Small town livin’ – Village Life

Beema is here!!! For more than 2 weeks we are enjoying a visit from Aaron’s mom and we are loving it. She’s spoiling all of us. We’ve missed her so much since we left the US and it’s so good to see her again. Since I have a second to sit and blog, thanks to her taking the kids out for a while, I’m going to tell you about something that happened just after we moved to Mae Sot.

Village gate. No matter how tiny most villages have a grand entryway.

Our house is a little bit outside of the city, in a small village set back from the main road by 3km or so, behind another village right on the highway. It took me forever to learn to pronounce the name of our village, it’s one of those Thai sounds that my tongue really struggles to produce, even after a year of practice. But even after I learned to say it right, many locals still haven’t heard of it. Aside from a German man and his Chinese wife who rent a little house out here, and a few people who come and go from the Bible school out on the other side of the village, we are the only Farang that we know of who live out here. Which means we stick out like a sore thumb.

The Boy, drawing attention to himself by being not brown.

Our landlord is also a foreigner and it became obvious very quickly that everyone knew the Farang house.

A few weeks after we moved in I decided for some crazy reason to go out walking just after dark, in the pouring rain, to the little shop up the hill to get some snacks, or basic dinner supplies, I can’t remember now. We were still waiting for our car to be fixed, (something that ended up taking almost 8 months total) so we relied on the small little house shops in the village for our basic supplies.

Roadside stands.

On our way to the store we passed two ladies in a little roadside stand selling meat on a stick. (They sell tofu, fish balls, artificial crab, all on skewers and warmed over hot coals with a bit of cabbage or cucumber and hot sauce. Not a bad deal for 5bht, ~$0.16USD.) They started yelling at us in Thai. The only word I understood was khanome, which is snacks. Somehow I got the idea that they were telling us to go a different way to buy khanome, probably because they were pointing in a different direction over and over again. I’m perceptive like that.

Different roadside stand.

 I figured they were either telling us to go to their shop instead, or that the other was closed. It turned out to be both. Thanks to their warning I sent the boy on ahead to check on the other shop instead of walking all the way there with Dek strapped to me and Bam Bam in tow. He confirmed that the shop we usually go to was closed, so we started to go in the direction these ladies were pointing. It was down a steep gravel hill on a road under construction and in the dark and heavy rain it was a bit treacherous.

We made it though and found a little shop in a Burmese man’s house that was still open. After making our selection this man started trying to tell me to go home a different way because he was worried about us on that hill. I was pretty sure I understood what he was telling me but I must have looked confused because he grabbed his umbrella and walked us almost all the way home on the safer path so we could make it.

That’s when I realized that EVERYONE in this village knows where we live!

Gate to the Farang house. Note the excellent paint job.

Also, I remembered, yet again, that most people here are kind.

Our favorite shop keeper. Her eggs are always fresh.

Later on, we discovered a lady much farther up the hill who sells fresh vegetables, and keeps her meat in freezers. She loves the Boy, who often goes to her shop for me to buy things. One day I walked there with all the kids and she was worried that I was buying too many things to easily carry home. So she loaded them all on hr scooter and drove off ahead of us to drop them at the house. She didn’t have to ask where we lived. She already knew.

Calculators are also a good way to tell people who don’t speak Thai how much they owe you.

I couldn’t help thinking about all the times in North America that I walked home from the store, laden with groceries and children. No one ever walked me home or delivered my groceries there.

Some things about Asian culture I could really get used to.

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