23 February 2013

December visit with mom...

Mom on the train

One of my great-nieces

My other great-nice (right).  The cutie on the left is from my step-father's side.  I can't get enough of her hair!

Now this is what local trains are really like - sleeping monks and all.

A local in my brother's village - works out in the rice fields.  I absolutely loved her smile!
This guy was pretty awesome!  He loved having his photo taken!

Transportation for rice and other produce out in Chayapum

My oldest brother

Yes, even laundry lines are monkey bars
I did a quick little visit to my family back in December and we went to visit my oldest brother out in Chayapum after a night in my mom's village.  I have to say of all of my siblings, he has been the one that has tried to really communicate with me and show me around his village.  It felt really nice to feel some sort of connection with him.  I was able to walk out and about in his village with my youngest great-niece, Im (sp?), who loves to follow me everywhere I go.  We walked to the end of my brother's village where I found this guy who was sitting in some trees with his knife whittling away on some branches.  I went to look and see what he was making and he was making some baskets.  Talk about green living.  If you want a basket, you just go to the end of the road, cut down a tree and make one in a day. And he does it with such pride and precision.  One of the big industries in the village is rice - naturally.  So outside of the village are several fields where people are working and in the village, they have small mills that, well, do whatever they do to rice to make it edible in the bag.  The lady in the hat above just had the best smile and I absolutely loved the shape of her hat.  When I asked to take her photo, she just lit up.

An interesting thing for me to visit places like my mom's village and others in that province, is that the people are not use to seeing tourists, as there really isn't much for tourists to see there but daily life of country people.  So when I went walking through my brother's village, I get a lot of curious looks trying to figure out if I'm Thai or what.  I overhear words like farang (European background) so they can tell I'm clearly not entirely Thai, so I smile at them and they'll speak to me in Thai.  Of course I reply back in English and then play the charades and simple English game with them, "Mother - Thailand", "Father - America", and they nod and smile.  Often, the ladies will come up to me with a hearty smile and grab my arm to feel how much bigger I am than them.  In Vietnam, they grab my butt. It is what it is.  Good thing that I'm not weirded out by my lack of personal and people touching me.

Now, back to my little niece.  She talks to me in Thai as if I understand what she's saying, and then I speak to her in English as if she can understand what I'm saying.  Oddly, it works and we just sort of "get" each other.  She's a handful though!  I have no idea how my mom takes care of her and her sister.  But I'm glad that I can be around them too as it seems every time I visit, they're getting bigger and they're getting use to me.  In my mom's village, my two nieces like to walk around with me and their friends, like we're some gang, the youngest telling others that I'm her sister.  And it's also nice to spend time with my mother where she and the family are getting use to me, however I think what's key to me being more of a part of the family is for me to learn Thai.  So, in March, I begin my classes!  Who'd have thought that I would ever learn Thai???  I certainly did not but looking forward to it.  


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