It’s been ages since I last wrote.
I’ve been here almost three months and although I still do not feel “at home” (which is why I miss François) I do feel good, and in a familiar and caring environment.
Thailand is a good experience so far. Oh yes there are challenges, but people are nice so it compensates. Well, I think people are nice but in the end I do not know!
The main actors in my life outside of work so far are P. and W.
P.is the young woman we hired to take care of dogs, W. is the morning taxi driver.
I love P, dogs worship her, and I like to think she likes me too. I hope to teach her some English and to learn Thai so we can communicate better.
Finding her was not easy: I wanted someone who actually loves dogs. Many of the people I interviewed were “OK” with the dogs, but to me, “OK” is not enough.
I found P. through an agency, and we had an interview via Skype.
Oh I forgot to mention, the agency said she spoke little English, they were not lying, Hello and Goodbye are “a little English,” right?
P. is from Myanmar, and I was told she speaks a very clear Thai. It’s nice, I don’t 😉 (well not yet) and the truth is that she does not speak English at all.
In fact, I don’t care what she speaks as long she takes good care of the dogs, and a little bit of the house too.
During our skype interview, I liked her, her smile, and her response to my question about the dogs (translated by the lady of the agency who was sitting with her).
It is said that nonverbal communication is very important, that body language accounts for 55 % of communication, and tone for 38%. It becomes even truer when you do not speak the same language to start with.
To me that was enough. “But you do not have questions?” Asked the lady of the agency surprised.
No, I don’t. All good for me.
So the next day, P came to the house, and moved in two days later.
When she moved, the dogs were not there and there were no furniture in the house. Everything I owned at the time was a suitcase, a bedroom suite and a washing machine, all brand new and installed a day before my move.
I must admit that at first it was weird having a stranger in my privacy. In addition I quickly realized that she was a real tornado and everything would be tidy and washed before I have time to even think about it.
Besides, communicating is really not easy, I have to be creative, use images, mimes, google translate (which, with Thai language, is not always the best), drawings, and a mix of all of the above. In my previous life, we organized games parties with mimes and Pictionary, now it’s my daily life which has become a game!
The only pity is that our exchanges are for the moment reduced to basic needs. No further than the second level of the Maslow pyramid. I tried to ask her questions about her life, her past, and even with the telephone intervention of her friend it did not work.
Example: “Would you like to return to live in Myanmar later in your life? “Answer,” yes at Christmas “- Me ” Really? ” Her (slightly worried)” yeah Can I take vacation at Christmas? ” And despite my best efforts, I never managed to pass the concept of “later in life”,”someday”
The first week of our life together, I did not want her to do my laundry so I hid it. Yes HID. Hid MY clothes in MY house. In a plastic bag, in a drawer.
And on Sunday when she left for the day, I put it all in the washing machine and laid my stuff to dry in the sun.
When P came back that day she scolded me! At least I think so, yes, the feeling of being a little girl who did something wrong. Made me chuckle.
And the week after she found my secret laundry place.
I gave up and bought a laundry basket.
Then, the first dogs arrived, and I was able to verify that she didn’t lie. The dogs are spoiled! She plays with them, cuddles them, bathes them (wash freak 😉 ), keeps them in her room when I travel, and removes their anti bark collars as soon as I put them on when I look the other way.
After the furniture arrived, I was able to verify that we all do not think equal when it comes to tidiness. I left some unopened boxes? Never mind, hop hop hop emptied and all put away. Ah yes, but put away WHERE? My life had already come quite entertaining with the mimes and all, now it added up to a permanent treasure hunt!
Be warned, if you come on vacation, any abandoned cloth will soon end up in the washing machine, any object lying around will disappear from your sight and we will need to brainstorm or team up to find them!
The magical effect is that before, I was quite untidy. That was before.
Now if I want to find my stuff without spending 10 minutes searching or imagining where P. may have put it, I need to put it away myself .
For example I found this morning in an unexpected place a pair of earrings I’ve been looking for for a couple of days. And you? can you see at first sight the golden loops?
That, added to the fact that out of respect for her I avoid leaving everything in the way, our life in Thailand starts on a tidy (and playful) note and actually, I realise I do like it tidy !