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Despite having a newborn, I have had some time to read. I’ve finished three books since she’s been born (mostly while taking baths to soothe my episiotomy…sorry for the TMI! But that sucker hurts!). I reread Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, read Chicken Soup for the New Mom’s Soul, and just finished tonight Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman.
I liked them all in their own respect–I haven’t read a Chicken Soup book since high school, but someone gave this to me and it was sweet and a good reminder to savor every moment. Tam Lin is a little strange but a good read. But I adored the Gelman memoir.
After a bitter divorce, Gelman decides to sell everything and live as a nomad, with no permanent home. She writes of her travels around the world, including an extensive stay in Indonesia. But tonight, near the end of the book, she finally landed in Thailand, and it strummed up such good memories for me.
If you are new to my blog or don’t know me, in March 2006 I went to Thailand for two weeks with a group of Tennessee Baptists to help with tsunami relief as a part of an extended effort there. It was a phenomenal experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I made some good friends that I still keep in touch with. I met amazing and kind Thai people, painted their homes, spoke with national Thai Christians. And the food. It kills me to eat in a Thai restaurant here because the food is nowhere near as good as real Thai food. This passage in the book struck me especially:
“Lawn,” says Nark, holding a bowl of red sauce and adding some to his bowl. Then, in English, he says, “Hot. Thai like hot.”
“I do too,” I respond, spooning about the same amount into my soup along with marinated chilies and assorted leaves. I feel the heat on my lips, my throat, and all the way down. It is hotter than anything they serve in the U.S., but I’m determined to eat Thai food the Thai way. I only choke a little.
I learned quite quickly that if a Thai person says something is a little hot, I should stay FAR AWAY from it. I am extremely sensitive to spicy foods. I even packed my bags with tons of trail mix and snacks in case I couldn’t eat anything in Thailand without being sick. But the food was phenomenal. We helped cook our own breakfasts and dinners at our guesthouse, but lunch was cooked by the wife of a local squid farmer in authentic Thai-style. You haven’t tasted squid until it is fresh out of the ocean! And those chicken feet really add flavor to a soup. 🙂
I wonder sometimes if I will ever travel again like I have–I’ve been to China, Brazil, Thailand, the Dominican Republic. I love doing short-term missions and interacting with other cultures. I was a Chinese minor in college and I know my language skills have gone down the tube. I long to be able to practice them again. But now I’ve entered this new phase as a mom. I’m excited right now to get to leave the house two days in a row.
It’s a new adventure. Where we don’t quite speak the same language, and this little one will have to adapt to my culture!