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Trying Hard to Focus On the Beauty

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My dad's family had a big reunion this past July. Eighty eight of the one hundred thirty two people descended from my grandparents met at my aunt and uncles ranch in southern Alberta for the first time in 20 years. It made the local papers because, giant family and all.




I was not sad. I was prepared for it. They sent us family reunion T shirts, and we sent them a photo of ourselves wearing them to put up for all attending to see the missing parts of the family. It was kind and thoughtful.

We have a facebook group for all of the photos from large family events, so I saw the photos. I saw pictures of everyone having a good time rafting on the river, cooking together, camping together. I was fine.

Then I started clicking through about 50 photos of the location, posted by my aunt. I immediately commented, "Where is all the trash? [She says in amazement, after 4 years of working in a culture that believes the entire outdoors is to be used as a trash can.]."


Trash is somethi…

The Truth About Hiring House Help

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She says she would like to talk to talk to me for a minute. She's pausing at the top of the dining room stairs, broom in hand, and she's smiling, but her expressive eyes show that the smile is a cover for her nervousness, her embarrassment.**

She just started working for me 2 months ago. I didn't want to hire her. I'm tired of teaching new house helpers the ways of western households. I'm tired of resorting things when they are put away wrong. I'm tired of the damage to clothes and appliances because they are learning, and don't understand what I say about separating colors and using bleach. They don't just leave the door open because they don't understand that it keeps out disease causing mosquitoes, but because culturally, a closed door is just an oddity. It keeps out good luck, and good neighbors.

I'm tired of mosquitoes in my house.

I'm tired of wet dishes being put away, and damp clothes folded and sorted into the wrong shelves in the w…

After 4 years in Thailand - Some Thoughts

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Four years ago today we stepped off a plane into the warm muggy Chiang Mai heat and began a new chapter in our lives.  
I meant to document more. Tell more stories here. I thought I would fill these pages with descriptions of our days and adventures.

Most of the time I don't know where to begin, who I'm talking to anymore. I can't tell a joke I'm thinking of. No one in the US would get it. I can't tell that story, without a long explanation, because if you haven't been here, you won't understand.
I thought I understood, before we left, what I was getting us all into. I might have had better preparation than most. My husband had been coming here for years. I read the books, did the research, talked to people who lived here.
I didn't understand. Some things can only be gained by experience.
People ask me how they can prepare for culture shock, coming here. "You can't." I tell them. "I wouldn't be a shock that way."


You don&#…

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