120117 Thaikarl - days rolling by like summer


when i was a kid in grade school, the beginning of june was an exciting time.  school would let out for summer!  we had three months of freedom.  it felt like i had forever to be out playing in the sun, staying up late, hanging with my friends.  right about the beginning of august, the stores would start putting out "back to school" displays. oh no!  it didn't make sense.  summer still had a whole month to go, and the best weather yet.  but the shades of impending return to structure, rules, disipline and teachers telling us what to do had started to fall on me. as those last weeks sped by, i felt an anxiety for fun-not-had, explorations-not-done, and then it was "back to the real world".

i have a similar feeling now.  nearly half way to running out of visa time.  we've been busy.  i've been more interested in doing life here than writing about it.  we've had some fun adventures, went to our house in Ban Chang, went scuba diving with a friend from seattle, saw a lot of cool temples.  i've been helping tok around the house, fixing things i can, cleaning up the yard.  her tamarind business is starting to happen, the sour tamarind is just getting ripe, and i get to be the one to buy the fruit from people when the come to the house and tok is gone to the factory or seeing her processing workers.  Mama got a flu, and they put her in the hospital for a week to mind her care, so Tok spent most days and nights at the hospital.  we do errands, go shopping, take care of business.  normal things of life.  but this is life unlike any other i have know before i started coming here.

i have the kind of mind that likes to compare and contrast, i notice differences, similarities, what works here vrs what works there, how it's done here, how it's done over there.  living in thailand after living most of my life in america provides a rich environment for my comparative mind.  since i'm abysmally slow at learning even the simplest thai language, i can't ask about things, i have to observe, and guess.  often the only thing i can say is "amazing thailand"  to my wife, everything is "normal life", so she's not up for answering a thousand questions about such ordinary things.  when we go to the temple for Tam Bun (make merit) she sometimes has me repeat the words after her.  which i try to do, mangling the pronunciation pretty badly.  i asked her what we were saying.  she said she doesn't know.  the words it turns out, are in Pali language, which is the language that buddist canonical texts were written in.  similar to the way the old catholic church used to say mass in latin, like they did when i was a kid.  i'm almost certain that they teach the meaning of the words in schools and such, but like the meaning of the latin i learned as an alterboy, it's just words you say when you are devoting.

i drive her to distraction sometimes with my fascinations.  she's up in the tree whacking away at the diseased branches with a big knife, and i'm taking pictures of the hoards of ants we've disturbed, instead of pulling away the cut branches.  meanwhile, those same ants (red weaver ants)  i'm so fascinated with are biting her ankles, arms and neck, crawling up underneath her cloths before they open their jaws an bite down on her flesh.  she's totally focused on getting the job done and getting out of the tree, i'm wondering where the ants are going to live now.  btw, they harvest the larvae from these ants nests and sell them at the market.  very tasty!

i brought a Nook e-book reader with me this time.  an entire library of reading in one device. so i'm reading jack london's "The Sea Devil" now.  i'm an evangelist for these devices.  since i've had a nasty cold the past few day's i haven't been doing much besides reading.  and web-surfing.  mama isn't feeling too good. tok took her to the hospital today but they don't have any blood to tranfuse for her.  she started coughing up blood, so tok took her back this evening. so it's just me and you tonight folks. hope yall in seattle are enjoying the snow.

cares to you all


  1. A nicely written post Karl. You paint a great picture of Thai village life. It sounds like you've found your station in life too. The problem is as we both know, how to keep funding it.

    Here's hoping Tok's mama gets well soon.

  2. Glad you're staying busy and enjoying you stay this time , sory Mom is sick and will pray for her , Tok stays busy and good to see you are on top of that "Honey Do" list. I just talked with my friend Neal, in Seattle and he says the snow is there, wet, wind and cold , and next rain and a mess , my kids in idaho say cold and blowing snow and kids in Oregon say rain sooo I guess we can't complain , take care . Malcolm

    1. perpetual summer, good food, good people and always "amazing thailand" moments- you are so right, we can't complain! thanks!


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