflicted area.
**Looking at Boxes
Aey herself is torn between the ancient Confucian values of fidelity and obedience to family versus the desire to find her own way in a modern world. Perhaps there is, currently, a similar internal debate for billions of young folks in the Third world?
She and I have spent years looking at our respective cultural “boxes,” sorting out which are useful, and which are hindrances to living our fullest lives.
For instance, everyone else in our posse felt the need to lock their doors and close the windows at night, even in the most peaceful of settings. There is, apparently, something malevolent lurking somewhere. Aey and I kept the window open, to enjoy the ocean breeze…. but she couldn’t sleep, waiting for “it” to invade.
The mutual egocentricity of both our cultures, the implicitly rigid caste system, the preferences around skin color, the importance of prestige and occupational status, are all shadows lurking nearby. They silently constrain our daily responses with subtle chains. Even the ability to fully breathe is impacted.
Dear Ur is another marvelous playmate. She is an industrial quality -control engineer, and has known Nawng Joy since their days as engineering majors in college. Ur spent most of her nights completing her office work, writing memos and participating in conference calls. Aey also worked late into the night.
Every few hours, or twice a day when we were out on snorkeling expeditions (Ram Ramen, candy and potato chips were always close by, on the boat) the hours-long ritual of The Banquet occurred. I will never figure out how Aey, Chris and Nawng Joy remain rail thin and yet consume unimaginable quantities of food. Here is Aey at breakfast the last morning…she refilled each plate and bowl two or three times…