Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Pym's a smart cookie and absolutely
rocked her English test last week.

 People make me tired. Most of the time it’s in a good way, a lovely way that makes me warm and smiley and gives me impetus to write. Obviously there are some people I can spend more time with than others and on that continuum, children are somewhere between snake charmers and anyone who thinks Spain should not have won the World Cup.[1]

So I worried about Thailand a little. I stocked up my kindle, and figured, if it came to it, I could always light out for war-torn Burma and hide out for a few weeks. Should the need arise. But my books are mostly unfinished and my hiking backpack remains shoved under the bed because the unprecedented as happened:

The longer I spend with these girls, the less I want to leave them.

Being on the receiving end of Nana’s ferociously strong hug, Dora’s adorable smirk, and Suam’s shy “I love you,”—complete with the hand gesture we all learned in Sunday School—changes things. I love living in this strange family where Aleek and Lock are either fighting or holding hands. Everyone looks to P’My, the oldest, for answers. Ba Nim is revered and loved and waied to at every opportunity.

Some girls from the last team here had to leave so we had a
going away party. Mass hugging ensued. It was cuter than
baby elephants and whatever you think is cuter than baby
elephants (I can't think of anything).
A couple of hours of peace are fine, but the houses seem empty without 80 odd children and I like it better when Ink and Awn are crawling all over the bunk-beds or they join Man, Pym in  some insane game of what can only be Thai Calvinball.[2]

Maybe normal children reside even lower than snake charmers, somewhere amidst the bad storytellers and cookie-haters. But not these girls. In my book, they’re up there with cute dog owners[3], Gary Schmidt, and the people who understand what beautiful soccer is.
If you ever need to feel better, come to
Thailand and hug these girls. Seriously.

[1] They do exist. I know. I’m pretty shocked too.
[2] It was a combination of bowling, dodgeball, and the timeless “make-the-shoes-into-a-tent” as far as I can tell.
[3] The ambiguous adjective was intentional.

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