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Changing Spaces

Today was a day.

We moved out of the Golden Dragon and in with our host families. So much change in so little time. Our little “summer camp” has ended and our life among “strangers in a foreign land” has begun. I think it is safe to say that all of us were a bit scared, at least I know I definitely was. When it came time to finally meet our host parents face to face I found myself quite literally at a loss for words (being that my Thai is still pretty limited). Nevertheless, I soldiered on through. First thing my host dad asked was what I liked to eat. Keeping in line with the response I had formulated earlier today in language class, I promptly said that I loved to eat fried chicken. He laughed and said that the previous Peace Corps volunteer he had hosted had said the same thing. So much for originality. He than proceeded to tell me that I could call him “Paw” (as in “father” in Thai) and that his nickname for me would be “Jackie Chan.” Funny guy. Communication though was still hard and I had to turn to my “ajaan” (teacher) for help a couple times. When we arrived at his house, he led me upstairs to an empty floor with a bed, wrapped up bedding, and a mosquito net on top of a red, patterned mat. I unpacked and settled in. Then it hit me. This is going to be my home for the next three months. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore Toto … 

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To be honest, it felt shockingly unsettling to realize that I was here by myself living in the house of someone I had just met who did not speak the same language at me. It was uncomfortable, but exciting. So much is new and different. Walking downstairs, I met the extended family. From what I understand, my host dad’s sister, her kids, and their grandparents all live here. Across a small courtyard is a building that I think is some sort of store or restaurant. One of the kids who looked around my age offered to take me on a guided bike tour of the surrounding area. We weaved through the neighborhood and some nearby rice fields. Numerous dogs crossed our path, but none seemed to bother my new friend and me. Back at the house, I took a shower (it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be), and was shown to a separate house where they had wifi. Come dinner time, I was offered a Pepsi and sooooo much delicious food. It was funny because they just kept feeding me and encouraging me to eat using a mix of charades and broken English. Afterwards, we chatted a little and shared pictures on Facebook. Now I’m in my room tucked under my mosquito net fort taking a break from the action. It’s still pretty early, but it feels late. There are a lot of bugs, but then again every window up here is open since this house doesn’t have AC. Hopefully I’ll be safe in here. Need to wake up early tomorrow to figure out how I’m going to bike to the TCCS hub for class. My host parents are also planning to cook an “American” breakfast in the morning. Bacon, eggs, and rice. Mmm. Sounds like it could be good right?

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4 Comments

  1. Carol

    The accomadation is not bad. Good luck Clarence from the mosquitoes …😂😂😂

  2. Chris Berghout

    Hi Clarence,
    Sounds like the Lord led you to a nice family. Things will feel awkward at first, but beneath the language & cultural barriers, we are all children of God. At least that’s what discovered while in Russia for a few months too.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

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