I once was a package

I hate calling myself a package, but for a few years in my early teens, that’s what I was. Let’s think of another word instead of “package”. International jet-setter? That’s what I wanted to be when I was younger. I guess now is as good a time as ever to call myself that, since it probably won’t happen again.

It was my mom’s idea, but my dad slowly agreed to it. The idea was this: I was to go to private school in Thailand through junior high and then come back to the States for high school. I thought this was a dumb idea because I didn’t even know Thai back then. How did they expect me to adapt to a completely new environment? I was a young teen (thirteen to be exact) and I was to be shipped off to another country to go to school.

There really was nothing that I could do about it, it’s not like I had the freedom of speech in the household yet. I had to do the laundry before I could earn that privilege. So, I stayed quiet and reluctantly accepted my fate. To make things easier for me, I pretended that this was just the beginning of my cute anime adventure. Good things always happen in anime, right?

I hoped on a plane, pretty much empty handed. Mom said that her sisters would be waiting for me at the airport, basically waiting on hands and knees for me. I had a carry-on and that was it. It was my first time being on an airplane alone for a twelve hour flight. At times like that, you really start to feel like you’ve been abandoned.

I arrived in Thailand the next day (*raises a fist in the air* Damn you time zones!). My aunt, who knew a decent amount of English, was waiting for me in the lobby. She drove me to her house, where I would be staying for the time I was there (this is also where I watched Titanic for the first time and understood nothing). She showed me the ropes of the area and took me out to eat some seafood. I could tell that she was trying to make me feel as comfortable as possible. I was trying to feel as comfortable as possible. In the end, it was a circus act of, “Is that okay,” and “Are you all right?” “Yup, I’m fine.” It wouldn’t be until later that I would have the language skills to tell her what I really needed.

In the next few days before school started, my cousins came over to keep me company. They didn’t really know any English, and I didn’t know any Thai, so we began learning off of each other. I’d also like to point out that translators did not exist in the time, we weren’t able to pull up Google to understand each other.

And now it’s time for something lighthearted. How about a story of the time I landed face first in a bowl of wet rice?

In Thailand, there is a dish called jok (pronounced as “joke” as in “haha, so funny.”). And no, I’m not talking about that Chrissy Teigen wannabe stuff (along with Tiger Woods, and myself, she is also half Thai), now that’s a real joke. It’s basically a bowl of rice soup with some assorted veggies and meat. It’s rice porridge, we just got a nice name for it. I got jok every single morning at the bus stop before getting on the bus that took me to the school. My aunt was there with me for a time, but as I got older, I didn’t need an adult breathing down my neck as I ate.

On one particular day, in my third and final year, my cousin walked me to the bus stop. It was raining, which was either a good sign or a bad sign. I don’t particularly remember doing anything bad in the previous days, so my karma seemed pretty good. The was a likely chance this was a good sign. So there we were, having a good ol’ time eating some jok for breakfast.

Before I go any further, I have to say that I am extremely scared of small things that crawl on the wall, especially if they are crawling on me. You are probably thinking of a spider, but that wasn’t the case…

No, it wasn’t the case of the spider on head scenario. It was the case of lizard on head scenario. It was a house gecko, you know, the ones that you see in everybody’s house. You can’t escape them. They’re a blessing and a curse. This particular gecko was feeling a bit head happy and dropped down from the ceiling onto my perfectly puffy poodle head.

At first I didn’t notice it, but my cousin sure did. She smacked that gecko straight off my head, not realizing that she also hit my head pretty hard in the process. The next thing I knew, my face was in the bowl of wet rice. Luckily, there was a salon nearby (a friend of my aunts. Everybody knows everybody in the smaller parts of Bangkok), and I was able to get a nice blowout. And this all happened before the bus came.

That day was the best hair day I have ever had.

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