Sunday, January 09, 2005

John’s Back – the Lotus Experience – and no boundries!

The very next day after my last post John left for Phuket with some members of the team here. He was gone for about 3 days. The second day after we arrived Josiah and I took a tuk tuk to the local “Lotus” which is really the equivalent of our Super Wal-Mart. It was incredible. I really don’t think I’ll ever get used to the traffic here. I don’t know if I’ve written this yet but the steering wheel is on the right side of the car and everyone drives on the left side of the road. AND they drive absolutely crazy.

One of the most shocking things about the traffic is how many people they can fit on a tuktuk or songtaw. I’m going to post pictures of these as soon as we get a cable for our camera. Sometimes you will see upto 15-20 people all piled into the back of this little truck with a roof on it! Also another thing that is very common is to see tons of motorcycles with up to 4-5 people on it!!!!! John saw a motorcycle with 3 people on it – one being a lady who had a newborn baby in one hand and a gigantic bag in the other riding down the road. No helmet or anything!

Anyway, we took a tuk tuk to Lotus and shopped a little bit for some little things for the house that we would need. John wanted me to wait so he could help pick out some of the bigger items like a refrigerator or mattress. So here we are, two “farangs” (whities) inside this huge store with people everywhere. Everything is decently easy to understand as far as money goes because they put the number amount in English on almost everything. Josiah desperately needed sandles as did I. So as we started off into the store I start hearing “WOW!, OOOOO!, AHHH!!!” and people start clamoring around my cart poking and pinching and yacking away at Josiah.

I literally couldn’t walk a foot! They eventually let us go on our way but every couple of feet poor Josiah would get rubbed or touched in some shape or form. We finally made it through this madness to the shoe section and the ladies in the shoe section went crazy over him and wanted to pick him up and by that time he was straight sick of being touched and prodded and I had to tell them no.

They kept messing with him and he got madder and madder. He kept saying NO! No! Stop it! And they kept doing it! They thought it was cute so they kept agitating him. He was getting to the point of tears and I put my foot down and said No more! Stop! Khorb khun ka! Mai Mai! (which means: Thank you but NO NO!). I should have stopped it before but it’s like they have no definition of personal space.

We finally made our way to the check out and I had picked up a couple groceries to replenish what we had eaten of MaryBeth’s and Brian’s and gotten in line. The lady rang everything up and then she came to some apples (the equivalent of Asian apples in America) that I had picked up. They were in a sac and she said something in Thai while holding up the apples. She shook her head and said no…and put them away. She called for a lady to come and take the apples and I’m sitting here going…”What? I don’t understand…can American’s not buy apples? Eh…I just wants some apples lady…can I pick out different ones and buy them????”

She shook her head and said “You pay now!” My apples were gone and I surrendered and paid and headed out the door completely confused about the whole situation. When I got home and talked to MaryBeth she said that the apples have to be weighed at the back of the store and if their not they take them from you and you can’t buy them unless you get out of line and go weigh them.

She also said that if you buy anything that doesn’t have a price tag on it they will simply put it under the counter and won’t make any attempt to find out how much it is. They simply don’t sell it to you. She also said (about the pinching and rubbing of Josiah) that the Thai people think it’s funny to annoy a child and that they don’t have much of a regard for how the child feels so you have to watch your children very closely or they will torment them thinking it’s funny.

Most of my time while John was gone was spent cleaning and taking care of Josiah. John was like “Did you get a lot of reading done while I was gone?” I just looked at him and laughed because I had been sooo busy. MaryBeth is 8 months pregnant and having a bit of a rough time. She’s having contractions and some lower pain and she is supposed to resting completely for 10 days. She’s not due until February. So for the most part I’ve been trying to help out around the house.

It’s a real chore just doing everyday things here. For instance, I wake up and get Josiah dressed. Get a shower if I’m lucky – then we go downstairs and I make some kind of breakfast. Josiah is eating really well and he makes a horrible mess with everything. There are sugar ants everywhere. So after Josiah is done eating I have scan the perimeter for any left over food or we will be over run with ants. After that it’s on to laundry of the day and dishes. No hot water for dishes and no dryer for the laundry. So it takes quite a bit of time. By the time I’m done with that it’s about time to start thinking about lunch and what to make.

House work is very extensive. Everyone here has someone come and help with the housework because it is so intensive. At first this was a funny thought to me – I thought it was inappropriate because I felt like we have come to minister to the Thai people – not make them our maids and show them that we’re rich lazy Americans because that’s how I thought they would take it.

But what I have found out is that having a Thai woman come and help in your home is a ministry to them. What we pay them sometimes is better than they would be able to make in their lifetime. And there is no way for a missionary family to be able to function and minister to the Thai people because they would always be overrun or exhausted from just keeping up the house. It sounds like we’re just lazy Americans…I know. But it is really hard to keep everything sanitary and bugs out of the house and food cooked here.

I’ll write more sometime about that to help everyone understand…because in my American mind it wouldn’t sound right at all unless I had seen it for myself. I would have been like – yeah…you just don’t want to have to do the work! J Anyway, Josiah and I have been a mosquito buffet and it’s not fun but we’re taking measures to stop the neverending buffet. When I get bit it looks like I just got bit by a spider and it’s just a mosquito bite. But on Josiah they are little bitty round bumps because of the way his body reacts to the poison.

MaryBeth and Brian’s phone lines aren’t working now so I’m going to have to walk to the local “Internet pub” lol…more like garage with a couple computers stuck on a table…and upload my entries and do some e-mailing.

I will write again soon! God bless you! Please be praying for us.