Thursday, 11 October 2012

Oh lady, they are not fake Raybans, just for you $2...

A fairly perfect view in the village rice fields

Some things are universal- like smiles and the gangham style. Some things are not universal- like eye contact, to use a western-style toilets  (I found footprints on the toilet seat of the staff cafe bathroom.. I'm thinking it's the sneaky Thai cafe builders that need some 'how-to' lessons… ) and the English language (The people of the Tower of Babel- i shake my fist at you). 

.. Sometimes we whitey's think we are a majority in this world, but I am now daily reminded here that we are not! 
It's weird being the 'cultural' outsider. It's kind of cool, a tad challenging, but fun. Fun to be the unusual one and to learn new things daily is super great. Though it does suck to have to have a white-person sized body. Free size- yeah right. Free size for teeny people. Blast my mesomorphic body type in an ectomorphic country!! 

I just got home tonight from my flash dance mob practice. I think i have mentioned it, but we are doing a big surprise dance in some public locations up here to advertise the opening of the cafe plus DR in general. So last week was practice number one, whilst I wanted all DR people to know they are invited to join- I did not expect the 200 people that showed! Truly! SUCH a JOY. I had a big, dork smile on my face.. Everyone having a sweet time, getting their unity on. Especially after some big days and mental strains, this dance thang is a fun outlet with everyone seeming to want to be involved! I plan to take over a shopping mall, a night market and a local football field. Teaching 200 people to shuffle and do gangham style is no minor feat. Backflips also included.  Stay tuned.  
Village Food. BEST.

A few weekends ago, I went to one of the Ahka Hilltribes with one of my cafe girls and her friends. Whoa. Cool experience. A 7-hour truck/bus/caribou (not really the livestock part) ride into the mountains, we crossed into Myanmar un-visaed, I got proposed to, couldn't speak the local dialect, slept on the ground, got hugged, smiled at and fed way too much. But wow. Amazingly gorgeous people, delicious food, breathtaking views. Went to a baptism of 8 villagers, including my DR girl. God is doing cool stuff. It was fun to hang with my girls and see how they grew up. I won't go into the whole parents selling/allowing their kids to work in the heinous industries they have been to exposed to.. That is for another time. It hurts my heart. 
As far as their new cooking/kitchen skills go- they are definitely a far cry from hacking up a pig with a blunt, rusty machete now.. I give them a 'look' if they aren't using the red chopping board for their uncooked meats. Ha. Beautiful, priceless experience though my shower felt like magical fairy dust when i got back to Chiang Rai.. Man, us westerners are a soft lot.

So anyway, the next time I write- we will definitely have an open cafe! What the heck? That scares me somewhat!! Even though the main reason for moving here was to open a cafe. Hmm. The fact that the building now looks like a venue for serving and eating food flips me out!  I have had my mind focused on training these girls and now they go and get all 'competent' and 'able' on me.. Gosh, darn it. 
The construction of the building is the slow part- but Thanks to Cam Hodges and co it's getting closer and closer to completion. We are planning on November 1st to be the opening of the cafe! 
We are doing 4 trial runs of meal service next week with each of the 20 girls taking part in cooking, waitressing and/or coffee-making. It's going to be an intense week, but I am looking forward to seeing how they perform. They are all rad, simply put! Though flip. Their names! I have Pon's, Nid's, Ni Sar's, Sa's, Fon's, Pim's, Da's, Dia's and no-ideas.. I also have a Porn. There is something not quite right about yelling out her name loudly. Bless her. I am the king of good memory, though the thought of writing up work rosters with this many girls is not a fun thought. it's a "I-am-going-to-procrastinate-til-the-last-minute-and-then-handpass-it-off" job I need to do.. That list is getting longer. ;) Logos, uniforms, wages, menus, merchandise, which coffee sugar to use, you know, all that fun stuff! 
 They fit.. sort of 
I did my first visa border run to Burma last week. Massive market place on a dirty, hot border. Dodgy area, whatever drugs you need you can get. It is annoying how pushy the sellers can be. So I just gave in. Ha. Joking. But seriously. Means I have been here for 3 months- time is FLYING.

I have felt real love from people around me recently. A shout out to my family here in Chiang Rai- I feel like I am a daughter and sister here. I get hugged, prayed for, paid for, loved on, i get invited over for sleepovers (and generally by the mamma's not the kids!) and I even got a roast lamb dinner last night.. Whilst I love and miss my crew at home, I am being unduly doted upon and cared for. 
I am constantly amazed that I get to do this. Seriously. To be plucked out and planted here. Too cool. 

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." John 15:16

 I am so happy to hear from people back home- technology rocks! Thank you for keeping in touch-     I love hearing how all you guys are, thriving, growing, changing, doing fun stuff, doing tough times, planning adventures, making babies, joining lives, it's cool. Life abundant. 

I hope you are all well. My love to you big time.

Remind me never to eat these. I am disgusted- the land of beautiful food, how dare you create this.