My Farang Behaviour- Volunteering in Thailand

I know this will sound repetitive, but today was the hottest day ever! I thought that yesterday was already too hot and that a storm was about to break out. But to my surprise the day started with no clouds in the sky, and by 10am the temperature was absolutely unbearable. I did not move and still could not stop sweating. As I was lethargically laying down on the wooden divan/sofa outside, i couldn’t help but feel like i was in a movie of those westerners who go to the east and “picturesquely” try to survive the heat by doing nothing while outside they still can see the farmers, the countrymen going about their work just naturally.

As i was lying down on my wooden couch Oye, a 7 year old little girl who was visiting, came to check what i was doing. As usual she just started speaking Thai to me, completely oblivious to the fact that i do not understand Thai. She eventually pointed at my iPod and i understood that she wanted to hear what i was listening to. I chose a song by Monica Salmaso with many clarinets, which i thought was quite child-like and that she might appreciate. She put one earplug in and then lay down next to me, so that we could listen to the music together. She was so cute, because she was very tiny and i could even notice when she liked one song more than another. Not that she said anything, she just paid more attention. She like Monica and she liked Debussy.

When it is that hot there is literally nothing that you can do around here. Even the garden bungalow, which is usually quite cool, was extremely hot. So i just alternated between the wooden couch on the porch and the bungalow trying to practice equanimity while just looking at the very slow pace of life around here. At some point it was actually quite enjoyable. And then of course when i gave up on fighting the heat a storm broke out. Horm was sitting in the hammock while the carpenter was building a swing and Non Nen was watering the plants. As they all moved into the bungalow to not get wet i went out wishing that the storm left me entirely soaked. It was just sooo wonderful!

Non Nen was really worried about me in the rain. In fact she is always very puzzled by my farang behaviour. For instance i always Way everybody. She explained me many times that i cannot Way her because she is a student. I can only Way people older than me. I tell her i like Way-ing everybody, but she just doesn’t understand.

Yesterday, I finally gave her the little book about Brazil. On the cover i wrote ‘from Kun Kru Ju to Non Nen’. It actually took her a while to understand that i was giving the book to her. And when she did she was extremely thankful and happy. A few minutes later she came to me with two laminated pictures. There was a very young couple in both of them. She said “my father, my mother”.

As i knew from Horm that her mother had disappeared and her father had left her to be taken care of by an older lady in the village who used to hit her and not care for her at all, when i saw the laminated pictures my heart shrank. I did not know what to say… All i could say was “they are beautiful”. She said “thank you”, smiling.

There are always many people stopping by at the house. I don’t think i have actually told you who lives here and who comes by every day. Well, there is of course Horm, her two sons whose nicknames are ‘Book’ and ‘Brain’ (she explained me that it was because she’s a teacher that she chose those nicknames), Hans (the Danish guy) and Non Nen and me.

Book and Brain are 17 and 18, and are very very shy. I rarely see them and when i do they avoid talking to me. Also here on a daily basis are Oom (Horm’s secretary, which is the lady that is married and that is having an affair with Hans), her two daughters, the carpenter, and Oh, the masseuse. One hour of massage costs 100 Thai Bhat, which is less than £2, and which basically means we’re having massages almost every day.

Oh came today to give me a 2 hours massage. While she was massaging me the storm that had subsided broke out again more violently than ever. With the storm the power went down. So i actually had a massage by candlelight and amazing lightning outside. I would love to tell you guys about how much i learned from Oh about Thai culture, Thai men, Thai prostitution, but as the power is down, and it is Haiko who is kindly writing down what i am dictating to him over the phone and therefore i cannot elaborate much more.
Lots of love from a completely dark house in South East Asia

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